The “Funk”

Tonight I was hanging out a my two good friends’ house watching a movie. Honestly, I feel like I’m as much home at their house than I do at my own. They’re both in my “Top 5” or “Inner Circle” and are as much family as anyone I’ve got out here in Vegas. Every night I spend with them or around then, I feel extremely blessed. Blessed to have met them, but even more so that they treat me like family. In the end, that’s what I crave most in life. But I arrived back home in a “funk”, and I’m not sure why. So I thought I’d type here . . . and maybe through blogging I’ll figure out what’s up.

“Adoption Syndrome”

Ben's America Day.  Not In A Funk.
March 8, 1977 // “America Day”

I’m not sure this is a real thing, but I’ve coined the term “Adoption Syndrome”. For those of you who don’t know me that well (or can’t tell from my photos with my mother), I’m adopted. I was adopted when I was about 6 months old. I’m not going to talk too much about this “Adoption Syndrome” in this blog . . . that’s probably better left for another blog.

Above you see the photos from the moment I arrived to O’Hare airport in the arms of my mother, father and older sister. Look how happy they are. This was honestly probably one of the best days of my life, and I don’t even remember it. Sometimes your best days are those you don’t even remember. This is a good thing to remember when you’re feeling in a “funk”.

Forks In The Road

Lecturing at Follinger Auditorium.  Not In A Funk
January 26, 2006 // Lecturing at Follinger Auditorium

From time to time, I’ve been known to lecture at the University of Illinois in the Business College and College of Media. In fact, if you’re reading this and went to U of I, there’s a fair chance that I spoke in one of your classes.

One of the things I talk about regarding business is recognizing the forks in the road. There are probably MILLIONS of forks in the road as you go through life.

In fact, some sources suggest that the average person makes an eye-popping 35,000 choices per day. Assuming that most people spend around seven hours per day sleeping and thus blissfully choice-free, that makes roughly 2,000 decisions per hour or one decision every two seconds.

Every decision has the potential to have a life-changing consequences. I’m not going to get into the math, but over thousands of days you’ve been alive, you can see how many decisions and possibilities for the future there are.

There’s a cool little calculator I found online that calculates how many days you’ve been alive (click on the link to check . . . go ahead, I’ll wait 😂). I’ve been alive 15,652 days. Multiply that by 35,000 and you get 547,820,000 decisions (probably a little less if you take out the infant years), but you get the point. Given that many days and decisions, I guess it’s ok to be in a “funk” from time to time.

The reason that I wanted to point this out is that identifying which decisions are the most important is the key to happiness (and completely impossible to identify all the time). Figuring out which of these forks in your life will lead to the MOST IMPORTANT outcomes, is the way you can navigate through this “choose your own adventure” in life.

My Wedding Day

My Wedding Day
May 28, 2005 // My Wedding Day

Despite the outcome, my wedding day was one of the best days of my life and the most important fork in my life. This was the day that set the stage for my little Kailyn.

That’s my little brother Andrew marrying us. I’m so proud of him and to this day, standing in front of him, my friends and God is a memory I won’t ever forget.

My wedding day is an example of choosing a fork in the road that you think is best, ends up looking tragic, but in the end is the best decision I ever made. It’s important to realize that decisions that seem bad RIGHT NOW, could be your best decisions once you gain a little time and perspective. It’s a switch-a-roo . . . good, bad and then good. I have every right to be in a funk after going through this rollercoaster of a ride.

The Best Day Of My Life

No Funk Here.  The best day of my life.
April 27, 2010 // Kailyn’s Birth Day

I can easily say that Kailyn’s Birth Day is the best day of my life. I mean, look at her. She’s perfect. And so tiny. It’s hard to imagine that this little 4lb 8oz girl, would someday save my life.

There’s no doubt that a few years after this photo was taken, that I would be in the darkest time of my life. A fork in my life was coming, that could result life or death. I chose life.

I wanted to write about this because I know there are many of you who have read my blog who are in the dark. Life is beautifully painful, and it’s the pain that allow us to realize how good life can be. I know that’s a fucked up way of looking at life, but it’s true.

If I could wish anything TONIGHT, it would be that nobody feel the dark places that are out there. But I know that an impossible wish. What I can tell you is that out of the darkness will come the light.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” 

Mary Oliver

If you’re in a funk, remember that this quote couldn’t be more true. Perspective is everything.

Rock Bottom

Funk.  I have a reason to be in a funk here.
May 22, 2013 // The End of DAV

I’ve never shared this photo before. This is me telling my staff of 35, that my VP of Sales (my ex-best friend), VP of Media (ex-wife), Director of Photography (one of my best friends), Motion Graphics Editor and Media Director (a friend) all left to start a new company. With my existing clients.

I feel nauseous looking at this photo. Seriously upsetting. I need to take a moment.

This day I experienced sadness, betrayal and pain on a new level. If someone read me the quote I posted above this day, I would have told them to fuck off. How can this darkness be a gift?

A newly single father of a 3 year old and now jobless (and at risk to be sued by everyone under the sun). I did in fact get sued and threatened by a lot of companies and individuals including the ones I named above. The next few years were the worst in my life. I sank DEEP into the darkness that was a supposed gift.

Could life get worse?

Shortly after this occurrence, I learned my ex-best friend and ex were in a relationship with each other and I learned this from Kailyn.

Then, 6 months later my father passed away.

Who Knew?

To say I was in a funk would be an understatement. But who knew? Very few people. I didn’t let anyone in to how destroyed I was. I had to be strong for Kailyn. If any of these five people who I named above ever read this, I hope you all know that you succeeded. You destroyed me. I was a shell of a man . . . a shell of who I was.

My biggest mistake was not reaching out to those around me who loved me. I wish I would have used these resources instead of turning to alcohol and partying. It was so lonely. I wrote about this in my blog titled “Alone in a Crowded Room“. If you haven’t read that one, you should . . . It’s probably one of the best blogs I’ve written.

If you take any advice that I’ve ever given in any of my blogs, it’s to reach out to someone. Reach out to me. I’m easy to get a hold of. Not everyone can crawl out of the darkness. Some people need help, and there’s no shame in this. I’m a great listener. I hope you know I’m talking to you. Directly to you right now.

I’m A Mountain Climber

Not physically . . . anyone who knows me, knows I have trouble getting 8,000 steps in on my Fitbit, but metaphorically, I am. I’m like that dude who climbed Half Dome at Yosemite if Half Dome was a mountain of pain.

I don’t know how I did it. Wait, yes I do. I had a great support system. Even though I didn’t use this support system as effectively as I should have, I always had a safety net of friends and family around me.

Coincidentally maybe, I had spent my life trying to surround myself with friends. Little did I know how much I’d need them. Put as much emotional capital into those who love you as you do in who you love. It’ll pay dividends in ways you could never imagine.

Shed Some Weight

I don’t mean physical weight, although that’s a positive side effect to being incredibly depressed. Part of getting out of this life funk is shedding friend weight. I would have never chosen to shed it in this way, but I shed a lot of “dead weight”.

It’s simple I think. At least much more simple in retrospect.

Life’s too short to deal will bull shit. Choose to be around people who make you happy. Be around people who make you want to live, be a good person, a good human, a good parent, and a good friend.

This is MUCH easier to say than to do. I know this. But you’ve got to start somewhere.

The Funk

You were probably wondering if I was ever going to come back around to the title of this blog. I was kind of wondering the same thing.

Sometimes I get sad and I don’t have much reason to, but after typing this blog out, I actually feel a little better. I’m not a psychologist, but I think it’s ok to feel in a “funk”. I don’t think you need a psychology degree to figure out a way to listen to yourself, understand what’s making you tick, and then share it with others. Hence, is born.

A lot of my sadness stems from my ability to dream about what the forks in the road COULD HAVE BEEN.

What would my life be like if the girl I liked, chose me instead of him?

Would would my life be like if I had been a little more cautious in how much power and authority I had given my VP of Sales?

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.

I think the lesson to be learned here is the “funk” is not independent of happiness. I’m happy. I truly am. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to think about what could, should or would be.

Baby Steps

You don’t fix a company in a day. Likewise, you don’t fix yourself in a day either. I took baby steps every day, and came out the other side a happier, better, stronger man and you’ll do the same (or woman). But it takes time and everyone’s timeline is varied in length.

There are friends I know who got separated, divorced, remarried, and had 2 kids all in the time that I started to figure out my shit (which is still not fully figured out). For them, they were able to move on. I’m not 100% sure I am ready for that yet.

But slow and steady wins the race.

I guess this blog is full of antidotes and cheesy phrases that ACTUALLY apply to my life. Maybe they’ve lasted so long because they’re true. If that’s the case, I sure hope that the phrase “karma is a bitch” is real too. I’m still waiting on that one . . . Hahahahaha

Thank You

Anyhow, thanks for reading. If nobody’s reading this, that’s ok too. I feel better and less in a funk than I did when I started writing. It’s nice to talk to you even though I don’t know you’re reading this (unless you comment). I just appreciate you being here and reading this far.

I suppose the reason I write about my life, is the same reason why I love talking to strangers. Humans love to connect with each other (even if they don’t realize it).

Thanks again for reading and I’d love to hear from you!

Kailyn’s Dad

If you’d like to connect with me or have a topic you’d like to hear about, shoot me a message or connect with me @KailynsDadBlog on Facebook or Instagram.

Success! You're on the list.


14 thoughts on “The “Funk”

  1. Ben, really good post! I go through “if I had a time machine” what would I change too in my head. And the truth is in order to have both of my kids I can’t change too many of my choices. But like you I pray, I believe in karma- although I do wish karma would speed up a bit. But I also need to remind myself that I’m doing great. My kids are great. And to keep living a good positive healthy goal oriented life.

    1. It is what it is, not what if. I grew up telling myself that when I would wonder and drive myself crazy. I too am thankful for my 2 boys from my previous marriage. I like how you turn lemon into lemonade, that is not ever easy.

      1. Thanks Teri. I’m not sure it’s actually lemonade just yet. More like lemon water right now. 🙂 Appreciate your comment and thanks for taking the time to continue reading my blog!

  2. Love reading all your blog posts! I’m glad you found your way to a much happier place now than where you used to be, but its also good that you can allow yourself sometime to think things over from the past when you want to reflect😊

    1. Thanks for your message and thanks for reading! I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog and to comment. Let me know if you ever make it over to this side of the pond!

    2. Thanks for the message and thank you even more for reading my blog! I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m definitely headed in the right direction. Hope everything is well for you on the other side of the world!!

  3. Wow, Ben! I had no idea your business and marriage were destroyed simultaneously! To top it off, by the same individuals. I think so many throw themselves into work when their personal life goes bad but you didn’t really have the option of escaping in either scenario. 😳
    I also think that people do need to feel whatever emotion comes to play in life. Every emotion one has isn’t always accepted by society. I’m so glad you have moved through this. There are very good things to come because what you put out you get back. Play on…🎼🎹

  4. Ben,

    I am really enjoying these blogs, and give you endless credit for putting yourself, and your words, out there for all to absorb. Really well done, and a wonderful , grounded perspective!

    1. Dude, thanks man! You’ve known me just about as long as anyone. Can we go back in time and just shoot Ben TV episodes again so we can remember what it was like to not have a care in the world?!?!

  5. Ben, the photo of you addressing your DAV employees broke my heart. I could feel your intense pain at the loss and betrayal you experienced and the fear as you faced the future. You survived and thrived but at great personal cost.
    Your blogs reveal the heart, the wisdom and the strength you have chosen to guide your life. These blogs are inspiring and well written. Keep them coming.

    1. Thanks as always mom! You’ve always been my biggest supporter and #1 fan. It’s knowing this always that helps. I love you so much, thank you for always being there!

  6. Ben,

    Beautifully written.

    There are so many things i want to say but I will refrain and simple say…

    I am so proud of you! You are loved!

    And at the end of the day you are a better man, father, friend, son, brother and uncle despite the people who tried to destroy you. I am so happy you chose to live and rebuild.

    Kailyn is so very blessed to have you as her daddy.

    1. Thanks for the read and comment Liz! As someone who’s known me my ENTIRE life, I appreciate your support and your kind words. I hope everything is well with you and your family. Hope to see you all again soon!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *