I started on an adventure a couple years ago. Maybe an odyssey sounds better.
While I have been a private or even guarded person most of my life, I feel compelled to share this because it was a big deal to me and I believe it has a potential to help others based on feedback from friends it has already helped. For a little background, I have been developing software for engineers and finance people for a very long time, so you could say I am a practical, ultra-rational person, who is definitely in his head more than his heart. Writing this feels like walking into a party naked and sober.
I want to focus on what helps, not details of a personal struggle, so I will say that I was feeling really bad. My relationships were not working. I felt stuck and stagnant. My normally energetic and cheerful self had changed over the past few years. My energy level dropped, my mental focus shortened, and I started experiencing some physical ailments for the first time in my life. I had lost interest in most things, and even lost interest in much of my work. My work life before had always has been an island where I could go and get a great result until whatever was not working in my life would get better. I was afraid that if my downward spiral continued, it would destroy not only my health but my career too, because every way I looked led to a worse situation.
In the past, I had tried to change things in my life out of concern for my wife, or my family, or some sense of duty. That worked before, but not this time. For the first time, my energy and motivation to do anything I used to do or try new things was zero. I made a decision to do whatever I needed to do to change how I was, but this time for myself. I would try everything to break out of this even if I thought it was silly or crazy.
Here is what worked.