I Wish I Was a Sellout 

The idea that people work hard to become successful isn’t something new. What I find frustrating is people who call them “sellouts” when they do become successful. 


I have zero chance of becoming a “sellout”. I work hard at my job, but that’s so I can pay my bills. I enjoy my blog posts, but I don’t think I could make money off of them.  Mostly because I’m not trying to sell anything through my writing. My posts are mostly for me- like a diary of sorts.


Occasionally I add in a link or a reference to a company or show that I like. I’m not expecting kickbacks or money. But I wouldn’t say no… you gotta start somewhere. Maybe I can get promoted by Swiffer? I may have to change the title of my blog post though. 

Swiffer presents: Cleaning It Up As I Go.

It’s doable.

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I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

Hate spews hate.  That’s why I choose to be kind to people whenever possible.  I don’t need to have everyone like me but I also don’t go out of my way to make people hate me. Usually.


I find that many people’s beliefs prevent them from truly sharing love and kindness. It’s a big reason that I’m an atheist. I want to live in a world where everyone is be able to express their feelings or opinions without reprisal.  I may not believe in a god but I do believe in the good inside of people. Being accepting of how different we all are is a great attribute that many people lack.  Often hiding behind religion or even racism to explain their behavior.

I try and accept people as decent humans. Showing some random kindness is my way of sharing my beliefs: Be kind to others.It’s that easy.  Or as Wil Wheaton says: Don’t be a dick.


Longines FEI World Cup Experience 

Yesterday was an experience to say the least. One that my wife and I spoke about afterwards as something we would like to do more often. It seems being a part of such a luxurious event is in our blood. The event was held just up the road from our home. Even though we didn’t know about it prior to last week.
We were invited to attend the FEI World Cup Jumping at the Thunderbird Show Park. (I found out TBird is North America’s premier equestrian show facilities next only to Calgary). It was Olympic Caliber Show Jumping and was open to the public to enjoy as well. I was ecstatic that I had been given an opportunity to view the show from such a nice location. We had a firsthand view of jump number 2 and 10.


Our seats were under a shaded tent at “The View Rosé Party”. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of Sparkling Rosé and some finger foods as the horses and riders ran the course throughout the afternoon. Prior to the show beginning, there was a live band on stage. They graced us with the Canadian National Anthem as well.  This show was impressing me already.

My wife and I joined a table of very knowledgeable spectators. My ignorance of how the show worked didn’t deter them from answering my questions. In fact, everyone at our table wasn’t just willing to give me advice and answer my questions, but they were also eager to bestow their knowledge upon me. As an outsider to the venue, I really appreciated the help.  The explanation of how the course works, the timing and penalties made me more focused as we watched.


The other people at our table have been to numerous events and knew many of the riders as well. I even got a bit of my “Nerd on” when I found out Jennifer Gates- daughter of a certain Bill Gates- was riding that day.


The food and sparkling Rosé was delicious as we watched the riders from our table. There was no slow down in the action. As soon as one rider was done, the next would take the field. I found myself getting more enthralled as each rider ran the course. My wife pointed out that I have a cute way of saying “awwww” when something bad happened. But the entire crowd would make this noise.


As the temperature began to rise towards 30°C I was appreciative of the bottled water supplied to us. I couldn’t imagine the sweat from the horses and riders as they pushed to make a great time. After the 27 riders finished the first run, it came down to the final seven. The show’s excitement came to an end as the final rider took to the course- and won. A picture perfect finalé for a wonderful afternoon.

It was the kindness of the fellow spectators that really made my wife and I want to return. (Which I think we shall attempt again next year.) A huge thanks should be given out to the volunteers and the hosts as well: both TBird and The View Winery. My wife and I will be back next year- we really enjoyed our afternoon date.

I’m a Writer? Cool!

Every day I share a blog post.  Mostly I try and be inspirational. I’m always focusing on the good points in life.  Sharing memories and adventures I have had. I do this for myself.  Like a diary of sorts. My own daily memoir.

Something unique happened to me.  An old friend of mine posted on social media if any  Fraser Valley bloggers wanted to come to a horse show and write about their experience. I raised my metaphorical hand and said, “I blog daily.” And with that, I was invited to a horse show. Little known fact about me living in the countryside: I know NOTHING about horses.

Ya.  About that.  Within moments of my friend giving me the okay to come blog, I had to ask two questions. Now, I like to think of myself as a smart man… usually I can figure something out in context.  But I was at a loss within seconds of her sending me info. 


I had some serious studying to do.  This show was far from my comfort realm of movies and family. As excited as I am to be invited to write, I am terrified as well. Not just the idea of learning about a horse show, but also becoming one of the crowd.

I can’t show up in pink hair with a Batman t-shirt or dressed in Steampunk. I can understand this, however, I was also bringing my wife along. She is equally as concerned about “Keeping up appearances.” So we searched our wardrobes to find an outfit in order to blend in to a crowd without standing out.


I’d like to say we succeeded in “Sunday Horse Show with the Elite” look. Maybe my idea of how things go at these shows is out to left field. I am about to find out, and I’m taking my wife on the journey. A hot date in a location we normally wouldn’t think about attending. We entered “The View Winery Rosé Party” and we sat at a table and felt like we belonged. We talked with other spectators and began to enjoy our afternoon.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see how our afternoon turned out.

Never Give Up On Your Goals

On Tuesday I set a goal.  The goal was immediately mocked by my wife and two of our kids. 

Taunts were said of 

“You’ll never make it.”

“It’s too far.”

“You’ll turn around.”

A part of me began to think they were right. Perhaps my goal would be unachievable. I wasn’t about to give up before setting out. And yes, the goal wasn’t metaphorical- it was an actual thing. I wanted to paddle across the lake to a small island. In a cheap inflatable raft. This was totally doable, right? But it was so far away…


Our middle child decided she wanted to go with me. She was the only one who thought we could make it. I was glad to have the company.  Plus if we failed- I’d have someone to fail with (or read that as “blame” if we turned back).


We started off weak. My daughter didn’t have the co-ordation to paddle. She struggled and fought with the water. It took me a lot of explaining to just take it slow and steady while paddling. About a quarter of the way there and it seemed like we had hardly gone anywhere.


At the halfway point was the “make it or break it” decision.  We could feel the burn starting in our arms, but it wasn’t enough to deter our progress. We had been paddling for almost an hour at this point. (Mostly because of the slow start.) We then began a percentage countdown together. 

“Only 40% left to go.”

“I’d say we are at 25% now.”

“Last push for the final 10%. Let’s sprint.”


Finally we arrived. Sore and thrilled to have made it. We got off the inflated boats and climbed up to our victory. It wasn’t crossing the ocean in a kayak with media hubbub, but to us it was HUGE.


The payoff was euphoric. The views made it all worthwhile. For a small little island, we explored every inch of it. Everywhere we looked, it seemed like a different location; as if we had visited numerous islands. My daughter decided to swim around the island back to the boats. I climbed back up and around, glad to have done what was set out to do.


Our goal accomplished, we left the island behind us.  The journey back to our camp went much more quickly. In a little under an hour, we could see my wife and son on the shoreline waiting to greet us with surprise and congratulations.


With my story comes the motivational “After school special” lesson:

Life is full of difficult challenges. Setting your personal goals are exactly that. No one else should deter you from accomplishing these goals. The naysayers will hurt your ego. Some will even love to watch you fail. Screw ’em. Do your damned best. 

Make it to your island. Look back to where you started from. The views may surprise you.

Inspirational

I'm feeling good these days. The kids are happy, my wife is healthy, my work is pleasant, our home is messy… Having a clean and finished home means it'd be time to move out. At least that's what I've noticed in the past. Any time all of the repairs and chores got done, it is time to sell a house. So as long as our home is a mess, we won't be moving.


I'm also still writing on a daily basis. I do this to keep a momentum going. Maybe one day I'll put together that novel I have inside of me. I also write as a way to have time to myself. It's very therapeutic to just relax and write. I originally started writing as a way to express myself. However, I feel I have grown emotionally over the past year and a half.


Those of you who know me, have now seen another side of me. Those of you who don't know me, maybe you find solace in knowing that not everything is perfect. Sometimes it's a story about me being a loving father, other times it could be about the sad child I once was. I write whatever comes to mind. I am still hiding a lot of myself behind a closed door. I don't think I'm ready to share those stories yet.


I don't want to share some anecdotes on the World Wide Web because I worry that they could define me in the eyes of the reader. They'd also be out there forever. I want to express an exemplary life in my writing. I want people to be inspired as well. I'm by no means perfect. Nevertheless, I strive for perfection.

And so I write. I write as a way of cleaning out my mind. As long as there is work to do and cleaning to be done, I won't be moving out. I'm still here for many more years to come.

Chess

I love playing chess.  I think of myself as pretty good at it.  During grade 8 and 9 I was in the Chess Club at school.  Because that’s where all the cool kids hung out.  Or rather the ones who had no other friends.  Even in my yearbook for grade nine- they misspelled my name in the photo.  Hashtag loser.

Back in 1991 grade nine- sweaters weren’t cool. Now, my daughter thinks it looks great.


My love for chess has gotten me further in life than most people would have guessed.  It helped me understand how to run a railroad.  Putting the trains and crews in the best positions to successfully move traffic.  I’ve often explained my job as a large chess game.  In fact, I also look at my life as a game of chess.  Especially my career thus far.

I started as a pawn.  Moving forward one or two steps at a time.  Occasionally doing a side step to take on a new challenger.  I finally made it to the other side of the board and was able to swap my pawn for another piece.  While most would choose a queen as their dominant piece, I chose otherwise. 

A simple game of chess.


My career hasn’t been a straight line- like the path of the rook or bishop.  I find that I move more like a knight.  Either going two steps forward and one step to the side or going one step sideways and two steps forward.  Sometimes jumping over an obstacle or enemy.  It’s a crooked way of working towards my goal, but achievable nonetheless.

In grade nine, my math teacher said that some of the greatest leaders in history played chess.  It’s a game of wits and looking ahead a few moves.  

Life is like a game of chess.  Take your time and think out your future moves because it may affect your next five moves.  My goals are attainable and I don’t need to show my hand.  I’m not going to wipe out everyone in my way, but I may have to take on a few opponents as I go.

Perhaps one day it will be checkmate.  Or maybe I’ll give up and take on a new opponent.  Who knows.  Until then, don’t hate the player- hate the game.

Planning The Future


Where do you see yourself in ten years?  How about five years?  Next year?  What about next week?  Not everyone plans that far.  

Those questions are often asked by our employer or future employer.  It’s usually the only time we think about a prospective future.  Even if it is a lie just to get or keep a job.


But why only think about work when pondering your future?  Why not create a ten year plan, five year plan, or even a one year plan?  Such as plans for a vacation, paying down debt, education, or having kids.  How about buying a new home?  Or moving away to another city?  Most people are spontaneous with everything in life.  Usually only planning as far as six months ahead.  That kind of planning is often short sighted.  What are you doing for your life?


Starting to plan for the future is paramount.  You don’t want to have the past to be a dull story of “what ifs”.  The opening to a favorite film of mine describes it eloquently:

They all tryin’ to catch hold of one moment of time. To be able to say “Right now! This is it! I got it!” ‘Course by then it’ll be past. But they all happy, everybody havin’ a good time. Well, almost everybody. They’s a few lost souls floatin’ ’round out there. Now if ya’ll ain’t from the city, we have something here called a “the rat race.” Got a way with chewing folks up so that they don’t want no celebrating, don’t want no cheerin’ up, and don’t care nothing…

…Well the future, that’s something you can’t never tell about. But the past, that’s another story.

“The future is now.”

One Year

I can’t believe that I have successfully challenged myself to write a daily blog post for an entire year.  There has been no rhyme or reason for what I write about.  General rule of thumb about my posts- whatever pops into my head.

I have tried to write positive blogs as often as I could.  Some are even amusing. On occasion I have shared a personal story of heartbreak or pain.  Those stories have defined who I am.  But I noticed that for a few days after sharing a sad tale, I would feel miserable.  It was hard to get back into a positive frame of mind.

I am tall in general.

The one thing that I noticed about sharing stories is that I have led a pretty good life.  I have shared many moments with some great friends and family.  I’ve had a chance to relive my journey thus far.  I can honestly say that throughout the struggles and challenges, my life is exactly where I want it to be.

Writing a positive daily post about my life and opinions has made me a happier person.  Being a happier person has also improved everything about how I see the world.  There is a silver lining to every cloud.  There is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.  Unicorns have sparkly poop.

One Year…

One year.  I may be the only one celebrating this goal.  But that was the point of my journey.  Writing daily was for me.  I shared it with the world so that people could use my life lessons as advice.  I’ve had a ton of fun writing every day.  I’ll admit that I struggled from time to time to come up with a topic.  As well I squeaked a few blog posts in just before midnight.  I never had a set time of day that I would post.  In hindsight, if I want more readership I should look at those stats.  

I reached my one year goal and I’m not ready to stop the momentum.  I have a few stories still on the burner.  A huge thank you to everyone for the feedback and support.  If you’ve Come Here To See All My Mistakes– I’m sorry to disappoint.

I leave you with some Sinatra to end my one year:

And now, the end is near; 

And so I face the final curtain.

My friend, I’ll say it clear, 

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full.

I’ve traveled each and every highway; 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few; 

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.
I planned each charted course; 

Each careful step along the byway, 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew

When I bit off more than I could chew.

But through it all, when there was doubt, 

I ate it up and spit it out.

I faced it all and I stood tall; 

And did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.

I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.

And now, as tears subside, 

I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that; 

And may I say – not in a shy way, 

“Oh no, oh no not me, 

I did it my way”.
For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught.

To say the things he truly feels; 

And not the words of one who kneels.

The record shows I took the blows –

And did it my way! 
Yes, it was my way.

Year in Review or How I Conquered 2016

So much has happened this year that today was the perfect day to reflect on the changes.  For obvious reasons, I’m only going to write about my life, not the world in general.  There will be hundreds of other articles if you need to read about celebrities or world events.  I am but one man on a journey.  My wife used the term “retrospective” earlier when I told her about today’s topic.  I kind of like that term- because I’m always looking back on my life throughout my blog posts.  Here is my life over the past year:

Still Making It Up As I Go.

 

January 27th I wrote and shared my first ever blog post.  It was titled: Come Here To See All My Mistakes.  Honestly, since posting that title, I rarely made any mistakes in my writing.  My wonderful wife proofreads nearly every post prior to sharing it with the world.  She even proofread today’s post.  Writing daily proved to be a great challenge.  But I have made sure to post every day, no matter how early or late in the day.

My personal blog has 340 posts so far with 4500 different visitors and nearly 7000 views.  Not bad considering I’m not an “internet celebrity”, I don’t advertise my blog, nor am I selling anything.  Just word of mouth and some enjoyable moments that I have shared.  I have also been greeted by other bloggers in this world and welcomed with open arms.  No trolls for nearly a year.  Cool.

I love writing my blog posts.  I have shared numerous stories of my children, my work, and my life growing up.  It’s been a lot of fun to re-count my life and take stock of all of the wonderful (and sometimes sad) experiences that have defined who I am.

In March, I turned the big 4-0.  This brought on a bunch of emotions and feelings that I never knew a grown up could have.  I felt like I was ready to renew my life and start a new stage.  I jumped out of my comfort zone many times since then.

I fired my first gun and found a new respect for those who serve our country.  It also happened to be my most read blog post of the year.  Read about it here: Westie For A Day

I played with VR numerous times and was amazed at how hyper-real it was.  Here were some of my previous posts: Button MashingBohemian RhapsodyI’m Batman.  I even wrote a short story along the way: DOS Grampa.

My wife and I celebrated 15 years of marriage back in July.  She has been and will remain my best friend.  I’m still not sure how this came to be, but dang I’m a lucky guy.

I lost a friend due to depression which led to his suicide.  Even though all I could do was write a memory post about his life through my eyes (Jeremy) I wish that there was more that I could have done for him. Now I feel that I see the signs of depression and can do more for other friends in the future.  I’m still saddened by his passing, but I did reconnect with some old friends because of this.  Perhaps there is some good that came out of this.

I love where I work (Proud of Where I Work).  So I decided to change my career path at the end of the year and took on a new role at work.  Even at age 40, I still like being challenged at work.

I attended not one, but two NHL games in under a week.  What?  (Hockey and Game 2)  Not bad for a guy who isn’t very sports oriented.

My year has been pretty amazing to say the least.  Even with some ups and downs, I’m happy with how it turned out. I’m also really happy that my family and my friends have supported me throughout all of my endeavors.  I’ve said it before, and once again, I want to say Thank you for everything. (Thank you Jan.31)

Today, my social media is filled with some great inspirational images relating to the new year.  

I wish nothing but the best to everyone out there in the coming year.  Take the time to reflect on your life and your foreseeable future.  Who knows what a year can do.  Look at how much has changed in my life in 2016.