This morning Taylor and Billie woke me up earlier than usual. Two hours earlier to be exact.

At 5:00am Mountain Standard Time, Taylor began her whining, which I have always translated to “Hey, fat ass! Get out of bed! I have to take a shit, and I have to take one now! Thats right, I dont care that you are sleeping. I am the most important dog in the world, and you better get moving or else I will shit somewhere secret in your house.”

To which Billie always pipes in, “Yeah, what she said.”

So, I dragged myself out of bed, stumbled to the back door and the let them out.

As I stood there, head pressed to the glass, the realization of what day it was began to replace the sleep induced haze my brain was mired. It was April 1.

For many people April 1 is significant because its April Fools Day. Its the day where pranks and jokes were common place filling the day with hilarity, embarassment, and for the anti-establishment folks, indignation.

But, April 1 means something different to me.

I had alluded often to the rock star lifestyle I lived for a number of years while building my last startup. A healthy influx of cash created an unhealthy environment, and I succumbed to all the bad choices a person could make. It culminated when a person, we will call him Bob, that I considered to be as close as family moved to California. See, he owed me about $40,000 in bad checks and borrowed money. He was moving to California to start anew, and with the promise of $25,000 when we got there, I decided to travel with him (by car) from Colorado to California.

While in California, suprisingly to no one, the money didnt appear. But that wasnt the bottom for me. I expected to be disappointed; I just hoped I wouldnt be.

To make matters worse, Bob promised to pay for my plane ticket home. It wasnt a big deal, a couple of hundred dollars, and I offered to pay for it myself. “No,” he insisted, “my company is paying for it, dont worry about it.”

After the trip was extended another two days, my credit card went missing. “I must have left it in a bar,” I thought to myself.

Finally, after it was apparent that no cash was coming from Bob, and I had reached the end of my emtional rope, Bob bought a ticket for myself and another friend who had come with us, and we headed to the airport.

While at the airport, I checked my credit card statement online…amazingly the tickets that Bob bought for us appeared on my statement.

It was at that exact moment that everything went black.

The one person that I thought I could trust above all others had no just lied to me, but did it in such a disrepectful way, as if it didnt matter that I found out about the tickets. As if our friendship no longer mattered; As if I was just another mark.

When I got home later that day, I ordered up a fair amount of fun times, and proceeded to go on a bender to end all benders. Imagine the worse scenes from any movie you have seen, and double it. It was just me, in my house, on my couch.

Seven days later, I finally got to sleep, and when I woke up several hours later, I finally realized something:

The only reason I was taken advantage of in the manner I was was because I was out of control. I was out of my mind. That brain power and deductive reasoning I was so good at had been blunted by the fun times. It was at that moment I decided that I didnt want to be That Guy.

It was at that moment, at 5:00am MST, April 1, 2006, that I decided I no longer wanted to be the fool.

Now, every April 1, at about 5:00am MST, my dogs wake me up. And, I know, its not because they need to go outside, because the timber of their whine changes. Its just their gentle reminder that it is my choice to be or not be the fool. And each morning I wake up, the first thing I do is make a decision, and for the last 730 days, I have made a good decision in the morning, and for 730 nights have been proud of my choices before going to sleep.

This morning, I woke up and realized that it was time to make another positive change in my life. This decision is more about enjoying the life I have now reclaimed.

What decisions do you make each morning? Do they make you better? More importantly, do they make you proud? And, if not, why not?

UPDATE: I went to a shrink today and found out that I have Bipolar 2, also known as Soft Bipolar. I am not sure what that means except that all my craziness is because I have a birth defect in my brain rather than something less concrete. I go for blood work, and later treatment (medication, of course), which I will cronicle my experience, much like my adderal experience. Interestingly, I may not have ADD…but more later.