Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm Awesome II

Number 2

I am physically active, physically fit, and (when sufficiently motivated) have endless amounts of energy. I like doing things. And I have the strength, energy and ability to do those things. It's great to not have options unavailable to me because of physical limitations. A couple years ago I taught myself to snowboard. Six months ago I took scuba diving lessons and 2 months ago I dived the Great Barrier Reef. Next year I am planning on doing the Iron Man triathlon. It involves a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42 km run. I've been white water rafting, kayaking, skydiving, bungy jumping, skateboarding, paragliding, zip lining, wall climbing and who knows what else. I also work a lot with kids and it helps to be able to keep up with them. I hope to keep this pace up for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm Awesome III

Number 3

I am young at heart. That is different than immature, although I'm sure I have my moments. I like to seize the day. I like to have fun. I look to the bright side of life. I see the silver lining. I am a generally happy, positive, upbeat person. I am childlike, not childish. I like seeing the positive in opportunities. I like the wonder of discovering something for the first time. That's who I am. That was who I was 10 years ago. It is who I will be 40 years from now.

I have seen bitter people grow old. It's sad. I never want to become the cranky old guy.

Now excuse me while I work on my crazy mad yo-yo skills.

Young at heart.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Awesome IV

Number 4

I am caring.

I know I don't always wear my heart on my sleeve but I am a caring person. The people and things I care about, I care about deeply. More than just the usual puppies and babies and  issues du jour, there are things that mean a lot to me and people too. The people I care about, I make time for. The things I care about, I give my time and attention to. I am still learning how best to show I care and that has been a slow process for me but it has been a growing process too.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm Awesome V

Number 5

I am loyal.

Um, can't really expand on that. It's pretty self explanatory.

When I hear stories of people lying to each other or cheating on each other I can't comprehend it.
I don't understand how anyone can be like that. It's just not who I am.

So there.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm Awesome VI

Number 6

I am financially prudent. That's the fancy way of saying I'm a little frugal or cheap. Not totally, just a little. I don't believe in wasting money. I find it hard to splurge on useless things and I tend to be very practical with my money. Why spend $XXXX on Y when I could spend $XX on Z which does the exact same thing? The great thing about being financially prudent is that because I save nickels and dimes here and there, when a major financial obligation makes itself known my budget is not derailed. I don't have a problem spending a lot on things that are worth a lot but if I have a cheaper option that is usually the way I'll go. This allows me to avoid so many financial headaches that I've seen other people encounter in their lives. I'm sure my childhood has influenced me in this area. I know there were times growing up where we could either eat or see movie... New shoes or books for school... Getting one meant not having the other. I don't want my life to be dictated to me by financial obligations and obstacles. Neither a lender, nor a borrower be. The borrow becomes the lender's slave. (So sayeth Shakespeare and Proverbs.) I am the master of my financial domain and that is by intention.

A perfect example of this is my recent Australian vacation. For instance, I went to see the opera, Madama Butterfly, at the Sydney Opera house. It was expensive but I bought some of the cheaper tickets. I could have easily spent three times as much, and I could have afforded it, but couldn't justify it. I had no trouble paying what I did for the show because it was a unique opportunity and my finances didn't play a deciding role in my chance to experience this slice of life. Having said all that, the idea of an Australian vacation may seem rather opulent, but I only paid $153.42 for my round trip flights. That gave me a lot of financial wiggle room to do all the things I did while there. Anyway, that vacation is a good illustration of what I mean by financially prudent. Cheap when I can be, and decadent when the situation calls for it.

Financially Prudent

Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm Awesome VII

Number 7

I'm musical. I can't sing. I can't dance. But I love music. Guitar is my instrument but I fool around on drums and piano. And I like to try my hand at different instruments if I get a chance. A little country gospel on the banjo or a little Final Countdown on the accordion. It's all good. I have a song in my heart, on my mind, on the radio and on my ipod. Music is an important part of my life. I'm trying to think of a positive way to spin this... This makes me awesome because... I can serenade you at the drop of a hat.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Awesome VIII

Number 8

I'm smart (-ish). I know it sounds arrogant to say that so I'll elaborate. I'm not really a genius in any one area, but I know a lot about a lot of different things. I like to be informed. I like to learn. If I don't know something that has an application in my life, I will go learn it. My strengths tend to include math and math related areas of knowledge while my weaknesses are pretty much anything to do with social relationships, but overall I'm rather intelligent. Other areas of interest include politics, music, movies, video games, economics, business, history, and the sciences. If you get me started talking about one of those areas I could go on for quite a while. And maybe I should also qualify "smart" by saying I believe it includes the ability to learn. I know there are things I know nothing about. However, if the need ever arose, I know I could learn about such things and even master those things if I so desired. It's merely a matter of time and motivation.

Seven more to go.

I am so smart. S-M-R-T.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm Awesome IX

Number 9

I'm funny. I know "funny" can be rather subjective. There are different kinds of humour and what some people find funny, others may not. However, to the best of my recollection, I don't know of a single person who has spent even a marginal amount of time in my life that I haven't made laugh at some point. Teachers, classmates, students, friends, family, and co-workers. So, being strictly scientific, and quantitative, based on all my empirical observations, I conclude I am funny. I tend to fall on the sarcastic side of "funny" but that's still humour so I'll run with it. Now that I think of it, I've even made myself laugh. I'm hilarious.

Another one down, eight more to go.


Monday, November 19, 2012


I became an uncle last night. I'm sure this comes as a shock to my parents and my only brother.

My oldest friend just had her baby. Even though we're not related we've shared a lot of life events together and we probably know more about each other than most of our respective families do. So, she's kinda like my sister, even though there is no biological connection between us. And that makes her son my nephew. That makes me an uncle. I'm being serious when I say I really do feel connected to this little guy. I really do feel like an uncle. It's strange how these relationships come about. I know I am not related to him, but I am his uncle.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm Awesome X

To begin, I just want to say I'm not really an arrogant kind of guy. I came up with the idea of writing about some of my positive traits a while ago, when considering what I should share about myself. It's not that easy. And I may have been a little overconfident labelling this post X (#10), because I'll have to think of 9 other things to write about. Anyway, I suppose this is a good exercise. It's so easy to think of your negatives but so difficult to think of your positives. Here's more about me you may not know, but I'd like to think you'd like about me.

Number 10

I'm generous. Not that'd you know it from this blog. I don't usually write about that kind of thing. I'm generous with my time and my money. It's not that I just go giving it away. I look for areas in need, and then I try to fill that need. If you're a friend of mine who's doing well in the finance department I probably won't offer to buy you a cup of coffee and so you may not know I'm generous in that way. However, if you're going on a missions trip, and sold all your worldly goods to fund it, and need a little extra to get on your way, I will fill the gap. If you need a hand with something or a person to just "be there" I will do that too. Once again, I try to fill the needs of others, not merely their wants, so you may never see me in this role.

There you go. One down, nine more to go.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Weekend and I

It was a good weekend.

I started it off by attending a women's conference. I was one of about 15 guys among hundreds of women. It reminds me of one of my favourite Haikus, Odds In My Favour. In all seriousness, I was allowed to attend the opening evening. It was good. I met some new people. But most importantly, I was myself, no telephone voice.

Church was good. I ran into a lot of people I haven't seen in a while. Some asked me when I was returning to C&C and others asked me to return to C&C.

I also went sledding with friends after a snowstorm passed through the city. It was fun. And painful. I'm sure I'm still sore from the weekend. And I met a few more people. It was good. Also, no telephone voice. We hung out the rest of the night drinking hot chocolate.

All things considered, it was a great weekend.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ok Go

Ok Go is an interesting band. They write a lot of catchy little songs, had a few selected for the Guitar Hero video games, appeared on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and made an appearance in the Docu-movie The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame). The band gained prominence because of a short 3 minute video they made and released on youtube for their song Here It Goes Again. Although the band has released a lot of "normal" music videos as well, I thought I would put together a collection of their more unique and visually interesting videos for your viewing pleasure

Here It Goes Again

A Million Ways To Be Cruel

Do What You Want

White Knuckles


End Love

This Too Shall Pass (Single Shot Band Version)

This Too Shall Pass (Single Shot Rube Goldberg Version)

Muppet Show

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Telephone Voice

I remember once when I was younger my brother and I causing trouble. We were probably fighting or some other thing brothers do. Dad caught us and stared yelling at us. Suddenly the phone rang and interrupted our Mexican Stand Off. Dad continued to yell at as he walked to the phone and answered it. Instantly his voice changed from his "I'm angry and I'm yelling at you," voice to his "telephone" voice.

You know the "telephone voice" you use on the telephone? Be honest. You do. It's that almost too happy, agreeable, joyous, cookie cutter, customer service voice we all have when we answer the phone.

I found dad's instant transformation from Harbinger of Doom to Barney the Dinosaur hilarious. I'm not really sure what happened after the phone call but I do remember whatever the situation was before, it ended after the phone call because I was so busy laughing everything took care of itself. It's hard to punish a kids who's rolling on the floor in fits of laughter.

Anyway, the reason I tell this story is to illustrate the principle of "telephone voice". It's some sort of socially acceptable front we put on for the world to see that doesn't necessarily reflect the truth of what's happening deep down inside.  I have a "telephone voice." I also have a "public personality". That's the same principle as "telephone voice" except it's the me I put on to show the world. I usually default into this person when I'm around strangers. Once I feel comfortable enough around someone, I slowly drop the act. Very slowly. And it takes me a long time before I feel comfortable enough around someone to reach that point. I've written previously about wearing masks and about letting my true self rise to the surface like a submerged iceberg rising in the water. It's still an ongoing process. It's interesting to me because there are people I've known for a couple years that I am just now allowing to see the real me. It's been a long process. I've thought a lot about why I have taken so long to truly be me. I think in some ways I'm still cautious about exposing the real me and being rejected. Even still I don't know why it takes me so long to reach this point. In the previous post I wrote about my time at bible college where I just gave up on the "telephone voice" and started being myself, regardless of the perceived consequences I thought I would encounter. And it all turned out well.

This is a meandering and convoluted post, I know. What triggered it was my decision to just be myself. It's too exhausting being someone I'm not. Last night I hung out with a few people from C&C who I did not know at all. That would have traditionally been a prime situation for me to go into "telephone voice" mode. But I didn't. I was me. Intentionally. With effort. I was myself. And it was good. Why should I think it would be anything else? Any way, this was a lot of words just to say I'm actively working at being my true self, who I really am, in all situations, regardless of how I "feel" at the time. I'm not going to go around sharing the most intimate parts of who I am, but I am not going to hide my essence either. I'm just going to be me and see where the chips lie.

Once again, life gets a little more real. I think this will be a good thing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

History Repeats Itself

The year I left home and went away to bible college was the best year and the worst year of my life. At first I felt extremely lonely. As an introvert it takes a lot to make me feel that way, but feel that way I did. I saw everyone else making connections, making friends, forming relationships and I was alone, in my dorm room, unable to comprehend how all these strangers could bond so instantly. Even to this day I struggle to form those types of connections. After half a year of being alone, I snapped. I remember the moment it happened, shortly after our Christmas break. 

I confessed to my small group that I had not been "me" the first half of the year. I kept my true self hidden. I may have been physically present but I was not really "there". They couldn't believe it. They thought they knew me but they had no idea who I really was. It's sad because the small group members were the people who knew you best and they didn't know me at all. The other 80 or so students outside my small group knew me even less. And at that moment I allowed my true self to be known. I didn't do anything crazy, I just finally started acting like me in front of other people. It was difficult at first. I remember asking my small group and a few other dorm guys specifically for help. I told them that left to my own devices I would retreat into my room and isolate myself. I asked them to drag me out of my room and involve me in activities around the school. I told them if I ever seem to get quiet or stop contributing to a group dynamic, call me on it, and ask me if I am being myself. They did. And I did. Soon after I stood up in front of all my classmates one morning and asked them to help me with my struggle. They did. Everyone made an effort to involve me in things and people would randomly remind me to be myself around them. My life really did change in that second semester. 

I have written a lot about my struggle with Social Anxiety Disorder early on in this blog. The second semester was a giant step in me overcoming it. I was myself the second half of the year, with great intentionality and a little fear. But I was not rejected. I can't say everyone became my friend. This is real life and that just doesn't happen, but some people became my friends and that was more than I could have dreamed of in the first semester. By the second semester I was on the volley ball and basketball teams, the drama team, the puppeteer team, the dance team, (I hate dancing, but I really want to dance. Paradox.) the stage director, playing guitar during worship, involved in every extra-curricular activity and course, wrote and performed an original song for our graduation and I even started dating a girl. The reason I'm telling this story is that I see a lot of parallels between my year at bible college and the last 2 years of my life. My blog began around then and became a sort of documentary of the journey I've been on. College and Career is behind me now for a couple reasons. I've "graduated". And now I'm here... wondering what's next. I regressed a little after bible college. I don't want that to happen again.

Speaking of being myself, that has always been the point of this blog. That and allowing you a chance to get to know who I am. So, I need to make a little confession. I haven't totally been myself. I haven't been deceitful, I have just ignored certain parts of my life and so I haven't given you the complete picture. I've focussed a lot on my thoughts, and particularly on the issues I've struggled with or things I have to put a lot of effort into overcoming. I haven't really focussed on my strengths or interests too much. I think I'm going to try that the next little while. I've heard people can usually think of 10 negatives for every positive about themselves. I'm going to try and tweak that ratio a bit.