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Who am I? How did I get here?

On the 29th November 1998 I wrote my first blog post, back before blogging was invented; back then it was an ‘online journal’. But that was 20 years ago, next month.

20 years of writing about my life online.

What an incredible journey it’s been!

Over the past few months, a big part of my silence as I’ve avoided writing has been thinking about my life, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and who I am now.

I know that the person I am today is not the person that started this journey 20 years ago.

Once In A Lifetime
by Talking Heads

And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

I’ve been asking myself the same thing – how did I get here?

A brief recap of the past 20 years

In 1998 I was living here in Canberra, having been unemployed and on welfare for about 14 years by this point. My latest ‘odd jobs’ was selling pizza on the street at night to drunken nightclubbers, and working for an ISP (Internet Service Provider) during the days providing help desk support for customers and office administration. With the internet work I was doing, I was starting to find work I could enjoy and focus on.

In 2000 I met a woman online, Michelle, who changed my life. She lived in New Zealand but came over to spend some time with me. It went well enough, and I ended up moving to New Zealand with her help. Huge change! I was able to find work in a corporate environment providing help desk support, and that job lasted almost 7 years.

Moving to New Zealand was an amazing catalyst of change for me.

Michelle and I split up within months, but it was thanks to her that I started to realise so much more was possible in my life, and I then spent quite a few years learning what was possible.

My years in New Zealand were amazing. Absolutely amazing. Some of the best years of my life. I became a better person and learned how to communicate better. I did a lot of self exploration and growth to find who I was and what I wanted in this world. There were plenty of fun and also painful times as I put what I learned into practice over the years.

Much of my life has been around the relationships that I’ve had, the women that were so important to me.

In 2002 I met Wakana, a wonderful woman from Japan who loved me dearly, but I screwed up and left her because I was stupid and afraid of commitment… I tried to recover that relationship, but she couldn’t trust me again, so it was lost. Much to my regret for many years.

In 2005 I met Deidre, a kiwi (New Zealander) woman who was born in Australia. We got engaged and lived together and tried really hard to make things work between us.

My career improved. Being in the same company for almost 7 years allowed me to easily transition over the years from working on the help desk, to senior analyst, to systems administration, to service delivery management. It was all fantastic, and I made some great friendships with the people I worked with. But all good things must come to an end eventually… The company was sold to a larger organisation, and all that was good about it was taken away.

In 2007 I left the company and moved back to Australia with Deidre. I started contracting providing high level IT support to government agencies, but I’d been doing that for a decade, and I was over it. I couldn’t see my options improving too much if I followed the same kind of career path, so I looked for a change. I reinvented myself to start a new career in 2008 as an IT Business Analyst.

2008 was quite a momentuous year. While reinventing myself to start my new career (with no prior experience or education), my father died in March. I was affected by that more than I thought I would have been, and it made me significantly re-evaluate my life and what I was doing. I realised that being with Deidre wasn’t working out for me, or for her. We spent all our time ‘fighting to make it work’, but I realised we were just fighting.

We split up and I decided to take some time out to really work out who I was and what I wanted in life.

It was a month later that I got my first contract as a Business Analyst for the Australian government, which started a career that I’ve been very successful in and still doing today.

After leaving Deidre I continued exploring my own values and desires, trying to understand what I was doing and where I was going. I relaxed, I read, I went on holidays by myself. I enjoyed life.

In 2009 I found BDSM and explored that for a while, but I learned it wasn’t for me and I got out of it. But while the BDSM lifestyle wasn’t for me, it was yet another step in the journey of experiences that helped me learn more about myself, about who I am and what was important to me.

In 2011 I met Fanfan in Melbourne, and we started dating. On our third date she came with me on a holiday with some friends of mine to Shanghai, China, and everything was so amazing between us. Life changed all over again. By this time, I knew a lot more about who I was and what I wanted in a partner, and I recognised that she was the person I needed to be with. She was the yin to my yang. On the way back to Australia at the end of our holiday I asked her to come live with me, and she immediately agreed.

But good things don’t always come easy. We almost split up after a few months – once again because of my stupidity and fear of commitment. But I was able to fix it, and she came back.

In 2013 I went bankrupt due to being screwed over by an accountant of a company I was director of. That was a dark, nasty period of my life. Very stressful, very depressing. The darkest time of my life, with legal affairs hanging over my head. At the same time Fanfan and I got married. Despite all the dark, stressful times, she stayed with me and supported me through all of it. She was amazing.

In 2014 we moved to Melbourne to change our life and live there instead of in Canberra. It didn’t work out though. I couldn’t find any work for months. One day a recruitment agent told me that I was specialised in ‘infrastructure transformaton programs’ (IT change projects affecting thousands of users) and there just wasn’t that type of work available in Melbourne. I put out some feelers for work in Canberra and got work there straight away. I commuted for a few months but when I got another better contract for longer term, we decided to just move back to Canberra… It’s funny the way life works sometimes. That longer term contract is still going – I’ve been with them for 4 years now.

In 2015 Fanfan’s father gave a family gift of cash to help us buy our own home to live in, so we bought an apartment just across the road from where I work – it had an 80% deposit so Fanfan could get it in her name despite a low income, since I was still bankrupt at that time. She also eventually got some work in the cafe that provides coffee and lunches to staff in my group of buildings. Very convenient!

Today, I’m doing very, very well considering where I was 20 years ago. I was earning about $7,000 a year back then on welfare. That was my life. Today, I’m earning considerably more. We have 3 apartments now (2 other investment properties), I have a late model luxury car, and we’re looking to enjoy our future in a way that we couldn’t even see 5 years ago.

I’ve been with Fanfan for over 7 years now. We make each laugh every single day. It’s been bizarre that our feelings for each other just get stronger and stronger each year. We love each other more as time goes by. It’s really quite amazing.

I’ve become content with life. I’m happy. I’m at a point where I’m not struggling to grow and become a better person. I feel like I’ve reached that point in my life where I don’t have to struggle any more. And that’s a nice place to be.

I know there’s still a lot more growth to come. There’s still a lot more to experience, and a lot more to learn. That’s all part of the journey of life.

But most of my life’s journey has been alone. That made the journey harder. Long lonely nights of soul searching.

Not any more. Now I can relax for a while. Now I can enjoy a life that really is the result of a long path of hard work and pain. Not manual labour. Not that kind of hard work, but one that’s been an incredible emotional and psychological journey of pain and growth.

But it gets easier now.

Thanks for being with me on this journey.

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