tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

3Sep/131

FOMO is a word now, apparently

I feel like I remember a friend of mine who always seems to be up on trends using the phrase "FOMO" a year or two ago, but I'll admit I'm just noticing it now. Perhaps I'm missing out on modern slang?

Ha! I slay me.

FOMO, for those not in the know, refers to the Fear of Missing Out, a concept that drives many of us to go out often when we wouldn't. It's the idea that pushes us to do more, to run around, to try and go to every party, for fear that you'll miss the event your friends will talk about for years, the hilarious laugh, that special person.

This is a lot of what drew me to go downtown to clubs, to go out and about, and to do…well, a lot of what I did when I was younger. Things I didn't enjoy, but I did for fear of missing out. This feeling was instilled in me by some friends, who seemed to feel it very, very keenly.

Lately it's faded for me, for the most part. For one, most of my friends don't do stuff like that anymore. I don't miss out on much, I don't think. It's kind of turned into a different animal for me, though.

It's become a fear of missing out on some aspects of life, really.

I've started to realize that I'm likely never going to be the guy who drives the Mercedes. I may have the nice cottage, but it won't be a giant one. I'll have a nice house, and be comfortable, but I likely won't ever be overly rich. I'll work my way up at a company, but I'm not sure I'll ever be in the C-Suite. This isn't because I couldn't, to be clear. This isn't out of lack of ability, or a lack of work ethic.

It's, simply, out of a lack of wanting.

I feel like this sounds a little cocky, and perhaps it does, but call it a belated burst of self-confidence in the last few years. I think I could do this if I wanted to. But I think, in my field, the price would be too high. I think working my way up there would involve long hours, weekends, and unbalancing my home life. It would mean less time with my fiancée (yes, engaged, if you missed that, but that's a whole other blog post that I'm kinda waiting on pictures to do). 

I'm not saying I don't work hard at my job, put in the extra where necessary, do my absolute best at all times. I've proven I'm happy to stay later and check in on weekends as the work demands it.

But I also know that, for me, that work life balance is important. Most days, if I can, I will work my full hours and leave. I won't check emails in the evenings or weekends unless there's something pressing. To me, that balance is important. That balance is a very, very important part of my life. And lately I've felt a little pang when I've realized it's decently likely I may never have the corner office, I may not get the same respect the lawyers or the bosses get, I may never have the large house, the Mercedes in the driveway, the giant cottage, the boat or the Saville Row suit.  

And there is some FOMO about that for me. There is something that doesn't like missing those things, and I get the occasional urge to try and revamp my life to focus more on work. And the realization that those things, those experiences I want do come at a price was kind of a humbling one.

But, then I get home. I cuddle my cats. I cook a nice meal. I bring my fiancée up on Google Hangout. And then I remember that some others won't be home for a few hours. And I think, this is okay. This is a choice.

I may be missing out, yeah. But not on anything that's important to me.

25Jun/130

Forgiveness, Zen and GO Trains

In the past I've not been a particularly forgiving person overall. Outwardly, sure. But inwardly there was always something in me that held onto grudges. I still remember people who have caused me issues, who have hurt me. And there was some part of me that said they shouldn't be forgiven unless they try to make amends, unless they repent, for lack of a better work. To forgive, in my mind, was to lessen the crime. Was to say their crime didn't matter, when it did.

I may have relayed this story before on the blog, but it's one I tell a lot, and it fits. I ran into an old high school friend on the GO Train once. He and I were both slight social outcasts. Not complete by any measure, but not fully in the inner circle. Both of us were taunted at some points. He gained acceptance later on, but for me, for most of these folks, I was taunted til quite late in high school.

When we met he told me one of those taunters was having a party, and that I should come, all the people would be there. I demurred, simply saying I didn't really have much to say to these people. He insisted, saying it wasn't like that anymore, no one was elitist or rude or mean. 

I said no, though, still. I couldn't just pretend all that crap didn't happen. I couldn't just pretend these people were okay, that they should be able to sleep at night for the crap they pulled, that it was all okay and we were all friends now and the things they said to me and did to me were just boyish pranks. They were bullies. They don't get salvation, they don't get forgiveness. If they can sleep at night, it is stolen sleep, sleep they do not deserve. I wanted them to rot. To remember their crimes and to be haunted for the rest of their (hopefully short) days.

That anger in me, which reared its head there, scares me a little. And I'm working at letting it go. At smiling and making polite conversation when I run into these former bullies. At congratulating them on their successes, and sharing my own.

As with many things in my life, I'm trying to be more zen about it. To not hold onto that anger, as it serves nothing. I've made efforts with people who previously I said I never would, to try and put that anger behind, to forgive them the slights, even though they hadn't sought this. I think it's better for me. I think it's better for a lot of things, really. 

21Jun/130

Bowties and the Embrace of Self

Ever since BiSC I've felt a little freer in many ways. I've felt more confident in myself, and more ready to embrace the things I'm interested in. This was a trend before BiSC, but BiSC kind of kicked it into overdrive. I've felt less worried about negative comments, about anyone finding fault with my actions or interests, and just diving into them.

Today, for example, I went and bought a bow tie and a pocket square. Why? I had some time, and I've been embracing the prep a bit. I like dressing up a little fancy, I like that kind of culture. The idea that you dress up for the airport. That you wear a blazer even when you don't have to, just cause. 

And what's more, it seems that people tend to respond to the real me. I got encouragement from Klutzy and tons of positive comments on my idea to dress a little outlandishly. And, to be frank, I feel good. A little out there, but, like…I am a little out there. I'm a little weird, a little crazy, a little frantic when you get me going. 

So, time to embrace that, I'd say. 

And for the record? I bought two bow ties, not just one. And I love it.

16Apr/131

Stepping Up

You know when you have something in your head and you seem to see it everywhere?

For me, lately, that's been the idea of stepping up and asking for what you want. I seem to see references to the idea everywhere I go, on TV shows (HIMYM last night with the jacket), articles on reddit, blog posts, conversations with others. And not just asking for what you want, but asking to be included, organizing things yourself, and asking to come along when you see others doing something cool.

I've always avoided this partly out of a sense of humility. Am I asking too much? Am I being impertinent (a cardinal sin!)? What if I'm not wanted? Is there going to be that awkward silence when I ask and everyone looks at each other going "what do we say?" I can still recount for you so many, many times that's happened, and that fucking HURT. Of course there are many times someone has said "sure!" but those stick in the mind of someone with self-esteem issues far less. They don't reinforce the belief system that I'm worthless, you see, so why remember them?

That lack of self-confidence is a big part of it too, of course. It's a big part of so many aspects of my life, sadly. 

So what I've relied on in the past is for people to read my mind and know what I want.  I feel like I read people pretty well and I assume people do the same. I'm also the type to try to include everyone and so I have a tendency to invite everyone along, to try and bring as many people as possible in, to try and make sure no one feels left out. Not everyone's like that, and people read people differently. Someone could see from a few refusals to hang out on my part that I don't want to, and not that I'm just going through a bit of an introvert phase. When I think someone is cool and want to hang out, I assume they'll ask me when they want to, not that they'll wait for me. They're busy, I'm sure, and I don't wanna bug them.

I think it was a reddit post where someone said "You can't expect people to be psychics." And it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I can't. And I've been assuming people know what I want, the things I want to do, the people I want to hang out with.

So I'm trying to step up a bit more. Not just in saying "Hey, can I come along?" but saying "Hey, let's hang out." "Hey, come over to my place!" (Seriously, so nice to be able to say that). I'm realizing if I don't do that I will end up a hermit, as there's some part of me that would be very happy just hiding in my house every evening and weekend, and that doesn't really further anything other than saving on cab fare or gas money.

The tough part is that some people will say no still. I'll still get that awkward look from some people when I ask to be included. There will still be people who I'll try to include, and I'll get nothing back from. Developing the thicker skin to handle that is the real challenge. Asking about people, trying to reach out and include them, that's easy. Dealing with rejection is hard.

In other news, sun rises and dogs and cats continue their feud.

14Sep/128

So I saw a therapist.

So that happened.

And it was good. She's a tad bit hippy, but I'm okay with that.

I was worried about a lot of things. There's a lot of things I love in life that I think a lot of folks would judge, or see as not worthwhile. Twitter. WoW. I'm transitioning to a place where a lot of my best friends are people I've never met, and may never meet, and that's awesome, to me, because almost all of them are awesome.

"I believe that online friends are just as real, if not more so, than regular friends."

Once she said that, I knew I had found a good one.

She agreed that, yes, there was stuff I could work on, and that a lot of my self talk was not good. She understood my wanting to just stay home some nights and weekends and cautioned me against villainizing anyone.

Part of me worries that I need more of a challenging person, but it was the first session. I think right now I need the support. I need someone who will help me on the path I want to be on, not tell me it's the wrong path right off the bat.

"Is it making you happy?"

"Yes."

"Is it hurting you in any way?"

"Well…no, not really."

"Then it's good."

I loved that lack of judgment. That understanding. 

She told me something at the end of the session which I can't at all remember. Something positive, something about self-talk. My usual crappy memory fails me. Something she told me to think about, of course. But it's okay. I walked away feeling more aware. I walked away feeling like, hey, maybe I can actually change some of this stuff in my head. Maybe I can really start to turn things around.

I mean, hey, instead of caving and buying the new iPhone cause, I'm sure, this will be the gadget that fixes my life, I've resisted. It may sound like a silly victory, but it is one for me.

8Mar/123

Women are pretty awesome

Today is International Women's Day, and a couple friends suggested I talk about that. The problem is I don't know what to say.

I find almost any time I try to put in my two cents about women's issues, I tend to put my foot in my mouth. I seem to always end up arguing some chauvinistic, backward viewpoint that I don't fully agree with. How? I have no idea. I tend to try and play Devil's Advocate in almost any argument, it seems, so I think it comes from that. That and the simple idea that I really, really dislike lumping any one group together, be it men or women.

So here's what I will say. We still have a long way to go on women's issues. The battlefronts may be a bit different now, but they're still there. And these issues are deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche, but that doesn't make them something we should just shrug off.

Read up on it. Watch for it. Do those, and you're already ahead of the game.

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3Mar/120

6Months and 12 Changes for March

I started off the 6Months Project with a bang by getting sick and feeling like crap. Yay!

It hasn't been all bad, because it has given me some time to reflect on myself and to relax a bit, even if I did feel like crap while doing it. I'm hoping to get back to CrossFit next week, though I may scale back my initial 3x/week plan to 2x/week.

Relaxing at home reminded me just how much I enjoy doing exactly that.

I don't so much mean sitting and doing nothing, but hanging out with friends on WoW, having long Skype conversations with special people, or keeping up with Twitter and other things. I may be able to incorporate some gym time, and I'd like to, but those things are important to me, and I want to make sure I'm not sacrificing them.

Around the same time I came across a neat tool, from reddit, for the site Wolfram Alpha. If you go there and search for "weight loss" you get this handy tool, which shows you graphs, time estimates, and all sorts of fun facts on weight loss. For fun, I put in my info, and, just out of curiosity, what I thought was maybe around a doable average caloric intake per day for me. And surprisingly enough, it showed me at my ideal weight in just over a year.

This got me thinking about how I could reach my weight loss goals without dedicating 3 nights a week to the gym. In this same reddit thread, there was someone talking about his own weight loss, and he confirmed one of my worst fears. See, I have always had trouble counting calories, or saying no to delicious foods, without feeling like I'm doing some chore, or depriving myself. I should probably try and frame it a bit better, and I've worked at that, but it's still there. This reddit user said, in his struggle, he'd found you can never not be a fat guy. You can never be one of those people who just doesn't watch what they eat and is okay. Your body isn't built like that, and neither is your mind. It is a constant struggle, he said.

And while I hope he's wrong, it reminded me that I will need more than the gym, and that I will have to find a way to eat sustainably to maintain a healthy weight. So this means watching and changing my diet.

So my 12change for March is to keep up my meditation, keep trying to eat more whole foods, and also document my foods, every day, with LoseIt, starting on Sunday. I'll try to ideally keep my calories per day at around 2000-2200. This may sound high, but realize that a) I'm a guy and b) I'm a big guy. The idea is finding a calorie level I can eat comfortably, without feeling like I'm depriving myself. Maybe reddit guy is right, and I always will feel like I'm depriving myself, but I'd like to try and prove him wrong.

So what do you think, reader? Do people ever get to the point where they can just relax about food, or if you've had to lose a lot of weight, will you always have to watch it?

31Jan/121

12 Changes, A New Blog and The Suburbs

Long time no see, blog readers.

Bad blogger! I know, I know. I'm bad at this, at keeping up with things. I'm fickle, I change my mind, and lately I haven't had the space or time to write. But I'm endeavouring to change that. Now, as such, there are a few things I wanted to share with you, dear reader.

12 Changes

I, likely like many of you reading this, decided to join the 12 Changes project started by Katherine and Stephany. In short, we're looking at trying to make 12 small life changes over the course of 2012. See how that matches up? I thought you'd like that. The idea is that we're all in this together, all working together to achieve our goals and to support each other. Community support on these things is key. Community accountability is also key.

Now, I'd love to set out my 12 Changes in advance. But, honestly, that makes me less likely to follow them. I have some rough ideas. I'd like to exercise more, to stay in touch and involved better, to save better, get more sleep, and eat better. I'd like to feel better about myself, and in my own self confidence. How I tackle those, though, is what I'm still working on.

For January, I chose to focus on daily meditation. I haven't fully kept up with it, but I continue to try and do a 10 minute meditation every day. Barring that, I try to just find a quiet minute or two to clear my mind, watch my breath. And it's helped. I generally feel more calm and centred, and I find when I'm sitting there, waiting for something to load, I'm less fidgety. I find myself just stopping for a second, closing my eyes and breathing deeply in, holding it for a moment, and then deeply out.

Fun fact? I feel like I have a greater lung capacity than a lot of people. In a lot of these guided meditations they'll be like "breath in…and breath out…" and on their "and" I'm still breathing in. Remnants from my days as a runner, perhaps?

Now, for February, I have a bit of a bigger challenge. I had heard a bit about people calling for Fast Food Free February. While I think this is noble, I can't honestly commit to that. My life is too up and down, and there are too many times where I am randomly stuck with nothing else to eat. Plus, honestly, I don't ever WANT to fully cut out fast food. I love it, occasionally.

My 12 Change for February is to eat more whole foods.

What do I mean by this? Foods that have a limited amount of processing done to them. I will be doing my best to follow some of Michael Pollan's Food Rules on this (a great, quick, easy read, by the way). This doesn't mean raw or vegan, but ideally, more fruits, more vegetables, more salads. Trying to eat things with less than 5 ingredients, and all ingredients I can pronounce. I don't intend to stick to this hard and fast, but the idea is to avoid desserts after dinner, have more fruit as a snack and not looking at a Power Bar as a meal replacement.

The biggest exception I'll make here has to do with grains. I'm not comfortable with the whole Atkins/Primal thing, and since I live in a shared household and am largely cooked for, this isn't really an option anyway. So I will still have bread, but I'll be trying to have less of that, and more whole grain bread. Truthfully, living with my parents will pose a problem in this. They support this, but have no interest in it themselves, so there will continue to be cookies, ice cream, pies and the like around. But I feel stronger these days on that. The sweets don't hold quite the same allure they once did. I'm busier, and spend less time lying, bored in front of the TV, and more time with my friends downing bosses and pwning n00bs. Well, actually, we don't PvP, and tend more to try to help new players and not call them n00bs. But they cook whatever they feel like, and often that means processed, easy food. And since they take offence when I don't want to eat dinner with them, and I can't get home in time and cook for myself in order to eat with them, I basically have to eat what they eat for dinner, or try and have some alternatives ready. Let's just say I will likely be eating a lot of quick salads.

But I think this is doable, and I'm excited to start at it. Feel free and encouraged to check in and see how I'm doing.

This blog is moving

You read that right! I've decided to shift this blog to tomfromhr.com. Why? Well, week11 was initially started after my attempt to lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks, as a kind of idea that the 11th week was the rest of my life. But lately I've been feeling more like I want to consolidate it all under the tomfromhr banner. I tend to be fickle with internet pseudonyms, and that's the one I've stuck with for the longest. Is it perfect? No, but neither am I, so I think it will work.

I'm still figuring out exactly how to do this. If anyone has experience with FTP, WordPress, Thesis and the like please let me know!

And so am I

Well, not right away. But I have been increasingly thinking that I would like to move out sooner rather than later. As much as I try to live a minimalist life, there's only so much life I can fit into a small room, and only so many choices I can make when I live as someone else's tenant, essentially. I love my parents, and they have been great, and I really don't have anything other than First World Problems to complain about. But I want to make my own way, make my own decisions, and have a bit more space to live.
What had held me back a bit from this before was money. I had been looking at moving into the city, but this is not only expensive, but it allows me, in ways, far less freedom. I have to search for a place, push my budget, and try and find something that doesn't end up leaving me further from work than I am now and with no money to enjoy life.
So on a whim one day, I decided to look at places further out from the city. Actually, further away than I am now, even. And suddenly my searches started returning results. Nice results. Place for 50k less than I would ever see in the city, that weren't just tiny 1 bedrooms, but huge, 2 or 3 bedroom places. What the hell would I do with a third bedroom?!
What had held me back from this before was people. I already spend more than a few weekends holed up at home, alone, relaxing, sleeping in and just chatting with folks online, reading, gaming, and occasionally venture into the city to meet up with friends, riding the comfortable commuter train home, a little bit early.
Wait, what? Why is that bad?
This is what occurred to me. I don't really hate that life that much. Sure, it would be nice to randomly meet up with friends for brunch on a Sunday morning. But I have friends out in the suburbs too. I realized that, honestly, I'm an introvert. I don't need, or want, to be meeting up with people 24/7. I like my time alone, I need that time to decompress, to recoup, to recover. I don't really WANT to be out drinking til 2am. My body can't take that anymore, nor can my stomach. And even if I do want to drink til 1 or 2, with the money I'd save living out in the suburbs I could rent a hotel room, or still take the later commuter trains back home, and cab from the station to my condo.
So this is where I'm at for now, looking at suburban condos to move to. Not only will these be far easier on my wallet, they will allow me to have a huge, comfortable space to myself. Hell, the ones I'm focusing on are even on the commuter train line I already take, meaning I'd just ride my train for about 10 more minutes each way and I'd be home.
Part of me does still want to live in, or nearer to, the city. But part of me is also tired of the rush. I've been working here for 3 years, and there's such an energy, such a fast, GO GO GO pace that I find a little exhausting and a little sad. Where are we all rushing to, exactly?
I don't know exactly when this will happen. I still have to save a bit, and get a few things in order, but I'd likely be looking at the Spring or Summer, for now. But I am excited, folks. To have my own space, to be able to set things up, spread out as I want. This is something that motivates, and excites me.
So, that's me. How've you been?

7Nov/111

#hallowedding

Followers of my blog (or Twitter, or Facebook, or any followers in any way) may know I went to a wedding last weekend. I called it the #hallowedding, cause everyone loves a hashtag and it was around Halloween.

As I said before, I love weddings. The professions of love, the families coming together, friends celebrating, all that. It's a unique experience for all, and I was honoured to be invited.

The drive itself was nice. Scenic, pleasant, not too much traffic. I'm definitely glad I took the day off work, as it was nice not having to rush and being able to get there in my own time. I used Siri and a headset to stay in touch with folks and, thankfully, had a friend home for the day as well who was willing to keep me company over the phone when I felt like a bit of human contact. It's funny but, for me, that was the toughest and weirdest part of the drive. I can't really Tweet, or read the news or do much more than listen to static, recorded programs. I suppose I could listen to the radio too, but it's not the norm for me, and I can't really interact with the radio. That loss of interaction was, to me, a bit odd. Hardly the end of the world, though.

After a few hours I came into Perth, Ontario. It's a small town, not far from Ottawa, my nation's capital. A bit more conservative, a bit more quiet than I'm used to, but nice. Took me forever to find the hotel (lots of back and forth as I did). But find it I did, finally!

27Oct/118

I love a wedding

This weekend I'm heading to a wedding. Okay, I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but still. My friends Patrice and Ted are getting married and I'm stoked to be going.

I'm really a romantic at heart. I love the whole event; not just the pledges of devotion and love, but the friendship and family. The speeches by best friends, parents and loved ones are always touching. I like the modern wedding because, often, it's just a formality. These two have been together for years and years. I'm sure they've made many pledges of their devotion to each other. But this is public; it's done more for the family and friends than anything else.

And legal purposes, of course.

Besides that, it will probably be a bitchin' party. The groom's family has Nova Scotian roots (I believe) and the last time I hung out with their friends it was good times. Matt and Lauren are coming too and, of course, we will have a blast. It's also up in a small town in Ontario, which means a nice hotel room and a cute little town. I am going alone, but I'm okay with that. I'm just looking to have a few drinks and a few laughs, not have any pressure on meeting anyone. I'll find a nice girl somewhere else. Like on Mars.

Either way, keep an eye here and on Twitter and probably on YouTube. I do love documenting these sorts of things.