A Reflection on 2015 for The Shoe Snob (aka Justin FitzPatrick)
Let me start this by saying that this will be a very personal post that has nothing to do with shoes but rather everything to do with how I dealt with 2015 and how it affected me personally and professionally. It might be long so if you are uninterested, stop now. For those curious, please read on.
While some might find this post to be completely irrelevant to the subject of my blog, I find that it has everything to do with it as I, the sole author, am the very reason for the content of this website, whether it good, bad or irrelevant. And 2015 was a year that a lot happened in my life, some good but much more of it extremely difficult and I feel that it had a negative impact on my ability to present my passion through the writing of this blog. And possibly because of that, some of you may have lost interest in The Shoe Snob.
As all of you come here whether it daily, weekly, monthly or on a blue moon, I feel a responsibility towards creating engaging content in order to fulfill my duties as being the go-to shoe blog that gives you what most blogs dont: the sheer, brutal truth. Therefore, I feel it necessary to be completely transparent in telling you that in 2015 the blog suffered from lack of passion and engagement and it being due to my personal circumstances. So, allow me to tell you a bit about my life last year.
I will start by saying that 2015 was probably the toughest year that I have ever experienced. In this year my whole life flipped upside down and every day was more stressful than the next. And it destroyed me mentally, emotionally and physically. You see, some of you know me as a married man with a young son (2.5 years old) and everything on the outside seemed lovely looking at it from another person’s perspective. The problem was that at the end of 2014 I realized that I was in a relationship that was very unhealthy for me and quite possibly for the future of my son’s well being. I therefore made a life altering gut decision to get out of that relationship and try to make a fresh start on life not only for my own mental health and well being but mainly for the future of my son so he did not have to grow up in an unhappy home and be affected by the outcomes that it inevitably brings.
Now the main problem was that my decision to do this had a ripple effect that resulted in me only seeing my boy one time, for 4 hours, in a 9 month span (as he was not in same country as I was for that entire time). That killed me. And instead of being a strong person (like I used to be) and focusing my energy on bettering myself and personal progression, I went down the weak-minded route and found myself all too often at the pub drowning my sorrows in pints and chat, in the hopes to forget about how much I was suffering. Of course I was still working hard to pay my bills, support my son financially and thus survive, but for a while nothing really mattered as the most important thing in the world to me was so far away and I couldn’t do anything about it.
To top it all off, I was having some internal issues at my company as well, things that could potentially destroy the company (or at least make it very hard to continue). I am not actually able to speak about it but you can imagine how hard that was for me as my company is my life and without it (nor my son), I am nothing. So everyday was a bombardment of stress not only on my shoulders but even worse, like a virus plaguing my brain through thoughts of fear and desperation. So as you can imagine, my desire to continue putting effort and passion into my work and self was at an all time low.
The final thing that caused more fear and stress is the fact that I am here living and working in the UK on a 5 year Visa based off of my previous marriage to an EU migrant and am now having to reapply for that same Visa (as opposed to permanent residency) due to the fact that we are now going through the very long process of divorce. The only problem is that the UK isn’t exactly bending over backwards to keep immigrants in the country as it is already overpopulated as it is (and I am an immigrant). The rejection rate for family Visas to EU members went from 10% to 50% in one year’s time. And now I have sent for the new Visa and it is a 6-8 month waiting game.
As you can see, this was what I was dealing with on a daily basis in 2015. But it wasn’t all bad. The company is doing well (despite the scare we had which is now long behind us) and I am now seeing my son again which makes me feel lot more settled within. But my saving grace was the fact that during this +1 year period from which I separated from my ex, I met someone that has been like a falling angel sent for me, pushing me to get back up on my feet and to once again become the man that I have always intended to be in my life. And without her, I don’t know where I would be right now as I had lost the personal strength to get back onto the path of betterment and success.
But 2015 is now behind me and I am feeling very positive for 2016 and am confident that it will be a great year, not only personally but on a business level as well. I have now taken steps towards betterment of mind and body, taking up Tai Chi and going dry for a period of time. And with this new me will come great things again for the blog and for my involvement in the shoe industry. I promise you that.
I just want to thank again everyone that supports me. Whether you all know it or not, the fact that you are reading this now makes me want to be better and strive more for greater achievements. So thank you for giving me the courage to keep going forward.