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.”

Leave a Reply