2016 Vancouver-Mount Pleasant By-election

2016 Vancouver-Mount Pleasant By-election – General Voting Stations

If you’re looking for a map of the General Voting Stations for the 2016 Vancouver-Mount Pleasant By-election, I’ve built one as it doesn’t appear Elections BC was able to. This is the official Elections BC URL for the by-election (They’re unable to grok DNS as well apparently).

My map: (Please verify with the official URL, I’ve taken the list from there and done by best for accuracy but can not verify the data).

Life without alcohol

Life without alcohol

I just read the Chicago Tribune article on What I learned by not drinking for 2 years, and a lot of it hit home, having just hit the 1 year mark myself of life (mostly) without alcohol.

A year ago December I had — had too much at a friend’s birthday, and decided to take the rest of the month off from drinking. I thought it would be a huge challenge to make it through the holidays, but once a year I think it’s good to check yourself from anything that has the potential for addiction.

It was slightly socially awkward over the holidays, as I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was a teenager. Everyone was used to seeing me drink, and so peer pressure was high. Early into the new year, I had company in from out of town, and decided to make an exception. I realized the next day, it was without hesitation the worst I’d felt in a month, so decided to try abstinence again. With only 2 exceptions (including to try the Whisky of the year, which is Canadian this year), I didn’t drink alcohol in 2015. I would agree with all of the benefits mentioned in William Lee’s Tribune article, and think it’s worth emphasizing a few things.

Over lunch today, a friend who drinks often told me she’s an insomniac, in that she never sleeps well, even though her partner does. I mentioned that I spent most of my life that way, but over the last year, I now fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. This changed in less than 2 months of no alcohol, after decades of consumption.

As someone in the dating world, there is a plus and minus to life without drinking. The challenge is, you immediately shrink your dating pool, as so many people are dependant on at least drinking socially. I’m not opposed to a partner drinking socially, but I’m not interested in a partner dependant on it, and that dependance becomes obvious when dating. Alcohol seems like the default choice for a first date to many. The amazing benefit though, is the caliber of people you meet who don’t drink. Almost everyone I’ve met who abstains, has their health in check. They’re more active, eat healthier, and are more self-aware than those who even drink socially, in my experience so far.

I can’t emphasize the health benefits enough. I also spent the year eating healthier than I’ve ever eaten, and after an aggressive couple months on personal health, I’m now in the best shape of my life. I weigh less than I have in my adult life. I’m not quite ready for Men’s Fitness magazine, but I only compete against myself, and I’m at yet another personal best. All it took was starting with incremental steps. In this case, a year ago I was taught to do an “oxygenation routine” in the morning, which was basically 100 jumping jacks, something like burpees or other cardio, maybe even a little dance off, to fill the better part of 20-30 minutes. After that, I’d open my doors and take in a deep breath of the crisp Vancouver air. I tried it for a week, then a month, and now I do it more often than not. Just like no drinking, I only tried for a couple weeks, and over time it turns into a habit. A year later, the results are noticeable.

This is not intended as preachy, most of my friends drink. Heck, I used to own a cocktail bar and have judged beer contests around the world. I’m just sharing this experience for me, because I didn’t have many people in my life who would share similar stories with me and as I’ve been sharing these stories with those who have asked, it seems to leave an impact.

Perhaps the biggest benefit, is you begin to be more accountable to yourself. You get to really know yourself. You become comfortable with yourself. You love yourself more. This is likely intimidating for some, but when is a better time?

For those reading this and interested in taking some time away from alcohol, it was easiest for me to consider a “sobuary”; take one month off just to check yourself. In my case I didn’t have any physical withdrawal, thank goodness, but just had to handle the social and habitual nature of it. I found after that first month, it feels like you’ve broken your own personal best record, so it better be a darn good reason to change that.

In summary:

  • You’re not competing against anyone else in life, just yourself. What can you do this week to make yourself better than last week?
  • Incremental goals are easier than grand ones, and if they get to the habit stage, they show large improvements over time.
  • I will suggest it’s impossible to not notice multiple major benefits from abstaining from alcohol for a year. If you have troubles doing it on your own, there’s AA, Lifering, and Umbrella Society to check out, I’m sure they’d be glad to help. You can also contact me, any time, and I’ll put you in touch with someone.
If you’re fortunate enough to have those close to you supporting you, it is the best thing ever, reach out to them. I have huge gratitude to someone I’m not in a position to give it to anymore, so give it while you can. Showing gratitude early and often is one of my incremental goals this month.

The 30-day Silence Breakup Model

It is only when you break up from a romantic relationship, do you really evaluate what really mattered, and what didn’t. As a result, if there seems to be a communication breakdown in your relationship, I propose you consider The 30-day Silence Breakup Model.

It’s 5a.m. and I’m talking to a friend who is having a communication break down in their relationship in regards to the long-term plan for their relationship. I recommended based on my experience, a 30 day breakup.

A 30 day breakup allows you to reflect on how much the relationship meant to you. It turns off, or at least dims, the blinders that love provides, if the breakup feels authentic.

It gives you a chance to reflect, and to start to list the things that you could improve for both yourself, and the other person. It gives you a chance to reflect on whether or not your needs, wants, and desires, were being met.

The obvious area to focus on, would be communication. Was communication improving, or was it stale?

It’s easy to get comfortable with someone, as rejection and loneliness are a couple of our biggest fears. Either of these fears may be an outcome of this exercise. After some time apart, you will determine if your heart is in it, or not. It’s quite possible one person will feel different than the other after this exercise, and that may be difficult.

Your one goal during the 30 days of silence, is ensuring complete silence. If it’s broken, you need to start over. After that, your goal during this time is to focus on being the best you — you can be, for yourself. Hit the gym. Go on an adventure. Challenge yourself. Go on a few dates. Cross something off your bucket list. Value and prioritize on yourself.

The reason you went into this exercise, is one side was ready to check out anyway, likely not having their needs met. The big question after this exercise, is do they feel communication will improve, and their needs will be met. It’s not impossible to have complete turn arounds in 30 days when you realize through this process how more effort should be made to have the relationship flourish.

After 30 days of complete silence, both parties need to decide if they are interested in open communication at this stage. If one party realizes it’s not meant to be at this time, they should clearly, without ambiguity let the other person know, and that person should respect that honesty and move on. You should now value yourself more than you did even 30 days ago, so moving on will be easier.

Ideally both parties will know their wants and desires a little better, and if the communication is open, you can work together on a plan to your mutual satisfaction. Remember that relationships are about compromise, so be an active listener.

Of course, if communication and feelings are mutually great in your relationship as of reading this, with regular checkins, there’s no need to go through the 30-day Silence Breakup Model, this is only intended as a measure if and when there is a serious communication breakdown in a relationship, which hopefully never happens in yours.

See Saw

Entrepreneurial See-Saw

There is a see-saw in which most entrepreneurs seem to identify themselves. At one end, is passion. At the other end, is financial success. The odds of these two meeting in the middle, although the ideal situation, is extremely rare. Most people are at one end of the other. Some find a balance, such as financial success in the day, and passion for the evenings and week-ends.

If you identify as creative, you’re likely stuck at the passion end of the see-saw. Looking to financial sustainability is usually the long view looking up. You need to consider if your path is financially sustainable. Does this mean taking an unrelated job to cover your bills? Are there other people successful in your passion field that are financially sustainable that you can speak to, or emulate their positive actions?

If you’re on the financial success driven path, you might be missing passion. I had lunch with a friend last week who shared how she’s doing 60-70 hour weeks at her new job on average, so has time for nothing else in her life, including passion projects. While financially beneficial, she realizes she’s going to burn out, so is looking at another career opportunity that even though it requires a move and a pay decrease,  it will allow for passion projects on the side.

You don’t want to wake up some day and feel like you’ve missed out on life in the name of financial success, otherwise when you do have it, you’ll have no one, and no time, to spend it. I heard the story last year of a retired billionaire whose wife committed suicide, is estranged from family, and the only people in his life are his care aids.

I started my career on the financial success track, and realized quickly that many of my peers who achieved wealth, never achieved happiness. Once you have one million dollars, you chased 10 million dollars. Once you have 10 million dollars, you chase 100 million. They never seemed to reach contentment. They were missing passion, contentment, and happiness.

This was a pivotal moment for me, where I decided to prioritize on these missing pieces, while I had the opportunity. The allure of passion, and self-evaluation, and quest for happiness and contentment is strong, and can quickly become non-sustainable if not kept in check.

Like a ride on a see-saw, it’s a constantly evolving ride, and you don’t want to end up stuck at one end or the other. The trick is to make sure it’s rocking steadily and consistently with balance in mind.