Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Five years gone

I've been blogging for five whole years now. To celebrate, I took a trip back through time and reread some of my older posts.

It's strange reading stuff written by your younger self. It's like looking into one of those magnifying mirrors that makes every pore on your face look as big as the Grand Canyon. It's not pretty.

It's difficult to peer into the past and get up close with the person you used to be. Mostly because it forces you to confront the person you've become. You're the same but you're different. Depending on what's changed and what's stayed the same, this can be a good or a bad thing.

I still share the same love of the absurd as my younger self. I still have the same adventurous spirit and playful sense of humour. I'm still a hopeless romantic. I still strive to be good and kind and honest. In some ways, I'm still very much the same person I was five years ago.

But in other ways, I'm very different from the person I was five years ago. I'm not as confident as I used to be. I'm not as optimistic. I'm not as light-hearted and unburdened and carefree.

A lot has happened in the last five years. I traveled the world, I completed an Ironman, I fell in love, I fell out of love, I quit my job, I went back to school, I moved to Japan (twice). I started a blog, I learned a new language, I broke my arm, I took a train across Russia, I rode a bike 600 km through the mountains (alone).

But while the people around me have evolved and changed during the past five years, I feel like I've stalled. My friends have marriages and children and homes they own. Their lives are going forward with a sense of purpose and direction. What do I have to show for the past five years? A string of failed relationships and very little money in the bank.

It's not that I'm unhappy with the path I've chosen. I never chased after material things. I never settled for a man who didn't make me happy. I picked a career that aligned itself with my morals and values. I am rich with experiences and adventures. But I'm starting to look back at my life and see something empty.

Bouncing around the world and refusing to settle down is not as much fun as it used to be. More than anything else, I want a solid, stable, happy, healthy relationship with someone who loves me as much as I love them. This is what I want the next five years to bring. I don't think it's too much to ask for.

I don't want to get more introspective than that. All I wanted to do was mark the fact that I've been blogging for five years and throw up some links to my favourite posts. And then I started reading the stuff I wrote when I was younger and it made me feel old.

But, dammit, I'm not going to let that get me down. I'm not going to mourn the passing of time. I'm going to celebrate it. And I'm going to celebrate it by posting 10 of my favourite stories from the past five years.

1. Ballots, bribes and high-class hookers: I love this story. It details my job as a deputy returning officer during the federal election. It could have been a very boring tale but the story gods dropped a jackass named Keith into my lap.

2. The Trans-Siberian Railway: I was trapped on a train for several days with aggressive Russian men and countless bottles of vodka. It doesn't get much better than that.

3. Four hours with George Stroumboulopoulos: I met Canada's boyfriend and made a fool of myself on national TV.

4. My 15 seconds of fame: I told the world I had a non-sexual crush on CBC weather forecaster Claire Martin. She then talked about me and my creepy stalkeresque blog on her national weather forecast. It was awesome.

5. Culture shock: I wrote this when I was living in rural Japan. It was an incredible experience but it was also a lesson in loneliness.

6. Chasing rabbits on company time: More from rural Japan. But a much lighter story. I wrote about the very quirky and very cute vice-principal I used to "work" with.

7. One hour of heavy petting: I went to a cat cafe in Osaka. It was kind of like a cat brothel -- you pay to pet cats by the hour. This post generated more comments than anything I've ever written. I guess people liked it.

8. Kochi to Kyoto by bicycle: My epic 600-kilometre Japanese bike trip. Up and down mountains twice as high as the ones in Vancouver. On roads that resembled coiled intestines. For six days straight. By myself. I still can't believe I actually did this.

9. Hot Rob: I can't talk about the past five years without talking about Hot Rob. The man who thought he was too hot to get a date. He went from douche bag to friend. This one comes in four parts: I, II, III, IV

10. And I thought you read it for the articles: I used to have the third biggest butt on the internet.

Here's to the next five years . . .

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