Devil On My Shoulder

It honestly seems like just yesterday I was serving pumpkin spice lattes, which by the way are fucking disgusting and you need to reconsider your life if this is your drink of choice. Anyway, it most certainly was not yesterday, it’s been over a year since then and eight months since I left Starbucks altogether. During the past eight months I’ve been having an internal battle almost every day. I’m an extremely lazy person, or at least the little voice in my head is. All he wants to do is smoke weed and play video games. Suppressing his wants and working on my needs is a daily struggle that I’ve been losing lately.

I think we are all creatures of habit and depending on which habits you choose to develop will either set you up for success or failure. I laid my groundwork over a three-year span where that was all I did, went to school or work, came home, smoked up and did nothing. Or worse mixed some liquor in. I’ve talked about this before, back then I had a much more positive outlook on this time of my life because it was in the past. I followed these years up with 2-3 years of working out, rarely smoking, and working towards what I thought at the time would be the start to my career. So what’s different?

Lately I’ve been getting to the gym about twice a week and barely eating enough to maintain my current weight. That’s not good enough. Not nearly good enough. Sure I’m much busier now going to school full time and working about 16 hours a week but that’s just an excuse. I’ve been full of excuses the last 8 months and really my whole life. I never want to face the fact that I’m the one making these choices. Staying up until 3 am the night before class, skipping the gym to play Paragon, and just straight up not eating. Do I think weed is the cause to this? No. Do I think it brings out the worst in me? Sometimes, yeah.

After saying all this I know I will most likely never completely give up smoking. Last fall shortly after Bri and I moved in together I gave it up for about a month and it was an interesting experience. I was more productive, got more sleep, and was much better at managing my time. But I was always stressed. Is that a worthy trade-off? Tough to say. As of right now I’m doing extremely well in school, having just got 100% and 92% on my math and computer applications midterms, but I know it is just the beginning and I’m already feeling a half step behind. So it’s time to stifle that little bitch that keeps telling me to push off my responsibilities till tomorrow and get shit done. Now. I’m excited for the next month for the first time in almost a year. It’s going to be a lot of work and I am probably going to be extremely stressed out but that’s the price I have to pay for slipping back into my old ways. I know I will smoke occasionally and that’s fine. If I have my school work taken care of and I’ve already hit the gym then give er. However, I quit drinking for almost a full year at one point and it was one of the best decisions I made. I’m back to having the odd pop with friends again but it really changed my mentality around drinking to get wasted all the time. So if this isn’t the last time I have this little ‘change in mentality’ talk with myself then it may be time to give it up for a good while.

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Lost Connection

Between today being an excruciatingly slow day at Panago and Center of Gravity just on the horizon my mind was wandering more than usual. This is a great feeling as it usually results in some inspiration to write; something that has been lacking lately. As I slowly turned the dish I was ‘washing’ over in my hands, my train of thought led to all the amazing, and less than desirable, connections I’ve made in my short time on this earth. Co-workers, schoolmates, teammates, friends, and some rivals. Once I get over my initial anxiety of meeting new people I tend to create great relationships with others. Whether it be during my time at UofL, FutureShop, Starbucks, or any of the part time jobs I held in-between those times where I met some great individuals. Each incredibly unique, as was our relationships with each other. Yet I was left feeling quite empty as I reflected on each of these instances. My inability to maintain any long-term contact with individuals who I valued as friends was extremely clear to me. Why is this? Why am I unable to have a continued relationship with these people? I think there’s a couple reasons, though neither adequate.

Distance is definitely the greatest offender. Since I left Medicine Hat in late 2013 I have only returned three times? Maybe four I can’t quite remember (I have never returned to Lethbridge). Regardless an amount of trips that makes it near impossible to maintain any kind of human contact with those who still live there. Especially when my time is mainly spent with family (though there’s always some time for a dirty Rona night). Therefore that leaves communication to text/call/facetime etc. There’s nothing wrong with these means of communicating, I know plenty of people who facetime on a bi-daily basis, however I am terrible with these. This leads us to the next issue. I am so fucking engulfed in my own life that reaching out to someone else just doesn’t happen. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to my Brother on the phone, and he’s blood. That means the deck is already stacked against my friends. This has caused a few lost friendships in my life, one in particular which never leaves the back of my mind. They say the first step towards dealing with a problem is accepting there is a problem. That’s the goal with this piece. I can’t go back and fix the mistakes I’ve already made, but I can try and limit them in the future. Losing a friend sucks, losing a friend because of your own complacency leaves a gaping hole. However there are those in my life in which I do still maintain contact with and I am incredibly thankful to have them in my life. Taylor is the one example I feel comfortable sharing. Taylor and I met when I started at Starbucks. She left soon after that and our lives have rarely intertwined since then. Yet whenever one of us contacts the other and we do the inevitable ‘we should grab a drink sometime’ it isn’t an empty gesture. When our schedules finally have some free time that coincide we meet up for drinks and much needed catching up. We have glaring differences and yet I think I speak for both of us when I say our time together, however scattered it may be, is a great time to decompress and escape the never ending cycle that is life. I can only hope to form and maintain more of these kinds of connections.

NOS + Ice Tea Lemonade Vape Juice

Over the past month or so Kelowna has received more rain than my previous two years here combined, it’s led to flooding and quite a bit of property damage unfortunately. May long has been another story entirely however and I’m quite happy about it. My parents are here visiting and it’s been mid-high twenties all weekend. I’ve spent a few hours with them so far but have missed most of the planned activities due to work. That’s alright though, this weekend was fairly busy at work.  I saw them all day today and then they head back tomorrow. It was a good to see them, let them know about my plans for school and discuss updates. As we were catching up I fully realized just how poor I’ve been taking care of myself. My training has completely fallen apart, working two jobs will do that to you, I’ve barely been eating, losing 10 pound in the past two months. It feels like my diet consists of pizza, NOS energy drinks, and vape juice: the building blocks of health and strength. Usually when I’m updating my parents it consists of weight or strength plateaus I’ve passed and not much else. This time it was just not much else. That might be why I’m excited to see my schedule return back to normal tomorrow. I’m no longer working two jobs so I’ll have ample time to get my training and diet back on track while still focusing on saving money for school in September. Fitness is my motivation for returning to school after all so it’s important I maintain focus on constant improvement and ensure this is just a small hiccup and not a defining moment of lapsed concentration. Tomorrow I begin again at stage one and will be doing a bit of an accelerated beginner program to gain back my base level strength and then move on from there.

As for a bit of an update in regards to the blog my Take a Minute series has been put to slumber. I really enjoy sharing music with others as well as having people share music with me. However the format didn’t really work for people and so it’s done for now. Perhaps it will come back in one offs when I have something I really want to share with you guys but even then I will probably title them as such to avoid confusion. In the mean time if you are interested in discovering some music you may have never heard before and some you probably already love you can check out my spotify playlists. I’ve created three, two with laughably opposite titles: Light & Breezy and Dark & Dirty. The third called Go Hard is my workout oriented playlist. Don’t sleep on it if you’re not a regular gym goer though. Check them out if you’re interested and like I said, if there’s anything that interests me in a major way I’ll be sure to share it with you.

Right Person, Wrong Time

Happy (belated) Easter! I hope everyone enjoyed some time spent with family and/or friends this weekend. I ended up heading to my uncle and aunt’s place for Easter dinner last night. My sister, brother in law, niece, nephew, and my aunt’s mother were all there as well. We eventually finished a wonderful meal (and even better dessert) before settling in the living room for some must needed catching up. After awhile the topic of relationships inevitably came up. Now if there is a single subject I detest discussing with family more than dating I’m yet to discover it. Displaying an interest in aspects of each other’s life is natural and I understand why it comes up; yet I cringe whenever it does. “Seeing anyone lately?” is usually how it’s posed in my family. Every time I reply the same.

Some months ago I had a candid conversation with one of my friends who is a few years older than me on the idea of dating at our age. We both shared a similar opinion though he was able to put his together much more elegantly and coherent than myself. They (basically) said that at our age with our dreams and more realistically goals, unless you feel some sort of “spark” immediately, any time spent perusing this relationship takes away from your ability to achieve these aspirations. A fairly bleak, pessimistic view on the matter. One that I echo completely.

This is a viewpoint I’ve shared with others before and received surprisingly unsupportive feedback so I’ll do my best to convince you it’s a valid one; or at the very least not crazy. In regards to the two of us, we both are in places in our lives which we view as a stepping stone on the path to where we actually want to be. Personally I’ve been working at jobs which don’t have a great earning potential or spark a passion within myself – a considerable motive for my return to school come September. So in other words I’m broke and uninspired. I have grand plans for working within the fitness, tech, or marketing industries so I know everything I do now is simply the means to an end. I’m not currently the best version of myself and it will take an immense amount of time and effort to get to that point. A challenge I’m excited to see play out. The idea of bringing someone else along for this journey just sounds like insanity to me. I believe that for any relationship to last you need to care about the other person more than yourself and be willing to compromise. Two things I’m not currently capable of while pursuing the life I desire. You might think this is incredibly selfish and in reality it is, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. I’d rather set myself and potential future partner up for success than struggle to ever get out of lower class together. I’ve heard the idea of meeting the right person at the wrong time before and at this point in my life there’s nothing that rings truer. Having said all that, about eight months ago I disregarded everything I believe and fell head over heels for a girl. I was in daily discussions with the aforementioned friend over this change in mentality. We barely knew each other and she was all I could think about it. That’s the kind of feeling required to sway me from my staunch position. The whole time my friend was supportive despite his lack of agreement. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) she did not feel the same spark and we went our separate ways. So for now my response will continue to remain the same: “Nope, just been working and lifting weights.” Perhaps one day that will change and perhaps by then I’ll be ready to commit the love and attention necessary to make it work. Until then I’ve got PR’s to hit and soon enough exams to study for. Hooray!

 

Professionally Offended

We live in an age where people are looking for any opportunity to be offended. Not actually offended of course, just fake offended. There’s two glaring examples of this as of late, one that you may have already heard of and one you most likely haven’t. I’ll start with the ladder. Colin Moriarty, formerly of Kinda Funny, posted this tweet on international women’s day.

Now there isn’t much to be said about the joke itself that hasn’t already been stated but I’ll throw my two cents in just for fun. First off, if you are truly offended by this I pray for you. I don’t know how you live your day to day life without shooting off to anyone who will listen about how offensive they are. I’ve heard and seen some truly heinous shit and this comes nowhere close. Or more likely, similar to those who so quickly ruined Colin’s reputation, you’re a keyboard warrior. Either way you should probably click away now as almost anything I write will undoubtedly be much, much worse. The fact is it’s a joke. Perhaps you don’t find it to be particularly humorous (I myself fall in this camp) or that it’s perhaps in bad taste. Both reasonable responses. However, to claim that this tweet truly offends you, causing you to lose sleep and take up your mind share I honestly can’t comprehend. The bubble you must live in.  Nonetheless this isn’t about the response from the general public as things are often blown completely out of proportion by people on the internet. What matters is how Kinda Funny handled this situation. A company which refers to it’s fans as best friends. Best friends disagree, that’s a fact of life. Something they don’t do is abandon each other when the going gets tough. Even I know this, someone who is a terrible friend at times. All Greg Miller (Kinda Funny CEO) and Tim Gettys (Kinda Funny co-founder) had to do is release a statement around the lines of “while I don’t find the tweet funny, calling Colin a sexist is ridiculous and won’t be tolerated by Kinda Funny.” Boom. Drama over. Instead Greg releases this.

He chose the almighty dollar and their company’s image over his best friend. So when Colin’s resignation was announced the following Monday there was no other way to interpret it than the lack of support from his friends led to his departure. Greg can claim it was Colin’s own choice all he wants, which it was, but the fact is his actions caused Colin to leave. In a world where the internet is lurking and waiting to jump on an opportunity to tear you apart, standing by your friends is all you have. And you failed Greg. They will come for your company again and what will you do then? There’s only four of you left now, will you go down to three at the next SJW outrage?

Moving on to something less near to my heart: Dave Chappelle’s Netflix comedy specials. I recently watched both shows and found them generally entertaining even if a few jokes fell flat. I watch many standup acts and really enjoy watching the different strategies for setting up a joke. Some of my favorites include Mike Birbiglia, Anthony Jeselnik, and Chris D’Elia. I feel it’s important to share those names because each one of them has pushed the envelope in their shows to little repercussions; especially Jeselnik. That guy is dark. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy dark humor I don’t recommend it but if you do definitely check out Thoughts and Prayers on Netflix; it’s hilarious. But anyway back to Chappelle. Not even a week post release of these specials people on the internet were losing their minds. “He said fag, he made light of rape” and so on. In everyday life this is obviously terrible vocabulary to use and I would understand the outrage to an extent. However this was during a comedy set. Comedy. The one medium where nothing is off limits. Nothing. If you don’t support that ideology I don’t think you understand the medium. It’s supposed to poke fun at the worst aspects of the human race, not to be a representation of everyday life. I’ll leave you with this last thought. Why is it Russell Peters can shit on Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Black, and White people with no repercussions yet Chappelle jokes about LGBTQ and everyone loses their minds. Is it possibly because we’re not fighting for Asian rights but we are currently fighting for LGBTQ rights? It’s a buzz word right now and when used the internet masses swarm. I’m all for equality but kindly keep your political correctness the fuck out of comedy. It doesn’t belong there and never will. You may think this is the wrong hill to die on, you may be correct. But it’s not going to stop me.

Where Ya At

Oh hey there, fancy seeing you here. It’s been a while but I’m back; back in black. Well actually I’m wearing blue right now… My disappearance from writing was by design, I’ve had some big changes lately and needed to choose both the timing and my words carefully. Yesterday was my last day at Starbucks. It’s bittersweet. I enjoyed my time there, I learned how to deal with people from all different walks of life, how to be a good leader (some might disagree), but more importantly found out more about myself than I ever expected to. The connections I made with our customers is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I had multiple people tell me how proud of me they are for pursuing my passions while business owners head hunted me for positions within their own company. I was shocked with the reception I received both when transferring stores and now when leaving. However, there were some glaring issues that couldn’t be ignored which led to my departure. The person they wanted me to be, and the person I am are two very different people. As I continued to pursue the next steps towards a promotion to assistant manager these gaps in values became more and more clear. As a younger fellow I watched my father pour his soul into a company which he successfully managed a branch of for the majority of his life, only to be pushed out during the tail end of his career there. He was a ‘for the people’ style manager, while they wanted a by the books, statistical, manager. He pushed back for a few years, insisting he was the same man who was praised for his success only a few years removed. Unfortunately, when head office gets an idea of what they (think they) need there is no changing their minds. During those last few years I witnessed him return home unhappy, stressed, and at a loss of what to do. He put up with that to provide for my mother, sister, and I. While I want to make it clear I was nowhere near to being in the same situation, witnessing this time of his life gave me a little foresight as to what I could expect if I continued on. Therefore I walked away. I think it’s a great company that does great work for their customers, employees, and communities, it’s just not for me; and that’s okay.

So you may be wondering what’s next, but unfortunately at this time I have nothing to share. I hate to say I’m doing this, this, and this when they are in the embryonic stages and then none of them pan out. For now my focus is going to be on nutrition, writing, and streaming. When there’s news I will be sure to share, but for now I’m taking a much needed break to clear my head and create a plan of attack. That’s all for now.

Past, Present & Future

Around this time every year my brother in law and I often discuss resolutions. Both of us claim we’re not be the type to set specific goals, yet we both end up discussing our goals for the upcoming year. Typical. I remember sitting in his hot tub late Christmas Eve last year listening to Deadmau5′ song Gula contemplating what I wanted out of 2016. Between the soothing song, beauty of the clear starry night, and volume of rum consumed, I found myself slightly overwhelmed. I moved here on a whim, no idea what to expect, and hadn’t really had time to consider what I was looking for here. A new start, that much was clear, but I had achieved that already so what more did I need? I made a deal with myself to focus on fitness and end 2016 at 175 pounds. That definitely didn’t happen. While I am disappointed with my lack of results I can pretty easily identify why I failed. I did so much research and listened to so many different opinions that I become frozen with indecision. This article says high frequency is the way to go so then I do two months of that. This YouTuber says tracking your macros is the most important aspect while this other one says just to eat as much as humanly possible. “Vacuums are the best way to strengthen your core” “You don’t need to train your core directly at all as long as you activate during compound lifts.” I was over-informed and underachieving  due to my inability to choose the right program for me and stick to it. But through all this I learned what doesn’t work for me and what I need to do this next year to make sure I’m happy with where I’m at. However, this year I have many more goals or resolutions I wish to see come to light and in order to convince myself these are all possible I need to evaluate where I was in 2015, how I improved in 2016, and where I want to be at the end of 2017 in five different categories. Personal, fitness, writing, gaming, and professionally.

I’ll start with my professional goals. I rarely discuss work in my writing because, well, it’s work. I work to live and not the reverse. This doesn’t mean I am unmotivated or uncommitted though. I just have a distinct line between personal life and professional life. 2015 was an interesting year for me in general but in regards to employment it was even more unique. I never would have envisioned myself working for Starbucks yet there I was. I thought what I would miss most about sales (other than the commission) was working one on one with someone and really getting to know their specific needs and how you can tailor your services to that. Fortunately, Starbucks encourages us to make those same connections albeit in a much shorter time frame. After five months as a barista I was promoted to shift supervisor and really began to be challenged as a leader. I’ve now been a shift for a little over a year and have experienced a wide variety of scenarios, including Christmas time at the mall. This year has been great for my development and I now have my eyes set on assistant manager. I go for interviews at the end of January so the nerves are starting to set in now but I’m confident in my abilities and obviously the company is too or else they wouldn’t be investing the time and effort into me. I think 2017 is going to be a good year for me and I won’t settle for less, I know I’m management material, I just need to prove it.

Let’s talk about my writing/blog content. Since themodernmanchild’s inception my content has really ebbed and flowed both in terms of quality and consistent output. I was broke, living in my sister’s basement, no job, and needed a way to deal with the withdrawal’s. So I figured I’d try writing and see what happened. That first post I wrote got over 100 views and I received comments on my Facebook post from a range of people but the one that hit me the most was my high school basketball coach. I had never wanted him to see me as anything but the kid who worked his ass off on the court and I had just admitted so much shit. I was pretty terrified. I obviously wanted people to read it, that’s why I created it, but for some reason I had this idea that 99% of the people who crossed over it would just ignore it. Not the case. So what does one do to follow that up? Well I tried to activate what little creativity I had in me by writing some smaller pieces and found that I came off really ‘woah is me.’ So I took what I thought would be a permanent brake from writing. ‘Nah not for me’, just another one of my experiments to see if something would stick, kinda like DJing. Unlike Djing however, which was mainly just an excuse to listen to music high, I found my interest piqued every once in a while and decided if I wanted to continue this I needed to find something I really love and write about it. So I began my mini series ‘Take a Minute’ and had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, for someone with a fairly limited vocabulary like myself there’s only so many ways to describe the wub wubs before you’re like alright bro we fucking get it. So again there was a long time with no new content.  It wasn’t until a coworker of mine stumbled upon my blog and told me I should write more. This took me by surprise, ‘but why, I talk about nothing.’ Then I went and read her blog, ‘hey she talks about nothing too, and it’s interesting.’ Then I read some more blogs, and some more, and some more. Then I realized we’re all talking about our own personal ‘nothing.’ To someone it might be boring as all hell, that person probably won’t be back though so no need to worry, but to someone else they might find something valuable and intriguing hidden among the nothingness. So for 2017 I plan to be much more consistent with content, continue Take a Minute though fairly scattered, and start a couple new series I can sprinkle throughout my other ramblings. I find I’m more productive in general when I’m writing so this can only be a good thing. When it does fall apart is when I’m stressed from work, because then my mind goes into ‘there’s never enough time for anything!!’ mode and that’s a tough spot for me to get out of at times.

Next is gaming. While it might seem a bit odd to have goals towards gaming, my vision of being more productive within gaming is probably a completely foreign concept to most. But let me explain. I currently have 48 games loaded on my PS4 hard drive with over twenty more that I’ve removed because I’ve accepted I’ll never get back to them. I’m the kind of gamer who will just buy multiple games and treat them like a shot gun blast. Most of it probably won’t connect but something in the batch will hit the spot. This leads to multiple games being purchased and never touched. It’s not the worst thing because I usually only purchase games on sale, and I also would have never found Overwatch (easily my favorite game of all time) without this type of approach. However this lead to multiple half started games that I never see to the end. The Witcher Wild Hunt, Dragon Age Inquisition, and Dying Light are just a few examples of such games. I love all three but I’ll get bored after 20 or so hours, leave it, and never get back to it. So I want to be more deliberate with my time in these game worlds and with my money that I’m using towards games. I’ve been like this my whole life though so this is a steep hill to conquer.

If there was one thing I was incredibly proud of at the beginning of 2016 vs 2015 is my decision to purchase a vaporizer and quit smoking. I had moved down to a fairly weak potency as well. Then I dropped it in water and wrecked it. Back to smoking we go. It really is a disgusting habit and the fact I was doing so well really hurts. However, today I took advantage of some boxing day sales and got a new one for about half the price I spent on my first one. It’s not kicking the habit but it’s a start. Hopefully I can move down to a 0 mg nicotine content this year and just use it for a placebo effect. As my friend once pointed out being so devoted to working out and then smoking after is extremely counterproductive so here’s to the end of a two year battle.

And finally fitness. After having a specific body weight target this past year I really found myself obsessing over the scale, and it would effect my mood depending on the result. So this year I have two main targets in mind. Becoming the best volleyball player I can be, and getting stronger, regardless of my weight. If the weight comes too, bonus. My strength leaves much to be desired after 2+ years of training and so changing my focus I think will be the step I need to take in order to continue seeing growth as an athlete. This kind of goes hand in hand with being a better volleyball player as strength will obviously be a major part of increasing my vertical. However, I also want to increase my foot speed via skipping and quickness drills and just improve my overall knowledge and awareness. The ladder will be the harder of the two as really the only way of improving is more time on the court with players who are both more skilled and more knowledgeable than myself. With time I think I can accomplish both these things and more! I love both sports and want to play as much, and as long as possible.