I was very happy on my trip, I guess its hard not to be. To try and remember the things that made me happy and to fight off any kind of depression of day to day life, I have drafted:
The Manifesto For a Better Shaun
1) Say Yes more
Since I got this idea from the book “Yes Man,” fittingly this will be number 1 on the list. Plain and simple, say yes to things you once may have turned down.Say yes to opportunity, chance, a family member, a friend.
One of my favorite things over the past nine month’s was going to a cafe, relaxing, and reading. I have read more books in the past 9 months than I have in the past 9 years.
Another thing I really enjoyed was keeping a journal and sharing it via this blog. I started out doing it so I would have a way to remember the trip. A dialog to go with my pictures. It became tiresome and just when I felt it was pointless I started to hear I had a following and was receiving praise about my writing, most notably from a friend who is a writer for a TV station in Vancouver, and my brother whom I regard as a smart guy (but mostly a smart ass) and respect his comments. This fueled me to continue and I really enjoyed it. Not sure what I will be writing but I will be writing. Now I just need to learn how to spell…
Baldness and a bad prostate is what my genes have in store for me. Thanks Dad. After hearing the horror stories of my fathers enlarged prostate you think preventative measures would be a no brainer. Not so. It wasn’t until visiting with my dad’s mom (my grandmother) that I came to enjoy cranberry juice and accepted it as a wonder drug…that and I do not want to piss myself in a grocery store line up cause my catheter has overflowed.
I by no means have a great voice but I can belt out a few tunes. I enjoy it and that’s what this list is all about. I received compliments on some songs during the numerous sing-alongs my travel guitar created. Good enough for me. Sha-lala-la.
Before I did this trip I came to realize that the 2 things that used to make me happy the most, I rarely did anymore. Play music and play basketball. This made me depressed and made me think, why? Are we really that busy that we can’t take the time to do what we love? And if we love it, why aren’t we doing it? Time to get in shape and time to record some music.
It was great making new friends on this trip, I have kept in contact with many and have even visited some. It was even better spending time with friends I have lost touch with. I know its a part of growing up but does it really have to be? Call a high school friend and chat…tell him/her I say hi.
8) Make time for family
My second half of my trip was as good or better than my European portion. OK, maybe not better but definitely special. I got to know my family and they are wonderful. I had talks with my mother I would have previously avoided. I recorded music with an Uncle I hardly knew. I played video games with my cousins. I chatted with my grandmother’s and listened to my Grandfather. I golfed with my Uncles and played squash with an aunt. I found out that I have Norwegian royal blood. I went camping with my Uncle Paul and found out that he hates camping. I went on a road trip with my Aunt Alison and we fought over the back seat the entire time. I bonded with my brother and gained a potential business partner and more importantly, a friend. I met my Uncle Michael’s fiancé and her lovely kids. I played tag with Riley and Griffin. I jammed with second cousins I never knew I had. I played telephone around a campfire with my Uncle Benny and his family (somehow the word always ended up being “Boobies!”) I had a sleep over at my Aunt Marry’s and nobody got hurt. I watched my Uncle Mike, like a mad scientist, deep fry a turkey. Best of all I got to celebrate my Grandparents 80th birthdays with them.
Bottom line, family is great…Call your mother.
I have had some incredible meals on my tour. Somehow I don’t think tuna and cereal is gonna cut it anymore. Learn to cook and extend your menu. Eat fresh and eat healthy.
10) Don’t stress the small stuff
It’s a job, not your life. A co-worker had a serious surgery and was off work for some time. He promised himself that he would not stress over the little things at work as it was not worth it. 3 months back at it and he was in the same rut stressed over the same things. As my mother once said, ” It’s not a hill to grow tomato’s on” …or something like that.
Again, a no-brainer. Before this trip I hadn’t taken much of a vacation for almost 2 years, understandably cause I needed to save up but it did get me down. The world’s too big. Make it smaller.
12) Get your Caffeine fix
As I said, going for coffee was a great way to relax. Make the time for it.
13) Get out
Seeing all the beautiful places in Europe and eastern Canada made me realize that I take Edmonton and Alberta for granted. Get in what the city has to offer and get out and camp.