Looking At The Path- Not The Obstacles.

I don’t talk much about my battles with depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt awful- I really hope it’s a thing of the past. Let’s start in the past for those of you who didn’t know me very well. (Warning: Today’s blog is longer than normal)

I was a gangly, gawky, awkward teenager. Because I stood out, and like most other teens, I was bullied but kept it to myself. At age 15 I remember crying myself to sleep wondering why I was even alive. Replaying shitty interactions in my head to figure out what I could’ve done differently. I will say though, my mother was trying her best to figure out what was wrong since all I wanted to do was sleep and was constantly “sick”. She thought it was something physically wrong with me so I had a bunch of tests done on my blood and lungs. I went along with it because it meant not going to school for the day.

By grade twelve a lot had happened in my life. I fell into a group of friends who, by all accounts, helped me “self medicate.” Every Friday we skipped school for the day and drank. Not once did we get caught or questioned by teachers or parents. This little thrill ride was all I had to look forward to each week. And then that summer hit. Drinking wasn’t the only thing happening.

Getting up before noon was not a regular occurrence- hanging out doing dumb shit all night was. Of course I had friends and girlfriends and we had fun. I just didn’t care if I would make it through my early 20’s. I was driving down a lonely path as my family life was crumbling. Anything from my youth was long since a distant memory. My parents fought more, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my sister was working through her own stuff; being broke and couch surfing was my new normal.

Suddenly I was an adult. Somehow I lost five years of my life. My doctor prescribed antidepressants to me. I took those for about six months and lost all feeling of feeling anything. That sucked worse. So I went off them on my own accord. Shortly after I met the woman who would become my wife.

She is an incredible woman and we have accomplished a lot together. Being with her- I only wanted to do; and be; the best in my life. We were suddenly buying a house and raising a family. I had something to strive for. A better existence for my kids than what I felt I had growing up. Head down + hard work= happiness? Sort of.

I still have days where all I want to do is sleep. I sometimes don’t want to face the world as I worry that it will crash down around me. How do I cope? This is what has worked for me:

I write daily in my blog. I do my best to focus on the positives in my life. This can be difficult and sometimes I feel like I am bragging, but those of you who know me or knew me have seen me struggle to get here.

I also try and share more positive images on my Instagram with the hashtag #livingmybestlife That is a mantra that sounds hokey, but really works for me. I recently watched a video that sums up the best way to do this. To paraphrase: A skier doesn’t look at the trees that they could crash into, but rather the path between them. Focus on the journey, not the obstacles- or you will only hit the obstacles.

I still have bad days. I know many of you out there also have them. We’re in this together. I’m just Making It Up As I Go like my blog states. Perhaps I’ll figure out the recipe to battle depression. But until then, it’s just a part of me and I really want it to be a part of my past and leave it there.

Daily Fears and Bigger Fears

The other night, on the car ride to picking up dinner, my daughter and I were talking. And she was getting snippy towards me. After some discussion in our short drive, I found out the problem. My 13 year old daughter was scared to buy a pizza.

I had asked her to come with me in order to buy the pizzas. She explained how she didn’t want to talk to the cashier. She was unsure of money interactions. She was straight up stressed out by something that everyone does on a daily basis. She began to show signs of anxiety.

Interactions like this between strangers shouldn’t be difficult. Our daughter has done purchases and sales at numerous conventions over the years- so it surprised me when she told me she was anxious that night. It never dawned on me that this was different. So we rehearsed what she needed to say, how much the pizza would be, and how much change should would get in return.

To ease her mind a bit, I explained that I’m also scared. I am absolutely terrified of going to Tokyo next month. I’ve never been to Tokyo. I’m not going alone either, but taking my wife and three kids. Not only am I going to be in a foreign country- no one I’m going with understands Japanese. Plus I will need to keep a close watch on the kids. Make sure they are staying nearby while we use the trains and travel the streets.

In the end, my daughter did fine buying a pizza. I was with her, but stayed off to the side. I didn’t interject, help or correct her in any way. Afterwards she admitted that it was easy. A little more practice and she won’t need to rehearse her interactions ahead of time. Hopefully she can overcome moments of anxiety on her own.

She enjoyed her pizza with a sense of relief. Although buying pizzas for larger groups is a pain and requires note taking and spreadsheets at the best of times. Just don’t tell her that yet. We need to work on baby steps.

Making Good On My Promise

It’s hard to keep a promise sometimes.  Especially when it’s one that is ongoing.  But this promise is one that I have upheld for many years and will continue to for many more years. 


I promised to support my children in whatever avenues they choose to go on for their education. I also promised to be there whenever I could to watch and cheer them on. It’s something I promised to myself.  I know that our children appreciate the support.

Tonight is no different.  Our middle daughter will be performing in both choir and concert band at her Fine Arts School.  Moments like this are what make all the hard work worthwhile.  


I know she is anxious and nervous.  I am as well.  It’s difficult and thrilling at the same time to watch your child perform.  You want them to succeed.


It was hard for me growing up because my parents weren’t always there for my performances.  My mother tried to push me, but if I wanted to give up- that was fine as well.  I found I gave up more often than I should have and it became easier each and every time.  

Not our kids. If it gets tough, we make them work through it.  Giving up isn’t an option.  We make sure that they understand that there are more people relying on them to see their performance to the end. Hopefully this is the right thing to do.

Tonight is about showing off the hard work and talent.  Both of which our children succeed in.  I’m still nervous as hell to watch them take the stage.  But after a few minutes, it’ll all be over.  And they can focus on their next goal.  All while I’m keeping my promise- without them knowing I had made it.

‘Til You Make It

Being Under Pressure isn’t always fun.


I’d like to think that I know what’s going on.  But some days (or nights) I lose that sense.  I feel lost and overwhelmed.  Sometimes it’s being a parent, othertimes it could be the pressure of work.

When I tell my friends and coworkers this, they tell me I’m doing great.  They assure me that I’m going to get through it.  The compliments and pats on the back are somewhat soothing.  A rough day or moment can really bring you down.  Having a smile from someone you care about or an ear to talk to can actually make a difference in your attitude.  

I’m lucky to have such an outstanding wife and wonderful friends.  Each one listens or cares in their own way that it helps get me through my rough patches.  Their advice is often more catered to their lifestyles; even my wife doesn’t always say what I need to hear.  But I know it’s what my friends feel is the right thing to say or do to make you feel better.

After having such a fun weekend with my wife and fellow convention carny friends, it was hard to get through the last couple of nights at work.  I sought some advice from some coworkers and received this:

One said: “You are being tested to see how you will do under pressure.”  Maybe this is true.  Or maybe my skill set allows for me to take on a challenge.   This brings me to the next piece of advice given to me.

My other friend told me to “Fake it ’till you make it.”  I’m not sure what it means to “make it” these days.  I just want to get to a point where I feel more confident in what I do.  Repetition of my good skills and attitude will help get me where I want to go.  

I don’t want to be fake.  I want to be real.