It was probably my darkest day. I can’t even recall the date now but it was 20 years ago. I’d sunk into a darker and darker depression – I’d stopped going to work, I wasn’t getting up at all as I just couldn’t face another day, I wasn’t eating either. I had gone crashing down into a never-ending downwards spiral. I couldn’t see any way out of it at all.
I was single and hated the fact, I was working as a cycle courier and was fed up with it. I just couldn’t see much of a future let alone a bright one. I was in my late twenties and the depression had taken a strangle-hold on me in a big way. I viewed myself as nothing short of a total and utter failure. The months leading up to this point had been a major struggle – I was drinking heavily and really couldn’t give a shit about anything or anyone.
It was a Sunday and I had filled up two empty bottles with water and filled them with paracetamol – I had put around 50 effervescent tablets into each bottle – before starring at them for an age and eventually drinking the contents of both bottles. This wasn’t a cry for help, this was me at the very end, no more answers having accepted the only solution was to end my life. I thought that the quantity of tablets would knock me out before my life ended. I didn’t leave a suicide note. I just didn’t see the point.
Several hours later I was hunched over the toilet being sick in a way I have never been sick before. It was continuous and seemed never-ending. I ended up in A&E at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital that night. They managed to stabilise me and I spent the following week in hospital. That first night in the hospital was strange. I felt confused and I was scared but felt at peace as well.
The following day a really good friend came to visit me at lunchtime commenting (rather ironically) ‘that if I tried something like that again she would kill me’.
I learnt a lot that week in hospital. I realised that my depression (and episodes of depression) needed to be tackled head on and couldn’t engulf me like it had on this occasion. Back then mental health wasn't widely spoken about as it is today. There was still a certain amount of stigma associated with it as well.
The doctors told me that it was lucky that I was so fit as certain blood counts associated with the overdose were off the scale and they had never seen anyone survive with such high levels before. Thankfully the majority of the damage was to the liver and this would eventually heal.
On the ward I got talking to the bloke in the bed next to me – he had to be admitted to hospital every couple of months due to having sickle cell disease – he was really upbeat and was just getting on with it. One thing that stayed with me was watching an elderly man at the other end of the ward die. I was looking over towards him in those last moments of his life and watched his last breath. I spent a week in the hospital before being discharged. That is when the real hard work started. I was at rock-bottom and needed to rebuild my life again.
I’d come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be easy, it wouldn’t be instant, and it was down to me to sort the mess out which had become my life. I also had to accept that I suffered from depression and that I needed to control it as best I could – this is something that I am still doing 20 years later. There are times when I think I’m doing well and other times when I think I need to get my act together. That has happened quite a lot over the last 20 years.
I think in the last 20 years I’ve achieved a lot and learnt a lot about myself. I went from working as a cycle courier to becoming a performance manager for the company I was working for. I started a career in the civil service (and was promoted twice within my first 8 months). I studied and trained to become a sports massage therapist, worked for myself and gained an excellent reputation as well as working with some brilliant and inspiring athletes. Another career change has seen me working for the British Red Cross for the last 7 years and advancing, learning, and studying along the way.
One of the things that really helped was exercise – I finished another 8 marathons (I had completed my first a few years before), finished multiple triathlons including four ironman distance, as well as racing for Great Britain at the European Long Distance Championships in 2007.
In that 20 years I’ve been in 6 relationships and am now single again – I’m not that fussed about that, some days I think it’d be great to be with someone, most days I’m happy being on my own.
I don’t really speak about that dark day very much. I know that it changed me. I know that it made me see that if I wanted to achieve anything I would need to really push myself hard. I’ve learned that failure isn’t a bad thing as long as you learn from the mistakes made. That dark day helped me to build a very strong mind-set where I refuse to give up, give in or stay down when knocked down by life.
That dark day was the first step to everything I have achieved since.
I’ve completed the first full week of a more structured training schedule which I’m pleased about. I’m having to get up at 5.30am to get some of the sessions done - I don’t mind doing this as it is part of what I’m trying to achieve. It has been dark, cold and sometimes wet when I’ve headed – I’m not bothered about that though as the pavements and roads are clearer and quieter. Once I’m back I know that the training for the day is done and I feel like I’ve achieved something before the day has really started.
One of the differences I have training for an ultra next year (compared with losing focus earlier in the year) is I’ve sat down and put more structure into the training and built up to achieving that particular goal.
I’ve decided to run half marathons in December and February (both of which will be treated as training runs rather than going for a specific time) and then finish the season off with the Great South Run (October) and another marathon in next December. This will give me those short-term targets to aim for rather than just focusing on the one target as well as keeping the momentum going after the ultra.
The key to achieving that is remaining injury free, consistency, belief, discipline, and strength. I’m in control of all of those factors.
Remaining injury free – a sensible approach to training, not pushing it too far too quickly, and proper recovery. Since I’ve moved my diet and lifestyle have improved greatly and that is going to help as well.
Consistency – I need to have a no excuses approach to the training. I’m might not be in the mood or don’t want to get out of bed at 5.30am but that is not the reason for not completing the training.
Belief – having the self-belief that I can achieve these targets and goals. I like a challenge to work towards and it needs to be a challenge as well. If the goal is to easy then the motivation isn’t there and that sense of achievement is watered down considerably. Having that proper challenge and having that belief that I can achieve it is important to me.
Discipline – having a sense of self-discipline and not quitting. Knowing that I need to remain consistent with the training and do it. Knowing that I need to constantly push myself. Having that no excuses approach to the training and getting it done. Other options of doing things may look better in the short term but are they going to help with the longer-term goals? Probably not, therefore I need to remain disciplined to get the training done. Looking out of the window knowing it is cold and raining but still having the discipline to head out of the door rather than hiding under the duvet for another hour.
Strength – I’m not talking about physical strength (as that will develop with the training). I’m talking about mental strength and the ability not to quit when it becomes tough. I have several strategies that I have developed over the years to help build my own mental strength. I give myself little prompts as to why I’m doing the training. When I’m feeling tired during training and just want to stop I ask myself how I am going to feel if I do stop (and how much I will then beat myself up mentally for stopping). There are going to be days when I’m fed up for a variety of reasons but it is having that strength to put that aside and get the training done. There are going to be times when the training session isn’t that A-game performance and again it is having the strength to put that behind me and concentrate on the next session.
Overall it is having the strength to say to myself I have the ability and capability to do this – NO EXCUSES are going to be accepted.
One of the other reasons I do the training is that it makes me feel good about me.
I started this blog around a year ago, give or take a couple of weeks.
At the time I wasn’t in a very good place for various reasons and I had a lot of questions that I needed to ask myself at the time. Some of the answers I probably didn’t want to hear if I’m being honest. I had also entered an ultra marathon and had begun training for it. I never made the start line of the ultra marathon for many reasons.
A lot has changed in those 12 months.
Reflecting on the last 12 months and not being in a happy place at the time there were multiple things I needed to change in my life – some of those I have achieved and others are a work in progress. Compared to 12 months ago I am in a much better place now. I have moved and now have my own space – it is utter bliss.
I wasn’t happy where I was living and craved for my own space. The move has brought a lot of structure back into my life. I need structure in my life otherwise I get distracted and side-tracked and lose focus on the things I should be doing. When this happens a bad habit kicks in – procrastination – and when that happens I start drifting almost aimlessly. I’m aware of the things I should be doing but due to a lack of focus I put them off. When I put them off I feel guilty for doing so and that pushes me into a very low place as I feel I am letting myself down and selling myself short.
12 months ago I was bored in a role that I could do with my eyes closed. I’m much happier in my job as well. It involves a lot of travel at times but compared to my previous role it is more challenging and has allowed me to develop new skills and gain fresh knowledge. It has also allowed me to push myself professionally and I think that this has been noticed by senior managers. This could be useful for future opportunities.
12 months ago I had been knocked to the floor again. Very much like when this has happened in the past I refuse to stay down (even though that may look like the best option at the time). A few people have pointed this out to me over the last couple of months – there is something internal that refuses to stay down and give up, it is almost like I should be broken but it is just the start of something new and I’m just breaking myself in, having to start with a blank canvas refusing to accept defeat.
I’ve faced some very tough challenges over the years but have a huge inner reserve that always pulls me back up. It takes a certain amount of mental toughness to do that.
So things are much better than 12 months ago, lessons have been learnt, challenges overcome, opportunities taken and others missed. I’m constantly asking myself those tough questions and never accepting complacency.
Since moving I’ve got back into a training routine. Not being on the start line of the ultra marathon in August has been niggling away at me. It is something I need to complete for my own reasons. I’ve seen the event I want to do and now I’m happier with things. I will be on that start line next July and believe me I will cross that finish line as well.
It has been a little while since my last blog post and there have been a number of reasons for this. Work has been really busy and I seem to be travelling more and more with the role – it is tiring but on the whole I am enjoying it. I also felt I needed to take a break from writing the blog whilst I sorted out some aspects of my life, take a look at where I want to be and how to get to that point. I’m also in the process of moving as well which is fantastic and I’m really looking forward to that.
I’ve been busy buying furniture, house-plants and other stuff I need for when I move.
Due to several factors I’ve decided to pull out of running the ultra-marathon in August.
The training took a bit of a back-seat and there were a few minor niggles that had I ramped up the training could have led to longer term injuries – it is disappointing but I’m looking at what I can aim for in 2020.
I plan to start running again in the coming weeks – it does feel like it is going back to square one but once I get out there and start forming a decent plan it won’t take too long to get back into it and hopefully the niggles will have disappeared.
I have been getting out on the road the last few weeks cycling – it had been a little while since I had last been out so it was a bit of a shock to the system, especially when tackling some of the hills on the routes I train on. In a few weeks I should be back to a decent level of fitness.
I’ve also decided to return to fencing. It was a sport I took up when I left school around 30 years ago and I participated in it for around 5 years. It was a sport I really enjoyed and I had always said I would give it another go but over the years I never really looked into it. A quick google search last week and I found out where the local fencing club meets – it is literally opposite to where I am moving so I have no excuses really. Rather than waiting to join after I move I’m heading along in a couple of weeks and am really looking forward to participating again.
I’m naturally a competitive person so this will also be a great opportunity to start pushing myself in a different direction that isn’t all about long runs and long bike training.
Since my last blog entry I feel that I’ve grown as a person as well – work is pushing and challenging me a lot and that is a good thing. I feel that over the last couple of months I have really developed in my role. I feel that my moods have been a lot better over the last few months. The focus on the move has really helped with that. I’ve lived in Portsmouth for 2 years now and have made some fantastic friends, have a fairly decent social life, am looking forward to another season as a season ticket holder at Fratton Park and the roller-coaster of emotions that brings on Saturday afternoons, and on the whole feel settled down here.
I think back to October 2018 when I wasn’t happy, didn’t feel settled, didn’t want to live here at all, was fed up with work, and fed up with life in general. I have had to take a long hard look at myself quite a few times since then and look at who I am, look at what I want to achieve, look at whether it is possible, look at alternatives, and really had to dig deep at times. Sometimes making changes to life doesn’t happen instantaneously and there are going to be disappointments along the way. There are going to be times when things don’t go to plan. There are also going to be times when you need to change your mindset, your goals, and even your approach in order to get to where you want to be.
It has been a busy couple of weeks. The new role in work is going well as well as being extremely busy – I’m in my 5th week and it has been like being in the middle of a whirlwind. I’m loving it because I’m having to push myself daily and having to challenge myself daily as well.
It isn’t just in work that I’m busy but also out of work as well. A few months ago I was sitting at home alone feeling pretty fed up with life and knew I had to kick myself firmly up the arse to change that. I was in total denial about how much I had dragged myself down and when I looked in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw. I needed to change. In that moment I knew I had to turn things around. Months later and I feel fitter, feel stronger, feel more in control, and feel happier. It was a tough call to make that change. It isn’t the first time I’ve had to do that in my life.
In my late twenties I was in a real rut and suffering from a chronic bout of depression that resulted in me taking a large paracetamol overdose – I wanted to check out as I saw no other way out. I was riddled with guilt about choices, decisions and events that had happened in my life. I was chronically unhappy. I couldn’t see how I could change my life. I spent a week in hospital recovering and was told I was lucky to be alive. I was told the amount of paracetamol I had taken should have killed me.
When I was discharged from hospital I vowed that I needed to turn things around and worked my arse off to do so and continue to do so to this day. When I looked in the mirror last year I knew I needed to take ownership and be accountable again and get back on track, that there had to be more than this and I was the only person that could change things – no one was going to turn things around for me. Life isn’t a rehearsal and we only get one shot at it.
Sometimes the hard part is admitting that there is a problem and there needs to be major change. Making those changes is not an easy option, it means taking yourself well and truly out of your comfort zone, pushing yourself, pushing yourself hard, pushing yourself even harder – do more, be more. It takes effort to do that.
Someone I know has hit that point where they have realised they need to make some major changes because how they are living is destructive and unsustainable. When I found out I knew how they felt as I’d been in that place before. I’ve chatted to them quite a bit since Sunday and we both know that it isn’t going to be easy but it is achievable to make those changes for the better.
I’ve told them not to look solely at the bigger goal but to break it down into much smaller achievable goals. If you make a 1% change to your life every week then in 6 months you could be in a much better place. In a year just imagine what you could achieve. 1% change each week.
To do that takes heart, it takes discipline, it takes effort, it takes commitment. Most people don’t do this – they remain in a rut, they are in denial, they embrace mediocrity. They don’t make changes and remain in their comfort zone. Closed minds and the easy option all the time. Some of the toughest people I know are those who have looked in the mirror and have said ‘things need to change’ and have effected that change. It is not an easy thing to do. It is not the easy option.
If you want to make changes I challenge you to do so – each week write down that 1% change you’ve made – and then in 6 months see how much you’ve achieved and how much things have changed.
It has been a week of thinking and evaluating. I find this important.
It has been busy as I come to the end of my second week in my new role – some of it has been a bit of a baptism of fire but I love that – being thrown in at the deep end or it being tough. It helps me become a lot more resilient a lot quicker as well as adapting.
I’m having to learn quickly and adapt even quicker. I’m in my absolute element when I do this.
When I was delivering a workshop a few days ago I did question my ability as it was the first time I’d delivered this particular workshop and the material – I had a minor wobble. I went to the toilet and looked in the mirror and told myself I was delivering the workshop because I have the knowledge, the experience, the confidence, the skill to do so, and am the credible expert with the capability who got the role – wobble well and truly over.
I’m in this role because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and because I want to see what I’m really capable of. So very few people do this today – they are so happy and content to stay in their comfort zones because it is cosy and safe.
Not me. I don’t want a comfort zone at all – I want the hurt locker. I want to push myself – where is my limit? I don’t know but I want to find out.
The hurt locker is the place where I truly excel – when I am finding things tough, when things are starting to overwhelm me, when I should probably throw the towel in and give up – that is when I dig deep and find that little bit more inside myself to carry and push even harder. I have many motivators that allow me to dig deep into my hurt locker. Past experiences that have placed me in tough or difficult circumstances and I’ve had to dig deep to get through them – I look back on those and think I got through that time or that situation so why not now.
I look at those who doubted me or hurt me in the past – I look at the hurt they caused and yeah it was tough at the time and it may have knocked me down but it certainly didn’t knock me out. I look deep into my hurt locker and say to myself I’m better than you and I always will be. That hurt gave me strength and purpose and allowed me to push on more and further – those that hurt me are no longer in my life as I’ve left them way behind in so many aspects.
My motivators allow me to say to myself what if I give that little bit more? What could I achieve if I pushed that little bit harder? What am I capable of if I look inside the hurt locker and dig deep?
I was speaking to a colleague in work who I hadn’t seen for a while and she made an interesting comment (based around my relationships and how they have failed) and said I seemed to be a “real sh*t magnet”. To an extent I agreed. Then I thought about this in the greater context – yeah I’ve had some really horrible things happen in my life, I’ve experienced things that are not great, sometimes I’ve felt that I’ve suffered the consequences harder than I should have, and I’ve gone through some really tough situations as well. But that is life – one thing life is not – a fairy-tale. So maybe it isn’t just with relationships I seem to be a sh*t magnet but also in life at times – but that is life.
Had I not gone through all those things I would not be the person I am today – someone who is determined, driven, dedicated, who won’t stay down when knocked down.
Less than 6 months to go until the ultra-marathon.
I know in that time I am going to have to put a lot of training in. Having started my new role in work as well I am going to have to train smart as work is going to be very busy.
I’ve put in a very good weeks training last week and am pleased with the progress I am making – I’ve added some more strength work into the programme as this is going to be important. I’ve started to think more critically about my nutrition plan for the event as well – there are no feed stations along the event so I need to be fully self-sufficient during the day. I’ve already purchased a rather smart race vest/pack which has a drinks bladder in it, pockets for gels, bars and additional drinks bottles and thankfully space for my trusty MP3 player.
The new MP3 was also a recent purchase – 4GB of space and 17 hours battery life – ideal for those long training runs and the event itself. I’ve currently uploaded 470 tracks onto it and it is a real mixed bag – Killing Joke, Tool, The Prodigy, Jah Wobble, Fleetwood Mac, Motorhead, Black Flag, Fugazi, Public Enemy, Pink Floyd, The Fall, Iron Maiden, Bad Brains, Johnny Cash, The Cult, Cockney Rejects, and a ton of other stuff.
I’d actually be lost without running with the MP3 on. It just helps me to switch off and keeps me focused. Keeping focused on those longer runs is going to be really important – especially on those 3 hour runs which can turn into a bit of a slog and a bit of a mind-games battle.
I know from past experience in events that there are going to be those mental dips or lows – when you start to question whether you need to stop, need to slow down, worrying that a very slight niggle might be that dreaded injury that you just don’t need. It is really important to be able to shut those thoughts away and focus on moving forwards. It is important to be able to focus on those next couple of steps, the next mile, getting to the next lamp-post – rather than thinking of the enormity of it just breaking it down into much smaller chunks.
My strategy for the actual event is going to be getting to each bridge on the event – not thinking solely on the finish line but breaking it down into much smaller, more achievable targets.
There are around 20 bridges to pass (and go over) during the event – so 20 smaller, more achievable targets. That also works out well when planning my nutrition strategy – I will have a much better idea of when I need to be getting those essential fluids into me, needing to be taking on board energy gels and energy bars as well.
The kit I use and wear on the day of the event is going to be important and I have a very good idea of what I will be using already on the day. I have the kit already – a few trips to Decathlon has sorted that out and no doubt a few more between now and the event will be made (mainly for additional pairs of running socks). The plan is to wear the kit I will be wearing on the day on my longer runs – not only does that pre-planning help with any potential mistakes but it will also help with that focus as well. It will really home in on the target.
The weather on the day is going to be a major factor. If it is hot will I use an energy drink mix or an electrolyte mix? Headwear – running cap or visor?
if it is raining do I need to take spare socks to change into at some point? (it may be that one small thing I do that could reduce blisters perhaps).
So very much some of the training in the lead up to the event just isn’t about putting the miles in but getting the nutrition correct and using the correct kit for both the event and conditions. On the day this fine detailed planning could be the difference between a well-executed race and one that leaves many questions around preparation.
This week marks the end of an era in work as I leave one role and begin another – I’ve been delivering induction courses in work since 2014 and in my new role will no longer be doing this. It is going to be strange because of a lot of colleagues (many of whom I’ve trained) know me as the person who does the induction course.
On Wednesday I finished my last ever induction course and as I reflected on how the course had gone I had a sense that I had drawn a line under that part of my career – no looking back, no going back. My new role is going to challenge me and really put my skills and knowledge to the test – that is good. It is going to take me out of my comfort zone – that is good. It is going to push me – that is good. I’ve been given two projects to get on with straight away and I’m determined to set a high benchmark for myself straight away – I’ll look at it and think what would make it better and then look at it again and think what will make it much better – that marginal gain element.
I knew 2019 was the year I needed to push myself, challenge myself, and really get out of my comfort zone. I’ve always felt the need to challenge myself and push myself. I’ve never been one to sit back and accept it for how it is. I’ve always asked the questions around what are my limits, what am I really capable of if I try that little bit harder.
Some people look at me and probably think I’m not very ambitious or driven. The thing is I’m never one to shout out about that (I shout at myself inwards about it). In my down time, such as having a few beers with friends for example, I’d rather have a good laugh than be serious all the time – that is why I see it as my down time. This is the time when I blow off a bit of steam but it doesn’t mean I’m not ambitious or driven anymore.
So today is St Valentine’s Day – not that it means a great deal to me. I actually think it is a manufactured load of rubbish. But hey I’m single so why would I care anyway!!!
Single through choice. I’m alone but I don’t feel lonely. Over the last week I’ve thought about what being single actually means to me. I set my own agenda and it isn’t based upon what someone else thinks or what they expect from me. I’m not confined or pressurised into the expectations of someone else – I’m not being viewed or judged on what I should be or what I should be saying or asking. I don’t get let down and if I do it is only by myself and I learn from that and I build upwards from that.
I’ve been in relationships where on the one hand the other person has said I don’t need to change anything and on the other tries to change things about me. What is that all about!!!! If you feel the need to change that person should you even be with them in the first place – the answer to that has to be a big fat NO. If you are happy in yourself why change for someone – that change is obviously based upon their own insecurities and issues and probably means they have a fear of changing themselves so it is easier to give someone else the hard time and get them to change you instead. Leave them behind and continue being you and being the best you.
I’ve been thinking of what drives me and what makes me determined to complete things over the last couple of days. One of those things is when people doubt me and almost due to their own negative outlook want to tar me with this and say, ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘you won’t do that’. Big mistake really as I’ve been told that so many times in my life that now I just find it hilarious – it is like a gauntlet has been thrown down at my feet and I can’t resist picking it up straight away to prove that person so wrong.
Years ago I was looking at entering a triathlon – it was a sport that had always fascinated me and there wasn’t a great deal of information out there about the sport (we are talking back in the dark ages when the internet didn’t exist and it was a very, very grassroots sport in the UK at the time) and I told someone about this and they told me – ‘you won’t do that, way too difficult, you won’t even get to the start line let alone finish’. I was not impressed. I finished that race (it was only a short sprint distance race) and went on to finish many more over the years – multiple half ironman distance races, 4 ironman distance races, 9 marathons, and raced for Great Britain in my age group in a European Long-Distance Championships – all the time I remembered that person who had said to me ‘you won’t’.
In work about 5 years ago I applied for a different role, got to interview and felt it was an ok interview and I had given some good examples of the work I had done and was capable of. I wasn’t successful and one of the reasons given was I hadn’t evidenced enough managerial ability when I felt I had.
I eventually moved roles and was determined to prove that manager wrong – I worked hard as a manager and then started delivering a managerial and leadership course where the manager actually got their staff to attend the course as it would be good for their development and it was felt they needed to become better managers – Oh! The irony!!!! Now I’m about to move into a role to design and develop managerial and leadership courses!
The one thing I have always been is driven and determined. I may go through spells in my life where my mental health is low and I feel depressed, I may feel like life has knocked me down but it has never knocked me out and I have always got up and always dug in deep and gone on to better things. 47 years undefeated.
I have a tendency to look at myself and say this is just not working or this is not good enough and ask myself what is ‘much better’ – they are not pipe dreams and fanciful ideas but things I know I can achieve.
At times I am brutally hard on myself because I know what I am capable of if I am driven and determined to do so. When people say to things like ‘I’m going to be honest and you may not like what is said’ is so weak to me as I have probably done that tenfold at every minor detail myself as I look towards ‘much better’.
So last year when I hit a real low and was knocked down again that drive and determination was there once more. Yet again I have proved to those who doubt that I am still undefeated, I am stronger, I am harder, and I still possess that drive and determination.
In my last blog entry I wrote about taking risks and challenging convention. I also wrote about making mistakes and it being part of the learning process.
Within my training I try to apply this and like with any well thought out plan you have a certain level of control on how this is applied – there are some unknowns involved in that as well and also some uncontrollable elements as well (weather and terrain for example).
Devising an effective training plan requires placing lots of small steps in place over a set amount of time to reach a much bigger goal – it is also a learning curve as well and mistakes will be made along the way and it is how that learning is applied so those mistakes do not become habit and are part of the norm leading to overall poor performance, lack of motivation and losing sight of that much bigger goal.
As you may also recall from the last blog entry I decide to take risks and challenge convention by going out on a date with someone I was seeing last year – in doing so I felt I was breaking one of my golden rules – never go out with someone you’ve previously split up with. It was a really good evening and it was fantastic to speak to each other positively about things we had achieved since we last saw each other and what plans we had for the future.
On Wednesday morning I was feeling very optimistic that if there was a plan in place and we took those small steps then that bigger goal was more than achievable. Wednesday afternoon I was feeling deflated after receiving a text from my date – she had also had a fantastic evening, felt that there was still a major spark there and was somewhat optimistic as well but was very hesitant due to the fact I hadn’t spoken about one particular topic and that put question marks over whether there was indeed any future.
To receive that at work by text was a bit of a body blow really – I would much rather have dealt with that issue/concern over the phone or face to face and expressed this in my reply.
Things then escalated and became slightly argumentative and I felt that all the positives of that evening had been brushed aside and was being replaced with a negative and I was suddenly under the microscope.
We had not seen each other for months and my main focus that evening was to see how we got on and whether there was any possibility of a second date – nothing more, nothing less – and I felt this was a more than reasonable expectation. A second date would have included conversation about the topic I hadn’t spoken about on the first – I’m certain of it – and had it not then maybe a text of that kind I received would have been more than justified.
Instead I’ve put the barriers back up, there will be no second date, and I feel that it may well have been a mistake to have broken my golden rule in the first place. I spent yesterday evening licking my wounds a bit, feeling upset and hurt and retreating back into myself which was not good considering how I had felt that morning.
This morning I’ve looked at what I am now considering a mistake and rather than seeing myself as a failure have looked at what I have learnt from the experience instead and how I move on from this. Instead of the ‘what ifs’ I used to ask in the past I took risk, challenged my normal conventional way of thinking but it hasn’t worked – that doesn’t matter though because I gave it a go and I felt I had shown that evening I was a changed person (and for the better).
I gave something a go, it didn’t work, I’ve learnt some things, and because of that I don’t see that as failure but progress in myself. As far as any future dating is concerned – I think I’ll give it a very, very, very wide berth and concentrate on the new job and training.
Richard Guy, 47 years of age, born and grew up in London and have lived in Portsmouth since 2017.