A couple of years ago, I blogged about my trusty old fountain pen that I purchased when I first attended university in the late 80’s. (http://pakos.me/2013/06/15/i-bought-a-pen-24-years-ago/). It has followed me around over the years through various careers, kids, and umpteen moves.
In the age of the internet, with many people discussing and worrying about the death of handwriting; it was ironic that my pen would be reborn and live again! Ya, that is probably the first time I have mentioned being reborn on this site… ;)
My blog post above must have attracted the interest of someone in the Netherlands (thank you Google…), and one day I received a message from Rachel, saying she also had an old Elysee fountain pen! She wasn’t using the nib anymore, and offered to send it to me for the cost of shipping!!
Here it is!
I received it a couple of months ago, and wanted to say a big Thank You to Rachel for breathing new life into my old friend. :)
This year, after taking some time off to manage my life better (or more accurately manage it at all) , I have decided to focus a bit more on me.
The start came from a very unexpected and generous gesture from an anonymous friend…
Back in the spring, I was struggling to afford to fix my mountain bike. I had really screwed it up by ripping off my drivetrain. The $200 repair bill was too much to rescue my best inanimate friend from its bike shop prison.
My favourite bike shop wasn’t the issue. They have always taken such good care of me, and go the extra mile to save me money with my biking addiction.
The problem was cash flow, as is always the case with a single income and a large blended family.
I was avoiding calling the shop out of embarrassment. When, after 3 weeks, Jim from Experience Cycling called about my bike, I started to apologize for taking so long to pay. He stopped me mid sentence to say it had all been taken care of!?! A friend had gone into the shop and paid my bill! Mind blown…
It was like I had won the lottery! Except better. It wasn’t luck that got my bike out of the shop. It was a friend. A caring friend that knows me well enough to recognize how important mountain biking is for my sanity! I cried. Yes, it meant that much to me.
It has felt like a turning point in my life. I have been quite down over the past year, and here was a moment where a caring person was essentially paying to get me back onto my bike. Since that day, I haven’t gone more than a few days or nights without getting out for a ride.
I have been out at least twice a week for the last few months. I’ve lost over 20 pounds, and felt the fittest I’ve been in 5 or more years!
It does come with some guilt though. There are only so many hours in the day, and only so much energy I have to do all I need to do in the day. And this is what I thought I would blog about today, after over a year being on hiatus from blogging. I struggle with learning to be selfish, to say no, to accept criticism, to speak up, or to put myself higher on the priority list; for my own mental and physical health.
I also have to set priorities for my activities. Blogging has suffered. So has the time to sit down and read, go out with friends or have a date with my wife.
I think writing has a place in my busy life. I hope to be back soon with another post! :)
The internet is a wonderful thing! A wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, and immediate access to our friends and family. We live in an age where I know so much about my friends lives, that it is easy to spark up conversation if I actually ever meet up with them! This happens to me all the time, I bump into a friend in the grocery store, and ask them how the new car is, or how their trip to Thailand went, or that I liked the new pictures they posted of their perfect kids…
Facebook knows every little detail about you. Google might know things too, but your search history or email contents aren’t posted for all your friends and family to see. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing! lol
We offer up our lives inside our Facebook accounts.But it is not just Facebook. Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Google+, Myspace(joking). But, have you ever noticed that our friends lives are soooo much more interesting and fun than our own. Facebook is kind of depressing for me most of the time. Everyone is posting how great their life is, how they just #boughtthebestthingever…, went on the #tripofalifetime. Again. Look at me!! My life rocks…
This video puts it all into perspective for you my friends…
Feel better? I know I did…
But the web we are all entangled in doesn’t stop with Facebook. The companies that run our favourite sites are fighting a battle for your attention, and in the end, your money. They are in the business of making money, and their sights are set on you…They excel at reminding you that you haven’t tweeted in a while, or that your buddies have been talking about all your favourite hobbies behind your back! You better click the link and get back in the game…
I’ve realized that I have a mutually balanced love and hate for my online life. I love ‘sort of’ keeping up to date with (or at least learning about) what my friends and family are up to. Why? Because I care about people in my life. But most of the time, I am simply too busy to include them in my hectic life. And, honestly with 4 young kids, I get that some of my friends might be ‘just too busy too’…
But, as time passes, I feel bad about being a hermit. What kind of friend am I really if I see people once a year or even less? I like hanging out with friends. I also enjoy shutting down my Facebook account all the time! Then realize that I am as hooked as everyone else with my online persona. However, I forget to use Twitter, realize that I haven’t blogged on here in a very long time, how much I love Reddit but forget about it, that my RSS reader is filling up with tons of cool stuff, that Google+ is neat but no one I know is really active there. I never “succeed” at any social website…
Then I ask myself, why didn’t I post about taking some time off of work, because I couldn’t cope with a tornado of crap that hit me all at once? #nervousbreakdown. That is life, isn’t it? But instead, I took pictures of me mountain biking, and joking that it was my therapist…It kinda was. And kinda is…
That is the key distinction for me. We go on these sites to feel better about our kind of normal, boring lives… I don’t think I’d go on Facebook if all I saw was how hard it was for my friends to pay their bills, that their marriage was on the rocks, that their kids were making them go insane, that they had just lost their jobs. We get that intimate with people in our lives, but not there… So, our online personas aren’t real. They aren’t. To get to know people, we need to accept that we are probably seeing them with rose-coloured glasses, and need to dig deeper. In person.
So, I accept that I fail at social networking , and I can only hope you do too…
I’m curious about what RSS reader my readers are using now that Google Reader is dead?
I’m finding Digg coming up with interesting content. A good mixture of Digg’s legacy of original content, along with an RSS reader.
For looks for me, it’s got to be Feedly! I almost forgot about it, until the other day I was looking through my Lastpass database and came across it. Logged in, then thought, “Wow, this is sure pretty!”.
I’ve slowly been developing a habit over time. It is a habit that will kill me over time.
It’s me sitting on my ass.
Everyday, in my job, I sit on my ass. For 9 hours.
Then, I get into my car, and sit on my ass on the drive home.
I get a small reprieve while I get the kids off to bed, clean up their tornado.
Then, I’m tired. And sit on my ass until bed.
What did I used to do?
I would put on my night lights, throw my leg over my mountain bike, and go ride. At least twice a week!
Over the last 6 months, it has got down to once every couple of weeks. The rides are getting shorter, I exert myself less, and I am getting fat.
Currently I’m the heaviest I’ve been in my entire life! 205 pounds! I’m usually between 185 to 195 pounds, and fit. Not now.
This post is my ‘public shaming’. I’ve got to make a change.
So, I’m doing something that I hope will motivate my round bottom…I got a used bike frame! Much like some people that get a gym membership, or a treadmill to hopefully get off the couch, a new(ish) mountain bike can do that for me!
Here it is, in all it’s glory…I’m not religious, but I pray that this will help me get back on track again…Single track that is.