It was the best of times, it was the Corona times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Oh, how history repeats itself. 

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.

Just a quick walk in the park. No big deal. 

It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Winter 2020 seemed darker than usual. 

Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities – from 1859 – contrasts a crumbling France under the weight of their revolution with a conversely prospering England.  

In 2020, it seems the universe is staging its own revolution.  Continue reading

The Perpetual Learner: The World is your Classroom

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Two of my best friends: Bryan and Pamela. Circa 2011 in Manuel Antonio.

She clasped the outline of her ribs and fell to the ground with such uncontrollable laughter that any passerby would have been forgiven for thinking one of her organs was trying to escape from her body. I was just as confused as to what triggered the outburst. 

“What did I say?” I asked as I waited what seemed like an eternity for her to regain her composure enough to not sound like a cold, sputtering engine. 

“Estoy caliente,” she started, “doesn’t mean what you think it does!” My face invented new shades of red as I anticipated the rest of the story. “You just told me that you are super horny!”

And with that, the most impactful language lesson I’ve ever had in my life commenced and finished faster than any occurrence of actually being horny would have. That evening, on a dark Costa Rican side street in 2010, is a moment I’ll never forget, and one that is important on many levels. Continue reading

The Art of Complacency: A Rat Race to Stay the Same

“Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.” –  Paula Poundstone, comedian.

As adults we have a penchant for asking kids cute questions for which the answers are irrelevant. An impossible number of events, factors, and changes of heart will happen between the age of “child” and deciding what “to be.” I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was in grade one and now the very word “science” produces hives. 

Perhaps there’s another reason we like to ask that question. As always, behind any joke is a foundation of truth. In this case, I’d argue it’s largely fear. 

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Redefining Needs: Maslow, the Reality of Narcissism, and the Impossibility of Self-Actualization

“The majority of people never get there,” he said as he directed our attention to the peak of a self-drawn pyramid on the blackboard. “Most people think they do, but they don’t.”

The “he” in this instance was high school business teacher Mr. Paris. The “our” was a group of approximately thirty grade ten highly-pubescent teenagers, most of whom failed to grasp the importance of such a simple message. More than a decade later, I look back on that introduction to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as one of the most profound lessons of my high school life.

To understand that logic, we must first look back.

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The Collapse of the GOP: Trump not the Cause, but Merely a Symptom

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Source: The Atlantic

Fever, headache, joint pain, sore throat, fatigue. Anyone who has played Google doctor knows that these could mean anything from simple aging to the flu to an incurable disease and imminent death. Upon visiting a licensed practitioner, a more accurate cause of such symptoms can more often than not be identified, and appropriately addressed.

That’s how symptoms work: they are on the front lines, and often distract us from the real problem, usually hidden away, unnoticed. In terms of the 2016 US presidential campaign, many point to Donald Trump as the problem. Upon further analysis, he is simply a manifestation of a much more troubling, deep-rooted issue within the Republican Party.

Trump’s nomination and subsequent public demise is yet another utter failure of the GOP. With his nomination, the Republican Party tried to be more inclusive, less elitist. Instead, they made another fatal error from which they may not recover. Donald Trump occupies the disparaging spotlight, but chastising only him is narrow-minded; the entire party deserves criticism of the tallest order.

Trump is not the cause of the drastic downfall, but rather a symptom of a prolonged pathosis which has infected the party for over a generation. Continue reading

It’s Official: I’m 30

12112418_10103710375679472_1827329500092118583_n“Aren’t you too old to stay in hostels?” my brother asked me the other day as I was casually perusing travel websites. “When all those young folk are going out, you’ll be telling them to shut up ‘cause you’re trying to sleep.”

“I mean, you’re basically 30.”

I momentarily feigned offense before conceding the obvious: he was right.

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730 Days Later: Am I a Grown-Up?

“Where are my pants?” “Was her name really ‘Areola’?” “We gotta get Grose outta here.” “I think I’m going to follow through on our drunken deal to vomit on the bridge.”

And then we got on an airplane.

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At the airport coming back. Fresh out of the ocean, and into an intense hangover.

On this day two years ago, I set foot back on Canadian soil — carrying one of the worst hangovers of my life — with the intention of staying for a while. It’s been quite a ride.

In order to look forward, it’s first necessary to look back.

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Lengthy Voting Lines Definition of First World Problem

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. A lot. And you know what? We’ll all do it again, over and over. But I hope that not one of us does it tomorrow.

When you only plan to purchase one, small item and approach the supermarket check-out counter to find an extended line, the natural inclination is to return the product, leave, and come back at a more opportune time. In this scenario, the rationale makes sense. What happened last weekend, and what hopefully will not occur over the next twenty-four hours, makes no sense whatsoever.

canadian-voter1Last weekend I read about many Canadians arriving at advanced polling stations only to quickly complain or walk away completely at the site of the lengthy lines. This, I don’t understand. Are we that spoiled that the mere thought of an inconvenient moment will dissuade us from taking part in, arguably, the most important aspect of our society?

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It’s Been a While

man-mirror-david-wygant-300x200Well hello, there. I didn’t see you come in. It’s been a while since we last talked, and you better have a seat because we have much to catch up on.

When we last spoke, 2015 was just starting, and now it’s more than halfway spent. I was in the midst of a 21-day cleanse; I had also made various calendar-induced vows to myself — feebly disguised as New Year’s Resolutions — of which some I have followed through on and some that escaped my routine the moment my fingers left the keyboard.

My how times have changed. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s how things stack up at the halfway point: Continue reading

12 Months, 21 Days, and Another Year

“Are you sure you want to do this?” was the only utterance, phrased as a question, my mother could evoke moments after I informed her I was moving to Costa Rica. On that day, in the spring of 2010, I assured her that I would only be gone for six months with the rationale of finding myself, escaping winter, and fulfilling study abroad experiences that had up until then eluded me. Almost four years later, I returned to Canada for good.

The ice storm was a nice welcome back.

The ice storm was a nice welcome back, three days after arrival.

375 days ago I arrived in Toronto, severely hung-over and sunburnt, without a plan or idea of what the future might entail. I wrote at the time that coming back to Canada was as much a move abroad as leaving was, and the parallels, over a year later, have proven that to be true.

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