I’ve been joking with the idea now for the last couple of months. I tell everyone that I’ll be releasing version 5.0 very shortly. Well, today is the day and I couldn’t be more excited.
You see today I woke up having achieved the momentous milestone of 50 full years of living and surviving on this planet. An achievement only a couple of years ago, I was far from embracing. However, it’s clear to me now that the sum of events that have brought me this far are my personal shrine of glory. In particular, the last four months have added immeasurably to the clarity and optimism with which I now view the future.
I have had the good fortune so far, to have lived a fairly conventional middle-class life. I’ve enjoyed successes, suffered failures, have loved and lost, have pursued passions that have brought me great joy. In short, life has kicked me around some and I’ve kicked back some. All in all, I certainly can’t complain.
Prior to four months ago, I had been gainfully employed in the powersports industry selling motorcycles, something I’d gotten pretty good at having been in and out of the industry since 1979. Then, one fateful day, I found myself enrolled in a new optional program… perhaps you’ve heard of it before. It’s called downsizing. In this case, my option was to either work the same amount of time for half as much pay OR… go do something else.
After some quick calculations on the probabilities of my bank manager accepting half of my mortgage payment, I decided that this was an excellent opportunity to go try my hand at that ‘something else’ thing.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the key that would open my eyes… would awaken me from living my life in a series of preconceived patterns and conventions just because that’s how society and our culture operates… how our society and culture thinks I should operate.
Well not any longer… not for me. I’ve got a few different ideas now.
I have always had an appreciation for nature and perhaps have always felt my connection to nature more than most. I like to think I’ve been living my life with my ears open – open to observe what life had to tell me much more than me telling life what I had to say. There are things that I’ve done (and some things I still do) which contradict my natural inclinations regarding the environment. I knew it was long overdue that I strengthened that connection.
I began to think there would be less stress in my life if I could live it more congruently with these newly confirmed principles. With less stress, I thought perhaps I would have more energy and passion to pursue what really matters to me. I was right of course which is great because taking the moral high road can take a lot more energy. Daily decisions must be weighed against a new set of criteria and because that means you consciously have to pull yourself off of autopilot and rethink every choice, it takes considerably more energy. That all being said, I’m finding that when you’re passionate about something, it’s much easier to find the energy to pursue it.
With my decision to help the environment any way I could, came a curiosity that compelled me to seek out information on the state of the environment, our current sources of energy and the emerging alternative energy sources. I also became very keenly interested in super-health and how fitness and food play such an important role in a healthy existence. In my quest for knowledge, I immersed myself in as many books, movies, audiobooks, and Youtube videos as I could on those subjects. I soon learned how much misinformation there is out there. I was beginning to learn how hard it was to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, on these vitally important issues.
The following is a partial list of media I have used to help shape my new perspectives. While there are some I agree with wholeheartedly, others merely provide a very interesting wider perspective of the world and the possibilities within it. As I’ve always believed, you take from the information whatever fits for you. The rest becomes an exercise in perspective, which is equally important in my view.
|David Suzuki – The Autobiography||David Suzuki||Book|
|Dirt – The Movie||Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow||Youtube|
|Everything You Have to Know about Genetically Modified Foods||Jeffrey M. Smith||DVD & Youtube|
|More Good News – Real Solutions to the Global Eco-Crisis||David Suzuki & Holly Dressel||Book|
|Our Choice – A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis||Al Gore||Book|
|Permaculture – Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability||David Holmgren||Book & Youtube|
|The Dark Mountain Manifesto||Paul Kingsnorth & Vinay Gupta||GoogleDocs|
|The Legacy – An Elder’s Vision for our Sustainable Future||David Suzuki||Book|
|The Power||Rhonda Burnes||Audiobook|
|The Secret||Rhonda Burnes||DVD & Book|
|The Wisdom of the Elders||Peter Knudtson & David Suzuki||Book|
|The World According to Monsanto||Marie-Monique Robin||DVD|
|Younger Next Year – Live Strong, Fit, Sexy until you’re 80 and Beyond||Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge M.D.||Book|
|Zeitgeist||Peter Joseph||DVD & Youtube|
|Zeitgeist Addendum||Peter Joseph||DVD & Youtube|
The ideas I’ve considered in these publications have taken me full circle – first, allowing me to wallow in a sea of depressing statistics regarding the seemingly endless catastrophes committed on us and our environment. Then, allowing me to realize the futility in such a negative thought process, I began to understand that only through the focus of positive energy and thought does anything of real value come into being. I suspect anyone who has considered themselves an environmentalist for any length of time must have gone through a similar process.
David Holmgren, co-originator of the Permaculture Concept aptly observed that an unwavering focus on positive circumstances representing the future we want is the only path to its design and fulfillment. All else is wasted energy.
My 50th birthday in no way marks the end of my period of discovery. I know I will continue to observe, learn and adapt until the day I die, which incidentally, I’m planning on sometime after my second 50 years and not before. This then, is my brief halftime report.
To wrap up (because it’s my birthday and I want to go outside and play) I have a shiny new perspective on life now. On this auspicious occasion, I feel like I’ve experienced a cocoon-like transformation. Today, I emerge a different person full of health, vigor, excitement, optimism and hope.
I’m 20 pounds lighter than I was one year ago today. I either run or walk 10 – 12 kms at least 3 days a week. I weight train a couple times a week. I eat very little meat in favor of mountains of fresh, raw vegetables. I sleep less, have more energy, am stronger and am constantly in a better mood.
So… I’m ready for chapter two. Absolutely awesome things are coming my way. I’m actively pursuing some of them. Others I find, are pursuing me. I firmly believe in the Law of Attraction and I’m loving life so it can only love me back.
50 is great. I’ll have lots of adventure and life intelligence to share during my next 50 so stay tuned.
… just so you know.