Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mid-Life Crisis?

Mid-life crisis, me? Not really; not quite. It's funny though... I suppose it's happening to a few people around my age I know. And, not only that, I recently read a post from a blogger I'm following which detailed the little known phenomenon of a "Quarter-life crisis". I had no idea. I think a Quarter-life crisis is when you're young and fancy free and don't know what to do with your life. There are so many options you can't decide. A Mid-life crisis is reaching a point in your life where you realize you made all the wrong choices, but find it's too late to rectify them. You've run out of options and you're screwed. I suppose that makes dealing with your Quarter-life crisis in the best way possible that much more important. Or you'll spend the rest of your life regretting your prior decisions.

I know a couple of people who are living lives they consider unfulfilled. It's mostly related to relationships, or lack thereof. One is 43, a year old than me. At this point in his life he wishes he were married, living in a home he owned with little ones running around. Not an uncommon dream at all. Though, if you look at the flip side of it, you could be like one of the many others who've gone through the married with children phase and are now bitterly divorced. So, who's fulfilled now and who's not?

Do I regret any decisions I've made in the past? I don't think so. Are there things about my life I'd like to change? Or things I'd still like to do/accomplish? Yes, I believe so. But, they're minor things. Things I think would just enhance my life, not turn it on it's head. I would like to travel to more places... adventurous places like the Inca Trail in Peru for example. I would like to learn to ride a motorcycle, possibly. Though you have to weigh the risks involved with riding against the pleasure it would bring. I guess that's the practical side of me speaking. Would I like to be in a relationship myself? Sure, if the right person came along. But, that's a big if. There are many aspects of being single that are great. Number one being the freedom that comes along with it. You only have one schedule to follow - your own. Granted, it would be nice to have the company of a woman now and then. But, I just don't find I have a emptiness in my life without it. At least not yet anyway. It seems as if my mother is much more desperate for me to hook up than I am. I think she just wants to fit in with the rest of her friends whose children are all married.

Mid-life crisis, me? No, I can't say so.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Flavor of the Week

A weekly look at the styles of everyday people as seen through the eyes of, me, your intrepid man on the street.

Name: Sarah M.
Occupation: Actress
Location: Parliament Street/Prospect Street, Cabbagetown
Clothing details: Top-hand me down from roommate, Jeans-free from TV shoot where she played a detective, Jacket-hand me down from sister-in-law, Shoes-from Eaton Centre, Sunglasses-Hakim Optical freebie, Necklace-gift from her Irish friend Fiona, Bag-Dorothy Perkins, London
What she was doing when I met her: Walking down her other actress friend who declined to be photographed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Richmond Hill Gang

This is part of the Richmond Hill crew that went out on the Sandwich Run with Project 417 last Saturday. A few of my friends go to that church. About once a year they'll join us to hand out bag lunches to our homeless friends in downtown Toronto.

All told, about 23 volunteers came out. We divided them into two groups and went to a couple different areas of the city. I'm happy to say our group managed to give out all our lunches by the end of the night. I believe everyone had a good experience. They got to be a little more intimate with a side of society they might not get much of a chance to interact with on a regular basis. That's a good thing. The better we get to know our neighbours the easier it is for us to identify with them. Understanding goes a long way. Not only between people from different neighbourhoods, but people, in general, worldwide.

Afterwards a few of us stopped for a bite at Johnny Rockets across from Dundas Square. Being a tourist spot it was a bit of a rip off. But, that was to be expected so we knew what we were getting into. We just took the opportunity to sit, relax, chat and reflect on our evening.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Flavor of the Week

A weekly look at the styles of everyday people as seen through the eyes of, me, your intrepid man on the street.

Name: Monika P.
Occupation: Web Developer
Location: Parliament Street/Amelia Street, Cabbagetown
Clothing details: Shirt-Risque at Bloor/Bathurst, Jeans-don't remember, Shoes-Heel Boy at Queen/Ossington, Purse-on the street in NYC for $5, Bracelet-from her mother's closet
What she was doing when I met her: Walking with her friend, Julian.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti needs your help.

As we all know Haiti has been recently struck by a devastating natural disaster. A great many people have been injured or killed. Many others are suffering for lack of water, food and shelter. It's time for the international community to dig into their pockets and give what they can to help ease the terrible suffering these people are going through.

I'm happy to report that as of Friday, January 15th, the Canadian public has given $24 million to registered charities. This will be matched by the federal government up to $50 million.

Please take the time to look up one of the many reputable aid organizations and donate now.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Future or Past?

If you could time travel and could only go one way, would you choose to travel into the past or future?

That was the question I asked a couple of guys at the boarding home when I visited this past Sunday. I can't remember why I brought it up. I think it had to do with something that was on television there at the time. Anyway, one fellow said he'd like to go to the past and one fellow said the same as me, that he'd like to go to year 3000 in the future. What a copycat, eh?

I have no idea why I picked that year. It just seemed far enough into the future where there'd be significant changes on earth. Of course, I don't know what sort of changes the future would hold. We might live in post-apocalyptic decay or we could find ourselves in blissful nirvana with no more pollution, no more conflict and first-class flights to Pluto (or any other planet in the solar system you'd care to visit) for everyone. That would be pretty neat. I guess that's the risk I took in choosing the future instead of the past. You know what you're going to get if you visit the past. You could travel back to the Cretaceous period and see dinosaurs; you could travel back 2000 years and meet Jesus; you could travel back to the 60's and meet the Beatles (who, incidentally, would be more popular than Jesus according to John Lennon). It would be fairly predictable (unless you happened to get eaten by a T. rex).

I guess that's the thing with me... I believe it would be much more exciting not knowing what's around the corner rather than playing it safe and predictable. Also, I'm so very curious... I mean traveling into the future... what sort of technological advances would be made in the following 1000 years? Could you imagine? If you've looked at the progress we've made in the past 100 years it's been incredible to say the least. With the invention of the airplane, the car, the telephone and personal computers, for instance, we've broken many new boundaries. Not to mention sending man to the moon and the hundreds of medical breakthroughs we've seen during this time. The sky's the limit, to coin a phrase. And I, for one, would like to see how far that limit goes.

How about you? Past or Future? And how far in either direction and why? Comments welcome if you have any.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Flavor of the Week

A weekly look at the styles of everyday people as seen through the eyes of, me, your intrepid man on the street.

Name: Andrew Chu
Occupation: Interior Designer
Location: Distillery District
Clothing details: Shirt-Energie, T-shirt-Urban Outfitter, Jeans-Energie, Boots-Dr. Martens
What he was doing when I met him: Toting the bags of two female friends one of whom was taking photos of the other.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Contentment vs. Happiness

I suppose these are a couple of the things people strive for in life - happiness... or at the very least contentment. I think most people in Western society should be content. If you compare what the least of us has here to what others in developing countries have, well... there really isn't any comparison. Most of us have our basic needs met. Food on our table, a roof over our heads, a friend or two to keep us company and the liberties we enjoy living in a free society. We should be grateful for that. As we know it's a privilege not everyone is so fortunate to have.

Happiness is another matter. Its foundation is built on contentment, but taken a step or two further. Happiness isn't necessarily a basic need, but more a want. Still, most of us strive for it and, thus, we should. Happiness gives meaning to our existence. Without it we may as well be robots in the assembly line of life.

So, what brings us happiness? I read a friend's copy of the Dalai Lama's book The Art of Happiness a few years ago. Here are few premises from it.

1. The purpose of life is happiness.

2. Happiness is determined more by the state of one’s mind than by one’s external conditions, circumstances, or events—at least once one’s basic survival needs are met.

3. Happiness can be achieved through the systematic training of our hearts and minds, through reshaping our attitudes and outlook.

4. The key to happiness is in our own hands.

I believe there is some truth to what he says. Once our basic needs are met (and I think most of ours are) we should be able to revise our prior attitudes on what happiness is and work more easily towards attaining it.

So are we happy?

We can begin by asking ourselves what makes us happy? Is it money, power, status? Some people think so. You might believe some of the associated benefits of those things may make you happy. But, you have to weigh the cost of attaining said money, power or status. If the costs outweigh the benefits you have to consider if it's really worth it. To build up one area in your life, another might end up suffering. I'm sure we're all well aware of that. But, sometimes desire blinds us to the risks that otherwise appear so obvious.

Another thing you might ask yourself is if there are any barriers towards making yourself happy? Some people will say, my car is old and rusty... look at that fellow, he's driving a shiny, new Lexus. Or you might hear, my apartment is so small and it's hot in the summer. Look at the place my friend has... it's a huge three-bedroom, backsplit with central air. When we compare what we have to what others have we'll never be satisfied. There's always going to be someone who has more than you. Always. What others have should have no relevance towards how you feel about what you have. Just be thankful you have what you do. Because the reality is, you have much more than most others in the world today.

It might be wise to break it down into more simple terms. Instead of saying a big house or a fancy, new car will make you happy, think of the little things that make you smile. For me it would be seeing a child laughing. I know it sounds sappy, but it's true. Seeing others in a state of joyfulness makes me happy. The bright, shining sun in a clear, blue sky on a warm, summer day makes me happy. Riding my bike with the wind in my face makes me happy. Seeing great photography, art, architecture or design makes me happy. Exploring interesting, new places makes me happy. Holding hands while walking with someone I like makes me happy. You get the idea. If you really think about it, there are a lot of things out there that can make us happy. We just have to take the blinders off and see what's right in front of our noses.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Flavor of the Week

A weekly look at the styles of everyday people as seen through the eyes of, me, your intrepid man on the street.

Name: Hanna
Occupation: Dog Walker
Location: Distillery District
Clothing details: Shirt-from her friend, Shorts-from Zellers, Shoes-The Bay, Bag-from ideaCity 2009, Wolf Ears-made herself
What she was doing when I met her: Wallking with her friend Cole.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

I spent New Year's Eve over at my friend Dickie's place (sitting on the floor on the left). He invited a group of friends from the Richmond Hill Chinese Community Church over. It was a last minute affair organized by Jim (sitting on the floor with the guitar in his lap). He sent an Evite out on Monday inviting people to come out. Perry (sitting on the floor, far right) brought his X-box 360 with Rock Band over, as well as a movie trivia game. That was fun. Some of us played it while others went downstairs to play ping pong. Big Jon was supposed to come over, but he fell asleep at home and missed the countdown.