I was going to call this piece ‘Don’t Give Up The Day Job’. I wanted to warn aspiring entrepreneurs against jumping in to their new business too quickly. It seems so easy to jump online, put up a website and talk to the world about what you love. It might be football, travel, sex or anything else your mind can conjure up. Well, it is easy! You can make a decision, get online and be up and running in a day.
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Having a passionate, creative relationship is crucial to a full life. The problem, when I was not in one, came down to a single, crucial, issue; what was I looking for? This was a puzzle to me, there was so much choice out there. How do I make a choice that will work for years to come? How can I distinguish between all the amazing women out there?
I write stories about myself that relate to my essence as a man. I draw parallels for other men that might help them to look at the issues they face in a different, more powerful, way. This is a superficial view of the columns I write; on a deeper level I am exploring my world and challenging it.
According to Tony Robbins we all have a Primary Question. It’s a question we ask ourselves everyday of our lives, one that controls our focus and the direction of our lives. For many years my Primary Question was, “What if I’m found out?” I regarded the life I was leading as a lie, a mask, an attempt to bolster my male power. My fear was being found out by someone, by anyone. My fear was that people would see the real me, the weak, indecisive and scared me.
I recently visited a relative of mine who is 91 years old. She doesn’t get out of the house much these days, she suffers from dementia and is locked in her loneliness. Although people go in to see her every day and others come and take her out on trips she doesn’t remember much, if anything, about this. So when she sits on her own in front of the TV in the evening she feels lonely and is lonely, because she remembers nothing of the events of the day, all she can remember is the distant past of family life and activity, so she feels lonely.
There is a lot of talk on The Good Men Project about inclusion across the areas of gender, gender identity, race and other important issues. But the topic of how we treat those with learning disabilities like everyone else is just now coming to the forefront of the discussion. No matter how hard we work to include those who seem to be not like us, many people still find those with learning disabilities a challenge. I know I do. Autism and Downs Syndrome can be especially difficult as the effect is to disable simple communication. If we cannot communicate through words with someone how do we include them in our life?
I left school in 1966 and I am now 66 years old. This seems to me a great reason to celebrate my decade of freedom that started that year, nearly 50 years ago. It was the year The Beach Boys released the album ‘Pet Sounds’, The Doors released their eponymous album and John Lennon met Yoko Ono leading to the end of live concerts by The Beatles and their break-up. The Vietnam War was causing chaos, almost revolution, in America, but it didn’t really enter my consciousness.
Why do I upset both men and women at the extremes when I write. What am I doing that scares them so much. Why can’t they acknowledge what is really happening in the world and join to make it even better.
I lay under the duvet cover screaming, screaming out loud. I could feel the break coming. I felt helpless and hopeless and I did not know what to do, I did not know how to deal with my wife, with my life. I was lost; as a husband, as a man, as Graham. I knew something was wrong, something more than the clash of brute force and stubbornness, something more than titan struggle that had been going on downstairs. I was so lost I could not even work out what was wrong, I just wanted the world to go away.