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.

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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!

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…

 

 

 

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.

 

Where’s Waldo?

Is a children’s book, where you need to find this tiny dude hidden somewhere in a giant two page drawing with many similar looking patterns and designs.

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Followers of my little blog here, might be wondering the same thing.  Where’s Waldo?  It’s been a while since you’ve written anything and/or updated the site.  I’d like to take the chance to explain why, and where I’ve been!

When I first got the idea last year to create a blog, the idea behind it was to share and express some of things that I wrote in my journal, perhaps with the intention that if one person could take something away from my experience with life, some of the lessons I may have learned and were able to better their own life, improve their relationship with a child, make themselves a bit healthier… all of these would be considered wins by me.

More importantly to me, was the ability to record my thoughts and feelings in a litle bit more of a creative way.  By adding music, and pictures, and comments to my posts, it is like creating a living and breathing journal, as opposed to mere words on a page.  Add on the fact that typing on a keyboard is slightly less painful to fingers after a lengthy period of writing, painful believe me.  I have the divot in my fingers to prove it.

Then something happened that I didn’t think of, or expect.  Things that i was writing started to come back and affect my personal life.

People from my past and present started to comment on the things I wrote, and often times in a very negative way.

It became very painful, to even share my own life as it was literally being thrown back into my face.  Really?  Yes, really.

I am very fearful to write about issues my children may be having, or solutions to those problems.  I fear to write about personal issues I struggle with not knowing if this information could be used against me in the future.

It’s actually kind of fucked.

What it did do was take all the love and joy out of writing this blog, and replaced it with a head shaking dis-belief that people had nothing better to do than comment on my life, which isn’t really all that interesting is it?

This blog was meant for me, and it was hi-jacked but people whom I sure had the best intentions behind there words.  I have been recently reminded that no one can tell you how to run your life.  Everyone is different, everyone looks at the world through a different set of us, and what works for me may not be the best thing for you.

With that in mind, and remembering why I got into this in the first place shouldn’t really have affecting me in the way that it has.  I am better than that.  My wonderful followers (that’s you) deserve better than that.  This is supposed to be fun.  This is suppose to be for me…

Found Waldo yet?  I’m right here!!

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!

 

Star Wars Life Lessons

While Star Wars A New Hope, which was released when I was five years old has been my favorite movie of all time, it is only recently that I discovered many of the truly important lessons in life can be drawn directly from the films over the last 40 years.  And while I am sure there are many more lessons you can draw from these wonderful films, here are some of my favorite…

do-or-do-not-there-is-no-try-25929616“Do or do not… there is no try.” ~ Master Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Perhaps my favorite life lesson, and a long time source of inspiration for me as there is a framed plaque of this quote right on my recreation room wall.  In life you can either do something or not doing, there is no middle ground.  It is a mentality I try to take into everything that I do, I am not going half ass anything.  I am going to run 100 days in a row, I am certainly not going to just try to do…

 

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” ~ Darth Vader, A New Hope

You need to surround yourself with people that believe in you, and will blow wind into your sails.  Life is far too short to listen to the haters, the doubters, the people that just want to drag you down to their level.  Surround yourself with amazing people that inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

 

C-3PO “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is 3,720 to 1.”

“Never tell me the odds.” ~ Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back

If you had told me ten years ago that I would have completed an Ironman triathlon, I would never have believed you.  At the time I was 234 pounds and completely out of shape, but with the proper training plan, and the motivation from deep within myself I crossed the finish line on Aug. 29th, 2009 and will forever be an Ironman finisher.  I have the medal to prove it!!  From this experience I learned that there is nothing that you cannot do in life when you put our mind to it.  It’s a belief in yourself, a belief that you can accomplish anything.  Believe and your will find a way.

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“Strike me down and I will be become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” ~ Obi Wan Kenobi, A New Hope

Success in life can often be attributed to failure, or several failures in life.  It’s about getting back up after you have been knocked down, it’s about getting back on that horse after you’ve been bucked off.  Life is hard and at times cruel, it will test you, it will push you to your limits, it will knock you down.  From each failure you can learn from you will evolve into a much more powerful version of yourself.

 

“Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda, The Phantom Menace

Even the worst movie of the Star Wars franchise can teach us something, Don’t let fear guide your life,  don’t let fear control your decisions.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the future can cripply you into inaction and nothing.  You know what happens when your afraid and do nothing?  Nothing happens.  I sometimes call this the Negative cycle and it has had it’s powerful grip on me for too long at some points in my life.  I now longer fear the unknown, I embrace it.  I wake up and look forward to each and everyday and what it may bring.  With this changed mindset, I’ve seen my own anger slowly fade away…

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“One thing for sure, we’re all going to be a lot thinner!” ~ Han Solo, A New Hope

Humor in life can go a long way, and can make a stressful situation for tolerable.  This would be one lesson that I would want to incorporate more of into my own life, and not get stressed out at things beyond my control.  Laugh about, make jokes and make the best of whatever situation you may find yourself in.

 

“All his life he looked away.  To the future.  To the horizon.  Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing.” ~ Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Being mindful, being present in the moment can go such a long way.  Imagine you are spending quality time with that special person and you continually picked up your phone to check your social media feed, only giving that other person some of your attention.  Now imagine that same interaction with your phone turned off, and the other getting 100% of your attention, your body language, and where your mind is at.  Being mindful, being present can go such a long way in a relationship and can make that special person truly feel special.

 

“Let go of your hate.” ~ Luke Skywalker, Return of the Jedi

There is a time and place to put the past in the past and let go of ill feelings that you may have been holding onto and taking away from other areas of your life.  By embracing the hate, it prevents you from growing in the other direction.  It forces you to focus on the negative as opposed to embracing the positive aspects of life.  Letting go of the hate and anger doesn’t mean forgetting, it means focusing on the bright future ahead that (if you let it) can be filled with love and happiness.

 

20160921_112451-ANIMATIONI personally believe in the power of the force, and while I may not be able to levitate boulders with my mind, despite how hard I tried when I was a child I certainly believe that there is an energy that as described by Obi Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, “…an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.”  This energy you can tap into, you can use to power yourself to great and amazing things, there is also a dark side energy that can, when you start down it’s path will forever dominate your destiny.

The light side, the positive energy in life is such a powerful thing.  It is powering me to run 100 days in a row, it is powering me to change my life in such a positive way.  I have such a strong personal connection to Darth Vader, as my life was filled with anger and hate until one day I was able to come back to the light side of the force and embrace all that is good in life.

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!

 

Why Do I Blog?

Interesting question?  And one I was forced myself to ask this past Sunday.  I woke up around 6am to get ready for work, and as usual I pick up my phone to see if there is anything important that may need my attention.  I see a message from FaceBook messenger from an old girlfriend from about 10 years ago, definitely not the normal notification I would get on my phone so I gave it a read.

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The Ying and Yang of life… Star Wars style!

Not the way that anyone would want to start the day.  While I believe the underlying reason for sending this message was concern the wording and overall tone of the message was just plain wrong.  I don’t even care to cut and paste it here as it basically was calling me out, my actions, this blog in particular were all BAD THINGS for me.  That I was in serious denial about my anger, mental health issues and depression and if I continued down this path I would be broke, homeless and unemployable.

She of course then blocked me so I couldn’t send any sort of reply.  Since I know that she is stalking me online, and will eventually read this this reply will have to do.

I am living my own life, and the choices that I make (while you may not agree with) are mine to make.  Spending this time now with my son is my driving force in life, the day to day interaction that I get with him (and my other children), I wouldn’t trade for the world.  I was a miserable nasty who hated his job, and hated the person THAT I WAS.  I walked away from all that life to save the future of my children, had I continued on that path I would have been broke, homeless and unemployable.

I have spent considerable time resolving the issues that I had been dragging around with me, I have sought out help and found it in the most incredible and unexpected places.  The friends that I have met and made are of such quality they won’t let me fail, they hold me accountable and I have such a network now that I can lean into when times get tough, to bounce thoughts and ideas off of, to lift me up when I am feeling down.  The MasterMind course that I am doing had taught me how to be a better man, father and one day again husband.  The community of support in these “FaceBook groups”, which I understand are closed for a reason.

And lastly exercise and triathlon are a bad thing?  Seriously?  I have learned more from the sport of triathlon about myself, self confidence, a healthy lifestyle and showing my children a way of life that they will learn from watching their father participate in.  A lifestyle that will allow me to stay active and keep up with them as they grow into their own lives.

So thank you again for your concern, I’ve taken away the underlying message and adjusted my course with a few things, so thank you for that.  The rest I am going to leave in the past, with you and the memories of our relationship.  I will continue to focus on the positive things that are in my life and that I can control, you , your thoughts and feelings I cannot and I will not your fears and concerns become my own.

I have three coaching calls to look forward to today, each with a slight different area of focus, a bike/run brick workout to get in, a cookie order to bake decorate and ship, some website updates to do while the boy naps, and then an afternoon of fun and games with my children when they get home from school.

The only person I need concern myself with is the man that I see in the glass.  Have a great day everyone.

PS – this is why I blog, to clear my mind, to set my focus for the day and then crush it.

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!

 

Celebrating a BIG Win(s)!

So yesterday was a very interesting day for me, a bit of the continuation of the emotional roller coaster but in a good fun, let’s build towards something kind of day and NOT one with a huge drop back into negativity or despair.  Allow me to explain…

I woke up not feeling the best, I could feel the negative cycle that had plagued me in my past start to take hold, and it would have been just so easy to feed that cycle and the next thing I would have known, THE NOTHING would have it’s claws deep into me again and I could have lost another week doing nothing…

I recognized the start of this cycle and I reach out for help yesterday through some friends and leaned into the support circle I have created for myself and instantly felt the love and the accountability that I need to keep me on the straight and narrow.  To not slip back into back habits of my previous lifestyle.  I worked out, I went for a run and my mood and attitude immediately changed.  WIN!

I shared this experience in my group call last night, reading some pages from my journals of that past to give some insight to just how bad the negative cycles in my life would effect me.  It was a very moving experience for me to open up and share some of my darkest periods of my life.  I know that the others could relate to what I went through as we ALL have points in our lives when we feel incredibly low.  I am fortunate to have the support to quickly life me up from this.  WIN!

After my call, I had the chance to talk with both of my older children before bed and to share with both of them what I had been going through the last couple of days.  We talked about life, about how it can affect you, and ways to navigate those feelings so they don’t take hold of you and trap you into that negative cycle.  This 45 minutes was the BEST part of my day and showed me some tremendous growth on my part, to not only break my own cycle of negativity but to ALSO share that knowledge with my daughters.

This was the biggest WIN of all!