The Great Pumpkin Turns 6

img_6075
Morning cuddles rule!

Six years ago tomorrow I had one of the most rewarding and funnest days of my life, as I welcomed into the world my baby girl, Jennifer.  She was over a week overdue and I honestly think was hanging on so that she could arrive as a Halloween Trick or Treat!

We had an induction appointment scheduled for November 1st but it would turn out unneeded.  That morning started off the same as any other with my wife complaining about still being pregnant, but then again who wouldn’t being her fourth time and a week overdue.  I took all the kids to school that morning, and while Danielle was having shower the water broke and it was time to have ourselves child number five (at the time…)  To say it was a quick delivery would be an understatement, as i believe from water breaking to baby in arms was about three hours in total.

Once Jennifer was born I headed home to make dinner for our other four children and then went out trick or treating with them.  Afterwards it was right back to hospital and to Mom and Jennifer.  It was such a magical day from top to bottom!

I had the fortunate pleasure of having my birthday on July 1st, so to have a daughter with a holiday birthday was just one more way that we would be able to bond.  Every year the running joke is that all the fireworks were just for me, and while October 31st will forever be a busy day for most people, having her birthday to celebrate as well just makes it extra special.

Happy Birthday Jennifer!  Happy Halloween everyone.

 

Where Do I Start?

A quick Google search revealed an endless number of dating sites, where on Earth is one to start with?  That is a very good question.

Ten years ago, when I was last involved in the world of online dating, the site of choice was eHarmony or Lava Life.  And I tried them both, the first was eHarmony.  This was a site that asked lots and lots of questions, with the ideal of matching you up based on a complex personality profile.  In theory a great idea, however after 45 minutes of answering these questions I was disqualified as I wasn’t officially divorced and this site only took single people.  It in fact may have changed in recent years…

Then it was onto Lava Life, where I did actually meet and was able to date a few ladies.  My second wife, Danielle was one of those ladies, in fact two long term relationships came from that period of my life, with both ladies met on that site.

In the summer of 2017, I signed up for Lava Life and Match again and honestly didn’t have any good experiences, basically I knew I was ready and a result the only thing I seemed to be able to attract where con artists, and people trying to steal my money…  It was really ugly, and honestly turned me off the world of online dating for almost an entire year…

This past summer a co-worker and I were having a conversation about Tinder, and he was sharing his experiences with me.  And kind of a social experiment I signed up for an account as well.  So basically if you are unfamiliar with the site or app, it shows you a picture(s) of the opposite sex, and you have the option to swipe right if you like, or left if your not interested.

dating2

You do have the option of creating a small profile under the pictures, and I would argue that most people don’t read much of the profile and are swiping based on that initial picture they see.  Originally I was not getting much interest on Tinder, and I’d be very interested to know what the man vs woman ratio is on that site…

I switched my main profile picture to a triathlon/bike riding shot and the interest picked up immediately.  Imagine that…

The other site I decided to use was Match, and most likely because of a combination of already having a profile created there, and being just a bit on the lazy side.  I did update some of the pictures, and re-wrote the profile.  Match is more of a traditional online dating site, with a combination of pictures and words, and interests that have to help “match” you up with other people.

And once I ironed out the wrinkles, and learned a bit about how these sites actually worked, I was officially back in the game.

Now with regards to Tinder, you cannot actually send a message or “talk” with the other person until a mutual swiping has occurred.  With Match feel free to send off as many messages to ladies as you would like.

Your introduction (what sets yourself apart…) I’ve found might be the most important thing on Match.  Having gone out on a few dates, I have asked about some of the ladies experiences they have had with the men that they met.  And let’s just say there are lots of interesting men out there indeed.  Some ladies are getting hundreds of messages a day from different men, and this whole process can be completely overwhelming.

So how do you set yourself apart from every other Tom, Dick and Harry?

Simple.

BE YOURSELF.

I can’t state that one enough, you have to just be yourself.

This is one thing I’ve learned from a couple of failed marriages is that you just need to be yourself, the person you ultimately want to be with needs to be attracted to you.  Not the image of the man you are trying to project.  honestly, that just isn’t going to work if your goal is a long term relationship.

Being yourself, takes off so much pressure as to how to act, what to say, even what to dress.  The lady is going to like you are or not.  And I would much, much rather have them like ME not the man I am trying to project.  It’s a simple concept, that I believe often gets overlooked.

I have yet to give any of the other dating sites a try, and I suspect that I never will.  These two are more than enough, and I’ve honestly seen the same ladies on both sites over the last few months.

I look forward to the day I get to delete these applications forever!

The Mindset Shift In My Relationships

When I got from St. Louis in the beginning of June, I knew that it was going to be project move the family for the next six to eight weeks until all was finished.  I had just come back from an amazing life changing experience and felt I was ready to start dating again.  I did feel like I needed one more sign to push me over the edge if you will…

That same week Larry Hagner, the founder of the Good Dad Project opened himself for some free time to chat with any Dad’s Edge Alliance member that week and I took him up on his offer a few days later.  Basically I wanted to talk with Larry about the amazing time I had the week before, and basically thank him for creating such a wonderful place for men.

We talked for a few minutes about the Summit, and some of the topics that we covered and he stopped out conversation, and opted to record the talk for a future podcast.  I honestly wasn’t really nervous about talking, and it wasn’t until the end of the month the podcast was published and I was able to actually listen back to this conversation for the first time.

i was driving to play golf with my buddy Ryan, as I listened to it for the first time.  I was actually quite impressed with this conversation, and one answer in particular that went on for over nine minutes was particularly enlightening.

The link is below, and I invite you all to give it a listen.

The Good Dad Project Podcast Episode 122

Being Happy ~ All Alone!

One of the things that I knew I would have to do is completely change my mindset about first off being single, and being happy all on my own.  Needed someone in my life to be happy was not the key to being successful, it would only lead to further issues as any relationship progressed.  Being happy as a single man raising 4 kids was key to the success of any future relationship!

That process took almost two full years before I knew I was ready, and I needed lot’s of signs along the way to help convince me.  Truthfully in the beginning I wasn’t even interested in even looking at another lady, when I would go to the gym I would keep to myself despite many opportunity to just talk with another person.  Wasn’t interested…  My friends kept telling me that it would happen when I least expected it, and there was some truth to that…

At the start of 2018, I actually met someone and had a few month relationship that was great but unfortunately due to the timing of life was destined to fail from the beginning.  What I did learn that I wasn’t quite ready yet, I was getting closer but not there.  I embarked on a journey to make me happy, and as much as I enjoyed the summer of 2017 even calling it the Summer of George, in 2018 I needed to change my mindset.  I need to learn how to be successful, to be happy, to be open and vulnerable.

Being a member of the Dad’s Edge Alliance, I joined a weekly mastermind where I went on a weekly journey with a fantastic group of men that completely changed my life.  Each month this group of men would dive into a different topic, and discuss it over a series of weekly calls.  In the month of February for example, we reviewed the Five Love Languages, a concept to that point that I had no previous knowledge of…  Reading that book, and then the book No More Mr Nice Guy, and then The Miracle Morning… each one of these books has introduced ideas and concepts into my life that I really knew nothing about before.  And each one helped me grow just a bit more as a man and father.

It was a trip that I took in the beginning of June that truly changed my world and showed just how powerful a life full of authenticity and openness can truly be.  Spending three days with 70 other fathers and men with the purpose of becoming better husbands and fathers was well, mere words will ever be able to describe the experience.  From about three pm on Saturday through to 4 am on Monday morning when I finally got home I was alone with my thoughts.  Sitting around the campfire outside of St. Louis and writing in my journal about my experience, and then what I wanted next in life.

The first thing I wrote about was dating… was about meeting someone special… was about sharing my life with someone again.  Waking up in the morning and sharing some coffee, right through to falling asleep at the end of the day in each others arms after an active, fun day.  The 20 hour drive on the way home was just perfect for reflecting and thinking about what’s next?

I knew I was ready.  And so while the first task after getting home from St. Louis was to move my family to the next town over, and when that oh so fun task was completed 6 weeks later, I fired up the Tinder and Match accounts on a bright and sunny Monday morning…

 

 

 

Am I Even Ready?

So how do you know your even ready to start dating again?  And I have realized that as I’ve met ladies in various states of readiness themselves.  Even sitting here now I am thinking to myself, am I even ready?  Ha ha..

A year ago not a chance, not even close to being ready.  I hadn’t learned enough about myself, and what I was going through to be able to open up to another person.  Taking a step back from life if you will, and learning about being a great father and husband.  I needed to learn how to listen, and talk openly and to be present.  I needed to learn what a love language was I could better recognize and speak them.  I needed to gain a level of self confidence so I could successfully navigate the highs and lows of a relationship in a positive and healthy way.  And I had to clear out all my baggage from my previous relationships,  I’d been carrying that shit around for far too long.

So began a journey at the start of 2018 that has continued to this day, the men that I’ve met, the life lessons that I continue to learn, the way I’ve seen my relationships change over the past year, how much more at peace with everything I am.  The Dad’s Edge Alliance has changed my life, and sent it in the most wonderful direction.  I had the fortunate pleasure of going on a retreat in St. Louis this past June that was life changing.  And my 20 hour drive home from that trip I was able to think about my life and what I wanted moving forward.

I wanted to find her.  And I was ready.

A couple of days later I was talking with Larry Hagner, the man that runs the D.E.A. and we end up recording a podcast about the subject of relationships and what I have learned about not only why I had been unsuccessful in the past, more importantly how to be success moving forward.  How to be open and vulnerable and present in each and every moment, as much as possible.  I moved my family in June and July and when that was finished, and I was looking at a kid free week at the end of July I knew the timing was right.

I’d been a single man for almost two years at this point, I had moved out and moved on.  Things had settled down in all other areas of my life, my job, my children, the move… I wrote a lot about the subject in my journal and one fine morning I woke up bright and early stood there and looked at myself in the mirror and I just knew.

Let’s do this.

My next post will be about how this change of mindset came about for me, and some of the things that I’ve done or read that has helped reshape the way that I think.

I’m Back Baby! ~ George Costanza

So it’s definitely been awhile since I’ve sat down to write a blog post for my little site here.  I honestly was upset for the ripple effect I saw in my personal life from a simple blog post(s) from earlier this year, and I’ve been busy!  Going back to work full time and head first dove into the world of dating once again.

And that experience is what I want to write about again.  My goal is to simple share my experiences, both good and bad and hopefully someone can learn something and apply it to their own life.  That would be aces.

As of this writing, it’s been about five weeks since I made the decision to date again.  And is that really a decision you make?  I just woke up one day and said to myself, today is the day to get back out there.  What was it about that particular day versus every other day, I couldn’t tell you.  I just knew that I finally, after almost two years felt ready to give it a serious try.  Now when I do something, it’s 100% and then a little more, as I believe that you only get back what you are willing to put in…

Two months ago, a co-worker and I were talking about Tinder, the “dating” app where you can swipe right (I like), or left (no thanks) based on a few pictures, and maybe a paragraph or two…  So as much as an experiment as anything else, I created a Tinder profile and started swiping away.  It felt very underwhelming to be looking for love on my cell phone, swiping left or right.  This site is also geographically based, meaning you can only see certain woman based on your search radius and where you are actually located.

Let’s just say in that first few weeks I learned all the single ladies in and around Barrie and Angus… I’ve yet to meet someone in person that I’ve seen online, and I often find myself wondering if someone out there recognizes me?

“Hey, I saw you on Tinder but I didn’t swipe right…”

Is that really a conversation anyone wants to ever have?

img_5624I honestly wasn’t getting much action on Tinder until I changed my profile picture.  Once I loaded this picture, Tinder blew up for me.  I would argue I saw 1000% more interest based on this picture.

I had a few ladies ask if that was really me in the picture, and yes it is!  Perhaps my all time favorite photo of me, cause in all honesty I look fantastic.  I would sleep with me…

I’d just finished a 1.5 km swim after jumping off the side of a steamship, flew out of the transition area on my bike and finished the first climb of the day.  The photographer, Mike Cheliak was sitting in the middle of the road at the top of the hill snapping away.  My arms, chest and shoulders were still all pumped up from a 40 minute swim, and start of the bike.

I also dusted off my old profile on Match which I had set up the previous summer without much success, truthfully I wasn’t ready for that whole world just yet.  I believe I went on one date, and uncovered at least three scams to get money from me.  It was not a good experience because I just didn’t have the right mindset, and any relationship that I may have started would have been doomed to failure.

The whole online dating process is a lot like answering want ads or applying for a job might be an even more accurate statement.  Your searching through all the listings, looking for the “lady” that might just be the one, that right combination of interesting words and a eye catching picture of two.  With so many different people out there, all looking for something slightly different you never know the responses you might get, and from whom…

From the research that I did, there seemed to be lots of ideas of what to include in your profile to draw interest.  And from talking with people about their experience(s) in the world of online dating, and from my own experience so far I can honestly say you are never going to know, nor should you be surprised by anything that may happen.

So over the next few months I will be sharing my experiences to date, pun intended.  And truthfully I’ve already met someone pretty special, things are going very well and it was the most unexpected person I would ever have guessed.

 

The Morning Routine

Getting up and being productive has never been my thing.  The time in the restaurant industry molded me into a night Hawk, and then by default a late sleeper and not one of those early morning people that perk up before they open there eyes in the morning.

Not me, ugh where’s my coffee and snooze button.

Being in a tribe of men, I see a lot of success from those that have adapted some form of morning routine to start there day.  Coming from all walks of life, I’ve been exposed many awesome examples and ideas to try.  There of course is no one blue print that you can follow, each of us is an individual and the routine will differ from person to person.

The biggest thing that I have learned from these awesome examples is that it’s about creating the mindset for a successful day.  To mentally prepare for the day ahead, and plan for what you would like to get done for the day.  Everything from how I will interact with my children, to what I want to accomplish for the day.

This process (so far this week) has allowed me to be more productive, and effective as a father and man.  By investing a few hours into myself in the morning, has paid huge dividends to those around me.  This routine will continue to evolve over the next few weeks as I try different things into this routine until I find what truly works for me.

It’s now a routine that I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, as it’s the perfect way to start the day.

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

%d bloggers like this: