The Shortcomings of a Selfish Man and the 34 year Journey towards True Vulnerability

Sorry the title sounds like a dissertation, ha. I’ll keep this brief.

Hey everyone. It has been a LONG time since I decided to write something blog related. Mainly because things have gotten much, much crazier since my “30th Birthday” blog post, but also because blogging isn’t really much of a thing anymore. Blogging now feels like a thing of the past. Very 2008. Gone are the days of anyone really caring about what goes on in your mundane life. Here to stay are the days of self expression, obsession, and depression. We focus on the ME and less on WE. Of course this is an over generalization and for that I’m sorry. It’s still what I see.

And here I am! Today I’m 34. Today I re-read my last couple blog posts on this page and was transported to a stiller, calmer time. I was in a “Dream-job” that would turn out to be more complicated than I ever thought it would. I wasn’t in a relationship with Jordan and thus did not know her parents and was not married. I hadn’t met most of the friends I now have in Colorado Springs. I definitely didn’t know if this was to be my permanent home or not. There was still much unknown about my life. As I kept reading, I felt a sense of hope and electric excitement. There was a feeling that anything was possible and anything could happen.

Now, at 34, I feel these emotions fuller, richer, and more completely. I have gained a new family who lives here. I have gained a partner in life, whom I share life with. I work at a true dream job where I feel at home, appreciated, and valued. The life ahead of me is filled with unknown possibilities and what I’m finding is the unknown doesn’t always have to be scary. In this case, I look back to the post that I wrote when I was 30 and much was unknown then too. What unfolded afterward was so beautiful, so perfectly timed, and completed undeserved. In some ways I am starting to look at the unknown in a different light. Maybe I don’t have to be terrified of what I don’t know, what I can’t predict, or what I can’t plan for. Maybe it is in these places that I can find the most joy, adventure, and happiness. This year will be a year of trust and anticipation. I eagerly wait for what I don’t know and am happy that this time I don’t have to do it alone.


The hardest lesson that I’ve had to learn being married is letting go of my old life. For 30+ years, I have relied on my self to get through life challenges. I know my limits, my abilities, my many, many shortcomings. But my shortcomings have been my own. I have not been required to share them with anyone and there wasn’t any real urgency to “fix” anything unless it really became a problem. I lived on MY time, MY choices, and MY money. This was a challenge to lay down once it was not just ME…not because I didn’t want to. On the contrary; I wanted to share my life with Jordan and truly open myself up in vulnerability. I was excited for it. I even thought I would be very good at it. I’m a therapist after all! But the reality was that for 30+ years I didn’t have to share anything. I found the process of letting another in MUCH more difficult to practice. I thought surely it would come naturally since this is what I wanted. What I found was that I was still keeping a lot close to the chest. I was struggling to create a new habit. It turns out that breaking a 30 year cycle is very difficult.

The reason I’m talking about this is because maybe this is an area of marriage that not many of people talk about and I wanted to help others that are going through the same thing. You are not alone. Just please don’t use this as an excuse for unintentionally isolating your partner. Work at it. Again and again and again. Push through the hard times when you fail. Try again when you regress. Don’t be discouraged. Be encouraged. It’s okay to fall short. It’s about getting back up and fighting that will define our story. Anyway. This was my mind today. Maybe I’ll see you guys again in another 4 years.

A Forest of Rings

This post is for all of you who have suffered, strained, cried, been pushed, felt deep pain, and have kept walking, kept living, kept hoping and believing.

Last month I was in California visiting a friend. One of the first days that we were there we went to Muir Forest National Monument, otherwise known as The Redwoods. I live in a mountain town. At the base of a giant 14,000ft mountain range, I have to say, the views don’t get old. I love the mountains and I love seeing them when I drive to work. I love being able to go into them and hike and become awestruck over and over again. All that said, my personal favorite piece of geography is the forest.

I LOVE the smells of the forest, the feeling of damp dew in the air and on the moss, the sounds of life echoing off the absolutely giant tree trucks, the sun shining in through the canopy…it’s magical. I love that the forest has a balance of heat and cold to cool you off after hiking for a while. I love the wildlife and the dozens of different fauna you’ll see while walking. Suffice to say, I was absolutely awestruck for nearly the entire time that we were in Muir Woods.

While there, I saw this incredible tree trunk where they took a dissection of the tree and labeled different dates and places corresponding to each ring. Some rings were thinner (meaning a cooler season) and IMG_0428some were thicker than the rest (meaning a warmer season). There were rings that could tell a person that a great fire happened this year, or a season of plentiful precipitation. There are people who study climate and atmospheric conditions during different periods in history from the wood. They can learn about changes over time and predict certain things in our future using projections. In short, they could tell you a great many things about what that tree had been through over the years.

I think that as I was staring in disbelief at the many, many years that were represented on this tree trunk, I began to think about what each ring meant. At first I was like, “Really Eric, you’re having this metaphorical moment with tree rings right now? That’s pretty cliché.” But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t help but think about how our lives are very similar.

Now, we shed our “rings” so to speak. Every day we have new skin and new cells, which I am quite grateful for. Still, most humans on this earth have been through a good deal of heartache, pain, loss, warm seasons, and cold seasons. We’ve acquired “rings,” over time. We’ve walked through trials and come out the other side. Like scars left on a body, the trials tell a story. Like the rings in a tree, our sorrow, difficulty, and struggle write a narrative that speaks to one thing: Our perseverance. The “rings,” also tell of the warm seasons though. The good times we’ve had. The good memories that shape who we are. We are capable of enjoyment and love. We are not just forged with fire, but with sunlight…with warmth. Our lives speak to the grand story we’ve been living.

There was one commonality in all the trees around me; they were still standing, growing, making rings. And most importantly, the rings make the tree stronger. The rings fortify the tree against future hardship. Adversity will always come to us in this life, but it really is the “rings,” that make us stronger.  Just don’t forget to have some warm seasons too.

Thanksgiving Day Explained

Thanksgiving. A national, cultural day of feast, friends, football, and naps. More recently, young, familyless millennials have adopted and gathered under the banner of “Friednsgiving,” for those living on their own who want impossible amounts of food on Thursday also.

So, whether you live in Argentina, New Zealand, India, or Iceland, you most likely know what the Amercian tradition of Thanksgiving is. If you live in any of these countries: (Australia, Canada, Grenada, Liberia, Netherlands, Philippines, Saint Lucia) You even observe some form of Thanksgiving.

Here is a short catch up to the past 479 years…or so. Ahem… Continue reading “Thanksgiving Day Explained”

A Many Father’s Day

Sunday is Father’s Day. A day we celebrate Father’s of all kinds. The Soccer Dad’s, the science fair Dad’s, the teaching Dad’s, and the “there for you” Dad’s. Father’s Day isn’t always easy because of divided homes. I see that more now in my job as a counselor than I feel I ever did. Like many holiday’s, Father’s Day can be pretty difficult when brokenness enters the picture. I get that. It’s hard for me to change that perspective once I’ve been exposed to it, even when I haven’t experienced it. I can’t have empathy in that sense, but I have sympathy. Continue reading “A Many Father’s Day”

Mother of the Year

Today, I am grateful for my Mother, Sharon Peterson. I have written quite a few posts on my blog about my mother, as referenced (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). You might say that she is in the top ten things featured in my writing. Pretty important person you might say. Both would be pretty true. She’s kind of a big deal. There are a lot of clichés out there, “my mom is better than your mom,” or, “the best mom of ALL THE MOMS!” And while these are true about my mom, they kind of fall short. Continue reading “Mother of the Year”