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39 and loving it

July 1, 2009

So, here I am, 39 years of breathing oxygen on this world. As always, each year is different, bringing the new, taking away the old, and leaving me suspended in the tension between the two.

Very few improvements have happened over the last 12 months. However, the truly bad has been surprisingly absent. I don’t feel like I’ve been treading water. Even if I’ve only pushed ahead an inch or two, the shore’s come into sight.

The big Four-Zero is about 12 months away. I look forward to a spectacular mid-life crisis. But I’ve been saying this for the last 5 years, so I may have missed the boat here. Besides, at this point, all I can afford is a postcard of a Camaro. Can you crisis on a budget?

I think some of the optimism I’ve been feeling revolves around finally being able to do things I never could before because of the expense. With so many print-on-demand services available, I can make a fool out of myself in public like never before, so why have a mid-life crisis? Only your friends can mock you during a mid-life…the internet gives you an international audience. That’s star power, baby!

I have a bunch of projects on the go, and I hope, 12 months from now, I can sit down with a slice of birthday cake and add big, fat, green check marks to all the items on these lists:

Personal

Debt-free
I know it will take me more than 12 months to become completely debt-free, but I hope to have my current debt reduced by more than half by that time. If that happens, it will only be a thorn, not a stick, in my paw, and I’ll start to have the money to do other things, like travel.
Live in the west end
I’ll be honest here: I’m completely blue-collar, and will be for the rest of my life. Parkdale makes me queasy. But I’ve never lived on or near Queen, and never in the west end. I think it will be a grand adventure.
Control my possessions
As a died-in-the-wool Collector with a capital C, I’ve never had much luck imposing order on the things I surround myself with. I tend to sell boxes of books and comics, just to replace them with more boxes just months later. That being said, I’ve made some big leaps on this front in the last few years, and I hope to own much less in the next 12 months. I’ve been a bit of a hermit over the last year or so simply to read and clean, and read and clean, and so on, in an effort to reduce, and it’s been paying off. I came to where I live now with dozens of boxes in storage, and they are now empty. Soon, I may only have what’s on my shelves, and soon after, actual space on the shelves.
Learn to use a camera
Over the last 4 years of taking pictures, my improvement has been slim to non-existent. I want that to change this year. It means having only one damn camera, and buying the equipment to support that camera (a flash, some decent lenses, professional quality software/film). I’ve spent the last year burning through expired film and using junk cameras, which is fun, but ultimately fruitless. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Holga, but it’s time to focus on the mechanics of taking good pictures, not the fashion statement of the camera you have in your hands. Results matter. I want results.
Learn to cook
I have always been a take-out guy, but in the last 5 years or so, have come to identify with Robert Rodriguez’s famous maxim: “Because not knowing how to cook, is like not knowing how to F***.” Of the many things I’d like to learn: bannock, killer fruit salads, bread (without a bread maker), and a variety of stir-fry recipes.

Professional

I have no goals, and probably never will, professionally. I hate money. I really do. It’s never done anything other than keep me alive, which, although important, is only the bread that keeps me sustained enough to dream.

Projects

Keep this blog alive
There’s only one real way to keep writing alive: go out there and find something to write about. So, keeping this alive means keeping myself alive, really Alive.
Remake my first photography book
Filled with errors, omissions, and bad design. It’s worth revisiting, and doing as well as I can.
Making prints
There are a number of online services which offer the opportunity to make art prints on-demand (which is odd, when you say it out-loud). I hope to start with digital prints, but find the time to high-res scan some of the better 35mm and 120 stuff. Watch my products page for that info.
Another book
I’ve always wanted to write a book of haiku, and have dozens floating around from the past, and have started writing them again. Haiku, you say? Isn’t that something you do in Grade 5 and then grow up? Well, no, it isn’t, and there has been some brilliant work done in English. I hope to start using Lulu.com for these types of books.

Who knows? If I learn enough about cooking, maybe there’ll be a recipe book, as well. Probably the first cooking book ever to feature profanity as well as haute couture. Ooh la la!

I guess I want to wrap this up by saying: my life may be quiet, but I’m having fun. I’m not going to make headlines (probably ever), but that’s not really the point.

The point is to shape your life into what you want it to be. I hope you do, too.

And happy birthday to you, whenever your birthday is.

Blow out the candles.

Make a wish.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 1, 2009 7:04 am

    I admire your candid writing style, revealing a comfortable intimacy without being maudlin or otherwise excessively emotional.

    Happy birthday, my friend.

    Every life is unique, but I’m happy for you reaching this age and the level of personal wisdom you have achieved with it. Based on my own experience (which I’ve just acknowledged doesn’t apply) the best is yet to come.

    So belt in, strap up, put the pedal to the medal and get ready for the wild ride that’s coming

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