Life After Hawaii

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Its been close to 7 days back and I’ve had a few revelations… Not resolutions. This year I missed the Christmas boat and the New Years boat. For the most part it was difficult to tell it was Christmas except for the Christmas tree one of the resort hotels put on the beach in Waikiki for that one special day.

Before leaving I’d been sick of everything in my surroundings on my last day of work and welcomed the 19 day break I had coming. There would be no waiting for late buses in the freezing cold, no pressure  for meeting the new quotas that have been instituted at work and no waiting for that big blast of snow or cold to lock things down. Oh you’ve got to love living in the Canadian prairies in the winter.

Being back now for about two days it was time to go back to work. Work as it turns out would have to wait while the snow pelted the city and brought everything almost to a standstill. I would spend the day working from home using my lunch break to dig out my drive way with my snow blower. So much for easing back into life post Hawaii.

Hawaii did give me some time to sort a few things out. Within the first week home I started to ask myself what was I going to do to try and improve my life. This year I missed my chance to make any new years resolutions so how would this year be any different from the last? The answer wouldn’t be to live life to its fullest, make tons of cash or buy a fancy car. The answer would simply be to change and live the life of a good person.

Its easy to live life for yourself. Its easy for your choices to be guided by your wants and needs and nothing more. Take time for your self, practice selfcare, be sure to make time for yourself are a few guiding phrases you’ve probably heard. For some of us, we don’t even realize that we’re so focused on ourselves, but we experience the cost of being this way because it leads to having a very lonely existence.

How do I define the life of a good person? In my opinion it would be someone who on their last day on earth will be able to say you were able to give of yourself and pay attention to the needs of others.  To say that you made a difference to make those peoples lives somehow better or happier. The key here is to pay attention and to do what you need to do to stop the buzzing of life so you can stop and take a timeout to notice others needs. I know I for one am guilty of living life on full-auto, racing from one thing to another trying to stuff as many things in to a day as humanly possible.

I think I have a long way to go as far as living the life of a good person goes but so far just trying feels pretty good and gives me a goal each day that makes me feel good about myself. It’s bringing a little aloha and the warmth of Hawaii back into my life helping to melt the cold of the prairies making everyday back that much better.

Self Preservation or Being a Jerk?

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Some of you may have realized I like to write about my thoughts and musings more than everyday events. These thoughts usually leave me by the time I decide its worthy of a post but this one thing lately made me write down some notes to not let this thought escape me. The question my friend, is why are people I deal with such jerks?

I’m mainly talking about the physical people I run into at work not the loyal friends I follow on Facebook lol Right ! I don’t have many friends outside of work….but that’s another story and something I’m working on.

What I’ve seen happening at work is a common mentality of ‘not my job’ so don’t bug me. This is in contrast to the way things used to be here 10+ years ago where everyone had time for everyone and it was a mutual goal to excel and rise up to be the best you could be. Do I blame them ? no. It’s hard in this climate to stay afloat where the new normal is high output required and your worth is measured and based on how much you can do and not how much you can offer.

I’ve observed that sooner or later people learn that they need to ignore others needs in order to meet their own. If I look deeper it looks to be spread out over the spectrum of love, sex, marriage and family. BUT in making this their primary focus do they realize they become jerks to the others around them. Do they even care when the rest doesn’t matter?

Invariably I believe by obtaining these things people can over time revert back to being non-jerks. The prime example I can give to that are the elderly people around us. I think everyone knows someone that is elderly that will talk to anyone at the drop of a hat and offer whatever help they can. There is an openness everyone they encounter. An interesting lesson we can take away from those that have ‘been there done that’ and found an importance in others that does not fuel self gain.

A big shout out to the enlightened. I thank you for being there. These are the people that are able to do this at any stage in their life and not just when they are old and have found meaning in people outside of their immediate circle of friends. In my opinion this is the holy grail of existence we should all strive for. Am I there? no sir ! but perhaps knowing whats important in life puts me one step further at work or in everyday life from being a jerk.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Exercise

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What does Kimmy have to do with exercise? Truthfully it was the first show that I watched when I started on the treadmill and the arrival of its new season seems to be a sign that I take my first stab at trying to exercise again in a long while. It was the perfect plan …. it was the four seasons (?) previous where I started to make the weight melt off before so it seems like a sign that with the arrival of the new season, the timing was right to take another shot at this.

This is not a weight loss story. If you’ve read my entries before you’ll know a lesson often arrives with these little revelations in my life. Mental health is not something I understand but acknowledge is something I do grapple with. Typically a compulsive action starts to occur and I need to figure out what is triggering things. This time I’m quite convinced a lot of this was related to my quitting nicotine gum. I’m not a fan of smoking and I find I fall off the wagon every so often which I figured had to do with being on a nice strong dosage of the gum. Me and self medicating are a really, REALLY  bad combination.

Its also around this time that things are just off the charts going ‘bad’ when I remember that exercise did actually lift my moods to almost an acceptable level. Then along comes the new season of Kimmy Schmidt. I gave Kimmy and the treadmill a shot once again to try and re-align myself.  The result? Kimmy was great, the treadmill kicked my but, I schvitzed but I did feel the tiniest bit better taking it all in afterwards. Is this a sign of things to come? Did Kimmy save my life?  Sometimes we forget get to invest in ourselves when we suit up to fight mental illness and I’m going to try and keep going and see what happens.

 

 

Do you fear coming out? What happens when the roadblocks disappear …

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The way I see it, I have two big challenges front and center with me: Should I come out now that the road blocks are all gone and if I did what would I come out as ? Let me put out there that it would not be the worst thing for me to get outed via social media or by me being involved in pro LGBT activities or expressing my opinions. I think I could live with it happening that way. What I am talking more about here is coming out in the traditional sense of announcing it as a matter of fact to those that matter in my life and hoping they still remain close. Further to complicate this, announcing your new sexual orientation requires stating what your new norms are. A tougher thing to do especially if you don’t like labels and being put into someones tidy little ‘orientation box’.

After my mother passed away, it took me some time to realize there wasn’t a lot of reasons to remain closeted anymore. It was her I felt I was protecting from the radical turmoil that I could unleash on to my life and hers. Was I being a big weenie for holding this in? probably. If you mix in the problems with anxiety and depression that I have, you start to weigh these decisions more heavily trying not to have anxiety and depression controlling the outcome. Things are not always seen as clearly as others without these problems would see them. What I do know is that there is a sense of peace flowing through me regarding my ‘secret’.

I had a fight with my wife the other day at the end of the night as we were settling in to watch some TV before bed. I was ready to enjoy some quiet time together but she had other plans. It was time for the classic ambush and time for me to explain why the old me came back after an appearance of the ‘good’ me surfaced for two days after my mother passed. Did you know there was a ‘good’ version of me that I constantly try to live up to? I apparently was more thoughtful, kind, attentive and I became a good listener during this period. She did not like that life had gone back to the usual. I on the other hand did not see it. I was still being myself believing I was being more attentive, more kind and more appreciative of my surroundings and family. If there was an improvement in the situation I attributed it to us both being off work and having tons of time to think about things and be reflective. I did ask why she felt the need to attack me in this way and what kind of positive outcome could possibly come from having a ‘conversation’ this way. I didn’t really get an answer to this but let the blows fall as they may cursing myself for letting my guard down in the first place.  Thats when it occurred to me if I really made her that unhappy I could offer to leave, come out or both. That still blows my mind to think of the options now that the roadblocks are gone. As I reflect back on that event I feel a glimmer of hope that there might be something good on the horizon or perhaps just change.

Quite possibly the worst part (for me) about coming out is claiming a sexual orientation. It seems like it is socially acceptable to go to the same gender. ie. I liked girls but realize I’m more into men. It however seems like you break what is acceptable and you have a problem if you (as a male for example) want to be with women, men and then women again. This feels like a one shot deal and you better get it right. Oddly this worries me as I am one of those people that always has a backup plan. If I truly believe what I’ve said then you would realize there is plan B once you put it out there. You can only do this once and it will stick for always. No pressure …

No coming out discussion would be complete without doing some inner reflection on just how ready you think you are. Are you ready ? How much have you prepared yourself mentally, financially or socially? Is this something you can just roll with and everything will be alright? As an introvert, I can say that often I’m guilty of over thinking things, especially the larger decisions in life. I think that if you can keep yourself in a good place mentally you are more likely respond appropriately to whatever life throws your way and that includes whatever stresses come your way as a result of coming out. These days I think this is often referred to as self care.

Perhaps my hesitation to come out is why I push the envelope daily and express myself a little more each time. When it happens it will happen. Some day what is on the inside will be on the outside… and you’ll be first in line to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

The One that got away

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I know what you thinking, or at least suspect what you are thinking. Ahead there is probably a journal about a one true love that got away. First, let me say: I wish ! Wouldn’t that be a recipe for some welcome high drama? In most cases people avoid drama like the plague but this is the one kind of drama we love to hear about. Actually the title refers to the job that got away. (No love story here and I can already hear the groans in the background lol).

To put it simply, I did not get the job I was holding out for. It was a city job, the holy grail of employers. Only the federal government could have topped the city as an favored employer. Getting a job with either of these crews would have made me feel like winning the lottery. Having an “in” ie. my wife as a reference I was banking on getting a fair shake.  I was told it would take 6 to 8 weeks to hear if I was getting an interview. they said ‘if you dont hear from us by then – then you were passed over’.  Even when playing my ace card things looked good. I would take a hefty pay cut to start out with what could be my next new adventure in life. the 8 week mark was a few days ago. I was passed over 😦   Onward and upward I suppose ….

It takes some pretty big life planning to make a career switch at my age (ie. 45+). How do you pick what it is that you would like to do next? If you had the choice, what new direction would you take? It really is my last shot considering my age to have a do-over (no pressure right?). I’ve been at my present job for almost 10 years and although I dont know what comes next, I know I do not want to continue doing what I am doing. You could say I sold my soul for a pay check and now its time to take ownership back. You only live once is a true adage. Its not that I want to change the world, but rather switch to liking my whole day and not just the part that starts after quitting time each day.

Advice is easy to give, not to take. I’ve always loved people coming up to me with their next awesome career idea. I always knew how to get there. It was just like looking at a straight line looking from point A to point B. They would throw up many obstacles that they regarded as insurmountable in their new quest. They were like me in that they already were doing ‘ok’ with their current job but lacked the vision to see how to get to their new career. The career that would finally make all of those days fly by as they became a person that ‘loved their job’. I think the one difference between them and me was they could see what they wanted to do, just not the path to get there.

To all those people that love what they do everyday,  take a quick look in the mirror and share a smile with the luckiest person out there 😉

 

 

Getting Older

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Time for an update ? you bet. It’s the day before my birthday and it feels more significant than new years eve. New years is when I get to reevaluate things and figure out what I plan to do to make the best of the next year. The birthday to me is taken the same way but it feels so much more significant to me. Here’s the latest thats happened for me to think about that is going to influence my choices as this next year of my life gets ready to start.

First the good news. There is a new dog in my life. Surprisingly, it was my wife that pushed for this one. We adopted privately a doggie that was looking to be rehomed as the present owners life situation called for him to down size the numbers of critters he was living with out in the country. She’s almost two years old and is very needy for attention and loves hugs and kisses. She is a cross between lab, boxer and rotti. She is boxer brown all over which is a bronzey colour I have just never seen in a dog before and has a big kissable melon which could be from the Rotti in her.

I’m still in and enjoying a sewing class once a week. Yup, I’m learning about fashion from the inside out. Made a pillow and I’m moving on to a hoodie. Apparently I’ve got some impressively straight lines. I’ve been shocked by the price of the materials and don’t really know how anyone can afford to do this for fun without going broke. I guess we’ve got mass produced garments from China to thank for being able to have affordable clothes. If we didn’t have mass produced clothes we’d all be deciding if we wanted food to eat or clothes to wear. There have been a few downward strokes to contend with in life too.

Due to a crazy foot injury called plantar fasciitis I’ve been spending lots of time on my butt instead of exercising. I quit running in an attempt to see if it would go away but it didn’t. A few snacking incidents has also led to the return of my bad night snacking habit. I swear its like being in a plane flying towards the ground. You know you need to stop and pull up but things happening in life have made this (once again) the one thing that you can look forward to bring you a little bit happiness. I think there are alcoholics out there that feel the same way about their addictions.

There is not a lot of conflict in my relationship with my wife but for the most part it doesn’t surface but simmers beneath the surface. It managed to surface today because I didn’t read between the lines in one of her emails. She was venting about our son getting lazy and not helping out more around the house when asked. Apparently getting this email meant I was supposed to pull him aside as soon as I got home from work today and give him a stern talking to. My question to her was why didn’t you just say what your expectations were in the first place? Ah yes, the battle that can never be won. Score: wife: 1, My self esteem: -1. It’s honestly very exhausting. I keep a smile on my face and do the best that I can to present normalcy so my kids can continue to have a two parent family unit, but sometimes the price can be so high. You know what I mean?

Back to the resolutions for the next year of my life. Keep up the fight against my depression, keep up the fight against my addictions and keep hope alive that one day I can experience ‘normal’ one more time.

 

 

When Your Anchor Leaves You …

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*** Warning sad story ahead ****

To anyone that would ask I would say she was my anchor through all the good and all the bad. She was keeping me alive, keeping me sane. That my friend, gave her real importance in the world, a purpose. At only 14 to 16 inches tall she had quite the cross to bear but she did it with a smile….every day. Here is her picture below:

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Friday January 19,2018 my little friend and companion went to be with the lord. Even though I am not particularly religous I want to believe that she lives on and will never truly be gone from my life. That she still walks beside me everywhere I go. You see, I still need her and love her and that has not changed.

Even in my darkest days, I always knew I had to stick around to take care of my baby. Who would comb her, feed her, keep her water bowl full, give her a quick pat or kiss on the head why the rest of the house stormed on by ? Everyday I did at least one thing to let her know that she was important and not forgotten. She gave me purpose.

Putting your dog to sleep is considered by society to be the kinder way to transition your pet to the here after. Let me tell you, it may be kinder for the animal but it is not the easier option for those that love them. Up to two days before her final day I had already had many a full out private cry session. It was the kind of emotion I didn’t even know I was still capable of experiencing. I like to tell myself that the measure of tears is measure of the love you had for them.  That being true, there was a lot of love present.

Everyday I think I’m good, feeling better. Then a simple trigger will remind me that she was here. Her empty bed still lies in the kitchen, her frozen little poops trapped in the snow till the spring and that deck. Keep it shovelled or she will pee on it forsure ! Time to head to the kitchen and pull some food out on the counter. You’ll know where she’ll be. At your feet ….. forever and always, I love you.

 

Happy New Year Everyone

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Greetings all, its been a while since I last posted but that doesn’t mean a lot of crazy things have stopped happening. Have you had any new years revelations or decided that the new year will bring different things for you ? Things that will provoke and challenge you ? Strangely enough I’ve had quite a few.

Off the top of my head lets start with the biggest change: I’ve applied for a new job. Whats different about this job ? well first thing, it has absolutely nothing to do with computers. That is probably one of the weirder things for a computer programmer to say. The truth is I’ve b*tched about my job to all that would listen for the last decade. If I get a new job those receivers of said b*tching will get a break. What straw finally broke the camels back? Well as new years approached I had to be honest and tell myself I could not see myself doing this for the next 15 years of my life as I sailed into retirement. When I think about doing what I’m doing for another 15 years I also start to think a bullet to the face would be something I would look forward to more.  Sorry, took that a little too far? Well you get what I mean…It would be a really painful existence and not geive me a lot to look forward to except pay cheques. I’m pretty scared of change so this is a big step for me.

Second crazy thing that has happened is my fashion forward thinking. Fashion I would say has become my new favorite thing to learn about. Being cheap as H-E-double hockey sticks,  it all started innocently enough with me searching for used clothes on kijiji. I mainly looked for premium stuff people were willing to unload cheap. These few odds and ends really jived with me as I started to read a new fashion book: ‘Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life’ by George Brescia. Go buy it or look it up at your public library. Strangely enough this guy was right. Wearing a few pieces that I absolutely loved made me feel a lot better about myself which led me to keep on going with investigating newer clothing and pieces that is keeping the momentum going as my confidence started to grow. For someone stuck in wrangler jeans and the owner of tons of polo shirts this has been a pretty enormous switch in life. My current work has a wear whatever you want policy and I took it to the casual extreme. This is the second biggest change I’m making, going from the “I dont care” look to the watch out, hot guy coming through look. Thank you George Brescia !

Third crazy thing I’m about to do is learn sewing. Lucky I already know I’m gay so I don’t need to stand back and say “how gay is that?”. I’ve signed up for a short evening class to break into sewing. I’d like to learn how to hem things and tailor my own clothes to make them fit better. Probably the cheapskate in me coming through but I find the idea a lot of fun. I get to buy a sewing machine and all of the bits and pieces needed to make this happen. I could go out an get things tailored, but how much fun would that be? ok, that would be fun too just keep in mind I cheap so I’ll be doing this sewing machine adventure on a budget initially…who knows I might really get in to this.

Have you made any new years resolutions ? Any of them that are going to rock your world like mine? Even the small changes can be scary. Post them below if you are comfortable doing so. I’d love to hear what other people are up to.

Netflix and Chill ? Not the way I do it …

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Getting things out in the open is very therapeutic. It makes you re-evaluate what you are doing and where things are going. You’ve got those subtle changes and the larger ones that can change your life. One of my changes involves Netflix …. and a treadmill. Hidden away in my basement alone and in private I sweat to the latest Netflix has to offer. Up inclines, down hills and the straightaways … I …. I … exercise ….

Did you ever know you were supposed to do something but you just refused ? You felt like giving life the middle finger one more time? You’re in a life situation you never wanted and things involving ‘you’ haven’t gone right in a long time. For me it turns out exercise is the equivalent to being on the right path. The sweat you give, fighting against yourself somehow nudges you closer to a place you want to be.

Unable to be your true self, in my case being a closeted gay guy, its going to take a lot of life changes to get to where I need to be. Your cross to bear might be something else. Pulling yourself up and your head above water seems to effect us all in different ways. If only you could catch a break and figure out how to do that. Most of us are looking for that one thing to kick start the process before we take one more step down.

Yes, exercise has been a dirty word in my vocabulary for a long time but it looks to be my first step up. I’ve got many aspirations. To be fashionable for once in my life and develop a style, to be attractive to myself and others, to be involved more in the outside world and be one of those people that does things. I’m thinking you may also have a mental list of these aspirations too. Go to college, leave a dead end job, get a nice/nicer house. Oh shoot, those are mine too .. but you get the picture.

I’m seeing results now regarding weight loss and developing a shape I can be proud of. Ok, I’m not really REALLY proud yet and I see that road can be a long one. What can I say, one day I won’t just be nice looking from the neck up. I’ll be the whole package. For now knowing that this is even possible is enough to give me hope. Hope that one day I’ll be who I was meant to be in all ways. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to ‘Netflix and sweat’.

What’s Up with loving the Ladies when you’re gay ?

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This is probably somewhat dicey topic with gay men as some of them prefer to have nothing to do with women. Just the thought of what is found under those clothes can run a chill down their backs and make them run in the other direction. This is the impression of what is stuck in my brain regarding the stereo type I grew up with portrayed in the media of gay men. Run fast and run hard in the opposite direction as women approach. Does this stereo type of the gay man still hold any water ?

What about the rest of us that find more of a connection with women than hetero men? Lets say the women at the office or the gym, at church ? I’m not saying that your eyes aren’t wandering while you at the gym but there is an easier connection with women and in my case the connection is easier to make than with straight guys.

With women, whats not to like ? They spend more time than the male population getting ready with makeup, putting some thought into what they wear (all the time), smelling good, looking after their bodies and are willing to open up emotionally or are prepared to have good conversations. Add in the part of their social norms that allow them to publicly wear a tight workout outfit for every day attire. Yoga pants people…. need I say more? Yoga pants !?!?

You know I’m not talking about all women. There are plenty of women out there that do not fall into this category just as plenty of men do not either. I think each of us notices/knows women that do not have any of these characteristics. For those you have my permission to run away from and far from. Ok, a little humor there, but I think you know what I mean. Staying in focus with our topic, I’m still looking into what I call a strong non-sexual attraction to women that I’m trying to explain why this attraction would happen to a gay male.

When you see these attractive women does this cause you to question your sexuality ? Does it make you want to flip your facebook to say interested in men AND women ? In my case it does mess with me on occasion and I don’t think I am the only one … which of course is why I decided to write about this. Those kind of doubts can plant a seed if we’re not careful that can lead our minds astray. Especially if you are just a baby gay and have only recently acknowledged your sexual identity.

Truth be told I’ve learned that Yes, you can be attracted to women without losing yourself and who you are. Lets face it, both genders are capable of being hot. The biggest difference I care about is the one I actually want to see in those yoga pants and the one that I wish to let into my heart.