To Be Continued

My name is Matthew. I am 32 years old, soon to be 33. I am single, have been since my ex-girlfriend left me five years ago. Prior to that, I was in a deeply committed relationship which culminated in a beautiful child we both planned and wanted, but alas, the relationship fizzled out.

I was recently involved with a woman a few years my senior, who was and is great. But that relationship would not have worked out anyways. I always felt a twinge of guilt and regret because I could not or would not give the same amount of positive attention to my child.

I’ve also claimed bankruptcy at a younger age, been involved in a series of failures from eviction to delinquent accounts to three dismissals from employment. I’ve worked for over 30 companies in a wide variety of settings including janitorial, surveyor helper, plumber, glass installer, pipe fitter, laborer and hunting guide. As such, I have moved incessantly.

Throughout this debacle or ordeal, I consumed alcohol which led to isolation, disagreements, fallings out, broken hearts and an overall trend that wasn’t good. I’ve given up drinking but I’m still plagued by doubts, insecurity and a horrible credit rating.

I’m not focused on employment anymore, but my life. That includes a loving relationship. How do I gain the footing I need to actively seek a meaningful partner now, with no credentials and a disastrous path forged by my alcoholism?

~ Matthew

Matthew, you’ve gone from child to adult. Now you need to go from adult to mature adult.

One characteristic of the mature adult is that they don’t look for a breakthrough moment or epiphany. They don’t look for a person who will make their life right. They look to make their own life right.

Mature adults know a good life comes from the small decisions made every day. Mature adults know simple disciplines over time create great results. Mature adults know they already possess the wisdom they need.

You are a fit guy and a smart guy. Make a list with two columns. On the top of the first column, draw an arrow pointing up. In the second column, draw an arrow pointing down. Under the up arrow, list what fills you up, makes you proud, gives you energy. List your successes, even if you have to go deep into childhood to find them.

Under the down arrow, list what drains you, embarrasses you, creates problems for you.

All you have to do is live life from the first list. Every decision you make comes from the first list. When bad things from the second list kick up in your mind, grab something from the first list, think about it and relive it.

You said you are not now focused on employment, but on your life. Does that mean you want your reward now? “Give me the medal. I’ll run the race later.” That’s backward. You run first, then get the medal if you deserve it.

You want a meaningful partner. The problem is, the woman of your dreams isn’t dreaming about you. It’s hard but true. You want to date up. Way up. That’s the mindset of someone who thinks they deserve better than the life they have lived.

You do deserve better. But you have to earn it. That’s what maturity means.

People who live chaotic lives usually come from a chaotic background. If that is your case, you have to be ruthless. Everyone who leads you the wrong way gets fired from your life. You have to exceed what you were shown. You can’t limit yourself to what they were or are.

The most important thing now is faith. Faith that you can do it. Because you can. Because we know you can. Next week we will outline in concrete detail what you can do to turn your life around.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of March 17, 2014

Send letters to: [email protected] , or Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield MO 65801.

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