This will not be your typical political diatribe or some long winded complaint about the price of beer, or how school children now occupy seats in the Provincial Legislature because all of these things are things that will pass, mostly without long term meaning or significant impact.
Today is my 56th birthday and it's pretty much exactly the same kind of day that it is most years, except when I was seven and it snowed. I'm being nostalgic for a life I have enjoyed, people I have loved, people I still love and people I don't even know yet who I will probably love in due course.
For those not familiar I have been an executive, was the 773rd person in history to have a seat in the Alberta legislature and now, I am wearing Carhartt bid overalls and about to leave here to go build a small shed for a friend. All of my adventures to date, including the statement "one more severance cheque and I can retire" are summed up in my preference for Carhartt's over button down collars and cuff links.
Smattering of grey, white and pink paint, will tell you stories of the work I do for those I care for. Broken finger nails and a hole in my sock speak to what's important. And it's not what I long thought it was.
My car is an old Mercedes ML320, I uses it like a truck. My truck is an older GMC 3/4 ton that I also use like a truck. I like trucks. More to the point however, I like what trucks let me do, they let me haul quantities of things that I can skillfully assemble into something necessary.
I should have stayed in trade school, but who knew. I confused legislative advocacy as being more important than weather-stripping a cold door and assumed the executive role that determined the fate of so many would never back fire and determine my own.
When my house is sold and the legal sabre rattling of divorce is settled, I will be in Belize; I will build, I will inspect and I will fix. My tools are good, my talents are many and as long as I have both my tools and, more importantly, my talents I will carry on.
My tools were stolen recently, and during the process of replacement, I had a tough time finding things that fit well to my hand, and were automatic extensions of me. Tools are a very personal thing, this is why price is never an issue when buying a hammer for example. I still have and use my Dad's old 16 oz. Craftsman hammer, I also have a 22 oz. Estwing, a 16 oz. Estwing and a couple of others. I use Greenlee electricians tools for maintenance because they are just so comfortable, at $500.00 for a set of 21, they damn well better be.
Being an Advocate and an Executive have led me to the point where I have very good tools and now it is my life intention to use them.
Being by nature a minimalist, I allow myself the luxury of picking a few good things, instead of random piles of crap:
- Purdy paint brushes, they ARE better than anything you get at the dollar store.
- Estwing hammers
- Makita cordless tools
- Milwaukee 12" mitre saw, the king of saws!
- Greenlee tool pouch
- Craftsman and Snap-On mechanical tools.
- Bose sound system
- Apple Ipad and phone
All of which nicely fit in heavy duty totes that stack in my truck, either one.
I don't care whether you consider my life a random collection of actions or not, I do know however that I will not be seduced by the "dark side" of so called achievement, fame or glory. I've had all those and, thank you very much, they have done little to improve my life more than being able to drive a 3 1/2" ardox nail into a board in one blow.
I don't know who said there is as much dignity in plowing a field as writing a poem but they were right. I think we are distracted by this nonsense called "your passion" I think our passions are tarnished by our concerns about what other people will think of them. There is no calling that everyone will approve of and be so careful about picking what you love based solely on what you think it MIGHT be, it is more important to be clear minded about these things.
I'm not going to apologize for where I am today, what I have or don't have because in every interaction I realize now I am at best half responsible. Failure in love or work is never a completely one sided thing, it's best to forgive, remember and move on.
If it all ends for me tomorrow, there will be those who are saddened, those who rejoice and those who don't give a shit. As tempting as it is to try and reconcile with each group, simply let it known that I am doing what I love and if I had been smarter I would have figured this out a long time ago.
Drive your truck, fix your sewer, make laws, advocate, help people die, help people live, help yourself live, whatever. Nike, despite their child labour indiscretions, were right:
Just do it.