What is “happy”? What does it mean? Is it a good job? A perfect relationship? 2.1 kids? There are a lot of books, movies and media posts on ways to make you happy. I think for each of us we find it in different ways. Happiness comes from inside. It is the spark that ignites your core getting you up and moving in the day.

For me, happiness seems to be found within the struggle. In the effort itself. Frustration and setbacks are all part of my happiness soup. I excite in the challenge, and even in the pain. I find I am not one to give in, but keep pushing forward on whatever mission I have set myself.

One might think it is the reward that I chase. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I can’t deny that I enjoy seeing things accomplished and receiving praise for a job well done. However, I also shy away from the recognition. Even become self conscious when called out. All the while, I find myself nit-picking the final product, seeing that the end result is not really the end. Endlessly trying to smooth out the rough edges and continue on my quest. You might call it OCD, but I take too many shortcuts for that to really be the case.

Then, when all work is done, I can relax. I rest and enjoy the company of family and friends. Yet in the rest I find myself restless, itching to get “doing” something. Get on with my next mission. Taking a day off and “doing nothing” is hard. I get bored.

I saw this when I was visiting my parents this summer. I enjoyed working on the house and digging in the dirt as much as I did playing on the water. I found it again this weekend while working on my house. I reveled in the frustrations and challenges I was presented with. I see it at work, during the moments of high tension and frustration – I find myself most alive.

I was asked recently if I was happy. Like everyone, the answer is “sometimes”. Right now I feel I am in search of my next mission. The next major challenge.

I see many around me, but which one will mold me? Making me bigger, stronger, faster? Which one will light the fires of my passion? Truth is, most of them will.

It is time to just start down that path of happiness.

Recycling your dream

dreams recycled podcast episode 20
Get the episode here on iTunes and on the Web!


So I am once again hitting the airwaves. This time I joined Tiffany Ann from Dreams Recycled podcast talking about the male side of divorce. We had a really great conversation, covering how I handled the transition after the divorce, single dads in the workplace, and even my life in the dating world. I really enjoyed sharing a little of my story and how I processed my life after the divorce, hope you guys find it and enjoyable.

Tiffany offers lots of inspiration and tips on revitalizing your life after divorce. I am extremely grateful to be included as one of her incredible guests. Thank you.

The Signing

Today has been a long time coming, a three and a half year recovery. We first bought as a family back in 2006. It was a condo/townhome and I felt I had made it. We wanted land, but everything at the time was too expensive – so we compromised a bit and took the condo. A new build with plenty of room for our growing family … it was a good buy. For me, I felt like I had arrived. I had the job, the wife, second kid on the way … and now a place of our own.

Eight years later I rolled a moving truck up to the front of that home. I had chosen to take the hit and move out, keeping the boys in the most stable structure I could see at the time. Felt like the man’s responsibility to be the one to go cut the new path. My hope was that I would be able to build a new life. A life I could be proud of. One that would help remove the shame I felt in leaving my family home.

Not any place would do – I had conditions. I would not accept going back to an apartment as that seemed like such a step backwards. After living in a gated community for so long, I was also looking to escape those iron bars and get a yard of my own (or in mind anyways). My first choice seemed great – until I moved in. Unsafe for the children to play outside alone and unsafe for my grandparents to come visit. Dreams of a life built there were crushed before they could really begin.

I left that place more broken than I had arrived. Out several thousand dollars, final divorce papers now in hand, and another failure registered I did not know where life was headed. Yet at that time one of my good friends offered me their rental unit, recently vacated – and I jumped at it.

Once more in a townhouse, built by the same builders that built the family home, it had many of the same character features. Instantly life started to settle. After a fresh coat of paint the place became my home, our home. The boys and I are fond of this place. Yet, it wasn’t ours.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to buy the place which made great sense to everyone but the bank. Yet, it got me thinking, “Could I?” The lenders were ok with it, as long as it did not include an association fee. So I figured I had nothing to lose and explored the opportunities.

Today, I closed.

The place is not perfect. It will require a lot of TLC. There is much cleaning, fixing, and updating required just to make it a livable space for the boys and I. Luckily, I have a couple weeks before we move. Yet, the pressure I have felt to get paperwork done, get the house passed inspection, the anxiety about maintenance now that it is mine has had me strained at the seams. A good friend asked, “Why do you want this place so bad?” to which I replied, “Because it is mine.” – not a good answer, so I thought about it more and clarified both to her and to myself.

Practically, the place has a lot of potential. While it will need a lot of work, that work should see a return. There are options upon options of things to add and update – all of which should be a good investment if done right.

Emotionally, the place represents my life stabilizing. I know have a place once more for my family. And while it is not an emotion I may be proud of, it is and I should not deny it – I feel like I am partially back on equal footing with my ex who still lives in our old family home.

The opportunity is not just mine, it is one for the boys as well. They will spend the next few years learning along side me the “fun” of home renovations and home maintenance. My oldest is actually excited about being responsible for the lawn and both look forward to a tree fort. In a lot of ways, finally I am looking ahead and seeing the childhood I always wanted them to experience.

I can’t wait to get started. At this moment I am both excited and anxious, which I have always viewed as good. Anxious not really knowing what I am getting myself into, and excited about what I will be able to create from it.

Today, I put my finger on the pulse of a dream and I start building the future.