Let’s Talk: Depression & Anxiety

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day here in Canada. Since 2010, Canadian media giant Bell has been encouraging all Canadians to engage in conversations about Canada’s mental health. They’ve been successful in creating a united movement of ordinary citizens, Olympians, Musicians, Celebrities and even Politicians to talk about their own struggles and support others in their journey. It’s incredible and as much as its an advertising campaign for Bell, I respect their efforts and commitment to the cause. Today, Bell will donate $0.05 to mental health initiatives for every tweet with the hashtag of #BellLetsTalk on Twitter and Instagram. Every watch of their video in Facebook, every use of their Snapchat filter and even ever call and text message sent on their network. In the last 6 years, that’s added up to an amazing $79,919,178.55 and a hell of a lot of conversations that needed to be had! So with that, I would like to some of my journey.

 

Warning: Shit is about to get real

I’ve struggled with depression my entire life, but I would like to specifically share how it’s evolved over the last 12 months. Most of you know that over the past two years I went through a bad breakup of a long term relationship that brought me down for almost a year, took an absolutely toxic job and then lost it, and was off work for almost 9 months. Interestingly enough, that’s not what gets me down.

 

I fail at human interaction.

Like depression, I’ve always struggled with anxiety but the last year has amplified that to a level I’ve never seen before. A lot of people would say I’m pretty outgoing. I’m well known in my community, the surrounding communities, and online. But the truth is, interacting with others without context scares the shit out of me. I have no problem speaking to a room full of people, but one on one is something I struggle with more and more every day. This anxiety makes me talk a lot, in fact way too much, and I feel like people I meet think I’m a self-absorbed asshole. I accidently cut people off all the time and I hate myself for it. Honestly, I hate talking about myself. One of my greatest joys is hearing people’s stories. I love documentaries, I listen to podcasts like Story Corps that capture the stories of everyday people, truly care about your life’s journey. But I never seem to get there anymore.

This anxiety spills over into many other aspects of my life. I will go to my local brewery for a pint, see people I know well, some I’ve known for years and struggle with anything more than a hello. Unless I’m explicitly invited over, I will sit by myself. Thinking the whole time that I should go over to chat, twisted up inside because of the cold shoulder I’m giving them.

This summer I started running in an effort to be more healthy and I was damn successful in my efforts almost reaching my goal of running 10km every day. All summer I watch my friends, my ex-wife, and even my children do awesome runs together and I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on doing it myself. I didn’t want to run into people I know and be embarrassed about my physical appearance, my lack of experience, or feel like I’m forcing myself into their worlds. Since I hurt my leg in August everything has gone off the rails again. I don’t run anymore, I’ve been eating like garbage and it pains me to admit I’ve gained 18 pounds.

I’ve stopped inviting people to do things and withdrawn from most things altogether because I don’t feel welcome. I go to movies alone, shopping alone, concerts alone, and it tears me apart. I’m not an anti-social person at all, I crave human interaction, but I can no longer be the catalyst because I’ve convinced myself that I’m a burden on their lives. This also means I will never be the one to kiss the girl first. I mean, why would she ever want to kiss me? I will never be the one to tell a stranger she’s beautiful or ask her on a date. If I don’t want myself, why would anyone else?

 

I fail my community.

The thing that makes me happiest in life is serving others. Big or small, I thrive when I know I’ve made a difference in someone’s day. Whether that’s giving of my time, sharing my knowledge or creating something positive for people to do. I absolutely love it and in times of pain, it’s been where I turn for fulfilment in my life. Last year I feel like I’ve really failed the non-profits dedicate my time too and even more so my fellow volunteers. I let depression take hold of me and my mind was so cluttered I couldn’t deliver on my promises. I put hundreds of hours into projects to come out with nothing and be too embarrassed to respond to emails.

For the last 8 years, I’ve been involved with every major Canadain Red Cross response in some capacity. I’m highly trained, have a lot experience, wasn’t working so I had all the time in the world and when things when wrong in Alberta this year… I didn’t even pick up the phone. The things I was able to complete for my community last year were a drop in the bucket compared to my usual efforts and were not executed to the best of my abilities.

 

I fail myself.

I feel like I’ve failed at everything I set out to do for myself in the last year. I sowed into a path of getting healthy and failed hard. I gained weight and I’m lucky if I remember to eat once a day. I’ve always been good at taking care of others, and never good at taking care of myself. I hate the way I look, the way I feel, and have no motivation to change anything.

I set out to launch a weekly YouTube show about movies, one of my greatest passions. I spent weeks filming the first 6 episodes, edited them, did custom animation for each one, promoted it on Twitter… and didn’t release a single episode. Watching them back all I saw was negative. The gap in your teeth is getting bigger Edward, look at the grey in your hair, you mumble and stumble over your words, that animation could be better, your voice is terrible, this is shit.

Most days it’s hard for me to get to sleep, and even harder to get out of bed. This makes me feel like a shitty father because in means that the little time that I do get with my kids is even shorter. When I do get up, I don’t feel like doing much and it pains me to see the legacy I’m leaving. I want nothing more than to be the greatest father and hopefully one day husband in the world. But I know, I’m not doing my best.

 

This is what echoes in my head every day.

 

But, I know it will be alright.

Deep down I know these feeling are bullshit. I know I’m a good person, I know I bring value, and I know that I’ve achieved more in my 32 years than most will in their lifetime. That’s the thing with depression and anxiety, it’s completely illogical. We know that most of our feelings are bullshit, but it doesn’t mean we don’t feel them and it doesn’t mean they will go away. With time, we can learn to manage them.

The things that get me through:

  • I have an amazing family. Loving parents, a brother that has become my best friend, an ex-wife that still truly cares and two loving children that show me every day how big their hearts really are. It’s important to have a great support system and I really do.
  • Amazing friends. I don’t see my friends as much as I would like to but I am so thankful for them old and new. I’ve had more real conversations in the last year then the 5 previous and it’s a beautiful thing.
  • Blogging. I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I don’t blog for you, and I’m not looking for a following. Sure I get warm fuzzies when I see interaction on my blog but for the most part, it’s therapy for me. When I was a teen I would toss on music and write pages and pages. Fill notebooks and never read them. Publicly speaking about my pain has helped me work through it and bring a new peace.
  • The creative community. I chose a great profession. Yes, often gets me down, breaks me… but it also builds. The creative community online has been extremely open with their struggles in both profession and life. Creativity and depression often go hand in hand. Thank you to everyone who shares their struggle with the world.
  • Music. I can honestly say that I owe an extreme debt to the bands PUP and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls for getting me through the last year. Their honesty and passion mean a lot and Frank’s personal words to me really helped me move forward.
  • Real conversation. I try as hard as I can to not hide behind a mask. I’m unfiltered, raw, and real. This scares a lot of people off but the ones the stick around enhance my life more than anyone could know.

You’re not alone. We all have pain, we all have doubt, and we all try to hide it. Friends, strangers, enemies, I’m here – let’s talk.

10 Unisex Holiday Gifts for the Nerd in Your Life 2016

It can be really hard to find the perfect gift for that nerdy person in your life. Everyone I know would define me as a nerd, but I’m not the kind of person that wants to collect a mountain of pop culture trinkets. This means on the surface, it looks nearly impossible to find a great gift for someone like me under $500. Fear not! To assist you on your quest for the perfect gift, I have compiled a curated list of awesomeness for you!

NES Classic Edition

$79.99 CAD

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Nintendo has given is us nerds a reason to celebrate this holiday season. They created a mini version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System that comes loaded with 30 of that NES’s top games including some of my favourites: Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, PAC-MAN, Final Fantasy, Kirby’s Adventure, Excite Bike and more! The console is updated to work through HDMI on modern TVs and comes with one controller. Additional controllers are available for just $12.99. This is an extremely hot item and may be hard to find.

Buy on Anazon.ca

 


NASA The Grand Tour Poster

$40 USD

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Last year NASA and the creative team of visual strategists at JPL, known as The Studio, worked with 9 artists to create a series of space tourism posters titled “Visions of the Future.” The Grand Tour poster was created but the team at Invisible Creature (a small studio I’ve been following for years) and they are offering a professionally printed version of their poster signed by the artist.

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You can also download FREE print-ready versions of the entire series on NASA / JPL’s website, large enough to create 20″ x 30″ posters of your own.

Buy from Invisible Creature

Download form NASA


League of Movable Type Font Shirts

$29.99 USD

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The Leauge of Moveable Type has been supplying amazing open-source fonts since 2009, including one of my all time favourite fonts Ostrich Sans by Tyler Fink. It’s one of my most used fonts and I’m so stoked to be the nerd sporting it proudly on my torso pants. They have a verity of unisex shirts available that are sure you satisfy the type nerd in your life.

Buy from Leauge of Moveable Type

 


UE Boom 2

$249.99 CAD

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The UE Boom 2 is a beautiful piece of tech. This is by far the best sounding bluetooth speaker I’ve ever used. It projects sound from all sides making this compact gadget a real powerhouse. It’s waterproof and fully submergeable so you don’t need to worry when taking it to the lake or even in the shower. I’ve given multiple gifts from the Ultimate Ears collection over the years (including the UE Boom) and you can never go wrong with their products. Hell, for you nerds out there, you can just tap your android phone to the speaker and it uses NFC to automatically pair the bluetooth for you. Simply beautiful, and it comes in a whole rainbow of colors.

At most retailers if you buy before December 1st you can save $100.

Buy From Amazon.ca

 


Android Wear Smart Watches

As an early adopter I picked up the original Moto 3060 Android Wear smartwatch at launch and I’ve absolutely loved it. Android Wear is smart, functional and works across platforms with Android and iOS devices.

For Him: Nixion Misson – $479.99 CAD

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Smartwatches have been growing in popularity and I’ve been waiting for a major watchmaker to jump into the game. Now we have two! The Fossil Q Founder and the Nixion Mission. I’m in love with the Nixion mission. It has all the markings of great Nixion style and is a fully ruggedised Android Wear watch. It’s even waterproof so you can wear it in the water. It is 100% on my wish list.

Buy from Altitude Sports

For Her: Rose Gold Moto 360 2 – $399.99 CAD

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Continuing their amazing line of Moto 360 watches, the Moto 360 2 is a great Android Wear smartwatch and this Rose Gold beauty is a stunning example of how tech doesn’t have to be ugly.

Buy from Google Store


Field Notes: Lunacy Special Edition Notebooks

$12.95 USD

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I love a good notebook and Field Notes have become the gold standard. Heck, I ran into comedian & podcaster Marc Maron this July in Salt Lake City and he had a Field Notes notebook sticking out of his shirt pocket. We ended up having a great discussion about their creator Aaron Draplin. This limited edition set features three different moon phases and would gift for all the nerd out there.

Buy from Field Notes


code:deck Playing Cards

$8.00 USD

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code:deck is a standard playing card deck but each individual card features a code snippet describing a different programming language. I own a set of these cards and absolutely love them.

Buy from Varinto 25


FreezerBoy Dry-Erase Refrigerator Magnets

$14.99 CAD

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Make that honey do list a a thing of beauty by turning your fridge into a giant game boy. Gamifying your life is a sure fire was to make that nerd in your life a jolly quester.

Buy on Amazon.ca


Twelve South Leather Book Laptop Case

$99.99 CAD

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Embrace your book nerds love of reading with this classy leather laptop case. A great mashup of old world, the hand-crafted leather makes for a sophisticated choice this holiday. It’s also available in an iPad version.

Buy from Amazon.ca


The PancakeBot

$299.99 USD

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Damn right, it’s a digital printer for pancake art! This thing is bad ass. You design your pancake in their software (or grab one of their pre-made designs) toss an SD card in the front with the file, fill it with batter and freaking print your breakfast on its built-in griddle. Can you tell I want one? You have to see this little guy in action.

Pretty sure you will be the coolest parent on the block with this in your kitchen.

Buy from Store Bound

 


 

I hope you enjoyed my gift guide of nerdy goodness. Do you have any suggestions for nerdy holiday gifts? Let me know in the comments!

 


 

High Rotation: 10 Songs That Will Make You Want to Fall in Love

This week in High Rotation were taking a deep dive into my music collection to look at 10 songs that will make you want to fall in love (or at least that make me want to fall in love).  Although there are a few “classic love songs” on the list, what it really focuses around what inspires me to love. The wonder, the struggle, and passion that make us want to be a better version of ourselves.

 

1 . Arkells – 11:11

Oh, 11:11… The first time I heard this song on it was seared in my brain. I must have listened to this some 1,000 times last summer. It’s fun, upbeat, makes me want to dance (when I saw them in January it looked just like the video lol), and for as smooth as it is… just as anxious as me.

I was nervous just standing with you, you were glowing in the dark

I mean if I could choose a way to fall in love, enjoying an evening at a show would be it.


2. Reuben And The Dark – Heart in Two

I made a huge miss when I didn’t include Funeral Sky from Calgary’s Ruben And The Dark in my 5 Albums I Wish You Knew post. Seriously. Buy it. I first encountered their single Heart In Two when I saw them play at the 2015/2016 NHL Face-Off (first game of the season) concert. They only supposed to play three songs and but they snuck this one in and it came across with such passion.

You say reverie came over me – Like fire, like blood, like sunlight

This is not your typical love song, it’s about being lost in their wonder while longing for their presence. Stuck in a daydream.


3. Dashboard Confessional – Remember to Breathe

This a been one of my favourites for a very long time. It’s a conversation I have with myself from time to time. It’s interesting to me that some situations that are simple, so small can mean so much to us. I love this line.

I’m starting to panic, remember she asked you, remember to breathe

So very me. Sometimes we forget the anxiety, the nerves, the butterflies, it tells you your headed in the right direction. If it’s nervous and awkward for both of you, there just might be something real there. Embrace the awkward.


4. Matt Epp & The Amorian Assembly featuring Serena Ryder – When You Know

This wonderful duet between Canadain rockers Matt Epp & Serena Ryder was born from a conversation about how they both “just knew” that has found their one, and it answers the age-old question “How do I know if I’m in love?”

Change man, change man, never be the same man, everything is different when you know

We all long for that moment it just clicks and we know, this is the person I want to spend my life with.


5. Kina Grannis – The One You Say Goodnight To

Love is an inspiring thing. When I’m in love it inspires me to create, to show my passion, and return it in kind. Kina Grannis’s The One You Say Goodnight To is beautiful, it reminds me of Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am and that’s a huge compliment.

Funny thing is I’m trying hard and it’s unlike me to get so caught up in things. But I won’t quit, I won’t quit ’til you smile at me.

If I could be the way to inspire someone like that… there wouls definitely be a smile from ear to ear.


6. You + Me -You and Me

You + Me is the supergroup lovechild of Dallas Green (City and Colour / Alexis on Fire) and Alecia Moore (P!nk). Their skilful lyricism and beautiful harmonies create a vivid picture of what love actually means.

You can be flawed enough but perfect for a person, Someone who will be there for you when you fall apart, Guiding your direction when you’re riding through the dark, Oh that’s you and me


7. Wakey Wakey – Adam & Eve

I can’t have a list about love and not include one of the most passionate artists I know Wakey Wakey. I wish I knew the actual circumstances of this song but Adam & Eve to me it the plea to not run from something real.

You and I are still a seed, Reaching for the sunlight, Pushing up through the rocks and weeds, Trying to grow upright

It’s not the sunshine and rainbows love songs you’re used to, but the beauty of love is in the struggle. The last line is awesome, “I’ll be Adam if you be Eve, you can get me into trouble” lol


8. He Is We & Aaron Gillespie – All About Us

This is one of those songs that makes you want to grab someone and dance. I am a huge fan of He Is We and their collaboration with Aaron Gillespie (Lead for The Almost, Drummer / Vocalist for post-hardcore band Underoath, and touring drummer for Paramore) just sweeten the deal. If I was to pick a first dance song for my wedding, this would be it.

Suddenly, I’m feeling brave. I don’t know what’s got into me, Why I feel this way. Can we dance, real slow? Can I hold you, real close?

Two side notes. 1. I had the pleasure of seeing He Is We live in Columbus, Ohio back in 2012. Lead singer Rachel Taylor suffers from Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis in which there is long-term inflammation of the joints of the spine. That day touring was taking its toll and she was taken to the hospital for treatment. She came from the hospital, sang her heart out, and was immediately taken back to the hospital. Mad respect.

2. This song was re-recorded with Owl City for the Mortal Instruments soundtrack and with hopes of greater radio play… don’t get fooled… it’s nowhere near as good as the Aaron Gillespie version.


9. Marty Sampson – Landslide

This song was extremely hard to find but I’m glad I did. Landslide is from Australian Marty Sampson’s one and only solo album Let Love Rule, he recorded on a break from the Christian youth worship band Hillsong United. This is hands down my favourite song to sing and you will often find me singing it in the shower lol.

Lay by my side, lay your head apon my shoulder tonight, you know its gonig to be alright

Laying awake, looking down while someone you love sleeps cuddled in your arms is one of life’s prefect moments.


10. Relient K – The Best Thing

Sometimes love come along just when we need it, and changes everything. After the year I’ve had, it certainly would be the best thing.

Cause when I looked into your eyes and you dared to stare right back, You should have said, “Nice to meet you, I’m your other half”

Randon Fact: Matt Thiessen used to date Katy Perry and their breakup resulted in a fantastic album lol. Since then he has co-written many songs with Katy and his wife engineered Katy’s album Teenage Dream.


Bonus: Vocal Few – Blue

Time for the bonus round! Blue from husband and wife duo Vocal Few is not a “love me” song, but an I love you so freaking much song. So much that you can’t stand to see their pain, you would rather bear it yourself. Matt (The Classic Crime) & Kristie MacDonald’s ability to capture the realism of marriage from all sides is fantastic. If you ever get the chance to see them live I highly recommend it. I was fortunate enough to see them in a strangers living room a few years ago, and amazing experience.


 

What song makes you want to fall in love? Let me know in the comments and if you have a topic idea for future editions of my music series High Rotation, I would love to hear them.

 


 

When You ❤️ Love & 😬 Dating : A Recipe For Awkward

Navigating the world of dating is a lot like space travel. We know it’s possible, there have been great successes, but most of our attempts end in catastrophic failure. We’re faced with constant indecision, mountains of self-doubt, and somehow we’ve been tasked with tearing down the walls people have built around themselves. Despite the looming clouds above, we press on through the wind and the waves in search of the light.

The following is a collection of short thoughts compiled over the last year. They cover various aspects of love & dating but are not necessarily related to each other.

Society Tells Me I’m Broken

I’ve never really been that man that popular culture says we are, and I’m thankful for that. As a single man in my early 30’s I constantly feel more and more enraged with the words and actions of my own gender. I keep thinking if this is what women knows, that they expect. I certainly don’t fit in.

  1. Sow your oats young man.  I have married friends that are on a mission to cheat on their wives. Sometimes I feel like they only want to hang out so they have an outlet to hit on other women. As someone that chooses to be militantly faithful, I can’t understand why others can’t “man up and step up”. Someone choose to invest their life in you and it’s your duty to invest in them. Half the energy you spend avoiding your marriage would go a long way to building it. My single male friends that ask me questions like “Why don’t you just fuck the loose Tinder bitches like the rest of us?” Personally, I’m not one for “locker room talk” in fact, it really makes me want to punch people in the face. I constantly feel chastised because I’m not trying to add notches to my bedpost like it’s a video game. Sorry, but I’m not into creating a wake of hurt.
  2. The laws of attraction. Most men long for summer where bikinis reign supreme, I long for cardigans in the autumn air. (Why yes, I did notice your cute sweater. Indeed, I should’ve told you) Each to their own but I find tasteful modesty attractive in both dress and attitude. There is something magical to me about a woman that doesn’t feel like she needs to put it all out there all the time. I’m attracted to you, not your cleavage.
  3. Love like the movies. To both my credit, and my downfall I have a 16-year-old view of love. I do believe that love can be amazing, that magical moments exist and ultimately people are good. I believe it’s your duty to win you lovers heart every day in whether it a grand gesture or doing the dishes. Hey, there is no reason why you can’t take a helicopter to a mountain top picnic just because it’s Wednesday… and Wednesdays suck.
  4. Failure to launch. For a lot of men it’s easy, but asking a woman on a date or even asking for a phone number is incredibly difficult for me. The reason is two-fold. First, I am incredibly shy one-on-one. Something that has grown exponentially over the last year and a half, I’m working on it slowly, but for now… I really need to know you first. Secondly, I go out of my way to not inconvenience others. I never want to be that asshole hitting on a girl that is just trying to have fun with their friends, or give someone anxiety about how to reply. I’m stressed just writing about this.

Yes, I’m a man. I love sex, have a dirty mind, and desire the company of a good woman. I also value respect, dignity, and context. There is a time and a place for everything. Yet, I don’t fit in with the guys, and I can’t help but feel like I’m broken.


Lessons From A Tinder Dropout

Since it’s launch Tinder intrigued me. My life has not taken a typical dating path, and I’ve always been in long term relationships so I was curious what it’s like. Would anyone swipe right for me? What kind of person swipes right for me?  Is it possible to find something real on Tinder? So when I felt like I might be ready to date again I signed up, crafted a bio, curated my photo gallery and sent it to masses, so strangers could quietly judge my worth.

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My actual Tinder profile with bio version 2.0

I wouldn’t say that I struck out on Tinder per say. I had quite a few matches (I just installed the app to take the screenshot and still have 5 matches after months of inactivity) but I can’t say that any of them turned into actually meeting someone in real life. After a month or so of jumping down the rabbit hole, I decided to retire Tinder. Here are some insights from my journey in the Tinderverse.

Why I didn’t swipe right for you

  • Your photos look like a Where’s Waldo book. In a context where you are given so little to go on, photos are important. I want to see you and your personality.
  • Your photos span a massive timeline. Your profile should be about who you are, not who you were. My personal rule of thumb was to only use photos taken in the last year. Yes, I was skinnier two years ago but it’s not relevant now.
  • All of your photos contained alcohol or drugs.
  • Your photos portrayed smoking or heavy drug use (yes there was many).
  • You didn’t fill in a bio. If I have nothing to go on, our conversation is going nowhere.
  • Your bio was overly pompous or the first word was tattoos. Hey, I like tattoos too but if you’re not a tattoo artist they shouldn’t define you.
  • The quality of your photos made you seem like a bot or phishing scheme.
  • Your profile didn’t lead me to believe that we would have an interesting conversation.

Why I didn’t message you when we matched

  • When I reviewed your profile a second time I questioned what I was thinking the first time.
  • Upon review, your bio lacked enough information to have a real conversation.
  • My personal anxiety created a situation where I didn’t feel like talking then, but as a result, too much time had passed and I didn’t want you to think you were plan-b.

Why I unmatched you

  • I was always forced to lead the conversation.
  • You took too long to message back. Usually, 48 hours at first and timeline varies after initial contact based on the context of the conversation.
  • You avoided simple questions about yourself. If I’m going to meet you, I need to know something about you.
  • You seemed uninterested in learning about me.

How not to talk to women on Tinder

  • DO NOT seem genuinely interested in who they are or what they do. The more genuine you try to be on Tinder, the more people think you’re a creep. Even though their bio says “absolutely no hookups”, the majority of Tinder matches are expecting you to throw yourself at them.
  • DO NOT start a conversation with anything you would normally start a conversation with. You want to start with an interesting question or if you’re the brave type, a horribly bad pickup line.

Tinder was an interesting world I can say that. I know a lot of my list is superficial and subjective, but that’s exactly what Tinder is. I could tell our world was heading this direction when back in the 90’s every chat rooms conversation started with ASL????? The online conversation game annoyed me then, and the AOL chatroom has been reborn in Tinder.

Tinder isnt for me because I’m not into playing the field, I play for keeps.


There are two more sections I excluded for length. If you enjoy my ramblings about love & dating leave a comment below and I will consider posting them soon.

What are your experiences with online dating?

Have you had success? Failure?

Six Months in Exile

Reflections from the other side of love

In December I shared my thoughts on love and loss – 99 days after the end of a long term relationship. Writing that article really helped to put the true situation into perspective for me, and since then I’ve been asked a lot of questions. This week we passed the six month mark and I thought it was a good time for an update of my perception and to answer a few questions.

A Tangential Journey Through Spacetime

Time is an interesting thing. In the span of a lifetime, six months is barely a blip. A sliver so small it can be perceived as quite insignificant, yet at certain milestones in our lives that same sliver can stretch to eternity. Although the intricacies human perception are vast, I’ve discerned that this feeling is most prevalent surrounding events of two distinct categories.

  1. Anticipation – As we approach a significant event that is time bound, (the birth of a child, a wedding, a big trip, graduation) the closer you get to the event, your perception of time seems to slow to a crawl.
  2. Loss – Conversely, when we loose something we care deeply about, (death, breakups, employment) life seems to grind to a halt. Unlike events of anticipation that pass quickly because of their time bound nature, loss persists for an indeterminate amount of time.

Although, these categories are not mutually exclusive. One major overlap between the two categories is longing. We can both be anticipating seeing loved one again and longing for their presence. This manifests itself much like the way we feel loss (anxiety/depression) and can be a major burden on many relationships. When longing is combined with loss it can intensify both the pain and duration of the event.

Anticipation VS Loss

I personally feel that loss of an intense love is more painful then the death of a loved one. There is no denying that longing exists after death, but death is black & white, it’s an absolute. With love nothing is that simple and without a catalyst such as hate, the feelings of longing and loss will persist indefinitely.

How has life been since 99 days?

There is no getting around the fact that the past 6 months have been terrible for me, filled with setbacks, culminating recently in the loss of my job and a suspended drivers licence. That said I have been working hard to build positive experiences in my life through volunteerism and look forward to starting the next chapter of my career.

Has the perception of your relationship changed?

Writing the 99 days article was like therapy for me and since I have also done an interview for an upcoming relationship podcast. Forcing myself to think through the relationship has given me fresh perspective on a few things. Notably, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have lost her and the constant anxiety is slowly leaving.

However the longing has not left me. I still think about her everyday, and as I’m sleeping more she still pops up in my dreams. She was far from perfect but like art, in love perfection is found in the imperfections. I constantly find myself reminded of the way she would do laundry or clean the house. Leading to the feeling (as the title of this post suggests) that I’ve been banished to exile.

Would you have married her?

Without question. Knowing that her time to move was coming near, I spent much of the last year we were together planning and saving for the perfect proposal. For me, that was always the plan.

Would you get back together?

That is a difficult question. The simple answer is of course, I love her. The reality is it would have to be a different scenario. I couldn’t do long distance again and because of the reality of my situation she would have to move, get her own place, and take it slow. As much as I believe that nothing is impossible, the probability of that happening is extremely low.

Do you think you could’ve done more to hold it together?

I can honestly say I did everything I could to keep it together. I did hold back on giving her the final anniversary gift I made her, as I knew her mind wasn’t there and I feared it would just upset her more. The one thing I wish I did was identify and mitigate some of the fears earlier.

If you could do it again what would you change?

Honestly not much, but in our 5 years together the one thing I really failed to build a strong relationship with her mother and sister. Although I tried, I was not able to show her mom the value of my love and her opinion meant a lot to both of us. If I could do it again, I would really try to forge that relationship early.

Have you tried putting yourself out there?

My friends say that I just need to move on, get out there and forget her. I’ve had a few conversations with women and went for coffee with one, but honestly, even though it’s been six months I can’t see myself moving on it yet. I have a strict “Don’t be an asshole” policy and I can’t in good conscious court a woman while my heart and my mind belong to another. I made a mistake in the past and lost a good friend because of it, something I still regret. I’m not that guy, I refuse to be that guy. It’s going to take an amazing woman to spur me forward.

So after six months…

I realize my journey is far from over. I’ve come and long way, I respect her decision and have distanced myself. I also recognize that you can’t control love and there is a long way to go. It’s still a struggle fighting the loneliness and making new friends, but there is hope, and hope drives forward motion.

Dave Mirra’s Legacy is More Than BMX

Last Thursday was a terrible day for me. At 1pm I lost my job… I did what most men would do and let a few close friends know. One of my friends reached out and said we should grab a beer and as he sat down I saw this tweet:

WHAT!? – We both into BMX and shocked by the news jumped on Google to find out what happened. It was true, Dave Mirra was dead of an apparent suicide. I’m not afraid to admit as a 31 year old man I welled up thinking about it. I never met the man but he had a profound effect on my life.

Dave Mirra – Childhood Hero

Dave Mirra has been as hero to my brother and I since we first watched him take X Games BMX Gold 20 years ago. We never missed a chance to watch him ride and over the years we watched him strike X Games Gold 13 more times. In all he took home 24 X Games medals, the man was a superstar. He made us want to ride a bikes, to practice hard, and we did.

13618_frontHe was also the man behind one of the favorite video games ever made Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2. Skateboarders had Tony Hawk and we had Dave Mirra. We would stay up for hours playing, pushing the boundaries of what we could do, finding the best lines, and besting each others scores.

The game was and remains a masterpiece, from the maps, to the controls, to the soundtrack – it still plays well 15 years later. So well infact I keep an old console around just to play it and i’m sure soon my children will be playing it too.

Through the success and accolades Mirra remained humble, building community and mentoring the next generation.

Last week my brother had this to say about Dave Mirra:

I’ve written several things about Dave Mirra and deleted them before posting. It’s hard to know what’s appropriate to say or even feel, really.

The reality is, one of my heroes took his own life yesterday, in a total shock to a massive community of people. Dave Mirra is a BMX legend. He pushed the sport of BMX and led a whole generation of kids to love the sport. He was also a rally car driver, he built skateparks, dominated in competitions. He was a husband, a father. He was a lot of things.

For me, one of the most important things Dave Mirra did was to be himself. He pushed limits, had character, kept going in the face of challenges, he built a community by giving back to the sport that made him an icon.

I guess it feels odd to call someone a hero in adulthood. He’s not the saved-15-kids-from-fiery-bus-crash type of hero. He’s the type of person a kid looks up to, because he’s an inspiration, type of hero. He blazed a trail in action sports. He led a group of people that doesn’t fit into most expectations and demographics…

Sean McIntyre via Facebook

Dave Mirra is one of the few heroes I remember from my childhood, and later in life he taught me so much more than I could have expected.

 

Dave Mirra – Fatherhood Hero

There’s no denying Dave Mirra was a BMX Legend, but when all’s said and done it’s a footnote in his legacy in my mind. I will never forget Dave Mirra because when I things were rough for me, he pushed me to become a better father. Dave offered these words of wisdom.

As a father, you are automatically inducted into the Hall of Responsibility. Life is about ups and downs, great times and tough times. My responsibility as a father is to show my kids balance, education and character. Although I’m not perfect, I am always keeping my eyes open for a better way to be the best father I can be. I am lucky enough to have this opportunity to raise 2 beautiful daughters and in turn, I have the chance to be loved for the rest of my life. Being a father isn’t just about teaching our kids how to be great but also learning how to be a better teacher.

Dave Mirra – #BEADADNOTAFAD

Through following Dave I got to see what an amazing father he is. He didn’t just preach the good news of fatherhood, he strived to be an example for others. He pushed himself to be an amazing father as he was an amazing athlete.

While pushing himself to be a great father Dave Mirra co-founded #beadadnotafad, a social movement to encourage fathers and share their great work. Looking through the hashtag and official accounts on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook have inspired me to word harder, to be better, and to leave an amazing legacy in my children.

The pdub is still in the shop so they are back to taking turns. 👍 #sistersforlife

A post shared by Dave Mirra (@davemirra) on

Dave’s passion for sharing the joys of fatherhood equaled that his athletic career. When he took up triathlons, the whole family did. In fact Mirra’s oldest daughter was the first one in the family to complete a triathlon.

Race morning family pic in Lake Placid. Love it. #family4life

A post shared by Dave Mirra (@davemirra) on

Although I will never understand why Dave choose to leave us, I am thankful that he was here. To build community, to inspire youth, and inspire us again as adults.

 

Let the world know you love them

I wish I had a chance to let Dave know what he meant to me. To tell him that he inspired me as a kid and still inspires me today. I realise that the more a person grows in popularity the harder it is for their praises to have a deep effect on you. You hear your amazing all the time and your mind becomes numb to the fact that what they’re saying might be true. seans-wordsDave was an amazing man, we lost an amazing man, and a beautiful family lost there father, a loving wife – her husband.

I’m thankful that I have family and friends that go the extra mile. They’re here for me before I even know I need them, and I hope I offer the same to them.
Never pass up an opportunity to let someone know they’re loved, that they’re needed, and that they’re legendary.

Dave Mirra is my childhood hero, and my fatherhood hero.
If that’s not legendary I don’t know what is, and remember…

#BEADEDNOTAFAD

I’m Still Counting The Days

Reflections on love, pain, and the road to recovery

It’s been 99 days since she said she can’t think of a scenario where things will work out between us. 119 days since I last held her hand, 120 Days since I brought her breakfast in bed, 132 Days since everything fell apart, and I still think about her all the time.

Although it was not easy, we spent 5 glorious years together. I living in Alberta, Canada and her in Ohio, USA we spent our evenings sharing our lives with each other by the glow of our computer screens. We never meant to fall in love, we we’re 2,100 miles away, but love doesn’t discriminate because of things like distance and we fell, hard.

Over the years we took 116 flights, covering enough ground to travel clear around the world 4.5 times. We were quite literally halfway to the moon. We had a lot against us. Borders and time zones, flights and currency, longing and missed phone calls, friends and family. But we made it work.

I spent a lot of time counting that days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds until we could see eachother again. It gave me drive, it gave me purpose and most of all it gave me hope.

In the end, the distance killed us. I have two wonderful children and the circumstance dictated that if we were to be together in a more permanent capacity, she would have to move here. The knowledge of that brought me pain every day and I spent years trying to solve that kobayashi maru of an equation. She loves her family, and they are amazing people. I can’t fault her for wanting to be with them, I loved them too.

Now what?

I’m single. The words feel odd coming out of my mouth. My last two relationships combined span 16 years. In my 31 years on this earth, I have been committed for more days than I have been single.

Crash & Burn

I am not one to give up easily. I’m passionate, romantic and I try to be diplomatic. I couldn’t save us, I couldn’t solve the problem, I couldn’t show her what she meant, I couldn’t move the mountain. I failed at the one thing I poured my everyting into. I lost the one thing, I truly desired. But I will respect her wishes.

Being alone shouldn’t be hard, we spent a lot of time a part so it will be ok right? Not true. Not true at all. The best part of my day was always coming home to her, hearing her voice on our 5 minute phone calls while she drove to hockey, or between my meetings. Despite my best efforts, even after 99 days, it’s still a struggle not to call her. God I miss hearing about her day.

Now while others are sleeping. I spend most of my evenings working late or writing sappy love songs on the guitar I never got to give her for her birthday.

Fight The Loneliness

5 years in a long distance relationship takes it toll on many things, and most of all friendship. In my dedication to her I lost touch with most of my friends for one of two reasons.

  1. She was 2 hours behind me so if I wanted to talk it was straight home to talk and fall asleep together. That doesn’t leave much room for friends and social outings.
  2. I’m militantly faithful. My brother once told me, if you don’t have plan on how to NOT cheat on your significant other you’re doing it wrong. This involved never being alone with another female, not texting other females, and not engaging in friendships that could be misconstrued by the other party or my significant other.

This has left me very extremely alone. This may be a surprise to some who read this but I am an extremely shy person. I don’t make friends easily, and when I get nervous I talk way way too much and it scares a lot of people away. So I find myself going to the pub or the movies alone, something I never thought I would do.

The Search for Companionship

I need relationship, not a relationship. I’m so far from ready for that and I couldn’t do that to someone else, try to build something while my heart belongs to another. I can’t bring myself to be that asshole. I currently have 9 Tinder matches and zero will to respond to any of them. It’s honestly just nice to know someone wants to know you. I’m old school, I’m not into playing games, and I will be a good long while before I dip my toes in that water. I need to really know someone before I ever consider a relationship.

No, I need some close friends. Dinner having, concert going, movie watching, friends. Finding friends as an adult is hard. I’m not one of the guys bro-ing it up, and the single guy friends I do have are guarded, like we are competing for the same mate. Where the majority females don’t trust that you’re just looking for friendship. This is a piece of single life I wish was not so hard.

Wish You Were Here

Part of me wishes things ended badly, so I could be angry and bitter, so I could move forward with zeal… but that’s not me, and that’s not us. If 99 days has taught me anything, it’s that more than ever I wish she was here. I am coming to terms with the fact that I have lost her forever, but there’s still that flicker of hope.

Theres still the question, does she still think of me?

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