I Effin Hate Mondays

Saturdays. Ahh Saturdays are my favorite days because you wake up whenever you want to and you have the whole day ahead of you, uncharted and free. This past 2 months I’ve filled up my Saturdays with beach bbq’s, picnics, hockey, Science World trips, movies, outdoor pools, rollerblading, running, and riding out to everywhere possible. I’ve probably had the best string of Saturdays in years this past 2 months, exploring everything new and old and doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do. Then at night we party to cap it off. Sundays are bipolar. It’s great to have another chill day to do more (or to recover from Saturday night) but as each minute passes, you’re that much closer to the 5 headed monster of a work week and Mondays are when you get chewed up and swallowed.

Today is Monday and it’s 9am.

How many of you are extra grumpy Monday mornings because you slept late on Friday and Saturday and now on Sunday you can’t sleep til 2am when you have to wake up at 7am? That’s me. I snoozed 5 times this morning, so I woke up late but I’d planned on coming into work early anyways, so I had some leeway. (I usually start at 830) Got ready, went downstairs to get my saving grace cuppa joe and started driving to work with a death scowl on my face. If you saw me, you’d think I was going to murder someone, but really, I was just chanting FML FML FML FML. I think my coffee felt my vibe because it decided to snap me out of my trance by jumping on my shirt. Damn, I spilled my coffee again. Hot hot hot.

I get a text from my colleague. “8am team meeting FYI”. DAMN! I thought I had leeway but now I was late. It was 8am when I received the text and I was still 10 minutes away. So much for being early.

phoneI park my car, and the topper of the morning. I dropped my phone as I got out of the car and being a right had drive, I was closer to the curbside. Where there was a sewer drain. My back cover snapped off and my phone hovered on the grate on the cusp of falling into the sewer. My heart stopped, I held my breath. It didn’t fall. Phew. It seemed like time slowed. Though in the split second all of this happened, the back cover of my phone bounced twice and *dunk* fell inbetween the grates. I heard the soft splash as it dropped 3 feet down into the murky waters of the drain. FML.

I walked into my meeting late as all eyes turned to me, holding my half cup of coffee, wearing the other half and holding my now coverless phone. I hate Mondays.

Musical Condos and Moving Buddys

For the past 6 months my boys have been talking about moving and planning out the relocation to Austin, TX. Fudge and Chichi accepted offers down there from their company and have set a move date of October 1st, which is fast approaching. Months prior, it seemed like just talk and planning. We’ve been partying pretty hard, trying to get as much done and get as much in as possible before they go for a couple of years. It didn’t seem like a reality though, until maybe a couple of weeks ago when I started looking at condos and apartments to move into for myself. When I stepped into that first place to look at, it hit me that it was going to happen soon, that they were moving, that I was moving and that everything was about to change from my lifestyle that I’d known for the past 5 years. Nobody gives me advice like Cheech does and he’s always got great insight to what I’m trying to do and helps me get there. I’ve known Fuji since high school and I’ve seen the guy probably every 2nd day in the past 12 years. 2 brothers that I would do anything for. It’s surreal these days as reality sets in that they’re moving in a months time.


1998: Gracie, Me, Shin and Charles @ Jupiter Lounge

As I’d been looking around Burnaby for a place, I found one that I really liked. It was a pretty good sized 1 bedroom central on Boundary. The guy (My future landlord) was pretty cool, young guy who was getting married in a week so him and his fiance had moved out to a place out in the west side. After looking at about 8 different places, I’d settled on this one though it needed some painting. 3 weeks later, a week before I was supposed to move in, he called me and said “Pi, I have some bad news. I’m moving back into the condo.” I was thinking, ok wtf you bastard. You tell me a week before? Great notice. Then he continues with “My fiance walked out on me. We’re not getting married anymore, after 5 and a half years.” Ouch. Weddings paid for, all planned and a week before she walks out on him. What could I say? So my search continued, heavy hearted as I’d really had my thoughts settled in on that place and location. I spent a couple of hours on Craigslist that night and booked about 8 new places to look at and BAM! what was this? A listing for a place in the building next to the one that I’d originally chosen? The next day I went to look at it and it was exactly the same. Phase 2 (where the original had been Phase 3, a little newer, but smaller). So now I get the same location, but bigger place. (Still needs paint though). Within 24 hours, my stress was dissapated. Funny how things work out sometimes.

IMG_9653So now I’m trying to find tenants for my downtown condo and once that’s done, there’s painting of both places, little fixer-uppers, and time to pack and say goodbye to my home and my buddys. Change is good. It kicks you out of your comfort zone and gets you moving, makes you grow into a hopefully better person and makes you appreciate things alot more, especially when you didn’t have a choice for change. I think that’s the biggest lesson that age and experience teaches you, is appreciation. All the things you take for granted before you don’t anymore, but often it’s too late to go back and make things right or different. So now you take that experience and transfer it onto the next venture, the next relationship, the next idea so that this next coming one will be better than the last. With each career that I have, I’m a better worker than I was at my last job. With each relationship that I’m in, I’m a better boyfriend than I was in the last one. Nothing is taken for granted and I appreciate everything.

To my old landlord who will never read this: Don’t worry, she was a bitch for walking out a week before the wedding but hey, now we’re neighbors and you can come party with me.

Top Ten Fashion Mistakes a Girl Can Make From My POV: #8

I love Halloween. People dress up, they spend days planning and making their costumes (some Halloween enthusiasts spend months), and it’s a night where you can literally be anyone else or dress like anything and get away with it. Girls wear the skanky version of nurses, cops and Disney characters and look absolutely amazing. They dress up like vampires and pilots and one year my friend put on a gold catsuit and carried around a mini gold shovel and called herself a gold digger all night. Guys loved it. They were throwing their gold at her. I’m poor so I only threw a few quarters her way and maybe a shot of JD. How fun is it to party dressed as someone else and vicariously live through that costume for one night? Not only that but it’s amazing to see some of the costumes some people come up with for October 31st.  But what happens when you think Halloween is every day of the year?

Number 8: Fake Goths

Ok wow. I don’t know about this one. It’s not Comicon. Do you work? How do you find a job? Or do you just scare people new-goth-outfitout of their money all day long by scowling at them and threatening to kick them with your crazy thigh high buckled 5 inch heel boots? If you walked into my office looking for a job, I would turn you away. I would lock my doors so you couldn’t even speak to the receptionist. I understand that you are full of angst and torment, and that your life sucks and you want to express your deep down murderous rage for all people by dressing like a gay vampire, but maybe people would treat you nicer if you didn’t look like you wanted to rip the heads off of their cats and drink their blood. What do you do on Halloween? Do you dress normal to fool people? I bet at a Halloween goth party, you’re all dressed like preppies. And then I see the Goths who walk around smiling and laughing with their friends who are dressed normal. Ok, now that’s a fashion disaster. You’re not even Goth! You’re not even Emo! WTF. Do you dress like that for fun? At least the real ones have a semi-devil worshiping tendancy. But you, you’re just a wannabe gay vampire, and who wants to be a gay vampire?? Maybe you thought the boots were cool when they were on sale at Aldo warehouse. (They’re on sale for a reason, nobody wants them). They might look nice on a stripper in Vegas, but walking around Brentwood mall with your matching pleather long jacket just makes you look like an extra from Matrix. And that wasn’t even filmed here. And that was like 10 years ago. You’re not fooling anyone.

Top Ten Fashion Mistakes a Girl Can Make From My POV: #9

When I was 17 my friends and I liked to supe up our Honda Civics and Toyota Paseos. We would spend hours in the garage building body kits, adding stickers and chopping springs for the ultimate garage kit car and what came out looked awesome, though wasn’t much faster. My best friend had a Chrysler Neon which he put a huge 2 foot dual wing spoiler on it. The spoiler looked like it came off a F1 race car and was about 4 sizes too big for the car. I had 18 inch rims on my Paseo, which were equally mal-proportioned to my little car. Just like how those didn’t fit and made people point and laugh at us behind our backs, here is the #9 mistake girls can make fashionably.

muffin-topNumber 9: Clothes that Don’t Fit

Ok, what the hell? Seriously. Like, did you think you were 3 sizes smaller than you are when you were out shopping for clothes? Did that last diet coke from the food court put too much asparatme in your brain to make you treat the fitting room mirrors like those circus mirrors where they distort your body? Don’t get me wrong, I love fat girls. They’re some of the most nicest and awesomest girls I know and physical appearance has nothing to do with ambition, personality or loveliness. (Some of the most bitchiest, coniving and ugly-personalitied girls I know are skinny) I’m not here to bash fat girls, only the ones who dress non-accordingly or think they’re hotter than they are, though at the same time a healthy dose of confidence does a person good, but like we were when we were young and foolish, tricking out our rice rockets with every cent from our paycheques, people see through it and laugh behind your backs. I went to a club one time and saw this girl who was probably 240lbs. She was wearing a tanktop with string ties in the back, except you coudln’t see the string because the fat rolls had eaten them. It was like watching Jabba the Hutt caught in a fishermans net. I threw up a bit in my mouth. And then there are the muffin tops. OMG. Seriously. Listen. If your waist is a size 36, don’t buy jeans that are size 29 and think “On a good day I’ll fit these” cuz the good day will never come. Then the jiggle will wiggle out the side and make it more noticible that you’re trying too hard. If you dress accordingly to your size, you’ll look 100 times sexier and hotter to guys. Trust me. If you’re overweight, please don’t complain about it as you stuff your mouth with that last cupcake in the lunch room. Be proud. Confidence is so much hotter than ignorance.

Top Ten Fashion Mistakes a Girl Can Make From My POV: #10

Majority of girls I know dress very well. They have good color matching skills (which is very important to a guy, who wants to be walking down the street with a girl dressed like a 4 flavour slurpee in a clear cup), they dress to the occasion and always look cute or hot whatever they’re doing: shopping, out to eat for a birthday, chillin movie night and usually aren’t overdressed or underdressed but dressed just right. But sometimes SOMETIMES, you girls wear something that I think are kind of weird, or maybe it’s just my Guy style. Maybe what you’re wearing is hot to other girls but odd to guys. Or maybe you just can’t dress right. I don’t know, but either way, don’t take offence if you do some of these things, I’m sure when you put it on you thought it looked good. But yeah…

isdaandco-relaxed-capri-pants-130Number 10: Grandma Style Capri Pants

What the hell? You either wear long pants or short pants aka shorts. Why the half legged pant? They’re like rice picker pants that old village grannies in China wear to pick rice because the rice paddy water was calf deep but they didnt’ want mosquitoes sucking on their exposed skin so they cut their pants calf length. But what’s the purpose in urbanite communities? You look like a little boy from Deutchland, might as well sport the wooden clogs too.  

Don’t get me wrong, the lululemon yoga ones are great. The tight jeans ones are hot. The cargo capris are sporty and sexy. But the business ones, where the bottom is all loose like you took a pair of scissors and hacked off the lower 1/4 of your dress pants, those ones make me wonder why you bothered coming out today at all.

Anyway, that’s #10. 9 more fashion mistakes I think a girl could make from my POV coming up.

Two Parties, One Day

Ahh another chill Vancouver Sunday. The sun was out and it was about 25 degrees today. I woke up and mulled around the house for a bit and eventually got around to my friends BBQ at Spanish Banks. It wasn’t hard to find them amidst the massive amount of Vancouverite beach goers, all enjoying the few remaining sunny days left before the 5 straight months of rain to come. I rode slowly across the parking lot and all I had to look for were the 2 door Lexus’s and Mercedes sports cars and the 5 motorcycles parked together. I parked my own bike and hopped off to join the tanned and toned boys and girls, all showing off the tattoos, 6 packs and string bikini summer bodies. I had some BBQ chicken, played some volleyball, laughed with some old friends and made some new ones.


Around 5 I left to go to a housewarming party in Richmond. My friend had just finished 140 hours of renovation in his new home and was excited to show it off. They’d previously lived in OMA in Burnaby, but with a new baby on the way and his first daughter turning 4 soon, they needed more space. It wasn’t hard to find his house. All I had to look for were the 4 door family sedans and minivans. When I walked in through the door, I could hear the pitter-patter of about 10 kids, all under 5 years of age. I was shown the house, the kids rooms and the new piano room and the backyard, where the kids were playing. I had some BBQ chicken, played with some children, laughed with some old friends and made some new ones.

Two parties in one day but they couldn’t be any more polar opposite than Kim Kardashian with and without makeup. The conversations at the beach consisted of the drunken times this past weekend and hockey. We made fun of each other, all beating our chests in bravado and masculinity while playing volleyball with the girls laughing at our goofiness while tanning on the sand. The conversations at the housewarming were of past memories and future plans, career goals and business proposals while the girls exchanged baby stories and how little Timmy was learning his Chinese so fast and how little Tia was getting so big. Funny thing was, all of the people today were within the same age and we’d all grown up together.

How does it happen that some people take one path while others travel down another? It was shocking and I have to admit, for about 15 minutes I sat there in my friends new kitchen staring at his new stainless steel fridge with the warning stickers still pasted on the side and I was tripping out. Here he was, a family in tow and living the domesticated life while my other friends and I were still in the bachelor lifestyle, living single without any responsibilities other than to ourselves. It could have gone either way I suppose. I could have sat there looking at his lifestyle in envy and wishing I had my own mini-Pius and wife and house in the burbs. But instead, I tripped out about how loud it was with a bunch of mini-people yelling in unison and that they were everywhere, like little hyperactive machines running around demanding more donuts and juice.  My friends sister, who has an adorable 4 year old daughter of her own, finally piped up and said “Pius stop panicking, it’s not that bad you know!” I replied “No, not at all! It’s not bad, it’s great! It’s just not for me right now.”

dora-the-explorerMaybe one day I’ll be ready to sell the motorcycle for an engagement ring. One day I’ll be ready to watch Dora the Explorer with my own little kid instead of playing Rock Band on my XBOX and on weekends I’ll sit in my suburbian backyard, BBQ’ing while my friends are over with their own little kids instead of partying until 3 in the morning followed by afterparties til 5 in my downtown condo. One day, but not now.

 I’m still a kid myself.

Top 10 Things I’m Going to Miss about Living Downtown

After 5 years of living Downtown, I’m moving to Burnaby next month. It’s a bittersweet time as I’m sad to see the end of an era but I’m excited for new adventures. With 2 of my best friends moving to Texas and myself moving out of my home for the past 5 years, it’s definitely a time of change, but change has been a regular bulletpoint on my life list for the past year so it’s nothing that I haven’t become accustomed to rolling with. I’m not sure what Burnaby or my next year has in store for me, but I know that my past 5 years were great and full of some amazing times with some amazing people.

Here are my top 10 things that I’ll miss most about living Downtown:

blog00110. Everything within walking distance

I need a coffee. Go downstairs. I need a new shirt. Robson and PC are down the block. Movie starts in 20 minutes! Good thing ScotiaTheatres is 5 minutes away. Damn, I’m out of clean underwear, out of laundry detergent and have a hot date tonight. Booya, IGA has detergent (and there’s a florist on the way too. Girls like flowers right?).

9. Afterparties at my place

Clubs closed but the party just won’t die? So many weekends my little condo has been standing-room-only with boys and girls packed in the place downing more shots of Goose and Chivas with a slice of Johnny’s Pizza and Fritz in hand, music pumping on my 5.1 surround sound at 4am. As the sun starts to rise at 6, people start trickling home and dreading the drive ahead of them while I just walk into the next room and pass out. (Downside is the damn mess the next day and usually one of my buddys passed out on the couch)

8. I don’t know where anybody lives anymore

When I was in Coquitlam, I was the starting destination. I used to pick everybody and their grandma up on my way out to anywhere. Living downtown, I am now the end destination for about 80% of the fun times. Movie nights, dinner dates, weekend club benders, everybody comes to meet me at my place and I rarely pick anyone up anymore. It’s been a while since I’ve had to wait in front of my friends houses, patiently waiting for 30 minutes while they pick which shoes to wear.

7. Starbucks, Sushi Maki, and TD Bank

After living in an area for so long, you get to know the people who work at the places you frequent. While this happens everywhere, I’ll definitely miss the VIP treatment of a long time customer at some of the places that I visit often.

blog0026. Sunset Beach and the Seawall

It’s Tuesday. I just got off work and it’s sunny out. I hop on the bike and head down to Sunset Beach, sit on the grass and read for a bit, nap or just lay there, soaking in some vitamin D. The days stresses and trivial problems melt away. It’s Saturday morning. I walk down to English Bay and start my run around the Seawall, dodging rookie rollerbladers and trying to keep up with the cute girls on bicycles. It’s amazing when one of the best tourist attractions in North America is your literally your backyard.

5. 2am Ambulances, Car Alarms, and Random Screaming People

Ok this one is a love/hate. While the ambulances screeching out of St. Pauls at 2am with their sirens blazing wake me up every night to the guy with the Honda Accord who parks his car out front with the sensitive alarm pisses me off, it’s definitely a part of downtown culture that I’ll miss. Every Christmas I move back home to my parents for a week and I actually can’t sleep because it’s too quiet. Kinda creepy.

4. Vancouver on my BCDL

Growing up in a small town (when I was growing up it was a small town anyway), I’ve always wanted VANCOUVER on my drivers license and when I got it, it felt like I’d accomplished something on my life list.

3. Yaletown, Gastown, Coal Harbour, Denman, Robson and Bentall Districts

Six cultures within a stones throw. The yuppies walking around Yaletown sipping on lattes walking their punt-sized dogs, the hippies smoking weed on the corners of Gastown, the excessively rich and pretentious crowds of Coal Harbour, the Suits walking around the Bentall districts with blackberries and suitcases in hand to the young, vivacious and fashionable crowd on Robson, Downtown has it all. The most fun I’ve had was walking around all the areas in one day last year and seeing how different one city could be just by crossing the street.

2. Food

From Hapa Izakayas to The Elbow Room to Cactus Club. Downtown has so many restaurants to choose from and experience. From nice upscale restaurants on Alberni street to the mom and pop restaurants on Denman to the barrage of ice creameries and dessert houses, you can literally experience any type of food in any type of setting you wish. Vancouver is known North American wide for its quality of eateries and Downtown is the epicenter of culinary choices within our city. For about 6 months a couple years ago, my friend and I would try a new restaurant every weekend within walking distance. That was fun.

1. Ho Yeet Laoblog003

I love the hustle and bustle of downtown with all its local residents. Most downtowns in other cities might be 70% commercial and 30% residential but in Vancouver it’s the other way around. More people live here than work here. City lights, thousands of homes in hundreds of buildings. People everywhere each living their own lives but within the same vicinity. I look across at my neighboring towers and each condo is its own story, carrying its own heartbeat. Living life in a fishbowl, you realize that while you are people watching others across from you, you are also being observed as well. There’s something to being in the middle of it all, its own vibe that you don’t realize exists until you experience it firsthand.

I love this city and exploring is awesome. The past 5 years was fun. The next 5 should be interesting.

(My next Vancouver address will be somewhere west of Granville street…In a huge house on the West side with a 3 car garage and a swimming pool.)

circa 2000

Without the Bitter, There is no Sweet.

Without the knowledge that there is more to life

        Than what you know, there is no Hope.

Without the thought that ‘Somebody’s gotta do it’,

                      There is no drive.

If a person lived their life only for the moment,

         Is that bad?

All we have is the moment…

                What lies ahead is only a dream,

           And behind, only a memory.

This moment that we have is what makes the memories,

        And the moments that we live, dictate our Dreams.

With all the bad we endure,

          There is always good.

With all the good that we appreciate,

            There will always be a down.

Life is Fair and Life is not,

        Life is simply what we make of it ourselves.

Investing Young


 There’s a lot more to investing than tying up major funds in order to one day purchase a home or be able to live out your retirement scuba diving in Aruba and eating lobster as a daily staple. It may not seem like it, but you make investment decisions every day. Buying a designer bag — investment decision. Leaving your meager savings in a checking account rather than a high yield savings account — investment decision. Spending $200 on Saturday nights at the club — investment decision (an enjoyable one, though by Sunday you wonder what happened last night). Truth be told, everything you do with your money is an investment decision—some just have the potential to bring you much larger returns, monetary and/or intangibles.

 “Why should I invest?” It seems like a valid question. What’s the fun in stashing away your hard-earned money in an RRSP when you could be downing Grey Goose shots dancing to “I’m in Vancouver Bitch!”, strutting in True Religion jeans, or riding down the highway on your motorcycle or convertible with the wind in your face and not a care in the world? We’ve lived like peasants, crammed in little dorm rooms and eating Shin Ramyun for four years while in school in order to land jobs. Once the paychecks start rolling in, it’s our right to spend our hard and well earned money as we please.

Then again, “Why should I wear a helmet on my motorcycle?” and “Why should I wear pants to work?” could all also be considered valid questions.20090625_walmartgreeter_2 The answer to the investment query—as with the other two—is not complicated. Although it may not be fun now, investing even small amounts while you’re young affords you the opportunity to one day own a home, live debt free, and guarantee that you won’t be greeting customers at Wal-Mart well into your seventies (though they do a fine job.)

Not that all investing is about retirement. These days, leaving all your cash in a simple checking or savings account doesn’t make any sense. Online savings and trading accounts will earn you two to five times as much interest. It’s all about making your money work for you—so whether saving up for a laptop, BMW 3-Series, wedding, or early retirement, the same rules apply—start early, take advantage of compound interest, and maximize those returns.

It’s tempting not to worry about retirement at your tender young age. I always applied this same logic to my English papers, and they turned out okay. Unfortunately, with Social Security’s seemingly imminent demise and the disappearance of pension-offering jobs, you should consider it your responsibility to foot your retirement bill. Once retired, you’ll need about 75 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain a similar standard of living. This means that if you are making $150,000, retire at age 60, and live to be 90, you’ll need to have saved over $3,000,000. That probably seems like a lot, but you have the most important element of retirement savings on our side—youth.

The sooner you start investing the better. If you invest $2,000 every year, starting right now at age 23, and earn an annual rate of return of 10 percent, by age 65 your $86,000 in investments will be worth over $1.5 million. If you wait until age 36 to start investing the same annual amount, your $60,000 will have turned into a paltry by comparison $360,000.

“Do I really have money to invest?

 Irony of ironies—just at the time when investing benefits you the most, it’s the most difficult. Although you have graduated from University, you’re not exactly living like a king. Rent, car payments, and the multitude of fun you allow yourself on the weekends is hitting your bank account hard. And unlike student loan, credit card, and utility bill payments, transferring funds to an investment account is optional, and thus the first thing you tend to ignore.

mocha-coco-frappuccinoIt may seem difficult, but the truth is, you do have money to invest. If you’re able to contribute as little as $100 a month to an investment account, you’ll have a sizable portfolio in no time. Coming up with $100 a month is as easy as skipping the daily latte, buying regular gasoline instead of premium, and smoking less cannabis.

Most of you probably don’t like the idea of skimping on life’s luxuries, but just hear me out. That $3.50 Mochachino probably doesn’t seem like a big expenditure, but it adds up. Skipping this daily treat would pocket you an extra $105 every month. Ten years of investing this amount in a brokerage account, earning an annual rate of return of 10 percent, will leave you with $21,000 to spend however you please. That’s one expensive beverage.

The thing to remember here is that we probably all have at least a little cash in various savings accounts, savings bonds from grandma, and retirement accounts at work. Taking the time to maximize the returns from these investment vehicles (or switching to more lucrative options) may involve investing a little time, but surely solidifying your financial future is worth it. If you plan well ahead, your future financial dreams will come true and dining on Atlantic lobster claws anytime you wish could just become a Wednesday night norm.

Nerds are Cool

I was standing in line this morning at Starbucks for my antidote for grumpiness (aka Grande Americano) and there was a guy in front of me with his girlfriend. They were in their own world, quietly conversing with each other, smiling and sweet. When it came time for them to order, he turned to the barista and ordered a tall dark and a tall tea misto. The funny thing was that his voice changed from soft and caring to deep and commanding, confident and professional. His stance changed and even his facial expression hardened as he turned his interaction from his girlfriend to a stranger. Same guy, two hats.
People have many faces, and I don’t say this in neither a negative or positive connotation. One could potentially say that “She’s evil to her brother, but amazing to her husband.” Or “He treats his girlfriend like she’s his bitch but he such a momma’s boy.” Fact is, that all people are many things. You’re a brother, a son, a boss. You’re a granddaughter, a friend, a student. In every situation people act differently to different people. While your core is still the same, your intentions and actions and true heart will never change, but the way you act will. Whether all of your faces are kind, happy and genuine, or evil and spiteful, or a mixture of both, everybody presents different faces to each person. Think about the minor or major differences in the way you interact with your family members and to your best friend. With your significant other or with a police officer who just pulled you over for pulling a U turn on Lougheed Highway. The secrets you tell them, the politeness or lack of, the tone of voice you use. The way you treat each person is both dependent on their relationship to you and the current present situation. Does this mean that there really is no such thing as “just being yourself” because there is no ‘yourself’ as a singular situational context?

Recently I was going through my old photo albums with a friend. I saw the changes that I’d gone through in my short lifetime so far. I’d experienced everything from racism and being constantly picked on as a elementary schooler, to being MVD* on my high school football team. I was all stereotypes, from nerd, to jock, to thug, to student and now a professional. Unpopular to popular and back again. I’d lived each of those lives and felt the difference in the way people treat you in all of those lives. Within each picture in my album, there was a story, a memory whether good or bad. I’d felt the pain of being ridiculed, I’d felt the pride of winning at sports, I’d felt the belonging when being with friends. Looking at the pictures only presented a snapshot of the physical moment and some of those snapshots were pretty funny looking back at how I used to be. (My friends cheeks and stomach ended up hurting because she was laughing so hard at some of the old pictures.) But because I was all stereotypes, I really was none of them. If you look through your old photo albums or jpeg files, I’m sure you’ll find the same. (Unless you were the same person all throughout, then I apologize my friend, you’ve lived a sheltered and unfortunately uneventful life.)

If we were to use an anology, I would use travel as one, because the changes in lifestyle and that of destinations are similar in experiences. Say a person grew up in, say, Edmonton. They were born and raised there and had never traveled anywhere further than 2 hours away. They’d shopped for groceries at the Safeway around the block for 20 years, and went to Stan’s Video Store for the latest rentals, until Blockbuster built a store right next door, causing Stan to go bankrupt and eventually losing his home to foreclosure. Then there was a person who was also born in Edmonton, but had snorkeled the Great Barrier Reefs of Sydney. They’d built houses in Africa, walked through the slums and shanty towns of Brazil. They’d made friends with this girl who was from Germany and this guy from Amsterdam and they shared amazing stories while traveling together. They’d camel-backed across the Saharan desert, silhouetted by the setting sun and stood at the base of the Victoria Falls in Zambia and felt the ancient mist wet them through to the soul.** Who would be a more interesting person? Who would you rather have dinner and share a drink with? To hear their stories and to vicariously live through them by the excitement in their eyes as they retell their tales. While it doesn’t take a $2000 plane ticket and plenty of vacation time to be interesting, it does take stories. It also takes experience to make interesting stories, whether your stories are about world travel or about the many lifestyle changes that you’ve gone through in your life.

I think the many faces that you have are dependent on your experiences that you’ve gone through as those many roles. The more changes you’ve gone through, the better you are in many different situations and the more socially adept you are. Being a chameleon when you were younger makes you a deeper adult and a stronger and more independent person as you’ve already gone through the soul-searching and trying to ‘figure out who you are’ stage and now, who you are, is the pick of your choice, the best of the experiences. You may have gone through the nerd stage onto experience the popular stage. Then onto the rebellion stage and perhaps even lived in the Emo world for a year. Who you are at the end is who you’ve chosen to be because you realize that while you’ve gone through many different experiences, this is the one that suits you the best and the lifestyle is one that you are happy to live in. If you’ve only ever experienced one type of lifestyle, how are you to know that this is the best? In life there are many choices, from flavors of ice cream (which I continue to refer back to because I’m a huge ice cream advocate) to the different colors of shirts that you could buy. You are constantly bombarded with choice and generally, once somebody has been presented with multitudes of choice and experienced them all, they return to the one that best pressed their happy button. The most stable person is one who’s gone through instability, who’s experienced the extremities of life and have now found a niche for themselves out of their wide gamut of lifestyles. These are the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

This is not to say that once you’ve found your stability you won’t change anymore or acquire new ‘faces’. While I’ve experienced a lot in my first 3 decades of life, there are many more hats that I will be wearing in the future. What kind of boss will I be? Will I be a caring father or a strict one, or both? Will I be a good husband or a great one? Those are all experiences that still face me and you have many experiences that still face you. Don’t be scared of change and definitely don’t be scared to acquire new experiences. The more you have, the deeper of a person you will be and the more interesting of a life you will live. After all, you only have one, so make it as amazing as you can.

*Most Valuable Defenceman

** My sister has done all of these things and she is one of the most interesting people I know