2016 was my year Part 3 – A Muddy Girl and a Love Story.

 

2016 was my year Part 3 – A Muddy Girl and a Love Story.

 

There she was, covered in mud and doing burpees, looking like it was tough, so I looked at her, told her “ You’ve got this”  gave her encouragement.  Her green eyes shined through mud and we began to talk as she joined Sarah, Al and I for the rest of the challenge.  I will not say it was love at first sight but I was entrapped by her smile and energy immediately.  A few obstacles later, a mesh climbing wall, I told her to go ahead of me, to be nice…ok, I will be honest because she knows the truth.  I totally got her to go ahead so I could check out her muddy bum.

 She was fun and doing great, she completed the race with us.

We lost Sarah at the end briefly and took some photos together and separately. 

A few photos later, I asked for her number under the guise of “texting her the photos I took on my phone.” While asking for her number, the speakers were playing “ Call Me Maybe” by Carly Jepson.  HAHHAH….Smooth right ?  She had no clue of what I was thinking.  We went to the outdoor showers and cleaned off, each taking turns with the cold water from the hose, fully clothed just to be clear !  We were in public after all and of course, I am a sweet and innocent man ( BS right there my friends !)

Once we were cleaned up we met up with Sarah and Al and headed to the beer gardens where we enjoyed some food, a ton of wasp swatting and a beverage. Our conversations with each other went on for I think close to 2 hours before I knew I had to leave as I had arranged a photo shoot in Black Diamond.  I pushed our conversation right to the limit of time, knowing I would not have long to get to my shoot. Worth it !  I arrived at my shoot covered in Mud but that is ok, it was for a kids birthday.  I figured I would be rolling in the grass once I got there anyway, which rally was kinda true.

We walked towards our vehicles alone, Sarah and Al far behind us, or so I thought hahah.  As we got closer to where she was parked, we stopped and I asked her if I could maybe call her and meet up, kindly she said yes, little did I know how much this moment would change so much for me.  As I was asking, Sarah and Al were walking towards us and I stumbled on my words but still got them out just before they arrived haha.  We parted ways, me knowing how silly busy my schedule was and wondering how I would even get time to see her.  I wanted to see her, this was a first for me in a long time, could she handle my crazy sched ?  Would she get annoyed?  Nope and Nope.  That girl was ….well….

Persistent.  We couldn’t get together with my sched and of course me going out for my birthday ?  That is another funny story.  I had no plans originally, told her so, then after a last minute mind change and call from a friend, I went out.  Well, she was baffled and a little like WTF ?  This only motivated her more, we texted a bit more then she said…..next Thursday, let’s meet.  Direct and to the point, so a date was made for August 25th at Jamieson’s Pub in Brentwood.  Her persistence was exciting for me, someone ACTUALLY wanted to see me, little old me !  No one special, just me.

The first date.  Simple, conversation and beverages.  So much conversation, the hours went by faster than we both wanted, we were engaged in the moment.   Niether one of us wanted the night to end and her persistence once again came through as we decided to continue the conversation until late.

As I walked her to her truck, we talked some more and nervously I went in for a kiss.  I was not 100 % sure she was into me as most times with women I am clueless.  After that kiss, I knew I was in.  I immediately was drawn into her kisses, they filled me with all the tingles and warmth.

The conversation continued well into the evening.  It was nice to have some honest conversation.

8 months later, I am in love, I have met her kids and I feel more love than I thought I ever would deserve.  My office is covered in drawings, my time is spent now planning kid friendly dates going on our own dates, talking late into the evenings about everything both personal and humorous, reading bed time stories, building lego, playing kid card games and having a “kid “ calendar.  My life and heart are full.

None of this would have happened if I had not opened my heart or let someone in.  My girl’s persistence is the one thing that stands out most to me.  No woman has ever pursued me like this before, no one has shown me love the way she does, with actions far more than words.  She is appreciative, romantic and I love the look on her face when she sees me because it is the same look I get on mine and I know how she is feeling.  Her smile is my favorite feature because her whole face lights up and I love the crinkles she gets beside her mouth alongside her cheeks.  Admittedly her cute bum is a close second 😉

She is not perfect but she is perfect for me.  I am excited to see where this goes.

 

2016 was my year Part 2 – Dodgeball

2016 was my year Part 2 – Dodgeball

 

I love playing Dodgeball, this is no secret to those who know me well.  2016 was a great Dodgeball year. 

I play on two different teams and have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes, I wonder how many years I have left in me, my body gets so tired and sore but I keep going back.  I love the punishment haha.

In 2016, my teams won 4 championships.  My Wednesday and Thursday Teams won in the Spring seasons.  One of my teams also won a Dodgeball Tournament.  My beach team also won during Spring.  Every season is different, sometimes we play all great teams all year and in some leagues we play a few Douchey teams, which ruin the fun aspect of it but with the teams I am on, the fun eventually prevails.

Most of my team mates I have played with for almost 10 years, in some years they were on opposing teams and we came together to form other teams.  These people are friends and to varying degrees like family to me, we spend so much time together.  We have been through a lot together as teams and friends, I love these people.

My Dodgeball families, when we are not having fun and trying to win games are there to support me in my biggest endeavor each year.  Teddy for a Toonie Dodgeball Tournament to raise money for The Alberta Children’s Hospital.  

5 tournaments now and each one so much fun and the support is amazing, we have raised close to $10,000.00 in 5 years and I am hoping the 6th year goes even better than past years.  My Dodgeball family has stepped up without being asked each year.  Whether it is creating schedules, organizing themes, prizes, baking cookies,  creating drafts, finding teams and lifting me up when tournament 3 almost didn’t happen because I was recovering from my Heart Attack.

I could easily write an entire blog post thanking the people each by name, that is how great the support is.

Last years tournament followed the fun, raised about $1500.00  ( i cannot remember the exact # in my head right now.) , created new friendships and renewed fun rivalries.  Every year there are new teams, and faces, friendly familiar faces, odd photos and each tourney is different in it’s own way.  This is always a highlight of each year, all the hard work, stress leading up to the event becomes worth it on event day.

I find it hard to put into words how much all of these exciting events last year mean to me.  Dodgeball in an odd way is one of my fun reasons to live, it gives me a sense of meaning, belonging and friendship and truthfully it brings me so much love, love that is not defined by status but by a common love for a sport that abuses the crap out of us haha.

Soon to come is my 2017 Teddy for a Toonie Dodgeball Tournament, I am thinking positive here and just know it will all go well and again we will come through for the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

This post may be short but it means so much in so few words.  Dodgeball, my sport, my fun, my friends,  a huge win in 2106 for me, even if we had not won anything.  Ultimately it brings my people together and I would not change it for the world.

 

Next up: A muddy girl and finding love in a race.

2016 was a Great Year – Part 1

I have wanted to write this for months but found reasons not to.  I was afraid of upsetting those whom had bad years.  I realized, i cannot control if they compare their wins and losses to mine, I can be proud of what I do and share it.

2016 was rough so many people I know, it seemed like a shit year.  NOT FOR ME.

Yes, I had a great year, one of the best years of my life.

So, why write about this now ?  Because there comes a point when you have to share your wins, how you not achieved your goals but totally annihilated them.  It also can allow me to share how I did it.

I also want to start moving forward and working on new goals for 2017, that I have kinda left behind.

My accomplishments in 2016 were as follows.

  1. Completed Goofy Challenge, a half marathon on one day and a marathon the next.
  2. Completed 3 Spartan Races, each with it’s different challenges.
  3. Won 2 Dodgeball Championships with great teams.
  4. Had my 5th successful Teddy for a Toonie Dodgeball tournament to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital
  5. Took my dream trip to Thailand, it is finally time to talk about this trip.
  6. Met my girlfriend after 5 ½ years of being single, because I opened my heart up.

 

Lets start with the physical accomplishments:

 

2016 was my most physically challenging year, I put myself in training mode for all of 2016.  I got in the best shape of my life so far.  I also completed events that I never believed before that I could.

It is not new news that I had a heart attack in 2013.  Since then, I have done a lot to get better and healthier, I have screwed up along the way. I trained most of 2015 for my first big event in 2016.  While others were sleeping, I was at the gym, out running on the streets because I wanted to complete Disneyworld’s Goofy Challenge. 

That event was so big for my mental and physical health, it cannot be understated that it was a huge turning point in my life.  I began to feel emotion the very second I knew I was going to finish The Marathon part of the challenge.  I cried, I let 3 years of pain and thoughts release.  I knew at that point, I could do anything.  Which leads to Spartan.

My friend Sarah Waite had signed up and encouraged me to join her.  This was her goal, her races, her proving to herself that she could do it.  I did not know how much it would change me and my life, I signed up to support her and in the end I learned so much from her and the races.

 

Spartan Sprint:  August 13, 2016.  5 km of running/walking and obstacles.  The race did take us a couple hours, by the end we completed 5km covered in mud with bumps, bruises, excitement and yes some hard moments.  I also during that race encouraged a woman while doing burpees that she “had this” .  In that moment, I met my girlfriend and in turned my life changed.  We all went for drinks after at the beer tent but sadly it ended early due to commitments we all had.  I was so proud of Sarah for pushing through the first of our 3 Races, the smile on her face was so large.  She is pretty awesome.

Spartan Super: September 4, 2016.  14 km of running, walking, obstacles and facing fears.  This race was far more challenging.  Ruuning through fields of cow crap, harder obstacles, more bumps, bruises, cuts and mud.  Sarah and i both had to encourage each other to press on at various moments.  We both got tired, hurt all over and I faced a fear of jumping into water and swimming across a small spot on a lake.  I was scared shitless but Sarah was there to encourage me to do it, she helped instill confidence in me that I could do it.  I did it and felt so proud of me and Sarah said she was proud of me.  That made me happy, afterall, I was suppose to be the one supporting her and she showed me that goes 2 ways.  We finished that race in like 4 hrs and went for a drink after, we were the last ones in the beer tent at the end of the day and it was such a great moment sharing that with her.  Next up would be the beast……in Kamloops.

Spartan Beast:  September 24, 2016.  26 kms of what I could best describe as a pure Hell.  35 obstacles, more scrapes, pains, bruises, mind fucks and not so much mud this time.  This race was so damn hard, the first 7 km were uphill, we encountered rude volunteers that tried to get Sarah kicked off the course for standing up for self.  There were many moments we both had to help each other get out of our own heads, push through the pain and push through the moments when we both wanted to stop.  Having a friend to push and encourage you can make so much of a difference.  During the race we met a team from Edmonton called the battle monkeys.  These humans made a difference in our race, we all supported each other, different people took on different leadership roles at times when it was needed.  These people included us in their race and at the finish, they even asked us to join them in their finish photo jumping over the line of fire.  We all laughed, shared in our accomplishment and  now will do another race in 2017.

Lessons learned here: 

  1. Surround yourself with positive people, you may even find them in the oddest of places.
  2. Push yourself, even when you feel like giving up.
  3. Set goals and go about them silently, leading by example rather than by voice.
  4. Get uncomfortable
  5. Be open to the unexpected
  6. Listen to your heart
  7. Do what others won’t so you can do what other can’t
  8. Encourage everyone you meet, it may change your life.

 

So, if you are reading this and comparing, please don’t, in fact share with me, your wins.  Ask me questions, maybe just maybe I will challenge you.

Next up, Dodgeball and meeting a Girl.

If Facebook life is perfect, our real ones are too right ? Part 2

Sadly, everyday I spend way more time on social media than I probably should however, I also spend a ton of time on phone calls, texts and sometimes when time permits….coffee with friends.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours. It is an amazing journey. And you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life rely begins.”

– Bob Moawad

 I love this quote.  I love it because, I get it finally.  I am almost there, to the point of really ensuring my life is my own.  The scars and all.

In my previous post I shared the story behind my most liked photo, to kinda show how imperfect that photo is, even though I was proud of the end result.

Today, I want to discuss how I compare myself to others.  This is where Social Media makes us all think we are not good enough. What you read going forward it also why I need a break from Facebook.

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People on Beautiful Vacations…compare, why can’t I have a trip that looks that much fun ?

 

Facebook and 3 am.

 Here is yet another night, 3:00 am, I am bored and no longer interested in editing photos.  What is Facebook land up to ?  Let us take a look.

Oh man, “he” is really kicking ass at the gym, I wish I could have abs like him, hell I’d even settle for toned arms, too bad my strength is only cardio.

Haha, look at how cute their little human is, too cute for words.  Mom and Dad look so happy as newer parents.  Hmm, am I really getting to old to have kids?  Geez I will be 39 soon.  Of course, I have to actually date to be able to make a tiny human of my own.  I love kids, meh, maybe one day but I would love to have a child look at me with eyes full of love.  OK, anyway…

Oh wow, she is looking stunning.  Love that smile.  Maybe, no, can’t ask her out, far from her type.

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Oh, to have someone to hold like this ….Maybe.

Look at that photographer !!I love this persons work, their photography is something I am just amazed by, I need to learn how to take shots like that but just don’t have time.  Seriously, wow, I just spent an hour looking through their portfolio, mine is good but definitely not to the talent level of him/her.

Scroll, scroll, scroll…… Looks like some people did some fun stuff today.  I am kinda boring.  I edited, I read, napped like a cat again, enjoyed a little sunshine but stayed in Calgary.  Sometimes a camping invite or hike would be nice.  Maybe I should be the one inviting.

I really should call  him/ her.  Meh, they’d be too busy with their family to hang out.  The joys of being a single person when all your friends have young families or new boyfriends/ girlfriends.

I hate being so damn busy, but….ugh, more free time would be just nice to try a few of these things that he is doing.

Oh look, she said I am an awesome guy, inspiration.  Can’t see why she’d say this.  I am just me, always have been, no one special, just someone who wants to see others smile, just a guy always trying to be better.  Just Me.

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Just me, always finding ways to smile.

 

Why do we do this ?  Why do we compare? 

OK, so ya, those are thoughts I have had when looking at Facebook.  Other things that happen at 3 am.  Let’s just say it is a lonely hour,  In fact it is when I feel most alone.  No one to call, no one to go home to, just me.   It is the time when I  am jealous of those who have someone to sleep beside.

 So when I look on Social Media,  I begin to question my self worth, my level of exciting and my mind drives forward thinking of ways to make my life exciting again, in a sense so others may notice.  I think I am boring, I don’t go out much, I get more exhausted than I show, I cat nap and get social anxiety.

My goal going forward is not to compare my life to those around me.  It won’t be easy.  Just like those around me, I know others compare themselves to me and think my life is always happy.  Now, to be clear, overall I am happy but I am not living my life for me in the way I want.

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I have said to others who have come to me upset or falling into bad habits, that if you don’t like it, change it.  Time to take my own advice.

I am ok with being imperfect.  What I am not ok with is not living my life with passion and desire and rather than doing something about it, I sit here, compare and think I am just not good enough, smart  enough, creative enough or talented enough.

 Next time you are online and comparing your life to others, just remember someone is comparing their life to yours.

 

I would love to hear your stories of comparison.  Will you set a goal like me to stop it ? 

 

Mini

 

 

 

The Selfie Project Part 3- Unexpected Inspiration.

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Ending on a good note.  The photo a day project.

When you take photos of yourself for 12 months straight or do anything that catches attention from people, unexpected things can happen.

I knew people would roll their eyes, maybe mock me ( which of course, did happen.)  I knew different people would like my photos ( they did.)  I knew people would say they liked the photos and make kind comments ( some did.) The one thing I did not know…..

There were a few who saw the photos and never said anything.  Until it was over.  I Inspired some people unknowingly.

4 private Facebook messages and 2 texts that went back and forth for a while.

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“I am really going to miss your pictures, they made me smile each day and made my day better, especially when I was feeling like crap.  Then, there was your face, smiling.”

“I never commented on your photos but I looked at them each day.  It was nice to see someone smile , even knowing that you probably had some bad days.  You still smiled, I liked that.” 

“ Your smiling face made my hard days better, I am going to miss that.”

“Mark, you inspired me to smile.  I had some sucky days and kept thinking, he’s smiling, so I could try.  Knowing you and talking with you every few days, I knew not each day was good and you told me that this photo thing was hard but yet, you still tried every day.”

“You are a great guy, have a nice smile, you are inspiring.  For selfish reasons, I wish you would keep doing the photos.  I had some hard days, you helped.”

“I saw you’re not going to keep posting your daily selfie. Oh no! I was enjoying them! I hope you had a good year and looks like you’re doing awesome staying healthy!”

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I didn’t embark on this project to inspire anyone, in fact, that is the LAST thing I thought would happen.  I am not one to take compliments well, nor do the words “ Inspiration or inspirational” make me comfortable.  They make me squirm actually.  I have never once thought of myself as inspiring.  I am just me, trying my best to live my life better and trying different things.  If someone gets inspired or I make someone’s day then I guess I am doing something right. 

I did love hearing that I made some people smile.  That, I am ok with hearing.  I strive to make people smile or laugh.  I love smiling, it is my favorite haha !

So what does “ Unexpected Inspiration.” teach me ? 

You or I may not strive to actively inspire but our actions, even the ones that seem crazy or dumb can affect others, motivate them, make their day or inspire them to just smile even when it is hardest for them to do.

Unknowingly people are watching our every move, even more so since the invention of social media.  What you do or say can and will impact others just by being you. 

My advice ?  Keep being you because being you is authentic and awesome. That is what I strive for.

 

Mini.

The Selfie Project- Part 2. The Bad. Narcissist.

The Selfie Project Part 2-  The Bad. Narcissist

 

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I like to end things on a good note so, I have decided to write about the bad before the good.  Which will be part 3.

When you take photos of yourself for 12 months straight you are bound to face criticism or get mocked.  Heck, nowadays anything you do consistently and publicly will have it’s trolls.  I have definitely faced this by a few individuals and one in particular felt it necessary to comment on almost every photo and then not explain why. 

I did receive messages from a few people that my photos were annoying, narcissistic. Some went as far to say they were getting sick of seeing my face daily.  Even people who I was not associated on Facebook with sent messages ( good and bad.)  That mostly has to do with the fact that I made all of my posts  public.

Was I pissed ?  No, not me.  This project further proved to me I am a long way away from fully feeling total emotion.  On the plus side I was able to think logically and not let things get to me.

What always seems to surprise me and I am not sure why, is how people can be so rude and disrespectful even to people they know.  Now, I realize of course that not everyone I know on Facebook is a friend and ya, maybe at some point in my life those people may have been friends or a part of my life but are not now.  So most of their comments don’t really matter nor do the thoughts of people I don’t know.

Because I am not a believer in public shaming I will not name on my blog the person who felt it was ok to comment on almost every photo saying “ You are a brave man.” Or giving me a generic, elaborate story as to why or why not he kept commenting.  

However, I will say this……  He crossed lines when questioned about why he did it.  He insulted a friend, a close friend who I have the utmost respect for.  A friend who decided to defend me.  In messages he said I need to get her Laid and for her to “calm her tits.”  This is something that is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.

Insult, criticize and call me all the names you want, I can take it.  I can take verbal abuse…wel,l at least right now because I feel nothing.  Insult my friends and that is where I draw the line, especially when it is behind their back.  If you don’t like being called out for your childish acts by a friend of mine defending me then shut your mouth and hold your insults.

Damn rights I am brave, I am brave to have tolerated some disrespect for almost a year.  I am brave because I do put myself out there knowing that not everyone will be pleased with my actions.

In conclusion.  I dislike negative things, therefore this post is shorter than most. I take chances, not always smart ones but I would rather fail doing something that sit on my butt and do nothing.  If I succeed at a project, then great and if I fail and I show that it is ok to fail every once in a while then I am ok with that too.  This photo project in my mind was a success even with the criticism and disrespect I received which leads me to my next post…..Unexpected Inspiration .

Mini

The Selfie Project- Part 1

For one year I took a photo of myself once per day.  I only missed 3 days.

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As a Photographer I ask people to stand in front of my lens and for brief moments show themselves as natural as possible in order to “get the best shot.”  Many times as these people are getting ready to pose for the camera I hear about their insecurities, physical insecurities.  It is my job to make them comfortable.

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That last sentence is why I did the photo a day project.  If I am to make people comfortable with their insecurities I had to become comfortable with mine.   I needed to see myself beyond my thoughts about my physical imperfections.  I have always disliked seeing myself in photos.

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I actually had larger plans with these photos.  I wanted to be super creative and do fun shots but after the first few I quickly realized that me in raw, authentic form is what was needed to make this work.  I did my best to tell a story from my day and not all the days were exciting or funny.  In fact most days were completely uneventful, some tough, some quite fun.

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In the beginning it was easy.  Smile, take photo, add the date, the story or blurb and post to Facebook.  As the weeks passed it became harder because I began to do the things I had sometimes read about.  Instead of taking one photo then posting, I began to take multiple.  I tried to find the best angle, hide the bags under my eyes maybe limit my double chin.  I would waiver back and forth and some days I would only take the single shot.

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Side note:  Before I began this project I was perfectly happy with my appearance, my smile and who I was.

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It was when I began taking multiple photos before posting the perfect shot that I began picking apart my appearance.  I smiled everyday in each shot except I think 2.  Those 2 were days I was exhausted, too exhausted to even smile.  It doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy those days, just tired. 

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What did I not like ?  My sometimes lazy eye, the bags under my eyes, my scar under my left eye, the cyst I have under my jaw or how exhausted I looked somedays. I hated when I could see how dry my skin was on certain days or the scars I have from small facial lacerations.  I hated that no one would really see what was going on behind my eyes, I hated even more that I did not have the courage to talk about it.   I started to not be comfortable with how I looked.  This is not acceptable.  We are all imperfect and yet we compare ourselves to what we think may be perfection.

 

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The smiles.  Oh the smiles.  The good and the tough days I still smiled in the photos.  Why ?  That is a simple answer.  Everyday, no matter the joys, challenges or feelings of loneliness, I had a reason to smile.  The reasons differed but each day I could smile.  The biggest reason to smile is that I was given each new day whether I deserved it or not.  I was able to smile because each day I was trying to be better a better person than the day before.  Some days I succeeded, some I failed. But I smiled.

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So what did I learn?  So, so much my friends.  Good, Bad and Ugly.  I could probably write a small novel about my lessons and leanings.

 

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I learned just how much one person can really beat themselves up for thier own perceived flaws and how outwardly we can show people how much we like ourselves, our appearance and our lives but inside we question those same things.

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I learned just how easy it is to manipulate our social media presence. 

Through photos, stories and daily posts that our friends see and read we can make our lives seem so damn amazing, meanwhile, the reality is that many of us are lost and our lives are not as amazing as they appear. 

Why would we show our real and Facebook friends anything other than perfection online ?   There were only a few who were able to notice my less authentic days through my photos.

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I learned that it is ok to be authentic. Yes at times I was criticized but who cares, I was me trying to be me.

 

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Authenticity. 

I did my best not to allow myself to create a perfect presence in these photos but I also bet very few people would really know the difference between my authentic smile and the one I forced on the harder days.  With each story that accompanied the photo I shared what I was doing, where I was ( sometimes) and a few of who I was with.  I was as authentic as I could be.

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The Likes. 

After taking time to review each photo before writing this it was clear to see it was almost the same people liking my photos each time.  I found at times I loved getting a lot of likes, it was rush and I actually felt maybe this wasn’t such a bad project.  There is a whole other piece to the likes that I will share in another post.

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Unexpected Impacts. 

Beyond the obvious likes and comments that regularly happened something else pretty awesome happened.  Something that I was unaware of until the photos stopped.  There were people who never liked a single photo, who didn’t comment once but made me aware of how much they appreciated and enjoyed seeing my photos daily.  One person going as far to say that seeing me smile each day helped them get through some of their harder days.  There is more to that story and I will be sharing in another post.  Whether you know it or not, people are watching even when you think no one is.  You can impact someone by just being you.

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People will mock you. 

People will write unpleasant messages, people will block and remove you from their online presence. People will even post almost daily, in a mocking way and not explain in a clear manner why it was important for them to take that 20 seconds to post under your photo.  They didn’t seem to see how it was disrespectful and wrong Even with the mocking posts I still saw true friends who stuck up for me.  Good from the bad right ?

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This project challenged me, made me happy and at times made me dislike myself but in the end I own every part of it and what it took to actually complete it.  It taught me that I need to keep doing odd stuff that people might find odd or intriguing because it gets me away from my comfort zone. 

In the end I have to say this.  I can’t promise I will never look at a photo of myself and be slightly insecure but I can promise that I will see beauty in my smile and what it can do, if even for a moment in mine or someone else’s life.

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Dear Universe, Thank You.

 

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Dear Universe,

 Thank you.  On  April 23, 2014 I took a chance and asked you to help me.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable and put something publicly out into the world.

As you know Universe, I was struggling in the area of employment.  I had a 3 month goal in my head.

As you know Universe, you had other plans.  You made me wait, be patient, you had me make a few errors and re asses my worth and what I thought I should be doing vs what I should be open to.

As you know Universe, it took 10 months and a few adventures along the way, even re visiting an old “stomping ground” in July.  Little did I know that would be the start of my turning point.  You knew.

Thank you Universe for being patient with me. 

Thank you Universe for showing me things about myself that helped me regain some confidence.  Confidence in my worth as an employable asset.  As a human being.

Thank you Universe for allowing me to try a few jobs that got my thought process going.  Jobs that didn’t work because I felt constrained.

Thank you Universe for giving me some free time to rest and re charge.  I needed it and I fought it but you made it happen.

Thank you Universe for showing me that asking for help and seeking guidance is absolutely ok and not something to be ashamed of.

Thank you Universe for showing me that the value of my friendships and my ability to stay connected on a human level helping others is karma which can be returned by the right people.

Thank you Universe for testing, challenging and kicking my butt in gear.  I like challenges and you knew that.

Thank you Universe for giving me the strength and ability to realize I can be myself and sell myself in an interview. To just be Mark.

Thank you Universe for making me open to an opportunity that has so far been amazing.

Thank you Universe for presenting me with a job, a place where I finally feel like I fit in and can be utilized through growth and learning that I am finally open to.

Thank you Universe mostly for helping me to see me and putting me on a journey that has just begun. 

Most of all Universe for making me accountable,  thank you for having Faith in me when I was full of self doubt.

In a world where we get beaten down, lose confidence in ourselves, we fail to take a shot when we need it most.  It is scary and you can be judged.  Do it anyway.  The only person you are battling is you.  You are all that matters.  In the end succeed or fail, you gave it a shot.  Don’t give up.  Thank yourself and the Universe when you see the direction in which you may have been blind to before.

 I took it, I made it public.  I made myself accountable to what I asked.  It wasn’t easy but I am here, I am thankful and I have a job I am finally happy with again. 

Thank you Universe for opportunity.

Thank you Universe, I put it out there and you showed me the way.

Sincerely,

Mark.

 

 

 

 

Not Good at Being Selfish. It’s not YOU, It is ME

Not Good at Being Selfish.

Hello readers.

So, I kind of disappeared again.  I apologize, yet, I don’t all at once.  I don’t expect this to make sense.

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In January I got  lazy and was dealing with personal and job issues. I started to close off a bit.  February I focused on the Heart Attack stories of others, which was amazing and therapeutic.  The beginning of March I overloaded my calendar with appointments, outings and allowed my brain to take over.  I also gained about 12 lbs in those months which made me feel like I was letting myself down and falling into old habits of putting off working out.

What changed ?  I was becoming exhausted and not feeling well.  I realized at one point that between December and March I lost complete focus on the most important person in my life.  Me.  It was beginning to affect my health.  Mentally and Physically.

So, I sat at Denny’s late one night and started to schedule some “me” time. I actually created a calendar, cause I’m cool that way ha ha. A part of writing this blog for me is to be honest, write about what I know and learn as I go.  I didn’t start this out to become a professional writer or get published.  I started this to become a better me and get my thoughts, body and my goals in sync.  I was beginning to fail at this.

I lost sight of what I was doing and where I was going.

I do not do selfish well.  Those who know me well will, I think, agree.  Too often I put the needs and wants of others ahead of myself.  I do enjoy giving of myself but sometimes I just give too much. As an ex girlfriend once said to me….. “ your problem is your care too much.”  She was right.

If you gave me a huge bundle of money, there is a solid chance I would spend on others long before I buy myself something and even then I would analyze my purchase until I was blue in the face.

OK, back to my point. Although the last paragraph kinda states a bit of my point.

 

So me, back to me.  I have spent the last 6 weeks getting back to what was important to me.  Yes, I have written, just not posted.  I have re dedicated myself to the gym.  Focus mainly on cardio.  I have lost 6 of the 12 lbs I gained, my energy has returned…sorta.  I need to work harder on not napping after work.  I am in training for my first Half Marathon post Heart Attack, so there is that as well.

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I don’t do selfish well but in the coming months my goal is to learn to balance my desire to give of myself AND focus on me.  I hate saying no, I struggle with the word, always have.  So, friends if you hear me say no more often than I say yes in the coming months, it is not you, it really is me.  I have to pick and choose my time and how I spend it.

I do have projects on the go that I am excited about.  One very dear to my heart, my annual Dodgeball Tournament to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital is coming up and that will consume a good chunk of my time until June.  So, it’s me, the tournament and occasional gatherings in the coming months.

I have some mental and physical goals to reach this year. Maybe once I reach them the balance can shift again.  My main goal for now is to be better than I was the day before, every day.  Please bear with me but if you can’t handle it then I get it. 

It is me, not you.

 

Mini.

38 by 38- SKATING ON LAKE LOUISE

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I have lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada my entire life, been to Lake Louise many times during the spring and summer months.  Most times on dates  ( now there goes any future dates there haha ! )

Never, not even once have I ever skated on Lake Louise, nor visited during the winter.

I must start by saying I love going to the Mountains year round but how I have skipped this winter gem for so long, I will never understand.

Skating on Lake Louise is on my 38 by 38 list, for a couple reasons.  First because I have always wanted to do this but made excuses not to go during the winter.  Secondly, it is another physical feat in my continuous growth since my heart attack.

Anyway, enough back story.  Onto the fun !

Being that I haven’t been on skates for a few years, I was a little nervous but that subsided as soon as my skates were on.

 I sat there and enjoyed the view, took in the crisp air and watched as people skated by for a few minutes. 

I had visions of coasting on the ice, picking up speed, skating smoothly.  Then I stepped on the ice and it was more like, well, watch the clip….

 

Yep, I was just that gracious in my ability.  Actually I think Bambi did it better.

I can skate……like Bambi.  Legs sprawled, slipping and praying I don’t fall face first !  I like to think I looked kind of cute and adorable just like Bambi.  My thoughts are most likely wrong but hey, a guy can dream !

 Once I got my feet about me I just skated and enjoyed just being out there, spoke to a few people and took some photos. 

One couple was having so much fun, I had to snap a few photos.  She was from BC and he from Australia and they were on their last day in the area before they went back to BC.  It always amazes me how much Aussies enjoy the snow.

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If you have never been to Lake Louise, Alberta in the Winter I highly recommend going.  The skating is amazing, the Ice Sculptures are stunning, the views are breath taking, almost like walking or driving through a winter wonderland.   The people you will meet are quite engaging and you’ll hear some great stories if you listen.  You will meet mainly tourists who’s excitement you can see. 

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Don’t rush the experience, take your time, explore Chateau Lake Louise  and maybe even buy a silly toque.  Oh and it is totally OK if you skate just like me because there are a few others who look just as silly but smiling just as large.

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