I have been off from work for the last week. It was a sort of unplanned vacation, one that I am not getting paid for. And while I did not have enough money in my vacation hours to pay for it, I decided to take it off for a bit of mid-winter relief.
I had hoped to accomplish several things during this week including the three goals I have set for myself this year – to focus on politics, writing in my blog, and mentoring.
I am somewhat pleased to report that I was able to contribute to the achievement of two of these long-term goals this week. In between I binge watched Netflix (Lucifer, The Blacklist), catch up on a couple DVD’s (Deliverance and Pet Semetary) and watch a dozen TED Talks and YouTube videos on a video gamer I’m following, objects in space, ghosts and hauntings, human consciousness and, of course, Canadian politics.
I am listening to The Grand Sound, a channel of instrumental music (in this case hip hop and electronic) on YouTube to help my concentration while I write this blog, a few minutes ago it was a TED Talk on robots and drones. I know, my video watching interests vary as much as the music genres I listen to.
Tomorrow, Friday, is my last day off this week. I return to work for one day then I have two more days off. It is such a hard life isn’t it. On Sunday evening we will be holding our last People’s Party Huron-Bruce meeting until spring. We decided that to save money and not worry about fighting the elements and minor league hockey it would be best to put off meetings until more people are out and about.
For the first time since the start of 2017 I have decided to grow facial hair again. I sported a goatee while living in Alberta for a couple years and shaved it off when I left and returned to Ontario. I am not entirely certain why I decided to grow a beard and moustache here, as if I need yet another reason to look older than I want to feel. My beard starts out nice and dark but eventually ends up blond with lots of gray. I am told it appears quite distinguished and mature but to be honest, like most people around me, such characteristics blend into the landscape.
I can not recall if I told you of an experiment I conducted recently. One day at work I was discussing the frequency of numbers and how their sequences can be a sign of something happening in the universe around us. We had discovered that a sequence “11122” had recently been appearing in my life. As these are positive numbers, in numerology, we decided I should try to pay attention for them more.
Well, as I left work that night, I was debating whether to buy my usual lottery tickets. I was in the left turn lane, heading south out of town and away from the convenience store up the street. I glanced over at the street address, the 9-1-1 signs all over Ontario. There were four signs, I think, and down through the middle of the numbers were several 1’s and 2’s. I checked my mirrors, hit the right signal and changed into the right lane and turned up the street to buy my tickets.
Each week I buy what I call ‘the 5-draw spread’ which I have had to explain a few times to the clerk. It consists of buying one line with extra (encore) of each of the five draws displayed on the overhead LED screen. Max, 649, Daily Grand and two others I can never remember the names of, in total $18. It is a reasonable amount to pay, many people spend $5 to $20 a week on the lottery.
So how lucky were the tickets? Each week, after the draws concluded, I bought a new set of tickets.
Week 1 – won $2
Week 2 – won $4
Week 3 – won $6 plus 2 free plays
Week 4 – won $4 plus 1 free play
Week 5 – won $0 plus 3 free plays
Week 6 – won $0
Week 7 – the last week of my experiment, won $2 with 1 ticket not checked yet
Update: won $2 on that ticket
Not very lucky some might say, but I think in the last six months previous of randomly buying my set of tickets I might have won a total of $4 and 1 free play.
Was this simply chance or a tapping into the numerical flow of the universe? Some will say, like the lottery, that it was pure chance… while others are not quite so sure.
I am going to end of this blog for now before starting a new topic. I do not want these to get too long that no one will want to read them, not that people do anyways that is.
Last night I was feeling disappointed that I had spent most of my three days off watching Netflix and following politics on Facebook and Twitter. It felt like I had wasted my days off and I knew there was no way I could recover the lost time. I did get a couple things done I wanted to, paid some bills, took some pics in the park, and did my laundry. It just did not feel productive though.
I decided that, over the next three nights, after work, I would catch up on all the things I had not completed. Write in my journal, update my blog, find time to relax, those sorts of things that I put on the proverbial back burner for most of 2018.
That was my biggest complaint for 2018 of myself – denying myself quality ‘me time’ to write or read or, in my own way, meditate, and try to re-connect to my spiritual side that was left at the side of the road half dead waiting to be buried these past couple years.
So here it is Wednesday, and I was all ready to go back to work, three days off is quite enough but I did like that they were all in a row and not my two days off and another stray one somewhere else in this week. It started to snow, fluffy stuff, about an hour before I was to leave for work. I got ready, out to the truck, cleaned it off… cleaned it off again and set off for Port Elgin. I did not even make it the block down to Concession 2. The visibility was terrible, suffice to say there was almost no visibility. I saw the lights of oncoming cars in the last few seconds before they passed (under 3 metres away) and the road surface was snow covered and slippery. I made it to the bridge down the street, turned around almost missing the turn as I slid into the south-bound lane, and paused for a moment on the park road to center myself a little. I drove back home and called off work, the whole ordeal took about fifteen minutes for something on a clear summer day would take less than three.
So, I spent today trying to avoid Facebook and Twitter. I went on both but only briefly, trying to spend less than ten minutes each time. I watched some Netflix, wrote in my journal and hung out a bit with my cat. Right now, I have some meditative music playing on YouTube, love the videos and live streams there for music, and as you can read, I am writing in my blog.
And what will I write about tonight in this blog you ask? I have no idea. I guess it is time once again to check the ‘I did it’ list and find five things to write about.
Here’s one “rode on a snowmobile”. The ride was totally unplanned. I was in Harrison Park, I think it was, and had decided to take a winter hike back into the woods between the Park and the highway that leads into Owen Sound. I remember I got out far enough that the snow was deep and hard to walk in. I remember thinking how long it would take me to get back to the parking lot when a snowmobiler came along. He must have noticed that I was not the best dressed, albeit in winter attire, for such a long hike and he offered me a lift back to the main park. My walk that had taken well over an hour going out was done in about ten minutes. That is the only time I have ever been on a snowmobile.
Called 9-1-1. I think I can recall all the times I called 9-1-1. Let me see if I can list them.
An electrical fire where some trees were touching power lines along the highway – the fire department responded and got the power shut down, so the power crews could repair the damage to the lines.
A flood on the main highway into Walkerton – the police did not respond, the person who responded said “well, we just hope and pray they slow down”, the area flooded was right in front of the OPP detachment office. That storm, as it turns out, was the tipping point for contamination into the town water supply that killed seven and injured over two thousand people.
One time, on vacation, driving through Owen Sound, called the police to report someone throwing a variety of fruits and vegetables down from the escarpment onto the roadway, where cars were going over 50. My wife at the time was worried they’d hit someone. We don’t think the police bothered to even drive by the hill.
Called them one time some guy was spooking kids in my home town, he turned out to be drunk or something, but that time they did show up and even let me ride along to where they caught him in the cemetery.
I called them once about an abandoned vehicle. I had seen it the night before as I was driving home. The location was not near any residences and it just seemed a bit off. So, I called and when I drove by later the vehicle was gone.
Let’s see, probably other times but I will bet I could count them on less fingers than on my two hands.
I have seen all the “Great Lakes”, Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior. Ontario from Toronto. Erie from Erie, Buffalo and Toledo, Huron from all points here along the lakeshore, Sarnia, Michigan from Milwaukee, and, Superior from Sault Ste Marie, Thunder Bay. I have been to the Pacific Ocean via Vancouver Island, but I have yet to see the Atlantic Ocean.
The furthest “east” I have been is Ottawa way back in 1984, and in the US it would be Buffalo, NY.
The furthest “west” in Canada I have been is Pacific Rim National Forest, Vancouver Island, and in the US, it was Fargo, North Dakota I guess since Davenport (Quad City) Iowa is not as far west.
To the north, that would be Baker Lake, Nunavut, and, to the south it would be Lexington, Kentucky. And that is the extent of my worldly travels to date.
The furthest I walked in an urban setting, while having a conversation with a friend, was over 6.5 kilometres, from Brampton Transit Centre in downtown Brampton, to the Mississauga Civic Centre. This was back before when it mostly horse farms and open spaces between the two cities. I used to walk a lot back then. I lived in downtown Brampton and on several occasions walked to and from Mount Chinguacousy, 6 kilometres one way.
What is that, three life experiences, I think that is enough for tonight. Have a great night.
Tonight, I was deciding what to write about for my second blog of 2019. I have my notebook open with my ‘Things I’ve Done in My Life’ list, in case I can not think of anything else to write about.
I think, to begin, I will tell you about a dream I had the other night. I believe that the dream was trying to give me a message, let’s see what you think?
I was somewhere in the future, I believe stuck on a planet not Earth. I know, but I am a Star Trek fan so bear with me. This planet, the section I was on at least, was covered with dense vegetation. It appeared to be somewhat tropical. I knew, somehow, that I was a) stuck on this planet with at least one other person, a woman, perhaps a crew member from my ship, and, 2) possible hostile natives, of the planet, that I had not met nor knew anything about. I think the ship we had been on broke apart and crashed. There was some electronic beacon, large about the size of a night stand, sitting in the dense vegetation.
I remember finding the beacon and changing some of the settings on it to attempt to send a distress call to our ship. So, we must have been on a shuttlecraft that crashed and not a larger ship, I think. Or perhaps to another coalition starship that might be passing by the planet or system? I didn’t know.
The dream started with me seeing things from an observer of the woman, she too found the beacon and had adjusted settings on it to send a signal. The thing was, when I observed the man, who I believed to be me in this dream, I did not seem to be aware that the woman was there and alive. Maybe I thought everyone had died in the crash? When I saw the area with her in it, I felt I knew her, and the man (me?) knew her, but neither knew the other was still alive and on the same part of the planet at the same time.
I got to the beacon, I think it was a second time. I discovered the settings had been changed so I changed them back again. In my mind I thought a hostile may have found the beacon and tried to trap me on the planet by changing the settings. I remember feeling fear that someone or something was watching me, out there, nearby, since I had not ventured far from the beacon after setting it the first time. I am wondering why I did not think there might be a survivor out there, but then I think if the settings on the beacon had been left alone to what I knew would reach ‘someone’ out there (and not on the planet surface) she would have used the same settings.
The thing was, when I woke up, I believe I might have misunderstood the dream while I was ‘in’ it. The man and the woman in the dream were both me. Two sides of myself, the yin and yang if you will. The message I think the dream was trying to tell me was that there is something I am conflicted with in my life. I can not pinpoint what that might be exactly, but the two ‘halves’ of me were working against each other to reach the goal.
I have not had much time to think about what the object of conflict might be in my life, but I am wondering if anyone else might have a different interpretation of this dream.
I have mentioned before that some dreams, particularly reoccurring ones, have ended up meaning something in my life, the meaning of which I did not understand until months or even years later. Normally I do not take my dreams to heart, as they say, but with all the changes, that are starting to happen again in my life, maybe I need to?
In the ‘real world’ Sunday was spent mostly on Twitter and Facebook catching up with the latest Canadian political blunders. The big news for the afternoon and into the evening is about a girl from Saudi Arabia who was flying to Australia to seek asylum. She was detained in Thailand and it has caused an international incident that is being discussed around the world.
You would not know that from Twitter mind you, they have strategically censored the Trends to reflect the asinine Golden Globe awards and filled the “Worldwide” trend list with crap about it. Seriously? I would say over half of my entire screen of messages used the hashtag #SaveRahif that Twitter strategically left out of trends. It was a blatantly clear indication of the censoring and bias of Twitter and the uselessness its Trends feature as an accurate reflection of regional or global interests.
I did get out for a couple hours in the afternoon, down to Station Beach. It was overcast, freezing cold and windy. I took some photos along the lakeshore and tried to do some writing, but, instead, spent most of my time on my phone with social media. It was just too bloody cold to really get out and take a decent walk, yeah, sure, other people were out there walking, but minus seven isn’t the kind of ‘hey let’s check out the boardwalk and beach’ type of weather, at least not alone.
Tonight, January 1st, now technically January 2nd, I am writing my first of what I hope to be fifty-two blog entries in 2019. I know, that’s a rather ambitious goal seeing as I barely wrote fifty-two blog entries in the last ten years. The hardest part of doing this I only realized yesterday. ‘I can not think of fifty-two interesting things to write about let alone turn them into several paragraphs’ I said to myself.
And then I remembered a project I worked on in 2017, one that is still going to some degree in 2019. I described this briefly to a friend the other day, and I have decided that I will talk about it in greater detail tonight.
I started on a rather ambitious list, a listing of “All the things I have done in my life” up to this point, and I mean everything I have done. Let me give you a couple examples from this list of 172 things:
Number 10 – got married
Number 11 – got divorced
Number 40 – wrote in a newspaper
Number 62 – witnessed an accident
Number 105 – asked for directions
And so on. I am not going to list them all but what I am going to do is pick 5 random points and write about them each time I need inspiration for a blog entry. Tonight, will be the first five picked, and no, it is not the five I just listed that would be too easy. Okay, maybe one of them will be. I am going to be lazy though and not bother with the number of the point, I do not have them so meticulously numbered in this booklet so to speed things up I will just omit that part.
Here is the first one, “made a wish”.
Have you ever made a wish? I have, several times. I have wished on a star. I have wished on one of those poofy dandelions before blowing the seeds away. I have not wished on a four-leaf clover. I did see one, twice, different ones, but not ones in my possession. I can not begin to recall all the things I have wished for in life. I probably wished for a girlfriend, for pain to go away, for the winning numbers for the lottery. This was years before I learned about the law of attraction and how wishes can, eventually, come true if you want them enough.
The second, “got lost in the woods”.
I have only gotten lost in the woods once. Now, some who really know me might recall a time near Brampton I got lost during a terrible thunderstorm and used my knowledge of urban development to get us back to the car. That’s a story for another time and does not involve the woods.
The one time I was lost in the woods was, ironically, while trying to use a compass to get out of the woods and back to camp. It was at the Outdoor Education Centre near Wiarton, Ontario. We were there, as a class, for a few nights. For one afternoon the exercise was to be taken out into the wilds, given a compass and coordinates and find our own way back to the facility. I was never, and still am not, very good at reading a compass. I ended up relying on one of my classmates to help me find my way back to camp. The strange thing about it is, in the years since, I have developed a natural ability to find my way back to civilization (my hotel, my car, whatever) when I am travelling to new places. I guess I proved the point of having another person along with you when you go hiking in the woods.
The third, “played sports”.
I was just remembering the other day about playing floor hockey way back in elementary school. I received several school merit bars for my activities. I remember that in floor hockey I was the guy who would head up into the defensive zone and slap the puck or ball, I forget, into the net past the goalie. I think one year I was on the Aqua team? We played floor hockey, volleyball, soccer, basketball, and track. I was not that good at sports as my life progressed, perhaps it was because of poor upper body strength or perhaps I just did not want to be a jock. I do not know. I could run, and I could throw. There are more memories I have, that might be the reasons why, but I will not get into them tonight.
I wish I had saved everything from back then. To be honest I do not remember what I did with all my awards and such, I think I destroyed them all that first year I was in college and suffering from depression. I spent days shredding and ended up filling two garbage bags full of my life including dozens of poems and short stories, school awards and certificates, journals (called diaries back then), and, anything else in my life I had accumulated over about ten years.
The fourth, and I am listing this one on purpose, asked for directions.
Yes, I, Kevin Klerks, a man, asked for directions. Okay, it was only twice in my entire life, not counting getting lost in the woods, but still, two times I admitted defeat and got directions to my destination.
The first time would have been back when I was visiting family down in the city. And then I was not even really lost. I ended up being about two city blocks away from their house in the suburbs.
The second time was down in Kentucky. Somehow, shortly after leaving the interstate to get fuel, I got turned around and I had to ask the cashier at the station how to get back to the highway. It turns out I was significantly off course and it was a good idea I asked for directions. It helped that she was cute too, yes, I went there. Hey if you are a guy and you need help at least get it from someone you want talking to you for as long as possible.
The fourth, wrote a letter by hand.
In fact, I have written many letters by hand. The last one I wrote would have been back around 2015 or 2016 I believe to a friend in the States. I used to write very long letters to a girlfriend of mine, years ago. I think the longest one I ever wrote was over sixty pages, yes six zero pages. I know your first question “What the heck did you have to write about that took up sixty pages?” Well, let’s see, I think it had some personal stuff, some poetry, probably the weather, comments about work or life. Could I write that long a letter today? Probably not, heck I have enough trouble writing blog entries consistently.
The fifth, sang karaoke, once, and never ever again.
It was at a bar in downtown Brampton. I foolishly got up on stage, clearly identified myself and a co-worker friend of mine at the time and proceeded to slaughter ‘Cats in the Cradle’ by Harry Chapin. I did it on a dare and suffice to say I was never dared to sing karaoke again after that. I remember the night, the bar, going up on stage, singing horribly, and wishing that when I drank, I would forget everything I had done that night. No such luck.
So, there you have it, five things from my list of “things I have done in my life”. To be continued the next time I lack inspiration for a blog entry.
When I think back to New Years Eve’s in the past, I recall only a few that stand out in my mind.
I remember one time getting so drunk I passed out and woke up in a panic feeling like I was going to die. I remember the Y2K New Years Eve, I was in a townhouse in Worthington but I can’t recall any positive memories from that place.
I remember celebrating with friends when I was a teenager, having a sleep-over at one friend’s place in his attic rec room. Oh my god, I just remembered, one time when the three of us were up there partying we started throwing pretzels out the window. One of the pretzels got caught on a branch far enough from the window it couldn’t be retrieved. Now those memories those are good ones.
New Years Eve used to hold meaning to me as the time you would write resolutions for the coming year. That was, until I discovered like most people that I did not keep any of the resolutions I had written. It felt like a waste of time and it was. Now you may be saying ‘goals’ are the same as ‘resolutions’, as I have come up with four goals for 2019, but they are not the same thing.
The Dictionary tells us that “resolution – a firm decision to do or not do something”, whereas a “goal - the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”. For example, a resolution is like saying “I resolve to always be on time for work”. This is a firm decision with a definitive outcome, either you are on time for work or you are not.
Whereas, a goal could be “My goal is to eat healthy meals at lunch”. There is a number of variables involved that affect whether or not you will reach this goal to eat healthier. There is no immediate punishment for not eating healthier, unlike being late for work which comes with a penalty.
Resolutions, to me at least, just seem to be something you want to place on the most common things in life, your schedule, your behaviour around others, your firm unwavering actions. Goals are something you ‘want’ to achieve to improve or enhance the conditions around you.
The point is, I don’t set ‘resolutions’ for myself on New Years Eve anymore. And, because of the traditions that stuck with me following my neo-pagan years, I now set goals more often throughout the year and particularly on October 31 and December 31. The first, in October, is more a look back at the past year, and tweaking what I can before the entire calendar year has concluded. Those set in December tend to be more life path goals, while those in October tend to be more spiritual goals.
And then there is the periods of transitioning, those months or years when things are just to unstable in my life to set any goals for the future. This past October was one of those times, and, unfortunately, it leads to uncertainty and a state of contemplation that never seems to really be resolved.
When I returned to Ontario in April 2017 it was after a year of negativity in my life. There are so many people out there who seek to do nothing but treat you like crap, to boost their egos, and to do their best to ruin you. I wanted to stay out west but take this cloud of negativity and add in the almost ten percent unemployment rate to the mix and I felt I needed to ‘come home’. Well, now, about eighteen months later and I think I have recharged enough to pick up my proverbial backpack and set off walking down my path again.
I need a better pair of ‘shoes’ for this journey, in the virtual sense, for example when I take to writing in my blog or a roleplay, I now play videos of meditative study and concentration music on YouTube. This helps me to concentrate by freeing my mind of worldly distractions like my smartphone or noises of people moving around upstairs.
Another foundational (footwear in this metaphor) task is to not be laying down in bed while I’m trying to read or write – it’s just not successful. I will usually occupy my mind with other things until finally I am too tired to process words or thoughts and I will fall asleep with the task incomplete. I found out recently I am not the only person to be plagued by this, and I told them the best thing to do when you want to write is to use music, when you want to read find a place that is uncomfortable – for me that’s the front seat of my truck. It might be nice to lean the chair back and put my feet up on the dash but it’s still not a bed or reclining chair and that’s enough to keep me alert and focused on the book.
Music has started to play a bigger role in my life again, and not the Top Ten horribly repetitive crap you hear on the radio on the drive to work. I am talking meditative music, instrumental piano and violin, music to write with or study or sleep to. I’ve tried that a few times now, playing music designed to help me sleep. I didn’t stick with it, it was more like a sleep aid, once I got my sleeping patterns back on track, I was able to fall asleep naturally with just white noise in the background (usually a fan).
I am listening to music right now while I write this. The video includes a slideshow of a variety of nature images to accompany the motivational piano. Right now, there is a picture of snow-capped mountain peaks and in the foreground a deep lake reflecting the clouds and rock. I would love to download hours of this type of music onto my smartphone, so I could just listen to it and relax whenever I need to or write whenever I want to.
I guess that’s it for now, have a good night!
This is going to be an interesting blog, at least for me, interesting in what I will come up with to write about. In 2019 one of my goals is to write in this blog, at least, once per week. I do not know if the content will be inspiring or just plain boring. I plan on going with the flow, which is a bit of an oxymoron as 'going with the flow' implies you do not have 'a plan'. Yeah, this is going to be interesting.
Let me begin by writing about 2019. It is going to be a year of change for everyone on this planet. A good year, a great year, a freaking positively awesome year! Finally! Those of us 'old folks' who have had to wade through the social crap of the last couple years will finally begin to see the world awakening to a new dawn. All I can say is - thank goodness! I know, I know, you all expected me to say 'thank god' but that would mean I identify 'god' as a being separate from everyone and everything. I do not. I am a Pantheist still, and 'god' is all around us and within us and is us. That's the long and the short of it.
I have decided on four main goals, or things to carry in my backpack, on my journey down the path I will take in 2019. First, as you know if you know me, my "work / career" is not really important to me. My "job" pays the bills and that is all. I am tired of the drama, the backstabbing, the stress that is involved in management, and while some day my life may again require me to enter into the ranks, for now I have no desire. I work simply to pay my bills to enjoy life and to pursue those things I want more out of life - my four main goals.
Goal number one - my writing.
I have been told for many many years that I am somewhat of a good writer, particularly creative fiction (or roleplay as many know it as in my circle of online friends). I have, at the same level, rejected it from being a significant part of my life. Not so much the roleplay stories but writing itself.
And there is a reason for that.
It is my allowance of negativity and drama to enter into my life through the game I play online, the one that for several years I have written roleplay stories about. Too often, and my closest friends will attest to this, people bring their petty dramas and opinions into the game and try to influence people's writings to suit their own likes and dislikes. And allowing myself to be affected by this is not staying true to my convictions as a fictional writer.
This will change in 2019.
Goal number two - my photography.
I am, once I can afford it, seriously considering getting a newer camera. I currently own a Nikon Coolpix P510. The P510 was released February 1, 2012, around the same year I bought it. It has been an awesome camera and has served me well over the last 6 years. But as the time passes the quality of pictures seem to be declining. It could be from age, or from the pixels. It has about half the pixels of many smartphones today and it shows. I just checked the price of it online, Nikon has archived the model info by the way, but it is selling on Amazon for about half of what I paid for it years ago. This past Christmas I opted to use my smartphone, a Samsung S8, to take many of the photos of holiday cheer in the house, instead of my camera.
A new camera will cost me in the range of about $650 (to make it worth it). I have been considering the Nikon D3500 but I just don't have the money right now to invest. I know you will read in this blog I recently donated about $300 to a variety of groups, but to me those were "worthy investments". I will be able to afford this camera by summer, probably when I will want to take a camera outside again and take pics. This summer I want to travel to a number of the more 'spiritual' locations throughout south-western Ontario and a decent camera would be helpful. Maybe I should crowdfund? Just kidding!
Goal number three - mentoring and teaching.
About a month or so ago I met a young woman, yes I am attracted to her but it goes far beyond the ego and physical. After a couple brief conversations we discovered we share a lot of the same beliefs and views of the world and the future of humanity and ourselves. She is in the process of trying to write a book about her life and I have offered my assistance, both with the writing and the organization of her thoughts into a draft people will want to read. Of course they will want to read it, the topics we have discussed are fascinating and I think people will want to read how these things have shaped her life into the person she is today. Aside from that is my ability to share my thoughts and experiences with her, in a mentoring type role. To achieve this role that the fates have placed me in, I will simply talk about my life and my experiences, and in doing so, learn more about her (and myself).
The reason I mention this goes back to the late nineties. It was way back then that I had an albeit brief, job as a trainer at my workplace in the US. I would conduct instructional classes with new employees on the ins and outs of the company they had just applied and been accepted to. It was a great job and I found out that my style of teaching the class inspired one of the employees to not only stick with the company but to excel into a career as a manager. I loved walking into a classroom of eager minds all wanting to know what I had to teach them about the policies and procedures. It was a dull course overall but I tried to make it fun and open. I think I succeeded.
I would love to find myself in that role again, maybe not in a workplace environment (since most trainers are being replaced by cold impersonal computers with sad versions of reality in five minute clips). I am talking more in a guiding and listening role. Not a professional position, just an ear, a soundboard, a friend for people to talk to, and, hopefully in doing so, they will resolve their problems or see a new path to walk down in life. I don't want to just hear about boring day to day work related crap either. I want to, even if for only fifteen minutes, get to know them as a person. To hear and respond to their concerns and to provide a view from 'outside the box'.
And goal number four, which takes some of the qualities of mentoring/teaching, is - politics.
Now I know I have avoided this topic from around 2010 until 2017 because it is filled with so much drama, bias and backstabbing. I quite frankly do not want to get too involved, say as a candidate or the like, but rather as the role I have now, a group president or leader. Now here's the rub. While I don't want to get 'too involved' I am, maybe my own opinion, pretty darn good at it. I can do things like create campaigns, write marketing ads and documents, and, when motivated, walk into a room of people and introduce my ideas and information to them.
I think I should have continued to pursue a career in politics years ago but there is a part of me that doesn't want to stay in one place or one path for too long. I get, you could say, bored, and need to find new things to experience. It is why I took a job in Nunavut, and why I packed up a van and drove to Pacific Rim, and why I quit my job of six years and started a bookstore by following signs and the law of attraction. There is so much more to life than just work and money.
Those are my goals for 2019 - to pursue, to explore, to develop, to learn, to conquer, these four things I will load in my backpack for the journey.
It's about better banking!
Have you discovered Tangerine Bank yet? I have, and, in just eleven months I have saved over $130 in account service fees and received over $175 in interest (including my personal chequing account)*
Everyone I refer will experience the same Forward Banking benefits as me:
• Great rates on every dollar saved
• No unfair fees or service charges
• Award-winning Client service
• Easy enrolment online or in-person at one of their Tangerine Locations
* Access your money through online or at a Scotiabank ATM.
AND, if I receive a referral bonus I will donate 50% of that bonus to Second Harvest charity in Toronto.
Please reference my Orange Key 51866092S1
You need to check them out! Right now!
~ Kevin M. Klerks
Please reference my Orange Key 51866092S1
*amounts will vary depending on deposit and savings maintained.
RSP SAVINGS AND TAXES
So yes, I decided to withdraw from my RSP savings to put towards all my common expenses, except food, gas, cat and truck repairs for the next 12 months. It was all money I had contributed to it in 2017 and before when I was out west. I kept what I contributed in 2018 in the account. So, I’m taking the savings from my years out west to put into my next year. And, in turn, my paycheques can go into savings, both to offset taxes through a 2019 RSP contribution and as a buffer.
Either way it takes a lot of stress out of things. It was a tough decision for me because for over a year I had kept that money in case I needed to buy a vehicle. Now, that risk hasn’t gone away, but I think I was meant to use this money this way. After all, if I hadn’t saved it I would be in the same position as if I had it and spent it all.
So yes, log onto www.tangerine.ca and explore their account options, like INTEREST bearing personal chequing (I was paying $11.95 a month at RBC), and, RSP Savings account. But first, look into a TFSA account, get those savings started and THEN look into an RSP. I say that because when you teach yourself to save, then you can lock those savings away for bigger things. RSP contributions reduce your taxes.
If you are reading this and don't have an account at Tangerine bank Canada please consider using me as a referral. Yes, if I get enough referrals they pay me and I give half of that money to my charity. It's a win-win! My Orange Key is 51866092S1
As I explained, say you make $10,000 gross income and pay 10% in taxes ($1,000).
Well let’s assume your personal tax rate is 8%, this means, 1000 - 800 you will be receiving a $200 refund.
Now, let’s calculate it with an RSP account, let’s say you put $1,000 into an RSP, that’s only $2.74 a day (less than most people spend on coffee).
You still made $10,000 but with the deduction of your RSP contribution your taxable income is now $9,000. But you still paid taxes on $10,000 from your paycheque.
When you file your taxes, you will pay personal income tax rate of 8% on the $9,000 or $720. You’ve paid in $1,000 in tax. Your new personal income taxes due would be $720 instead of $800.
This means you will get $280 back in tax return instead of $200.
Otherwise, say you put the $1,000 into a regular savings account. At the end of one year you have about $1,010 (1%), plus your $200 tax return. If you put that money into an RSP savings account you'd have $1,010 (1%) plus $280 tax return (which you could put into your RSP and save even more on your next year's taxes).
So, in addition to the $1,000 you put into your RSP you just got another $80 more back in tax return. That’s the advantage of an RSP savings account. And it keeps building.
There are two ways to reduce your tax bill due when you file your income taxes.
How did I calculate how much I needed to pay in?
Calculate what you paid in the 3 taxes on your paycheque (Fed, EI, CPP). For each person this is a different rate, but I set mine to be 18% minimum due. This is based on my past paycheques.
Well, Walmart is only taking 15% or so from my cheque, this means I am short paying on taxes 3%. In my theory the government will want this money in March when I file my taxes.
So, I calculate 3% of my gross income and this is what I need to pay into my RSP. This reduces my personal income from a rate that 18% gets deducted from, to a rate 15% comes from.
So, this year I paid about $3,000 in federal taxes. If we use this calculation, then I’ve underpaid $900. So, at minimum I need to pay $900 into my RSP before the end of the tax year (for RSPs this is March 30th). It doesn’t guarantee a return, but it reduces the risk I’ll owe taxes.
Personally, I like to set my “personal tax rate” at 20% (Federal, CPP, EI deductions). So, I take 20% of my gross pay, deduct the taxes I’ve paid in, and the result is what I need to put into my RSP savings.
The risk? No different than your savings. Your principle RSP savings contributions are FDIC insured (the interest is not), just like your regular savings account.
I suggest having a TFSA account, and an RSP savings account. You contribute to the TFSA first, gets you almost the same interest rate and you don’t pay taxes on the interest you gain (you can contribute up to $5,000 a year, but as noted if you haven’t had an account this maximum is around $55,000).
Then, when you are financially stable, you transfer the funds from TFSA to RSP, before the end of the year. Your income tax return, since you now must file it online, will tell you what your maximum RSP contribution can be for the next year? It doesn’t matter, it’s usually in the multi-thousands. This RSP savings contributions for the year becomes a taxable income deduction for you.
If you take your RSP money out, you pay tax, at most 25%, so it’s best to take it out or ‘borrow it’ only for buying a house, an education OR when you have very low income that year (under $35,000). As 20% or so you will pay out in the Fed taxes will likely be more than you would owe on it that year. But, it’s best not to take it out, and slowly let it grow. It’s a nice … well, take me for example. If the universe allows my RSP withdrawal covers all my expenses for a year. That’s how helpful it can be, just like equity in a house.
If you are under 35 then I totally recommend you do this now,
1. open a chequing account at Tangerine (no monthly fee and they pay you interest!!)
2. open an TFSA account at Tangerine
3. open a RSP Savings account at Tangerine (not mutual funds, investments, JUST savings)
Start using your account, and when you have money you can save put it into your TFSA account. Then, at intervals, say, 3-6 months, decide if you can lock those savings in. Take the money you can really save and transfer it into your RSP Savings. Don't transfer it all, just transfer what you can afford to save.
Think of your future, do you want a house, an education in later life, or just to some day take a year and pay off all your expenses lifting a great weight off your shoulders.
It's this easy!
$1,000 = $ 2.74 a day or $19.24 a week or $81.19 a month
$2,000 = $ 5.48 a day or $38.48 a week or $162.38 a month
I did some more math, I spend $2 a day on coffee, five days a week, that's $520 a year just on a cup of coffee at lunch. Take a serious look at your spending, you can squeeze $2.74 a day from somewhere I'm sure.
OK, there’s my non-professional financial advice for you.
I find that the biggest challenge with keeping this blog up to date is content. There is so much I could write about but I have a personal obligation to protect others. I can not write about work, except to say that I am glad the Christmas season will soon be coming to a close. I can not write about friends, to do so would compromise their confidentiality. I will say that I greatly respect and honour those few people in my life that I consider "true friends" and I hope they will be with me for years to come.
Some good news in my life, I was able to make a decision that will help me financially in 2019. It has helped to take a great load of stress off of me, at this the most stressful time of the year, and for my past frugalness I am grateful.
I am continuing my quest to work with the People's Party of Canada, as their interim President/CEO of the Huron-Bruce Electoral District Association. We still need a permanent treasurer before we can become 'official' in early 2019. We have a big public meeting scheduled for tomorrow that we've advertised everywhere. I hope it makes a difference.
Yesterday was a day of heightened anxiety for me while lasted until around 11 pm. It was triggered by stress caused by a friend who decided quite rudely and abruptly to leave my life. I was not, on the surface upset by this as they were proving to be immature. But then it snowballed with a persistent headache and other health issues that are all caused by stress. Now that I have resolved some of the financial challenges in my life I need to start working on the spiritual side of me - the side that stops me from getting caught up in the drama around me.
2017 was a horrible year, 2018 was a year mostly focused on politics, and while 2019 will have a lot of politics in it I need to think more about where I want my path to lead over the next five years. To me, work, the work for a large corporation, is just what pays the bills. That is all. I have done my 'management' stint in life and it has gotten me nowhere but several trips to the hospital from stress and other symptoms. I will do my 'work' to pay the bills and that is all.
That being said, there is so much more to life that I have ignored these past five years. I was once quite fluent in my spiritual side of life, and I am not talking god. I am, as I have said before, a Pantheist. Perhaps I will need to explain more what that means, in the next blog.
I would like to focus more on my website work, to perhaps turn it into something that generates more extra cash. It is still a hobby to me, but that does not mean that hobbies can not pay a little more.
I am exploring the idea of writing a book with a friend. I have always wanted to write a second book, and while my contributions to this one would be as 'second fiddle' it is still a way to share my knowledge and experience.
On the subject of knowledge, my dream for many years has to be an instructor, trainer, or teacher in some capacity. I am exploring this further, though in a non-official capacity, during the next year.
I think what I need to do more with this blog is to share those life experiences. I have no intention, personally, to pursue my past idea of writing a 'full' book on the subject. I am quite content with helping another to achieve their goal in this regard. So that means, in here, in my blog, I can share the ideas and thoughts I have that everyone can incorporate in some way into their own lives. Because life, real life, is not about work, about paying bills, about politics, or about careers. It is about how you live the moments.
2019 I am going to start living those moments again (starting now).
It was a great first meeting for the Huron-Bruce EDA Initiative the other night. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk about a variety of issues with our President Justin Smith. He and I are working well together and the EDA should be established by the end of this year. It would be great if more of the 135 people who have followed our group on Facebook, so far, would come out to the meetings. I think the next meeting will be held in Kincardine as Goderich is still blindly supporting the NDPs. I would like to think there are not that many people living in Goderich who would support such a racist party but their voting tells otherwise. Hopefully we can help them see the light and vote the People's Party of Canada next election.
I had the opportunity to go for a walk on Thursday morning to a conservation area near Lucknow. I remembered to take my camera and I will be adding the photos to my Flickr albums later in the coming week. I have three days off during each of the next two weeks. I would like to think it is a nice break from work but instead I will be busy with prep work for the PPC EDA and other projects.
I do not like when companies think they can take advantage of their employees and exploit them to do jobs that are not part of their job description. We are in a work environment today where employers are now desperate for employees. Employees need to empower themselves to not be treated poorly by their employers. They do not need unions to do this, they just need to see that in our job rich environment employers need their help a lot more than they realize. This exploitation must stop.
Someone tried to break into a cottage a few blocks from where I live. They were caught on security camera and now the police are looking for the suspect. This is the wrong community to try and break into. It might seem like an isolated cottage community but there are a lot of year round residents and neighbours talk to neighbours. They will get caught.
The weather has turned crappy lately and they keep mentioning flurries, I guess it had to come some time but it is still too soon.
Freelance Online Writer, Amateur Photographer, Founding Member PPC Huron-Bruce EDA Initiative.