It’s funny how a street name can mean the world to you.
A few days ago I had lunch with my former boss and two other colleagues. What happened is something I’ll never forget.
Socializing again feels like death
The lunch was scheduled for 9 AM.
I walked to the train station with sweaty palms. Since the 2020 bat virus, I haven’t left the house a lot. Zoom calls are just easier.
But I wanted to see my former boss and colleagues again. So I made the effort. The train was delayed and the prospect of being late felt bad.
I got there with one minute to spare. We sat down and hugged as it’d been ages. I went in for the awkward hug with one colleague and got denied. I was out of practice. Conversation flowed effortlessly.
We talked about the hell of the last few years.
The conversation veered into the trans debate and even the recent rebellion against the woke movement.
My former boss is a cool guy. He can walk into any room and wow people, even after a huge night on the town. He wears these beautiful navy blue suit jackets with collars that scream “I’m hip.”
When he talks, everyone listens. Perhaps that’s why he’s a boss man — my former boss man.
About 45 mins in he asks a strange question directed at me…
“Is it true you walked past my house several times and peered into my bedroom window?”
The unexpected response to a dangerous question
I had to think carefully about his question.
It’d be easy to sound like a stalker. I told him that over the last two and a bit years I walked past his house many times. I admitted I may have peeped through his window from a distance on the odd occasion.
To understand why, you need the backstory.
When I got the job working in IT with my former boss, what I didn’t know was he lived three houses away from me.
When we both learned that fact it was super awkward, but bizarrely, felt like we’d known each other for years. On the other hand it felt like we should have known each other for years.
But we didn’t.
We were neighbors who never spoke to each other. Back when I lived next to him, I lived on one street and he lived on a street that crossed mine.
His street was called “David Street.”
David street is a special street for me. About a decade ago I battled many mental demons. My mind was collapsing in on me. The house of cards that was my life felt like it was about to implode.
I’d come home from work and stress.
At night, all I could think about were dark thoughts. I couldn’t sleep and became a zombie. The only relaxation I could get was walking.
So at 12 AM every night, after 2 hours of unsuccessfully trying to get to sleep, I’d go for long walks. The street I walked down the most was David Street. I’d walk up and down David Street just shouting at myself.
“What are you doing Tim?! Get a grip man!”
I had so many demons in my head and I was petrified to tell anyone. It was just my little secret. On the outside I looked normal.
On the inside I was slowly heading towards insanity.
David Street became the birthplace for a new beginning
Late one night after doing this for so long, I discovered Tony Robbins’ audio tapes on an illegal download website.
Instead of walking down David Street like a madman, I put my earphones in and listened to Tony. The energy I got from the audio tapes really made me come alive.
I’d start to pace up and down David Street as if I was the president of the United States negotiating to send astronauts to the moon.
I’d shout incantations, fist pump the air, and “make my power move.”
All the rah-rah and the chanting interrupted my thought patterns. My whole reality became confused. I repeated this nightly process for months.
Eventually it led to some tiny momentum. I got help. I made a plan. I wrote a fear list. And I started figuring out my life.
The momentum turned into a snowball and led me to today. I didn’t just heal. No. I became a completely different person.
The 60 seconds that changed my former boss forever
My former boss didn’t get why I walked past his house.
So I told him the story. I told him how David Street isn’t just the location of his home or a place to stalk him. It’s the location of my transformation.
It’s a place on earth I’ll never forget.
The street triggers old memories and makes me emotional. I was a lost kid with no help or money and zero prospects for the future.
Walking up and down David Street helped me break a pattern.
The look on his face when I told him is something I’ll never forget. It reminds me of the quote “everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I felt something shift inside of him.
Normally he’s dry and business-focused. My story helped him see meaning in an event that seemed trivial.
The best way I’ve found to overcome adversity is to break the pattern. Even if it’s as stupid as walking down David Street at 12 AM every night.