Health & Fitness
Discovering Happiness: From Depression To Self Growth With Man’s Best Friend
In one of my many small break sessions on the porch, I decided something. I don’t know if it’s on a whim or in some way shape or form a scheme to try and evolve as a person or a writer.. wishful thinking I guess..
What I thought about is something I thought about for a really long time.
I could only assume I started to have these thoughts after I’ve been through what I consider a journey through my interpretation of hell on earth.
My way of thinking has morphed into something that a good friend of mine only stated as wisdom.
When we met for dinner we talked about what we’ve been through for the past few years and how we’ve got to where we are today. At that moment he took a good look at me and said “you look different, more dependable and wise”.
That took me by surprise..
I was still stewing on that statement hours after he left, self-reflecting to really understand the change that he was talking about.
I couldn’t really put my finger on what really changed, but I did feel like I was more decisive in how I believe a successful person should carry themselves.
To be fully honest, I thought once or twice to myself that I wish I didn’t accumulate the experiences that I had, which are as normal experiences one could have in our times of relationships and economic uncertainty, to make me wise, but as I’ve said before, I do want to grow as a more interesting and charismatic person, that’s what I wish to be.
A few years ago, I was stuck in a mundane routine that made me feel like I was slowly sinking into a toxic waste and left me questioning “is this it?”
From there I found myself more and more staring into an empty room, lost in thought about life in general, asking myself what type of person I am now, and why I have lost my drive and motivation that I had in my 20’s?
Well, the answer to the first question is easy..
I don’t like the person I am right now.
I didn’t like the way I interacted with the world, with other people.
Always eager to please, act like a smartass for cynical reasons that always backfired on me, and sometimes being a straight up A-hole.
That person would rather turn away from a conflict rather than face it head on, standing up for the ideals, not in a violent or in your face type of standing up, but share my thoughts truthfully and not accepting events that will end up hurting me, my progress or my reputation among my peers.
What I disliked the most about all of those things, is that if you figuratively portray that type of behavior, it will be like a small child that gets pulled by the hand of a responsible adult that guides him like guiding the blind.
Life was happening to me, decisions were halfhearted, and I was a master of commitment to short term periods that amounted to nothing.
..just felt my heart giving me a twist..
The answer to the second question, where did my drive to grow disappeared to?, eventually will become clear. But unfortunately for it to happen I have to accept the fact that I’m a grown goddamn man.
But what does it mean to accept it? I am in fact a biological male, I like females – well that sounds a bit stiff, doesn’t it?
I am man! I like women! .. Don’t be silly, while cavemen had the word “men” in it, that doesn’t mean that we are cavemen.
But I am attracted to feminine women that have a big smile, that look kind and wholesome, and have a wonderful laugh.
I always knew that I wanted to grow old with a person like that, but, and this is the part where I bring a whole world of uncomfortable truths upon myself, would a woman like her love to grow old with a man like me?
I finally managed to ask myself the more precise question that I was not able to articulate – What type of man do I want to be?
Finally in my 30’s, I managed to ask myself a clearer question to put some order and focus in my life.
Let me share with you a little secret. And while you may know the answer, you sure as hell are not ready for the process.
I had a clear vision of the man that I want to be, my ideal, fearless, adventurous, my hero.
A couple of poorly chosen YouTube videos and I was off!
Reading, meditating, exercising, working, side hustle, new skills, dating..
..and after a couple of months.. self-hating couch potato.
In one fell swoop, I failed spectacularly in all of those, my future self-seemed unattainable.
Well, let’s not be too hard on ourselves. I did grow a marvelous beard, which was pretty easy if I’m being honest, all you have to do is be lazy for 6 months, one trip to your closest barber shop and voila.
..a sad achievement indeed..
Covid came a year later and oh boy, if you were a single guy living on your own with no one else, I know your suffering and I salute you!
The lockdowns shook the whole system I was leisurely resting on, and for the first time in my life I got genuinely bored and depressed.
It was so bad that I decorated my toilet in various ways and took pictures.. How embarrassing!
Being alone with my negative thoughts, no way to escape them, no way to vent them out or to subside them with other substances gave a real punch in the gut.
Dealing with your own monsters is a grueling journey, and sometimes people don’t walk out on the other end of it.
Luckily for me, I decided for the first time to do something that I thought about since I was a kid, that in fact, as dramatic as I make it sound but it still holds true to me, changed my life completely.
The best decision that I could have ever made, that in retrospect made me realize my goal to be not only a possible future, but actually a lot closer than I can comprehend, was to bring a new fluffy and happy four legged Akita girl which I named Kimi.
Guys, if you took care of another living being all by yourself then you would immediately understand what type of difficulty a self-centered person would have to face.
This is an actual test of being a grown up, can I take care of her? In my mind there is no going back from this decision and for better or worse she will grow up to be a happy and healthy fluff.
Taking care of a puppy is not something to be taken lightly.
Vet appointments regularly.. and rushing to the emergency on something that is very normal.. twice.
Choosing the best food! She’s not eating.. Change the food! She’s still not eating..
Frustration upon frustration upon despair.
Playtime is fun for 20 minutes, but ho ho, puppies are on constant play alert, so be prepared for hours of playtime. Daily. I’m tired.
You don’t sleep, you constantly worry and the worst part is to hear her cry when you go to take out the garbage for 30 seconds.. breaks my heart till this day.
After a few months I started seeing some changes, they were subtle but they were noticeable.
Dog owners are a really nice bunch, they say good morning and most of the time have a smile on their face while the dogs sniff each other, small talk is a common thing.
I didn’t realize that having small talks with complete strangers is a skill that needs to be sharpened, and inadvertently, while walking 3-4 times a day I sharpened that skill good.
I became more confident in my words, less stuttering and feeling awkward, talk with a smile and a sense of positivity.
It is amazing to see how pleasant people react to you when you give a sort of welcoming aura, you become more approachable.
People like dogs.
People like people with dogs.
If you’re a man like me.. women like dogs, *nudge* *nudge*.
I felt happier.
My actions aligned with a constant care for Kimi.
My life gained structure, I worked reasonable hours in order to spend time with my girl.
When we had a chance we hiked a little, scheduled playdates with other puppies, met a lot of new people and I began to be known in my community and was getting invited to events that were happening occasionally.
Truly a world of difference from how I was living my life of solitude and grumpiness and in record time as well.
Now I finally understand that responsibility for loved ones is a life changing event.
I got one step closer in understanding what makes a man.
You must understand, if you endure for others that don’t think the best of you and for you, you’ll be doing a very foolish thing, it would not in any way shape or form benefit your well being, it’ll just become a more of a heavy burden.
Endure for the right reasons, the more you manage to clear obstacles from whoever you want to be close with, and they are happier because of it and they make sure to share that experience with you, the more you are left with the feeling of satisfaction.
That satisfaction in turn will motivate you to take on other burdens in order for you to remove future obstacles.
In simple words, work hard for the people or pets that you love and love you back, or if you haven’t found those who motivate you to work hard, work hard for the future loved ones that you’ll meet along the way.
That is my first step in understanding what a good man should be at his basics.
There are plenty more steps, that’s for sure, and I’m still on that journey as to figuring out which steps I need to take in order to become the man I want to be.
This is not a short term adventure, it is a long ever changing one, but progress is felt and noticed and the results of that labor are speaking for themselves, you just have to always self-reflect, always aim to be the person you wish you would become and don’t be too hard on yourself, take breaks, treat yourself, enjoy life and remember to take notice of the joyous moment in the process, as they say “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
Taking Kimi in was the first selfish selfless act I did, and I cherish every moment with her.
I found the drive to start my own business and an enjoyable side hustle inspired by my four-legged fluff girl. I exercise regularly and try to eat as healthy as possible, but I sometimes crack.. bread is a horrible weakness.
My personal relationship with my friends feels livelier, although I still struggle with washing away the introverted lifestyle, I still see baby steps progress.
That leaves to share with you the decision I made that I’ve mentioned in the first paragraph.
I’ve decided to pursue writing.
I hope that through writing I can share my experiences with you, if any of my words are striking a chord with you then that is more than I could hope for.
I wish for you to make life meaningful for the people around you and yourself, don’t be a fly on the wall and let life happen to you, realize your potential to be happy.
Thank you for reading.