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.

Aloha

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Greetings to the world out there. I thought it would be important to let the world know I was still out there and alive as I haven’t posted in a long while. Its quite easy to put out a post here and there especially if you are going through something where you need to process and work your way through that something. Sorry to say today I provide no drama, just my ordinary life and a few of the high lights.

For one, I and the family are heading to Hawaii to spend the Christmas holidays/new years in a place without snow or sucky jobs bleeding the life out of us. First time in 15 or 20 years that I’ve taken a winter vacation although people assume you do this all the time when you say you’re going somewhere warm for the winter. Truthfully, the trip has more to do with the kiddos being old enough to appreciate the trip and the in-laws still being in good enough health to watch over the homestead and our poochie. In other words, the time is right for this trip!

Another highlight is I love to shop online and beg borrow steal(?) the best possible deal I can get. I’d almost say I am happiest when I am in hot pursuit buying something. the list from last month includes a guitar amp for me and a gaming computer mainly for my kid which we took advantage of black friday to squeeze out the best possible deals. It was me in my prime having so many different things to monitor prices on and price match. Glorious !

Well I hope to put out some more blogs about life in Hawaii fairly shortly. So keep your eyes open for them. Almost time to experience a little aloha….stay tuned.

Beauty and the Beast – Which am I ?

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Recently I had the pleasure to see the local production of Beauty and the Beast. Seeing a musical is always at the top of my list. Ive known the story for a long time although I still haven’t seen the latest Emma Watson incarnation which I’m sure would be brilliant sealing it in the hearts of future generations. Judging by all of the little kids dressed as Belle, I’ve already underestimated its popularity.

If you’ve guessed that this somehow ties into my life, you’d be right. I watched the production and was mentally tying in to it all of the similarities between myself and the beast. Did you think I was going to say Belle? Ok, that thought was worth a chuckle wasn’t it ? A thing that stood out was how the beast was seen as ugly/threatening by those that did not know him, how close he came to fulling bottoming out and losing it all and that he could display his inner beauty when he was able to drop his guard and trust in the people around him. It did take some persistence by Belle and I can see that working on someone like me.

Ironically, in my own life when I’m walking down town on my lunch break I often feel like a space alien that people steer clear of. Especially I would say women give off that vibe. When people react in this way it makes it feel like it may be impossible to ever be given the chance to open up to anyone. This I’m calling beast similarity number one: A loneliness brought about by the walls others put up around themselves. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, especially if it is walking down the street.

The second beast similarity:  being isolated leads to more isolation. How would the beast change the pattern of his existence if there is no one close enough to him to befriend? You can say about my life, how would I overcome loneliness when my house resembles the beasts castle? There are a total of 4 people in my house that make up my friend list. Unless I can somehow convince more people to come in to the house, that house will not be the key to making the house a place of joy.

The third beast similarity is that ultimately a hand/paw must be extended to draw people in. Persistence by both parties are needed to to start cooking up something meaningful in the friend department. This time it is Belle that demonstrates this point. If we had turned to run after her first encounter with the beast the whole story would never have happened.

Looking back at this list I could have titled this as What Beauty and the Beast taught me about life but I found it a lot more interesting to relate it to my life. Who knows, maybe its time to bring some new life behind these castle walls to start a whole new story.

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.

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 😉

 

 

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.