I have been through a lot of change throughout my life. I grew up in a small Southern Town, and spent as much time as possible on my Grandparents Farm. It was a simple time, and I was just a simple small town boy. As the town grew, so did I. By the teenage years the town had become a bedroom community for the nearby city, and I spent a lot more time in the city instead of on the farm. By the time I was a young married man, I held on to my roots, but was expanding into a world of business and responsibility. I developed my own business by my mid 20’s, and started getting the idea that I was somebody.
Then I crashed and burned. I spent 7 years as Mr. Mom and very much into my simple, country self. I watched my children grow from infants into the school years, instilling my values and beliefs to the best of my ability. I eventually recovered, and started back in a new field and enjoyed a meteoric rise in my career. By the time I reached my mid thirties, I held a job that gave me the opportunity to travel throughout the US. I became more sophisticated and worldly… and more pompous and arrogant. My position hit the executive level, and my travel became worldwide. I lived in a ‘starter castle’, drove expensive cars, and bought a second home at the beach. I also married a Long Island girl, and completely lost the connection to that little Southern Boy. And I was a complete Jerk. But I felt like I had arrived, and considered myself to be the high powered executive with money, power and influence.
Then I crashed and burned. I spent a lot of time unemployed, but eventually found work as a manager of a small Manufacturing Plant in a little Southern Town. I still held onto the executive mentality, and looked down on the poor simple folks who worked for me.
Then my world fell apart. My wife and I separated, I lost my job, and I was officially diagnosed as Bipolar. It was a really rough time, but through it all I kept the self inflated view of myself and my positions.
I came out the other side of that hell, and began to make new friends and rebuild my life. One special friend lived in a small town about 45 minutes out in the country, and I began to spend a lot of time there. I went fishing for the first time in 27 years! I sat in a rocking chair on the porch having my morning coffee and watching the sunrise. I still had a good job, and worked in the city as before. But whenever I was able to make it out into the county I was able to find peace and tranquility. It was like coming home.
I’ve been through a lot of changes in my life. Some of them were good, some not so much. Even with all the changes there have been many constants as well. The struggle with being bipolar has continued throughout, even though I didn’t recognize or accept it. I’ve been an overachiever able to accomplish things far beyond the limitations I put on myself or the expectations of others. And in spite of the grandiose image of myself throughout this journey, deep down I’ve really been the same person as I’ve always been. I may not have kept it simple, but I have had the sincere desire to help others and the traditional values of my youth. I just need to remember who I really am, and embrace it for what it is. Because all the changes I’ve had, all the ups and downs, all the prosperity and hard times, there has been one simple concept.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.