Personal Geography

I wish that I could remember the geography of my own life better.

It could be seen as a little embarrassing, being a geography major. This isn’t about remembering that the water is blue, and north is up. It’s about how so many details on the maps of my life seem to be missing.

I remember the layouts, but the details are missing. I could walk through the house without bumping into anything, sure. But can I remember how the carpet of my basement felt on my feet? How about exactly where all the ingredients were in my kitchen when I wanted to make my favourite snack? The muscle memory might be there, but the actual memory is hazy.

I want to remember. I forget things I say or do often. I repeat myself. My biggest fear when this happens is that my mind is going. In a way, it is going. It’s going too fast.

It isn’t deteriorating, but it’s in an accelerated mode so often. Full of worries or stresses that I have no control over, I only seem to do a cursory glance over places I am. Rooms I spend time in I only know the basic shapes. Cities I live in I only know the major roads.

The world moves fast. Yet I move faster than it, afraid to be behind and instead allowing myself to miss out. I’m on to the next moment instead of living in this one.

Maps change, I get it. The topography, the ownership of buildings, the placement of furniture, it all changes. I don’t want it to stop changing. I just want it to stay still for a second so I can try and memorize it. The angles and the feelings. The way the sun shines in and the spots it misses.

It’s not really about the world having to stay still. I have to stay still. Just for a moment.

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Odds and Ends

South Dakota, comedians, and elections oh my.

Writing this from South Dakota where I am for a work conference. After a long day of travel and panicking about election results (overall a historic day and a solid democratic haul, but why can’t we have all of the nice things, like Beto or Stacy Abrams or Andrew Gillum) here are some random odds and ends.

A Fun Story

On my flight from Thunder Bay to Toronto, we had a lot of turbulence. During it, these songs played in order on my Spotify:

Closing Time -I sure hope it’s not

I Will Follow You Into The Dark -nooooope

Sugar, We’re Going Down – a little on the nose, universe.

Thankfully, no crashes.

Quotes I Think About A Lot I

“If you can live your life without an audience, you should do it” – Bo Burnham

Now that iPhone tells me the exact amount of time I spend scrolling mindlessly through social media, Bo’s quote (advice? warning?) comes to mind often.

Quotes I Think About A Lot II

“Obama took out his iPad. ‘I’ve got a song stuck in my head,’ he said, and started playing it at top volume – something I’d never seen him do in hundreds of these limo rides. ‘Thrift Shop,’ by Macklemore. He and Susan [Rice] started dancing in their sears, bobbing and weaving from side to side – ‘I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket’- as I sat there uncomfortably, the stiff white guy listening to the white rapper, a smile frozen on my face, wondering what the two Secret Service agents sitting in the front of the limo were thinking. This, I thought is a guy who is out of fucks.” – Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Obama from his book, The World As It Is.

I love the fact that Obama had the same ear worm as I did in 2013. The passage is talking about how loose he was going into the final two years of his presidency, still trying to get the right thing done while the House and Senate worked against him. It’s also just a fantastically painted picture by Ben Rhodes.

I may be Canadian, he may be retired, but that’s my president right there.

A Plea

When Canadian elections come around, do your research and vote. Annoy your friends into voting. Make politics important in your discussion because they are important in your lives.

A South Dakota Haiku

In South Dakota

the most exciting thing here

has been the McRib

Wallet, Phone, Keys

The other things I try to remember to bring, not just my phone, wallet, and keys.

When leaving the house, I do the same routine every time. Slapping my pants pockets, I make sure I have the same things: wallet, phone, keys (home or work). In the winter, lip balm is added. It’s a simple process to remember that I’ve got everything.

Through my last couple months of counselling, I’ve started to keep a checklist of other things to remember to bring with me. Similar to leaving my phone or my wallet at home, if I don’t remember to bring this stuff with me my day is sometimes tougher than it should be.

The first one is self compassion. It’s a hard concept for a perfectionist like me to remember to be nice not just to other people, but to myself as well. It is a hard fact that there will be days that you don’t do as best as you usually do, don’t have the energy, or something gets in the way. It’s important to remember to be compassionate to yourself. Self care is the maintenance, and self compassion is the appreciation of yourself.

Side note: don’t you hate how attached you are to your phone when you forget it? I mean, it’s all fun and games to walk around and pretend like it’s 1995, but I have memes to scroll through when I go to the bathroom. Sucks to forget your phone.

Second thing to remember to bring (rhyme alert) is reminders. These are little things that remind me of people that care about me, things I’ve done, feelings I’ve had. They’re not physical things (could you imagine me just carrying around boxes of warm fuzzies? I mean, I would do it if I could but I lack leg strength). Instead, they’re just reminders to keep in mind as I go through my days. When I forget, the day is just so much longer.

Also, gratitude! Remembering to be thankful for little things, big things, people, dogs in costumes, all of it. When I forget to be grateful, sometimes I turn into a straight-up monster.

Now, I don’t do a physical check or a little pat-down dance like I do with my PWK (Phone-Wallet-Keys, keep up people). I do try and remind myself throughout the day to slow down. Be nice to yourself. Think of all the good you’ve done. What are you grateful for? When I do that, it’s a bit better of a day.

What do you always try and remember to bring with you each day?

Winging It: A Life Lesson from Phoebe Buffay

A plan? If Phoebe doesn’t need a pla, then neither do we.

Friends is an iconic show. Lots of it has not aged well, and looking back on it can raise a lot of eyebrows. There are some things that still hold up and are very relatable.

One, Joey doesn’t share food. Smart Joey. Evan also doesn’t share food.

Chandler, my spirit animal draped in sweater vests, also remains relatable due to his awkwardness and reliance on dad jokes over all other means of communication.

Most relatable to me right now? One line by Phoebe:

BE98174B-37F6-4009-A3C6-D716D1C2D185

YASSS Phoebe. Yaaasssss.

Phoebe talks about not having a “pla.” Lots of the time she is dismissed by the other friends for not having her life together the same way they do. In the end though (15 year old spoilers, sorry) she has the family she wanted and continues to live life happily. She dives in to anything and everything and seems to always come out better for the experience.

I love planning things out and knowing exactly what’s going on. I like the control, and knowing what to expect and being prepared. Currently though, some things in life just feel like I still don’t have a “pla.”

And magically, that’s actually fine.

I want to start podcasting and sharing ideas & stories with the world. Do I have a plan for it’s content, what to talk about or even who to talk to? Not really. I have about a P, maybe an L, and I’m still searching for the A & N. I’m going to do it, but it’s going to be about diving into the deep end.

Hell, I started writing this post only knowing that I was going to talk about Pheebs and I’ve been able to hold it together so far. Not too shabby!

Lots of things in life we don’t do because we don’t know how it will go. As a perfectionist, this is one of my greatest downfalls. I fear even starting because I’m not prepared, and I’m not ready, and it won’t be perfect.

If we spend all of our time waiting, we’re never going to feel like the time is perfect.

So instead, dive in.* Figure it out as you go along. It’s what I’ve done with this site, with switching jobs, with other projects I’ve taken on. It is absolutely horrifying sometimes, but so long as you even have a P, the rest of the plan may just fall into place.

*The choice of “dive in” as a thing to say here makes me laugh because I am, by my own admission, an absolutely terrible swimmer. I swim like a rock.

I know lots of times I will still be hesitant, but the more practice I allow myself to dive in and try, the less scary not having a “pla” can feel. I’ve been working to try and give myself permission to try instead of needing to succeed. I hope y’all find the same.

Thanks for reading! If you like the things I post, follow me on Facebook here to see when new posts come up and for information on things like podcast episodes and to provide feedback.

A Passion for Stories

Trying to narrow down my passion, finding ways to tell stories, plus a very tentative announcement of something fun.

Lately at work, we’ve been talking about passions. What are the passions we have, and how do we bring them into the work we do? Naturally, I turned this question on myself.

I think I have lots of interests, but it took some thinking to come up with my passion. I love mental health work and awareness, helping others, sports, comedy, and lots of other things. But if I had to boil it down, what is my passion? What do I get energy from? Well for that, it’s story time.

In 2016, I was in the Sports Journalism program at Loyalist College and was looking for an internship. My teacher (one of the wisest mentors I had) said I needed something that set me a part from the group, and she could see what it was: I have a passion for storytelling.

At first it sounded… bogus? It seemed fabricated for an interview. The more that I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Everything I get energy and fulfilment from seems to be around hearing or telling stories. The easiest idea was stand-up. To me, stand-up comedy is one of the purest art forms around. At it’s core, it’s just story telling. Multiple stories told to make people laugh. I love hearing stand-up, writing it, and talking about it. Those stories make me happy.

I love wrestling because it’s story telling mixed with sports. I even love sports for the side stories – the tales of comebacks, revenge, rivalry, and triumph. Seeing the story of the game unfold, and for me, being able to call them and tell those stories to everyone by broadcasting the games. Those stories also make me happy.

The perfect night to me is sharing laughs and stories with close friends over food and drink. There is nothing more exciting to me than letting others tell their story, and finding ways to tell my own.

Which all ties into this website. It’s a place for me to tell my stories (as rambling or strange as they may be) and also let others tell stories through interviews. Sharing stories and lessons we’ve learned brings us all together.

I’m excited to get some more stories going during the summer, and am looking at some big additions to the website. Those big additions – a ten-episode podcast series in the summer so people can tell you interesting stories in their own words. Plus, you get to hear the sounds of my voice. Win-win, right?

My passion is storytelling, in any medium. Stand-up, broadcasting, print, interviews, anything. And now, maybe some podcasting. Coming soon to eardrums near you. If anyone has ideas for topics or interviews, let me know.

Peace & Blessingz,
Evan

Money Talk

A story about money growing up, and how views on money are hard to change.

I’m four years old and at home. My mom is on the phone with one of our family friends and I hear her say that we’re “broke.” I’m confused, because I seem to be in one piece and so is mom, so how can we be broken? So I ask my mom what “broke” means. My mom, the honest-Lorelai-Gilmore-type that she is, explains it.

”It means we don’t really have money to spend on things we don’t need. We have food, and the house, and we’re fine, but we don’t have money to spend on things that we don’t really need.”

I kinda get it.

Later that week, we’re at the grocery store and I find a sticker book. I am obsessed with sticker books and making the scenes. I’d usually get one each time we were at the grocery store. Then I remember what mom said about being broke. So I yell at my mom, loud as ever, to make sure she can hear me:

”MOM! Can we buy the sticker book or are we still broke?!”

Another reason my mom can’t bring me anywhere.


I think everyone has a different relationship to money and it’s based on experiences growing up. That might be the coldest hot take of 2018, but it’s true.

This year was the first year I ever really considered myself financially stable. So much so that instead of buying a used beater car in cash, I was convinced to go and buy a better, more long term investment car and do a plan. I felt comfortable enough to take two trips, something that was never really a thing I did growing up.

Money has always been something to be saved, to be stored away for a rainy day.

Living is expensive, y’all.

My views on money really have remained the same. I still think Metro is the fancy grocery store. I buy in bulk always. I still eat some of the “struggle dinners” in a week, like a nice PB&J or some soup. Budgeting is something I struggle with (planning is hard) but it’s still an important step to take

I was taught the value of a dollar from a young age. I don’t think that will ever change, and I really hope to one day pass that same value on to my own kids.

It’s important to sit back and look at your own view on money too. I guess if anything, that’s what to take from this one.

That and I was a bit of a shit when I was a kid.

Different Than, Not Less Than

It’s hard not to compare, but it’s important to remember what you bring to the dance as well.

Sometimes it’s easy to compare yourself and the way you do things to others. It’s easy to take the people we love and admire what they do and envy it because it’s a way we want to do things. Let me explain:

I wish I could be more organized, because frankly I am an organization hurricane. Yes, I know where things are. Yes, it’s a little like Where’s Waldo to find the things. I have a system, and that system makes sense to no one but me.

I see some of my friends having elaborate planners, bullet journals, and calendars that have more colours than the fancy box of crayons that one kid had in 5th grade everyone was super jealous of. I see that and I want that, and one day I might get that.

However, just because I don’t doesn’t mean my ability to work is less than theirs. It means I’m different from them, and that’s cool!

My skills at my job are different than that of my coworkers. That’s a good thing! We balance each other out and make for a better unit. Just because I may not have certain expertise that she does in areas doesn’t mean it’s less than, but different than.

I struggled with this before, comparing myself to a super professional and intellectual friend of mine. They reminded me that our skills are different, and our passions are different. They are just different, no less valuable.

People that we envy may envy us for other reasons. It’s a two-way street on Envy Avenue, which is right down the block from Ocean Avenue.

Aside – Ocean Avenue is a great bop. Good job, Yellowcard.

And we’re back. Could you imagine if we only all had the same skills, interests, and hobbies? If we all dressed the same, talked the same, and did the same work? I can’t, because it hurts my brain. The world would lose colour, would lose sparkle, and would lose what makes it great.

If you find yourself looking at someone and the way they do work and find yourself thinking that you’re less than, I’m here to remind you that’s not the case. It isn’t a comparison, but a compliment. You’re different than them, in your skills, your passions, your talents, and your end goals. So long as you start from a place of good intention, you will never be less than. Only different.

And different is good.