How to measure friendship

Real friendship isn’t defined by following, liking or adding to circles.

I know I can get going about Rob Ford and running and my stupid transit commute and the crappy weather. You think you have it rough following me? Two thirds of the tweets I write get deleted before I send them because I figure nobody else would care. Seriously. It could be way worse.

I also know that I have many good friends who don’t follow me on Twitter (or they mute me out of existance because they think I’ll be offended if I find out their little secret).

There’s no need to keep it a secret or be ashamed. I’m fine with it. Feel free not to follow me, or circle me, or whatever. NBD.

I don’t expect people to put up with my endless, useless stream of Twitter spew. I quite honestly don’t understand why 434 of you people still do.

I choose not to follow some of my friends on Twitter for the same reason—I’m just not all that into what they tweet about, or they simply tweet to damn much. Whatever the reason, it says nothing about our friendship except that we aren’t connected on Twitter.

Social media are channels. Nothing more.

My real friends know how to contact me regardless of which of channels we may or may not be connected on. Some use Twitter DM, others Facebook. A pretty limited number have my email address and fewer still have my mobile phone number. I welcome those personal messages at anytime because they are my friends and when they want to talk to me specifically, I’m there for them.

Truth

Some days I really miss the days before social media when the word friendship meant something and wasn’t measured by the tap of a follow button, or the drag of an avatar into an imaginary circle.

Don’t diminish the true value of friendships by measuring their worth with something as trivial and meaningless as an appearance on your followers list. Do yourself a favour and measure your friendships in reality.

Sunday City Exploration

The past two Sundays, the kids and I have been doing city walks while Ginny runs with her friends at the Downtown Yonge Running Room.

First we have breakfast at the Sunset Grill (tasty, kid friendly and quick). Once that’s done, we walk about 3km and explore some different parts of the downtown that are either secret, or tucked away.

Last week we hit the Cloud Gardens (pictured left), took in the cow sculptures at the TD Centre, looked at the massive construction project going on in front of Union Station and walked through the Atrium at Brookfield Place.

This weekend we took a look at the Eaton Centre including an elevator ride to the top level, looked at the Al Weiwei sculptures at City Hall and then checked out the little waterfall and garden oasis inside the Sheraton Centre hotel lobby (pictured right).

We finished it up with a walk through the Toronto’s underground city called PATH and peeked in through the window at the Hockey Hall of Fame and saw the Stanley Cup.

It’s good exercise for the kids and I, and a good way to spend a Sunday morning instead of just sitting around watching TV.

Finding the Good Life – Update #1

My last post mentioned that we were going to start taking advantage of all the things our neighbourhood has to offer. You can go back to that post as I did this morning and read the reasons why, but the short version is that we realized we wanted a bit of a different life and came to the conclusion that a lot of what we wanted was available to us here…we just needed to do it.

Since that post, Ginny and I bought a stand up paddle board and have been out paddling on the lake down the street from our house a bunch of times. We’ve had the kids out with us a couple of times too, and they loved it.

I’ve gone for a couple of short trail runs and have a few more routes planned out for the fall.

We’ve been spending a lot more time at the lake since the trip, including with the kids. Walking along the boardwalk, looking for beach glass at the water’s edge, exploring the Scarborough Bluffs, biking Tommy Thompson Park and the Leslie St. Spit…it’s been fun.

It’s not always easy to make the time and pull the kids away from the TV, but we’ve been doing it and the kids are adapting. I’ve got my eye on a day hike at Rattlesnake Point in Milton, and some trail runs in Rouge Park. It’s going to be a great fall.

Home to Toronto

Our quick three day getaway to Vancouver Island is done and we’re flying home to Toronto to return to our “normal” lives.

This whole trip happened because we started thinking about what we wanted in life, both for us and for the girls. Getting a big pile of cash from the insurance settlement gave us a reason to think about some different options and one of the options was to maybe find a radically different life out west.

We spent a few days on Vancouver Island looking around and seeing what life ere was really like. We rode ferries, hiked up mountains, drove around and looked at homes and villages and we came to the realization that moving there wasn’t going to happen. At least not now.

Island life is a good life

The view from the MahalatIt’s a beautiful place. Stunningly beautiful, really. The people are warm and inviting, and the land is often wild but ready to be explored. We loved the hiking, the scenery, the people and that more relaxed lifestyle.

But to pull up roots and move away from family, work and our home in Toronto? It’s not for us right now.

Finding a good life at home

What this whole exercise did show us is that we’re after something different in our life. We came to the island to discover what it had to offer, but really it was about learning what it was we really wanted.

It turns out that a lot of what we found is stuff we already have available to us in Toronto.

We live near a beautiful lake with hiking, running and biking trails. No, Toronto doesn’t have the spectacular views that the Cowichan Valley has, but Toronto has its own beautiful places.

The view from the Leslie Spit, trail running in the Don Valley or the Rouge, the Martin Goodman Trail out to the Humber. Those are just a few…

Our plan is to take advantage of what we have already. To think everyday about what we learned that we wanted in life, and to find it around us. It’s all there, or fairly close by. We just need to do it. To make it happen.

I’ve often thought that we don’t have time for all this stuff because of all the busy-ness of city living. But there are ways to make time, whether that’s working from home a day a week, or by just walking away from the things we think we have to do, but that aren’t really all that important.

We’re going to do this.

We’ll buy a SUP board and get Ginny and Lindsey out on our lake. We’ll drive up and go hiking at Rattlesnake Point or cross country ski through Albion Hills. I’ll throw the bikes on the roof racks and cruise the Taylor Creek trails with Mac. We’ll find those great single track runs through the Rouge River Valley and I’ll blast through the forest with my running friends.

And of course, we’ll return to Vancouver Island one day soon, hopefully with the kids. We have some great friends there and as soon as we left, I started thinking about our next visit.

Home for us will continue to be Toronto. But we’ll always feel the call of the west coast, Vancouver and the Island. See you all soon, friends.

Big Changes are Big

I wrote about decisions a few weeks ago and I had to make a pretty big one this week. I applied for and got a new job at work.

HoverUp until last week, I was quite content to continue doing the customer communications for my company. It was still rewarded, sometimes challenging and I’m paid nicely to do it.

But a couple of weeks ago, I was presented with the opportunity to take a bit of a career turn and move into product management for our retail brand, Hover. To be honest, it took me a few days of really thinking about it to decide that it was something I wanted to do.

It really came down to whether I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and into something that had the real potential to be new and very challenging, but also very rewarding. In the end I realized that going for this was the right thing to do and so I went for it.

After a few days in my new role, I’m already enjoying the kind of work that it entails. It requires a nice mix of critical thinking and communication with different people (devs, marketing and customers). I think it’s going to turn out to be a great move.