29 5/12: The Uncarved

If, 5 years ago, you asked me where I’d be now, I could­n’t have even giv­en you a decent guess.

I nev­er imag­ined I’d be work­ing in graph­ic and web design at a den­tal lab. Or that my job would shift to more of a cor­po­rate lev­el, some­thing that hap­pened because I hap­pened to have the right set of skills at the right time.

Self portrait at 29 5/12


I nev­er imag­ined I’d meet peo­ple like Bronwen or Julie or Heather G, or Frédéric and Misun, or Jesse and Audra, or Shane and Krista.

I nev­er thought I’d dis­cov­er bands like Magneta Lane, The Knife, From Autumn to Ashes, and Muse.

I nev­er knew I’d start play­ing the ukulele. Or have an art gallery show. Or final­ly, final­ly, final­ly start learn­ing astron­o­my and own a tele­scope.

But I’m not sur­prised at where I’ve end­ed up. And who knows who I’ll meet, what I’ll do, or where I’ll be? Long ago, I decid­ed I’d stay in Ottawa until my Tai Chi teacher retired, and that’s soon com­ing. This city is com­fort­able, but it’s also just as small, and I’ve always dreamed of liv­ing in an alpha city like Hong Kong or New York or London.

It’s easy to fall into the belief that we’re in con­trol of our lives or our des­tinies. The real­i­ty is that we’re just trav­el­ing through life like leaves being car­ried by the cur­rent in a stream. There are so many things that can hap­pen along the way out of our con­trol. Connections you can’t pre­dict. Experiences you can’t even imag­ine.

I turn 30 in sev­en months, and I don’t know where I’ll be, in life, love, or home.

The Turning 30 Series


  1. From some famous [and not so famous] eccentrics, some of my favourite quo­ta­tions for you as you approach your 30th. I just passed my 58th but don’t look or feel a day over 57, trade ya?

    You are only as young as the last time that you changed your mind”
    Timothy Leary

    When women love us, they for­give us every­thing, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us cred­it for noth­ing, not even our virtues.” ~ Honoré de Balzac

    An edu­ca­tion isn‘t how much you have com­mit­ted to mem­o­ry, or even how much you know. It‘s being able to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between what you know and what you don‘t.” Anatole France

    An intel­lec­tu­al is a man who says a sim­ple thing in a dif­fi­cult way; an artist is a man who says a dif­fi­cult thing in a sim­ple way.” ~ Charles Bukowski

    Today, like every oth­er day, we wake up emp­ty and scared. Don’t open the door to the study and begin read­ing. Take down the dul­cimer.” ~ Djalal Ad-din Rumi

    It is always wise to look ahead, but dif­fi­cult to look far­ther than you can actu­al­ly see.” Winston Churchill

    A con­fes­sion­al pas­sage has prob­a­bly nev­er been writ­ten that didn’t stink a lit­tle bit of the writer’s pride in hav­ing giv­en up his pride.” ~ J.D. Salinger

    • Quite hum­bling to real­ize you have twice my years. Makes me won­der what one could accom­plish with all that extra time.

  2. Hello Jeff,
    thank you for this arti­cle real­ly felt good read­ing it (dun­no why)i should write such a resume too.
    Thumb up for Muse!

    cheers from Berlin

    • Resume is a fun­ny way to put it. I did­n’t mean it so much as a list of accom­plish­ments, but as a cross-sec­tion­al snap­shot of my life right now, both good and bad. But, I could­n’t think of any­thing real­ly bad; at least, not as much in that extreme as the good. I think I’ve been for­tu­nate in that I’ve only gained in life.

    • To get away from my par­ents. I chose to come here for uni­ver­si­ty, cause it was far away from my par­ents enough that I did­n’t have to go home and see them, but close enough that I could vis­it peo­ple like John and Darren on a reg­u­lar basis.

  3. It’s inter­est­ing that I was just sent recent­ly a pic of myself and a friend at per­haps age 20 or so. The face of the girl that was me there was noth­ing like the strong­ly indi­vid­ual girl I think of as me; she was sim­ple-look­ing; and I real­ized with a shock that the real girl did not come into focus until I was well past my 20s. And I like me ever so much bet­ter now.

    The good news is that you have much to look for­ward to IF you make con­scious deci­sions along the way for the inte­ri­or design, if you will, of your own self. The per­son who will emerge will sur­prise you.

    When I think of the hap­pi­est years of my life, it was 30–40 peri­od. And now is still good. So ~float~. And just lean a lit­tle in your own direc­tion now and then.

    • One of the rea­sons I include a pic­ture in this series is so I can have a record of my fea­tures, which I think belies a lot of what is going on in some­one’s life. There’s some­thing about look­ing at a pic­ture of your­self and think­ing, “That was such a long time ago, and I’m a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent per­son.” Something that does­n’t hap­pen too often. I think I’d have the same kind of epiphany as you.

  4. And that’s the beau­ty of life, hope, faith and sur­pris­es :)

    I know where we’ll both be in 5+ years at SOME point.. me, you, plus two.. nice din­ner in the city.. laugh­ing at the past so light­ly


    see you then! I’m repost­ing in this com­ment sec­tion when this comes to fruition

  5. Your life is amaz­ing. And you have accom­plished so much. I did­n’t know it was a den­tal lab.


    I also had no idea we were so close in age. I turn 28 in two weeks.

    • I had no idea you were younger than me (even though you do look it). You come off with the wis­dom of some­one much old­er.

  6. Also, you have the best decor taste out of any men I have ever “met.”

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