November 27, 2014

What Matters to Me

These last few weeks I’ve had to think through some tough decisions on where my life was heading. Although I haven’t settled on something just yet, I became a lot more comfortable with the possible outcomes—after thinking about the things that really mattered to me in life.

It wasn’t easy thinking about these things. Looking back at my life, things that I thought would be good opportunities for me could turn into the opposite. They actually hurt my sense of self and what I wanted to do in the world. Taking a new life direction just for things like the money or a shiny promise of ‘being better’ weren’t things I set out to do, but it’s hard to say ‘no’ to opportunities like that if that’s what your career direction is *supposed* to go in.

I’m trying to shift myself away from the template that I was following. It’s not just because I want to do something different—it’s because I don’t feel like the person I know I want to be. Part of this shift involves figuring out what I really want in life, and I’ve tried to be as specific as I can—without limiting myself to these things. I found that there weren’t too many things that I couldn’t live without, but they’re not small things by any means. They take a lot of time and care to make up the inspiration for things in my life.

Love & support
I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my life without the love and support of my family, friends, and my wife—who’s there to walk me through my issues almost every day. It’s so important to have as much of these people around me as possible, and keeping a healthy relationship with them. I’m constantly amazed with how talking to these amazing people about my problems can make the whole day better.

Although it helps to have digital stuff to communicate with them when they’re not close, I still prefer being with them in-person. Being able to travel to these people within a day makes such a difference, and you can do things like sharing a meal or coffee over conversation. I love experiencing wonderful things with equally wonderful people.

A place I can respect
I’m a huge believer in positive people inspiring other people, and especially when it’s on a city-wide scale. No city is without it’s problems. But I’ve become a big fan of Vancouver, where I’ve been living for the past 6 years. It’s grown into a city with some amazing community programs and initiatives—which I’ve grown to be a part of in the past few years. Things like the Gordon Neighbourhood House, the Vancouver Bienniale, Neighbourhood Small Grants, and VIVA Vancouver have completely transformed my idea of what this city is. They show that people really care about their communities and want to make them even better than they are now. Apart from it’s beautiful spot perched between mountains and the ocean, these things make the city a place I really respect. A place I’d like to keep growing in. It makes me excited to see what kinds of things will happen in the near future.

Making an impact in my community
Over the last few years, I’ve become much more aware of the place I’m living in and the responsibility that comes with that. Especially in a larger city, the things we do on a personal scale have effects on the shared buildings we live and work in. These could be things that prevent bad stuff from happening, like recycling or garbage collecting to keep litter off the streets. Or they could be celebrations of being together, like having a potluck or barbecue to meet your neighbours. But as long as I have a chance to get involved in things like these, I’m happy.

During a hike with some friends last week, I went a bit off the trail and into a thick patch of trees for a bit. As far as I could see, there were mossy trees everywhere. Although there was no clear path or organization to them, but they seemed to be aware of their space between each other. I didn’t see many trees growing right up against another, invading another’s space. Each tree seemed to work with the space it had, and grew to be these amazingly lush, tall things.

After sitting on the things that matter most to me, that’s the more of what I want to achieve. Working with what I have, where I’m at, and staying true to the things I care about. That way, I hope I can keep growing into something grand like those trees.


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