I am breaking a cardinal rule of mine and I will be talking about both the past and the present now in this blog. It was my rule before not to discuss current issues because people might read them and think they are somehow related to it. But I really do not care anymore. I am tired of censoring myself to that degree. Sure I will not go into too much detail on other people or life today but I am opening up more of myself.
Another note, it has been a while since I included others' names into a blog so I need to create a whole new listing of nicknames for people. So if you read about people in my past here know that they will all be receiving new nicknames from here forth. It was just easier to come up with a new list than search through years of blog entries to re-build one.
Do you ever get the feeling you meet someone again for a reason?
So years, I mean YEARS back, around 2003, I was living in an apartment on Harbour Street. There was a woman living there who I was attracted to but never got the courage up to ask out. Her name, for this blog, will be Canon. I know a terrible nickname.
So yesterday, I am helping a customer who looked familiar. Turns out it was Canon. At first I just helped her buy a printer (yes, that is how I came up with the nickname, I know not very original at all), but we both kept talking to each other. Then she went away and did some shopping. As she walked past my area, and me, again I stopped her and asked if we knew each other.
We were able to establish how we did. When I asked just casually if she was 'married with kids now', she said no kids and she had a "partner". It is a guy, so what is a partner? Did she mean like common law? I did not ask, but she made a point to say "partner". OK, so no chance there. I said I was "single... divorced". I do not know why I said that. I have not been "divorced" in over fifteen years. I mean, I am divorced, but it is such a stigma. She immediately apologized and I awkwardly said how it was okay because I was divorced before I moved into the building on Harbour Street. Thinking to myself 'why the hell did you bring that up then, you are single, that is all'. I will go into that more in another blog, hopefully soon.
She said how she rarely shopped in my store because she liked to buy local. I pointed out that while it was a good idea to buy local if you go to the competition you'd pay three to five times as much for the same thing. It is nice idea to shop local but they often take advantage. I had a customer the other day who came into my store looking for an item. We had it on the shelf for $7. He proceeded to tell me that the competitor across the street wanted $24 for the exact same thing. He was willing to pay $12 but thought $24 was ridiculous. It is, it is three times the price we were charging.
After telling me twice how she did not shop at my store she said, and I barely caught it, that "she would have to shop here more" in the future. I certainly hope she does because I really bombed this first re-impression. I would like to see her again and talk with her more just to get to know 'someone' more. And I believe people meet for a reason or re-connect for a reason.
I proceeded to do the retail shuffle where we start to step away move. It is the one we do when we know the person is in a hurry and wants to get back to shopping... and she kept re engaging me through eye contact or just saying something. It was almost like she wanted to keep talking, but to be honest I did not have much more to say to someone I barely knew and had not seen in fifteen years. But I wanted to... there was some connection there... or maybe I just imagined it? It is hard to tell these days what people's intentions are.
It was the way she said "partner", not boyfriend, not husband, not common law... I always associate "partner" with what someone calls their gay spouse or someone they are not as emotionally attached to... like a couple who is separating or something... but everyone has their own interpretations. I looked it up and even google says it is a partner of the same gender (our politically correct way of saying a gay boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse), but this was a guy. She laughed at the notion of having kids, but that would be from the desire not to, as a gay person would not let the lack of a partner's biology stop them in most cases I would think.
I did look up the term, and like I said today things have different meanings than what I grew up with. Our society used to be such a simple road to navigate but it seems today words get mingled together in their definitions making the definitions even harder to remember.
Rather than go deep into it I will just refer you to this article about it. To be honest, I did not find "significant other" that hard to explain... but apparently nowadays things must be labelled yet again even simpler. I do not know if that was Canon's intention but I am just saying that is my interpretation of our society. Here is the article.
And there was the re engaging the conversation. I know I lingered a bit, but I did show clear intention to leave the conversation I think. And I mean, what was I supposed to do, ask a stranger with a 'partner' out for coffee... we would have nothing to talk about because we barely spoke back then. Well, that is to say nothing 'old' to talk about. I could certainly establish a new friendship with someone but too often people base their futures on their past. Back then she was beautiful (and still is) I flirted when I could but we never really engaged in any conversation. I think I mostly saw her coming and going for work. I wonder, if I did not have my name tag on would she have even remembered my name. I remembered her face, and when she said her name I said I was positive I knew the name... and I did. I find her real name quite beautiful, in its many forms, it is one of my favourite names for a girl.
I should have asked her more questions, but my workplace discourages socializing... so the environment was great for a conversation but lousy for one too. Maybe she was just friendly because I was helpful with buying a printer, or tried to be at least. I told her the two I had owned and why the one she chose was good.
I am trying to get myself re-connected with the spiritual universe. I used to have very strong connections to it and some abilities I'd like back... and I know the connections are still there.
With my current job... I learned from out west that I should not let my job consume me, especially now with so little bills and need for a big paycheque. The universe keeps providing when I need it. There is an issue with my truck exhaust that needs fixed (every year there is one significant issue which usually ends up costing me between $500-1,000 to fix. I do not really complain though as it could be worse for a thirteen year old vehicle), not sure how much it will cost, but I got two tax returns this month totalling $409 which definitely helps. I believe in the law of attraction, the problem is I have this little check system that gets in my way of just letting go and getting back into the flow of the universe.
To get back to meeting Canon again. I do not think this is some opportunity to pursue my past feelings for her. I think it is part of a bigger picture of my reconnecting with the universe. I have been watching youtube shows of a psychic medium named John Edward that I watched almost religiously back in the 90s. I am trying to take a few steps back (years wise) to find out where I stepped out of the river and on to this rocky shore. To do that I must go way back and work my way forward, if you are lucky or just bored I might even bring you along.
More memories of my past,
There was a stream, a runoff, in the high school wood lot. A friend called the spot "Little People Island" which evolved into the myth that fantastical tiny people lived under the rocks and would come out and drag you down under if provoked. We would build temporary dams out of rocks and silt to block the stream.
I vaguely remember an abandoned building that some of us neighbour kids would sneak inside. I think it was an old storage shed used during events. Maybe that is where my fascination with abandoned buildings came from? There were two others I remember going into as a teen, one an old garage and the other a storage building in a nearby town.
I have several memories of crossing the old railway trestle at night. My mother did not know we kids crossed it until my late teens or early twenties. It stood about one hundred and fifty feet above the Saugeen River and was later modified with walls to allow safe pedestrian passage as part of the trails network.
I remember one time walking home from elementary school for lunch and stopping to play on the steps of a church on Second Avenue. I lost track of time until my father drove up and angrily told me to get my butt home. I think I was under ten.
I remember a friend shoplifting candy from a store downtown on the way to school. I did not and I recall not hanging out with him much after that. He was the special kid in school, you know, the one who ate glue and got detention often.
I remember as a treat, growing up in a modern traditionalist household, how we would have toast with peanut butter and jam or marmalade while watching the floor model television. McDonalds was considered a treat and junk food was never a daily meal - ever. The basement rec room had wood paneling, a purple? sofa, and a red cushion and black metal chair. There was a big oil furnace and I remember grates in the ceiling you could see upstairs through.
I remember playing around the big maple tree in the playground at our elementary school. We would walk only on the roots pretending that the bare soil was quicksand or lava.
I remember going eighty kilometres (fifty miles) per hour on my ten speed bicycle while out on a country concession north-west of town. Not really a big achievement nowadays but at the time it felt awesome moving at the same rate as cars.
I remember the sound of the engine as I lay in the back seat of my parents Maverick as they drove home from shopping in the local towns. I could tell how close we were by the sound of the transmission.
I remember being one of the hosts of the guests for Dare to Care in secondary school. I belonged to CARE, Citizens Actions to Renew Earth. I created a posted that won second prize in the contest for an ad campaign for the lung association or something like that. The world's too small to smoke. I created a wood thingy, figures sitting on a log, that someone important with the school board took for his home. I set a weekly record at school one year for eating two hot dogs and 2 chocolate milks, grade eight it was, in under two and a half minutes. I ran for students council in grade eight and grade twelve for the years, lost both times.
So, there you go, memories I wrote down on a spring day.
I have been thinking lately about memories from my childhood, for lack of a better word 'traumatic' events that would shape my personality in later years.
I find many of them center around my mother. Now I should make it clear by most standards I had a "normal" "stable" childhood with no real want of money, attention or sense of love.
These memories are going to be completely random by sequence, but are, some decades later, still a part of my thoughts.
There was a time I recall as a child being, what I thought at the time, locked out of the house. I was not very old, maybe under ten. I tried the door and it would not open. I remember banging and even kicking it to no avail. Finally I crawled on my hands and knees down by the cellar window well to bang on the window. My mother was in the basement doing laundry, which later explained why she did not hear my frantic attempts to gain entry to the house. I remember feeling scared that I was being intentionally locked out and ignored for whatever reason. Looking back on it now it was one of many signs of the early onset of my general anxiety disorder.
The other day I was stocking products (March 2018) and I came across a wooden spoon. My father was the primary disciplinary in our household and really bad behaviour would prompt an open handed smack on the butt. It did not happen often but when it did it was definitely attitude changing. My mother, on the other hand, lacked the physical strength (guessing) to restrain and discipline a growing boy. This is where the wooden spoon came in, taking the place of a hand. I guess it is similar to a paddle used in the school days of my parents, outlawed most places in the seventies. I remember the spoon turning a light blue colour and thinking it was the result of all of the times it had been used. The thing is, looking back, I never wore jeans or blue pants that I can recall so why it turned blue (by that reasoning) I will never figure out. I guess perhaps it was because of the saying "black and blue" to describe the bruises from a real whooping (which I never got by the way).
I remember many autumns, two or three at least, building 'walls' out of leaves in the backyard. I think I was in my early teens. I would design floor plans of houses out of leaves. If my life path had been different I would have been an architect.
I did not learn to ride a two wheeled bicycle until I was twelve. I remember in March I finally figured out how to keep my balance. I rode down a neighbour's angled driveway and onto the slush shouldered street. I still did not really have the hang of it when my bicycle was stolen a month or so later and left hanging on the fence at my elementary school. I had to walk it home and the embarrassment I felt in front of my peers prompted me to learn. My first bicycle was a metallic orange and chrome one speed. I lost it after leaving it under the bleachers of a nearby baseball park. I never saw it again. It was replaced with a blue bicycle, the handlebars snapped off one day as I rode up the high school street. Next was ten speed, followed by a mountain bike.
I remember visiting a cousin frequently in the city. One time we thoughts it would be fun to soak wads of bathroom tissue under the tap and throw the wads out of a second storey window and out onto a busy street. Our parents only caught us when we went to retrieve the wads, splattered on the asphalt, and a car honked at us (me, to be accurate).
A neighbour down the street I grew up on had a pear tree in their backyard that a few of us kids would liberate ripe pears from each summer. I think they knew it was happening but we never got caught.
I recall a time, under age twelve, that i picked pretty flowers in the wilds across the street and took them home. I quickly learned that they were poisonous, known as deadly nightshade. My horrified parents informed the neighbour who proceeded to spray and kill off the plants.
I have a vivid memory of my grandparents house on the street by the river. I remember a view out the front window from a kitchen area and the long grass backyard with gardens down to the water's edge. My mother told me I was under five years old when they lived in that house.
I remember climbing trees, in particular the cedars, across the street from my house. They were perfect for climbing and friends and me would sit high up in them for what seemed like hours. Another tree nearby stretched out over the hill. It could be climbed but with less branches for support and the concrete retaining wall below I did not climb it that often.
It is late, I will write about more memories of my childhood another night...
I was asked the other day to recall my 9/11 story "where were you on 9/11?" and I thought I would take the opportunity to answer that here.
I was at home, in Powell, Ohio, watching the morning show. I believe it was the Today show on NBC. I can not remember the specifics, but I do remember watching as they showed the aftermath of the first plane hitting the tower. The media was portraying it as an accident and showed pictures of the smoke rising from the tower on fire.
The thing I remember the most about that day is when they grounded all the air travel. They said how flights across the country were being immediately grounded or diverted away from the United States. One of the alleged hostage planes flew over Pennsylvania, just one state away from us.
I went outside to the front deck and just stood there and listened. It was quiet all around. I could still hear the traffic on the main roads and the interstate but not a single plane or helicopter in the sky. In a city of over two million there was always at least one of one or the other.
I remember the silence and the ominous feeling that something was not quite right.
The feeling was reinforced by the school buses coming an hour early as schools, offices, every thing government was shut down and evacuated hours early.
I went to work late that night. They were playing "patriotic" musak and not good stuff like 'Born in the USA' or 'American Woman' either or any real "American" bands. Instead a lot of classical pomp and circumstance that sounded more pathetic than patriotic. It was the same dozen or so songs played over and over for hours.
When I think of nine eleven I think of standing on the front deck just listening and looking at the light clouds in the blue sky.
March 6, 2018
"There's random snowflakes in the air and the sky is shades of gray. I'm trying something different this morning. I'm here in bed listening to Taylor Swift videos and drinking my coffee".
I am a creature of habit. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. At least that is what I tell myself.
Every morning of a day I am scheduled to work I do basically the same thing. I wake up. I use the washroom. I make coffee. I surf the internet checking my emails and Twitter. I get ready for work and I leave. There are slight variances in the routine. For example I might go onto the metaverse, or watch a couple Youtube videos. I might wander upstairs, if I do not work until after 3pm and therefore do not leave until 2pm, to let the dog and cats out or in and see the sunshine for a minute or two. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. Not really.
It has been my routine for over a year now. When I was living in Alberta I did things similar to what I am doing now. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, I would go out and sit on the back deck while drinking my coffee but only rarely.
On this particular morning I noted in my journal I decided to try something different. It was a nice change from my routine. It was a change I wish I could bring myself to do more often. But then, alas, with my OCD it would have to be a permanent change as "random" just does not work for people like me.
I have mild undiagnosed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I do not need a doctor to tell me I have it and give me drugs. I can live with it. Sometimes my OCD works in my favour. It has helped me to be a more productive worker and to have routines that keep me working. When I wanted it to these routines helped to advance my career or to run my own business. Sometimes an even mild obsession for detail can be a good thing. One time it helped me to get a promotion.
I sat down in a meeting with my boss. He wanted to tell me about a management position opening up in the company and he felt that I was qualified for the job. "Let's face it, you're anal when it comes to details and that's a good thing" he said, I am paraphrasing a bit but not much he really did call me "anal". My attention to detail was a symptom of my OCD, a desire for, maybe not perfection but certainly close to it. I applied for the job and got it, the first step in a four year management career. I later left the company for other opportunities but I always remember why I got the job - basically my OCD. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it, unless I want to have fun.
On the other hand, however, my OCD can be a negative thing.
First, a point I won't get into much, is how my OCD can clash with the randomness of others and their routines. I do not feel like discussing sociology today so I will save that for a future blog (in other words procrastinate on it until I have forgotten about it).
I am sitting here on my bed, my computer is on a low table so I just sit on my bed to use it. I have to have my books piled beside me in a certain way. There is a clipboard with my daily To Do notebook on it (I will go into that OCD routine a bit later). My journal sits above next to another notebook in which I keep some login information. While a bit over to the right is my metaverse log where I write things down for my roleplay characters. Financial papers are in another pile, but separated between those that need to be filed and those I might want to refer to in the next few minutes.
My To Do notebook. If you read it right now you would see this:
First, let me explain each entry a bit more.
Finances - means I need to update my budget or my accounting book on transactions I have done in the past day or ones coming up that need to be recorded.
Journal - my diary, reminding me I should write in my diary
CJ - stands for "Corran Journal" telling me that I need to write a roleplay story for my metaverse website
blog - is this blog, reminding me to write an entry
laundry? - this is reminding me to do a load of laundry today, the question mark is because someone else's laundry is in the washer and dryer so my doing a load is dependent on them getting theirs out of the way
Gathering - metaverse online get together tonight at 8pm I need to attend because I am hosting it
And then, schedule, the start times over the next day to seven days that my shifts are at work.
So, "what is the problem" you are asking yourself, a lot of people keep 'To Do' lists. That is true, they do. There isn't really a problem so much as pointing out how mild OCD appears in my day to day world. The OCD comes into my routine with the entries in the notebook, in particular "Finances, journal, blog". I write these in the book every day whether I intend to do them or not. I write them even after I have done them. Imagine, for example, today. I just wrote my list about an hour ago. I had already worked on my finances. I have to include it though because it is a part of my day.
The 'To Do' list serves a dual purpose as a past and future log of my activities, sometimes better and more frequently than my journal.
Small changes in routine can take months even years to achieve. You see how those entries are preceded with small boxes. That step is so I can check things off (like Finances) as I do them. For a while, July to September last year, I would scribble black the boxes of things I didn't get done. It was a way to tell me to add them to tomorrow's list. But then after a week of procrastinating I realized that this method was not working so I stopped. Those boxes used to be lines. An underscore that would be the place I would add my checkmark. I tried circles instead of boxes, that lasted one day.
And yes, as I am writing this I checked off "blog" and added the notation "- OCD" next to it. I keep detailed records of my day to day life more out of obsession and routine than the need to ever look back to see what I have done. That being said I have looked back before, it has come in handy when there is a financial issue such as a delayed payment or I am waiting for someone to reimburse me. I can look back, hopefully, and see when I last communicated with the person on the issue. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. It serves me when I need to argue something.
Everything has its place. Now, what makes my OCD "mild" is that while things have their place those places are not absolutely set in stone as they are for someone with severe OCD. My routines are fluid, not so much in the outcomes, but the steps to achieve them.
If something is out of place it can cause mild anxiety. Let's say I just ate a sandwich and my crumb filled plate is sitting by my side here on the bed. If it is to my left, as the place I put food dishes, my OCD will kick in. The plate can not be sitting by my side. I have to put it further back, on the bed, out of my peripheral vision. If I can still see it I have to move it a bit further until it is out of view. This is temporary, mind you, it won't sit there for hours because another OCD check kicks in and I have to get up, clean the plate off, and place it back on the shelf.
This step kicks in immediately if I change positions on the bed. If I decide to lay down to watch a movie then that can lead to other steps depending on what position I lay in to watch the movie. If I am sitting, with my back to the wall, then the plate must be cleared immediately as this new seated position brings the plate into view. If, however, I lay on my side, then the plate is behind me. Depending on what was served on the plate it might sit there for a couple more minutes or the entirety of the movie I was watching.
I am not compulsive, however, as the routines and steps can be delayed or altered slightly but never broken. I find myself experiencing anxiety whenever set steps are delayed. I have not sat down and really analyzed these steps though as I really do not want to know how obsessive compulsive I really am. I have a fairly set routine and I have grown comfortable with it. I wonder what I am missing out though by not stepping outside the lines more often.
I bet you are sitting there asking yourself what the point of this blog entry was. What is the take-away? What can I un-pack from this? Well, nothing basically. I do not write these entries to deliver nearly packaged morsels of sage advice. I write them to express thoughts on my mind, to share with others who might be experiencing the same, perhaps to open dialogue or discussion on a topic. You be the judge of what you can take-away from this. While you do that, I have to go move something.
First, I wanted to clarify a typo I made on my intro page for my website. I had stated that I would donate all of my ad revenues including Orange Key bonuses to charity. I honestly meant to say "part of" my Orange Key bonuses. After all getting people to sign up for Tangerine isn't simply achieved by letting the ad just run on my website. Regularly I forward links to my Twitter (daily), Google Plus and other accounts encouraging readers to make the smarter choice and switch to the best bank I've encountered out there.
I mean, seriously, can you name another bank that pays you INTEREST on your CHEQUING (checking) account?! I can not. I was with RBC before and for the same monthly access to MY money I was PAYING $10.95 in service charges. In two months with Tangerine, my combined accounts have earned me over $3.00 in interest and saved me over $22 in service charges! Don't you think you should try Tangerine? You can find the link on various pages here on my website. Sign up now and you'll get a bonus when you open an account with a reasonable qualifying deposit.
Okay so now that that plug is done I wanted to tell you I noticed that I had a Bonus Payout deposited into my account. I couldn't confirm exactly where it had come from but I did notice a check mark next to the $50 level. So, I have just made a $50 donation to the Second Harvest food services in Toronto, Ontario through the Canada Helps organization.
For those of you who don't know who Second Harvest is their mission is "to rescue and deliver fresh, surplus food to feed people experiencing hunger". They take fresh surplus food from a variety of sources and redistribute it to 2533 social service organizations across Toronto..
I did say when I made my donations I would blog about it here, so, here you go. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say 'thank you'.
UPDATE: The money was a bonus for me joining Tangerine Bank, doesn't matter I still donated $50 to the Second Harvest.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
First, let me begin by saying I am not a scientist or used to writing papers on scientific theory, therefore, I apologize in advance for the simplistic way I have defined things in this blog. I am not trying to write a paper for college I’m trying to express my views as generally as possible to the widest audience of readers. My definitions of each theory will, no doubt, vary some from the experts and from my readers and that is okay. I hope in the end my definition, at least, generally defines the theory.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below or by emailing me. Your emailed comments will be edited and may be shared in future blog postings anonymously.
I have been wanting to write about this for several years, but I felt I did not have a complete grasp on the question until now. It was only around 2010 that I understood one of the theories I will write about below.
What is Pre-determined and fluid?
Pre-determined is defined as “a course defined or decided in advance”.
For example, let us pretend that there are two towns, Town A and Town B that are located on a stretch of Trans-Canada 1 (Interstate 80) twenty kilometres (14 miles) apart from each other. I need to travel from Town A to a meeting in Town B and I am running late.
There are other rural roads available that I could have taken but the best course is clearly defined as TCH-1 (I-80). I will drive the shortest, fastest route to my destination, TCH-1 (I-80). The direction I will take to get to Town B has been predetermined.
Fluid is flowing and more optional in its definition as an “object with no fixed shape that is subject to external forces”. In my example, the objective of my trip does not change. I still need to go from Town A to Town B for a meeting. I will, however, change “I am running late” to “I have two hours to get there”.
The course of the events remains pre-determined. Traveling from one town to the other for a reason. The direction I take there, however, becomes more fluid. The outcome is ultimately the same. I arrive in Town B for a meeting, my arrival time becomes fluid.
The conclusion of a predetermined and fluid future would be that the course of events and outcomes are established, however, the driver (you) gets to choose the course through their actions. Each course remains pre-determined and, overall, not clear to you but the outcome remains the same.
What are Cause and Effect?
A cause is an action and those actions create dozens, if not millions, of effects. It is defined as a “relationship between things where one is the result of the other”. Wikipedia defines “causation” as “in general, a process has many causes, which are said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can, in turn, be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future. Causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space”.
To summarize causation is defined by Newton’s third law of motion that tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Another name for this is “karma” where each action has an effect and a reaction. Positive actions yield positive effects while negative actions result in negative effects. Now I know some of you are reading this and thinking ‘well that is not an opposite reaction to my action’ and you are correct. In the law of motion, 'Ball A' rolls across the table and strikes 'Ball B'. The ‘pushing’ of 'Ball B' away from 'Ball A' is equal to the force ‘pushing’ 'Ball B' in a direction. Rolling To something and rolling Away from something are opposites.
Let me give you another example. The alarm clock rings. I need to get up for work. Instead of getting up for work I turn off the alarm and remain in bed. An hour later the phone rings and it’s my boss calling asking why I have not shown up for work. I tell them I am sick and staying home. My boss then calls a co-worker and asks them to come into work in my place. They go into work. The result is that my co-worker is at work in place of me based on the chain of events that were created when I turned off my alarm clock.
The theory of cause and effect (causation) was present in the movie “The Butterfly Effect” starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. (spoiler) To summarize Ashton’s character went back into his past and changed an event. This caused what is known as the butterfly effect. Basically, his character discovered that altering one small action (choice/decision) can have a rippling effect that changes everything else. Causation is the closest thing to “free will” that humans have.
I can not really provide you with a personal experience on this one since it involves going back in time and following a different timeline. There are pivotal moments in my life where my actions, my decisions, changed the course of it entirely.
For example, April 27, 1989, on that day I rode my bicycle down to the park, saw a girl sitting by the bridge and gathered up the courage to speak to her. She would end up becoming my first official girlfriend. We dated for six months and I took a summer job at a lodge for six weeks because of her, right before I went off to college.
On August 27, 1989, we broke up. That was one of the pivotal moments in my life. I went off to college alone and at the edge of depression. I completed my first year but withdrew before my second. I do not have any regrets, but I often wonder what would have happened had she and I stayed together. How my life would have gone from that point involved in a long-distance relationship with someone who could have been emotionally supportive.
What is random chance?
You know these two words “random” and “chance” in your day to day life. Random is when things happen that are not predetermined, and a chance is the random outcome of predetermined actions. Many circles, religious, scientific, like to call this “fate”. When all hope fails, and it seems like the world will not change fate steps in and opens a new possibility.
Now I will not write about how all “random outcomes” are “not random”, I will leave that for another day. If you really want to know about it now you can read this article on the randomness of algorithms. The basic understanding of random chance or fate is the deviation from the original course.
This “fate” or “chance” is present in the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” as the reason for the characters paths crossing even though “the plan” was different for each of them.
Random chance, now I have a story for you that I think falls under this category. Whether it was by the hand of some omniscient power or simply dumb luck it changed the course of my future.
I was thinking about running in the upcoming election for the position of councillor-at-large, but I needed $100 for the application fee. I was living on a very fixed income and owed on a credit card, so I did not know how I would get the money to apply. Then one day fate stepped in.
I was at work doing my job as usual. I was thinking about how I could come up with the money while I was straightening one of the sections in my department. I believed strongly in the ‘law of attraction’ and I was starting to see the ‘signs’ all around me that there was a greater force at work in the universe than just dumb luck.
I turned the corner, looked down at the floor, and there before me was a $100 bill. I looked around and no one was anywhere near the section. I reached down, picked it up, and did a double take around to see if I was being pranked. I held onto that $100 bill for the rest of the day being mindful that someone might report it missing. No one ever did. To be honest, how do you lose a $100 bill? It is not like it would just fall out of your wallet or purse. Someone, something, left it there right where I was about to walk in answer to my desire. I used the $100 for my application fee a few days later and ran in the election. I did not win but events through the course of running changed my life forever, stories for another time.
What is pre-determined and fixed?
I have defined pre-determined above, fixed is exactly that – fixed and unwavering from deviation. Fixed implies that any course has a set pre-determined direction and no matter what you do to try to change it things will be forced back to the path. Think of pre-determined and fixed as the guard-rails along the highway of your life. If you slip off course and hit them they are designed to push you back on the path.
This idea was presented in the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. (spoiler) To summarize the architect of your predetermined life (the Chairman, in the movie) writes the course your life will take and all possible outcomes of your decisions. There is no “free will” only the ‘appearance of free will’.
My views on this topic
For the longest time, I believed that my life was this way. It seemed like nothing I did would work out for me and my life was heading into a downward spiral. I was not raised this way specifically, but I came to believe that the stereotype was the life that I needed to live. Friends, college, career, marriage, kids, mid-life, retirement, death, in that order. Ironically while I lived my life going through the motions another part of me felt there was absolutely no plan at all. The two worlds collided in 2002 when I saved my soul from dying by asking for a divorce.
I sometimes wonder if life is not fixed. If the victories and pitfalls we experience throughout our lives are not lessons required either for future events in our lives or the conclusion of it. I think the best example to use is the one I call “my minimalism”.
When I owned my store, I could not maintain an apartment and my business and had to live in the back of my store to cut expenses. But when I lost my store to bankruptcy I found myself living in a mock up room in a friend’s basement. I was forced into the lifestyle of having few possessions and only owning the basics that I needed to get by. This minimalist experience prepared me for my next adventure, living and working up north in remote Nunavut.
I spent most of my time up there being shuffled around from room to room never really having a place of my own. And when I returned to Ontario, and to a different restrictive setting, I lived in a small bedroom on the second storey of a cottage sized home. I was there for several months through until spring when I decided to load up my van and head west.
This move out west with no destination in mind required me to live out of my vehicle for a month with none of the comforts of a ‘home’. I would use the facilities at Husky Travel Centres for showers and washroom, and park in many public places like parking lots as campgrounds were not yet open for the season. I had received the skills to take this risk and travel across Canada thanks to losing my store and to living up north.
I say that this is predetermined but fixed in that it gives an example on how skills that are acquired through what seem like cause and effect are required for future events. This implies that our futures are pre-determined and will follow a set course no matter what we do if we ‘go with the flow’.
And now, the survey. I asked 33 people the following question.
“Do you personally believe your individual future life to be…”
And provided them with the four responses, that you read above, to choose from. I did not provide them with my view and, while offered, no one asked for clarification on the definition of any of the choices. I have smart friends and followers.
Here are the results of the survey.
B. Cause and effect 46%
A. Predetermined and fluid 21%
D. Predetermined and fixed 21%
C. Random chance 12%
Nearly the majority of those surveyed, 15 out of 33, believe that “cause and effect” or causation is the governing force behind their own personal future lives.
Now, three people, including myself chose two possibilities. As the question desired only one answer and for the sake of simplification, a response of “mostly B and sometimes C” meant that they dominantly believed that “B. Cause and effect” was the answer.
Another comment I received was “75% B 25% C you really reap what you sow, but there are always those random elements that ‘come out of nowhere’. They are unanticipated, no matter how careful or well prepared you are, sometimes you are ‘saved’ by some eternality that prevents or aborts a bad result”. This response was counted under B – cause and effect. It is interesting to note that these three individuals who answered with two choices all believed that a percentage of their future is left up to random chance.
I answered D 75% and C 25% much like the plot behind the movie “The Adjustment Bureau” mentioned above.
I believe that, while my future has the illusion of being undetermined, it is in fact pre-determined by a force greater than myself. I do wonder sometimes if our world does not have ‘angels’ that adjust the course of events. I do not see the course of our civilization having a ‘finish line’ anywhere in the next few millennia. I believe that fate or chance can add challenges to that fixed course, that things do not always work out ‘to plan’. Perhaps fate is residual ‘free will’ bouncing around in this box of predetermination.
I am curious to know what you think and what your views are. Please respond below or send me an email.
A special thank you to all of the talented photographers and creators who contribute their works to Pixabay for use commercially without the need for credit. It is now my number one source for images for blog articles and other projects.
Yes I am working on a blog about fate and destiny but it will probably be another week before it is done. I'm devoting a lot more time to this than my usual blogs so there is lots of data to gather. Thanks for your patience.
This is going to be a challenging blog entry to write because I did not prepare for it in advance for how quickly I run through the years of my life, perhaps at another time I will write about them and explore them more. Read back in my blog, there is a few interesting things that have happened to me I hope.
My Bell Let's Talk day started rather boring and I was compelled to just follow other Twitter members and retweet inspirational quotes and song lyrics. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do something a bit different. Bell Let's Talk is not just about motivating discussion it is about sharing your story with others. In sharing your story, my story, hopefully there are young people out there who will see they are not alone and that if you keep looking ahead there is light beyond the darkness, just reach out. So, my story, yes, that is what I am going to do with you right now.
It begins back around high school, around 1985 or so. I was a nerd back in school and did not make friends easily. The ones I did I kept for many years and treasured some of them more than they will ever know. I wish I could mention names because there are some that deserve to be recognized. So in high school I was shy, nervous around girls, and I rarely did anything to set myself apart from the shadows. Ironically I did run for students council which opened me to criticism but I believe in our democracy and equality for everyone so it was a passion more than anything else. I was depressed a lot, perhaps by environment or by genetics it did not really matter the source but I admit there were a couple times in high school when I felt I couldn't go on. I did think about taking my own life a couple times. One time I thought about strangling myself and another letting myself fall off a high train trestle in our town but both ways had a small percentage of survival so I did not attempt them. I recall many times walking over that trestle at night and staring down into the darkness below.
In around 1987 a friend of mine drowned in the icy river. I remember visiting his grave to talk to him and telling him that he was the lucky one. He escaped all the bullying and sadness. I said on more than one occasion to his grave that I wished I could switch places with him on that mild spring evening. He was a good kid and had a future before him and in my mind it just was not right for him to be taken away when I wanted to leave.
I won't tell you their names but in my senior years, when I ran for students council, I made friends with two girls from the 'popular' crowd. They supported me in my efforts and after I lost the election (to a popular kid) one of the girls told me "you may have lost but you gained the respect of so many students for trying". The support of my friends, all be them few and far between got me through some of the dark days in high school.
There were many days when I was 'popular' not for what I said or did but popular with the bullies, and there were a couple, one in particular whose name I still remember today, he sought to abuse me mentally and embarrass me publicly. I also faced some physical and mental abuse outside of school that I will not go into at this time so I dealt with bullying during a good portion of my waking hours. I do not know how kids today can survive it all. I could not. At 3 o'clock when the bell rang and you went home you could turn off the bullying and turn off the noise. You could sit in front of the television or do your homework or listen to music (I listened to a lot of "instrumental" music during that time that society would later label as emo or slit-your-wrists music) or play with your friends at the local park. Today kids can not escape it with social media and their own smartphones (which I do not agree with). If I lived in today's teen world I would probably not be alive to write this today.
In 1989 I had a girlfriend for six months at the end of high school just after turning 18. We were a match but mis-matched at that time in our lives. She was quite emotional (as many teenage/adult girls can be) and needed attention while I was a short fuse and emotionless at the best of times. There were a number of incidents between us where she needed me to be there emotionally but I was trapped in my own mind and thoughts. We broke up just days before I entered college in August 1990 (not a regret but certainly a mistake).
In college I was faced with even more problems. The stress of finding my own way in life, classes I did not like, professors I did not like, challenges with landlords and others. It was all getting overwhelming. In my spare time I was mentally abused and threatened by another student in the house I rented in. I would hide in my room, which did not have a door by the way, behind the sofa just so he would not know I was there. I would take long walks down along the Kempenfelt Bay to think about the world and my life. My thoughts matched the darkness that surrounded me back in those days (the harbour district back then was empty fields with nothing but a parking lot near the metal statue). I remember one night sitting on the cold, wet snow of a baseball diamond with a 2 litre bottle of Coke just wishing that I could freeze to death and it would all be over.
In college one day I talked with a counsellor who promptly referred me to the mental health facility in Midland, I was even provided a ride up there to talk with two other counsellors. It did not help. In fact quite the opposite. I felt I had put everyone out of their normal routine and traveling all that way (over half an hour by car that I didn't own) was not something I could do several times a week. I felt intimidated and awkward. Now, I had friends in college, a few of them, but I still felt alone. I completed the year and left to move back with my parents.
About a year later I moved down to the city and got a job. Things seem to 'hang on' for a few years but I was still depressed and not taking anything for it. I remember the long walks I would take in Brampton at night. I used to go down along the railroad tracks that ran through downtown and wonder what it would be like to just hop on a train and leave my world behind. I did not date anyone for the years I lived there. I was part of a social circle of online friends and we met a couple times a month down in Metro. They were good friends but I was not really part of the 'inner circle' so I did not do anything with them otherwise. I did fall in love with one of them and remained friends with them for many years afterward but nothing really came of it.
In early 1994 I met someone online, we had a relationship and we married that June. I moved to the US in December and that is when the darkest side of my depression tried to consumed me. I had no support from my spouse or her family and my suicidal thoughts and depression got substantially worse. She lied from the first day I met her and she was mentally abusive and I did my fair share of it in return.
I finally reached out around 1997 and got professional help from the local resources. They tried to counsel me and give me drugs. I have, what you might call, a rather intellectual mind, and could see right through all the therapies and reasonings. Therapy is about trying to change your thoughts and I agree and support it, but when you can see the end of the road and you are depressed you jump to the final block without taking the walk first.
Counsellor: "What do you want to get out of this time in therapy?"
Me: "Well, I don't know but I know this method and this method and this method do this and this and this so that won't work"
Drugs (the medication prescription kind that is) work for some, they stabilize you to help you get back to where you "should" be. I think if you have mild depression or general anxiety you should look to other resolutions though but that's just me.
The environment around you is a big factor in your state of mind, when I left her and moved back to Canada my depression seemed to become a lot more controllable. I did not have several people implying to me I was worthless and a disappointment because I would not bow down to their control or demands. It is about finding and keeping balance in your life and walking away from those people and places that seek to harm you.
I'm straying off track here. The point of all this, from someone who thirty years later still suffers from once or twice a year bumpy rides of depression and undiagnosed general anxiety I can tell you that the support of friends, family, whoever, is key to your survival. Friends are everything because without them you are alone. But I do not want to give the impression that someone must be labelled a "friend" just to care about another.
And if you are someone reading this who knows someone who might be "a little blue from time to time" don't try to cheer them up. People who are depressed don't need 'cheering up', they didn't just choose the wrong type of ice cream they are consumed in a world of darkness where they feel they are worthless and do not matter to the world.
It is not about trying to tell them they are wrong to feel that way. It is not about telling them what they feel is 'not normal'. It is normal. It is a part of the grand puzzle of life but it does not have to be their entire life. With your help by just being there it can change a life. You can save a life when you smile at a stranger or be friendly to someone in line at the grocery store. A simple "hello" is all it takes to prove to someone that they exist and that others 'see' them.
I have loved and been loved. I might not always be smiling on the outside (I have a "resting serious face") but inside I am okay. I am okay because I know that there are people who care about me and I hope would miss me if I were gone.
My name is Kevin M. Klerks, 46, blogger, politician, advocate. I am a Canadian and I have manageable (after decades) mild depression and general anxiety. I hope that does not change what you might think about me. I am the same person you knew before. I am me. Let's Talk.
I actually spent my entire Saturday in the basement on my computer and never went upstairs, that's kind of creepy. I just opened the nearby window at 2 am Sunday and the cool breeze is coming inside.
I checked the temperature and it's mild at -0'C with a -4'C windchill. I can see the moon through the treetops in the backyard. It's an eerie feeling to realize you skipped an entire day.
I have to laugh though. I texted my friend upstairs earlier on Saturday around 4 pm. I have to share it with you :)
I have the coolest friends. So what was I doing with my Saturday that had me sitting in front of the computer all day you might ask? No, it wasn't porn, okay not all day at least. I had a couple projects that I needed to get done this week while on vacation. The first was one of my resolutions for the end of calendar year 2017.
A couple years ago I published a chapbook of poetry under a pseudonym with the intent that, some day, I would update and re-publish it under my real name. Well, after over a year of telling my publisher friend that it was still a work in progress including a bungled first draft I decided to abandon what I called 'Book 2'. I decided to release my poetry on my website instead, a link to which can be found here.
I got a couple things sorted out in the real world online and then continued on the crusade on Twitter against the blunders of our rather unpopular Prime Minister. It is not hard to point out the err of his ways when they are published so frequently in the mainstream media. History classes a century from now will remember us for our childish leader Prime Minister Socks immediately followed by how the economy of Canada almost collapsed in the early twenty-first century under his rule.
I don't want to make this entry political so I am going to continue on with some more answers to the questionnaire, right after I close the window because it is getting frigging cold in here.
Q: At what age did you have your first kiss, your first sexual experience? Was it bad?
A: My first real kiss came about five years before my first sexual experience. It was with my girlfriend at the end of my high school years, at age 18. I think it might have been within the first day or two after we met. We were walking along the railroad tracks north of town and decided to sit down in the grass and talk about life. After a few minutes I leaned in and kissed her and the rest they say is history. I am still friends with her today.
My first sexual experience was with the woman I would eventually marry, at age 23. It was not how I intended my first time to be. I had hoped it would take place about five years before but that was not to be the case. And to answer the second part, no, it was not bad. I lost my virginity and we had a great weekend together at my apartment in the city.
Q: Has it affected the way you view sex as an adult?
A: Well, no not really seeing as I was an adult for all of my sexual experiences.
Q: How many sexual experiences have you had? How long is your longest relationship?
A: Okay well that question is getting a bit too personal I think but I will answer it anyways. A recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour found that the average Generation Xer has had ten sexual encounters in their life by this time. I just did the list and, well, I will not dispute that number. I guess you could say that following my divorce from my ex- I made up for lost time.
I never cheated on her during our almost nine years in a dreadful marriage though I did come very close one time that I wanted it to happen. I met this beautiful intelligent woman while I was working as an assistant manager for a convenience store. She was a customer who would stop in on her way to work and a co-worker told me she had expressed an interest in me. After stopping her one night I agreed to meet up with her the next morning to talk. We started meeting up several mornings in the week and we started sharing poetry with each other. Yes, poetry, I told you I am a romantic at heart, albeit sometimes misguided.
I felt a strong attraction toward her and I knew she did toward me. When I was close to the point of having an affair with her she had second thoughts and broke off our friendship. She ended up sleeping with, what sounds like, a random guy because she couldn't sleep with me. How do I know; because she wrote me a poem about it confessing her actions. A short time later she received a work transfer she had applied for before we met and relocated to another state. I never saw or heard from her again.
That being said in the final months of our marriage I met someone online that I hoped would evolve into a relationship but when I returned to Ontario I discovered that was not to be the case. I believe she did step out on me in the same final months and as I explained earlier she married an old friend of hers just two weeks following our divorce.
Now, excluding my ex-wife, my longest relationship appears to be about six months unless you count the woman who had an affair with me and that was somewhere around two years total. My shortest relationship would have been a one night stand I had in the mid 2000's.
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