Last week I read a really great article by a fellow car free individual in the United States and it was like it was written for me to read. Everything made sense and motivated me to also write about this growing topic.
It has now been over two months since I have been car free. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would actually be “ok” without a vehicle – but as it turns out having car free life is far better than expected. Having almost always owning a car since I was 16 (so… that would be 18 years!), changing my mindset to being car free was a bit of a challenge but not a really difficult one.
Here’s how it works for me:
Friends! I may have the best friends in the world because they all know that I’m without a car we meet in central locations or they pick me up along the way. It’s amazing.
Location! As it turns out I live in a great area of the city with excellent access to train, bus and bike/pedestrian pathways (one of the most extensive path networks in the nation!). Also, usually there are readily available car2go vehicles within a block or two of where I live at any given time.
Delivery! I’ve signed up for grocery delivery through Spud and love shopping online for my weekly order. Shopping at local shops for specialty good such as Market 17, Shaganappi Grocery, Heritage Bakery and the E.Mart has connected me with my neighbours while supporting their businesses makes our community stronger.
Bikes!! Now that it’s all wintery outside I haven’t been riding much at all and am jonesing to spin my wheels a lot again. It’s a happy maker and I really enjoy getting someplace by my own engine to meet friends, get to work, do errands and go shopping. I love busting out a huge smile while stopped at intersections and surprising fellow Calgarians with my happiness. Year-round cycling may seem to not be for everybody … but it can be with the right mindset and equipment!
I received some very unexpected news in an email last night… that Bruiser-the-Bike had been spotted near the University of Calgary! I had given up hope that I would ever see the bike again a few months after it was stolen but it seems that this sighting may actually be my bike! There has been some modification but the fellow that saw it believed it was my stolen bike. Here are the details:
The bike was spotted at the intersection of 32nd Ave and 37th St NW, near the University, around 6:20pm on May 7th, 2013. He walked down the stairs from the brick low-income housing, across the crosswalk on 32nd Ave, and looked to be heading north on 37th St.
The bike was a Kona Kula Supreme frame, the white and yellow with red highlights – a fairly rare frame and very recognizable. There was what looked like red electrical tape wrapped around the non-drive side seat stay in two spots, I recall seeing similar tape on your friends bike. The fork was not the Lefty though, it was an old model Marzocci dirt-jump style fork.
The guy was wearing a white and blue baseball cap, flat brim, with matching sunglasses. White and blue outfit, though I can’t remember much else. He was riding it with the seat all the way down, like a dirt-jumper would. His clothing made the impression of the stereotypical ‘gangster’ style.
Here is a picture with the pointed out changes according to the fellow that spotted the bike.
This information has been passed on to the Calgary Police Department to update the police report I filed last year and I will be visiting the University’s Campus Security this evening in the event they see it and can contact the police.
If you see the bike please do not approach the person as we will need to make absolutely sure that this is my missing bike. Please contact me and I will notify the police.
Here’s hoping this story has a happy ending 🙂
Over the past 26 years I’ve heard the phrase ‘time heals all wounds’ so many times it became to mean nothing to me. I thought that no matter how much time had passed I would always be sad and angry about what happened on that terrible day. Today proved me wrong.
Twenty-six years ago, on March 8, 1987, this happened. It tore my family apart in more ways than anyone could imagine. We weren’t the first family to have this happen and sadly we wouldn’t be the last – this week’s news about another officer being killed in the line of duty added to the list. Sad.
The first few years after that horrible day, I don’t really remember clearly. Coping mechanism I’m sure. During a few of my teenage years I was lucky to have found an interest and was involved in army cadets which kept me relatively out of trouble and in enough of a routine (even though my family moved multiple times throughout these already difficult years) to feel as normal as a teenager could in my situation. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have turned to all sorts of other ‘coping mechanisms’ that likely would have landed me in all sorts of problems. Then I hit my 20s… moved out on my own (only to return sporadically throughout the first few years) and had a sense of freedom but didn’t know what to do with it. Couldn’t focus in school. Couldn’t settle on ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’. Dropped out of school – not once, not twice… but three times – not finishing anything and have the debt to prove it. Moved around more and eventually found myself settled in Calgary. Made a lot of friends wherever I went and had a really fun couple of years. Suddenly I’m in my 30s and trying to piece my life together as a bonafide adult. I think I’m doing pretty good so far.
Every year has had its struggles in more ways than I’d like to list. But I wouldn’t be who I am today without having gone through each and every experience – whether I liked it or not. Last year ended up being a fine balance of being the hardest and the funnest. I ran this. Biked this. Spoke at this. Attended this. I did a whole bunch of other things too but out of all of them speaking at that parole hearing was obviously the most significant and changed my life in more ways than I anticipated. It was the culmination of the past 25 years of my life. There was a lot of introspection. Epic amounts of talking about myself and my past. More sharing with more people than I had ever done – ever. A lot of crying. Unbelievably therapeutic. The biggest weight was lifted from my shoulders when I spoke that day. I could… finally… really… move on.
A lot of people will always remember this day and feel sad. I will always remember this day and feel sad too… but that sadness doesn’t feel as debilitating. Finally the phrase ‘time heals all wounds’ is now true for me too.
I am not a super dedicated yoga enthusiast. However, I do try to get to the mat at least once a week to find my breath and to take care of myself in a way that only yoga has been able to do for me. Over the past few years this semi-regular attendance has helped me in more ways that I may ever know. I’ve evolved through to more difficult levels of some asanas while others I find I have a mental or physical barrier that is holding me back. However, with all of this progression I found this evening’s class was exceptionally difficult. Not because it was so hot and humid I could barely breath during most positions and transitions. Not because my muscles felt like they were tied in knots. Not because it was a packed studio with 47 other yogis on their mats. Not for so many other reasons why hot yoga can be a difficult thing to do – or rather bring yourself to do.
Tonight was difficult because I received an email this afternoon reminding me of something I have been avoiding for too long. This something is financial based – the root of so many problems. This something is so much bigger than I thought I could handle right now. This something reminded me of past failures and made me feel terrible – sick to my stomach. My face went pale and at the time a co-worker asked if I was alright and I was suddenly on the verge of bursting in to tears over this something.This something is embarrassing but cannot be avoided anymore. Suddenly it is time to deal with this but I don’t know how.
At the beginning of class I was feeling ok – or so I thought. I ‘thought’ I could just breath through this problem and ‘everything will be ok’. What followed is why I love yoga… especially tonight.
During one pose, camel, I felt like I was going to either puke or pass out. I could barely stand on my knees – the first goal of the pose. I had to lie down immediately and try to breath. This pose usually brings up stuff and I don’t feel great about it but can usually at least hold a version of it for the duration of the hold. While lying down trying to breath this is when the tears started flowing… I instantly felt ridiculous but my body and mind needed to release and this was how and where it was happening. I’m pretty sure that the instructor could see that my face sweat was mixed with a lot of tears for the rest of class.
Throughout the last half of the class it seemed as though her calm and soothing voice was speaking directly to me with inspirational quotes and words of encouragement while guiding the class from pose to pose. While trying to breath calmly and to find peace with the final savasana I found myself being twitchy, catching my breath, tears falling to the sides of my face under my lemongrass scented facecloth and my bottom lip would not stop quivering. I kept trying to focus on my breath. The end of class closed with three chants of ‘Om’. This simple but very powerful gathering of energy was overwhelming. It gave me goosebumps. I felt like I was going to be ok.
The one quote I remember from tonight’s class was:
We are not called human doings… but human beings.
I am doing the best with being me. I have really messed up
a few lots of things in the past, learned a lot along the way and my present and future are bright with possibilities. However, I cannot move forward without dealing with this something. This something will not just go away. Only by being honest and open and asking for help will I be able to sort this out.
Thank you yoga for helping me find my breath, focus and peace with the work that lies ahead of me.
I’m at a crux in my life. Do I continue doing the same? Or do I go for broke (again) and try something completely different? I think greater things are out there for me. It’s not where I sit on a daily basis – this I know for certain. Can I transition out of where I am instead of just leaping like I have done in the past? Being so unhappy in the present is causing great difficulty in finding a greater future. There are opportunities everywhere – I just need to grab one.
What do I really want to do? I am not sure exactly what I want to do but I do know I want to have purpose and be happy. Seems simple but the more I look around the more I see so few people have these two things in their lives – let alone in their career. Is this an impossible feat? I don’t want to believe it is.
Where do I see myself having purpose and being happy? To be honest, I’m not sure. I like so many things. Being outside. Organizing. Quiet work spaces. Loud events. Food. Helping others. Communicating. There is a career like that… right? I should probably just make that career.