New look for a new year

There are only very few certainties in life, one of which is that it is ever-changing.  My life is about to take a dramatic shift from the comfortable.  I’ve been living home now on the west coast of Newfoundland for over 3 years now and I got myself set in a comfortable little routine.

I’m a 26-year-old journalism graduate, I decided that it is about time that I move on and try to step up a career in my chosen profession.  There is only so many times I can answer the phones for AT&T before I realize that I’m wasting precious time on the status quo.

I’ve got a very good lead on what could very well be an employment opportunity in the province’s capital but even if that was to fizzle I realize that I have done all that I could in Stephenville.  We had a website that was starting to gain momentum but unfortunately due to a number of factors all coming together at once, the site has been left to expire and not be renewed.  Scratching The Surface is a potential business venture in the near future but the best way to help someone get started in their career is to actually be a well established name yourself.

When I’m at a point in my life where I have dedicated readers and when my opinion actually holds sway in this professional world, I may very well try it again  but in order to move on with my life I’m going to need to take a step back.  This is actually the rationale behind the new title for this website.

The World Is Broken was a great home for me and I’ll always appreciate the emotion it allowed me to vent and the therapeutic outlet it became when I needed to rant.  I plan and getting this site back to what it once was.  There is going to be a mix of blog style opinion pieces but I’m also going to occasionally try to through in some actual hard & soft news stories as well.  I realize this is the best way to keep the skills I learned at College of the North Atlantic sharp.

Of course with a new attitude, a fresh ambition, I needed a new name for the site.  At its heart this is still going to be “The World Is Broken”  but I decided I’m going for a bit more of an uplifting title.  I settled on “Dum Spiro Spero.”  I am not too familiar with the language and this could be a terrible misuse of the phrase but from what I can gather the phrase translates as “While I Breathe, I Hope”

This is exactly the mentality I am going to need when I make my return to the capital.  I have so many obstacles to deal with and so many situations that will hinder my progression.  #1 of which is my lack of confidence in my actual ability.  I learned in school that I have a pretty good knack for video editing and clip production but without all the equipment at my disposal I don’t know how well I will do, especially when I don’t know if I have any access to my old clips.

#2 is that I am finally going to have to start dealing with the passing of Elaine.  It’s been creeping on me a lot more lately, especially as we approach move day,  I want to sort this out so that I can finally be who I’m supposed to be.

Anyway there is a lot more posts on the way,  thanks for those of you that continue to read.  If you got any comments or suggestions feel free to comment or e-mail  ShallopNewf@SurfaceScratchers.com

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– The Year I Voted –

Tuesday Newfoundland welcomed the first elected female Premier of our province.

2011 became the first year that I cast a ballot in a Provincial or Federal Canadian election.  This may seem rather odd considering I am a 25 year-old graduate of journalism.  The truth is I really couldn’t see the benefit or detriment of voting for either candidate up until now.  I still had the stereotypical, childish view that all the parties are the same it’s just different names and faces.

I didn’t really feel the need to vote federally because it was basically already decided long before polls opened.  Between the original ABC campaign to subsequent elections this riding would be Liberal. I did not feel the obligation to be another number solidifying Liberal dominance.

Provincial is quite the same.  Danny Williams made the whole province see blue, and truth be told if I was going to vote I would’ve voted PC .  Of course for me to admit this with the expectation that my family will read this is a bit nerve-racking.  I come from a very liberal family.

… Family is what sparked this post.

10 years ago an interest in politics started when I heard Danny Williams address the province.  The charismatic leader was a masterful wordsmith.  With his presentation and intelligence the man took the trust of the Newfoundland & Labrador people and ran with it never faltering until his resignation last year.

Kevin Aylwayd, Newfoundland Liberal Leader

Fast forward to 2011, I get a phone call from my parents asking if I am going to go to the Holiday Inn for Kevin Aylward’s meet and greet.  Aylward was named the new leader of the Liberal Party.

At that moment I instantly thought that this is not something I should have been surprised. Considering my field, I really should have been aware of this long before that phone call.

I decided to go and see what Aylward had to say.  It was that night I realized that this would be the year I finally voted.

There’s a particular sentiment that caught my attention.  Aylward made a claim that this election they will do things differently.  His platform would not simply be a bunch of candidates standing on a soap box telling us what we need and what is good for us. He said their campaign will be more about listening to what the people are asking for, and doing what they must to get the job done.

It isn’t so much the words that caught me, it was how they were spoken.  I have not felt that sensation from a political speech from anyone other than Danny Williams.  I saw a lot of the same charisma and natural leadership qualities emanating from Aylward.  It isn’t something I could find in the other party leaders.  I’ve watched them speak, I’ve heard what they said and was left underwhelmed.

Lorraine Michael may have received my vote if I was at gun point and had to vote.  NDP have seem to become the voice of the younger generation.  The politically minded 18-27 year old friends and colleagues that I know have shown me two things: The younger people are starting to get involved in the political scene and being politically aware, and a lot of them are tired of the same old parties.  PC’s and Liberals have been back and forth for many generations, a lot of like-minded younger constituents are wondering what the NDP can offer.

Of course this was before that night at the Holiday Inn that secured my Liberal vote this year.

I was hesitant about making a politically charged post, the last thing I want to do is be pigeon-holed into the role of supporter of a single party, especially considering that Aylward is my first cousin. My political thoughts and decisions are usually based on what each particular group plan to do and have done.  Right now  believe the province would benefit a great deal with Kevin Aylward at the helm.

I did not expect anything short of a PC victory in this past election.  The Liberal leadership changed hands less than 2 months before election day.  I congratulate the Liberals on regaining the opposition and I implore everyone to keep your eyes on the House of Assembly in the next four years.  I’m willing to bet if you do you will come to see what I am talking about when it comes to Aylward’s presence.

Liberal government in 2015?  Maybe in the next four years if the people realize that Dunderdale is a far-cry from Williams, it can happen.

– A Return To The Grindstone –

Eric Hoffer said it best, “The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.

This summer has been an eventful one to say the least.  The journalism program was finished.  I left the program with lots of start-up ideas and aspirations that were going to realized over the summer.  Scratching The Surface was going to continue covering the entire west coast of Newfoundland.  Harnum and Augot were going to take up residence at 99 Montana, and we were going to make a real go of it.

Set backs began right out of the gate.  May 1st, the day that both Harnum and Augot were going to officially move in we get word from Harnum that he has decided he’s not on board anymore.  To each their own, but I would be lying if I tried to say there wasn’t any resentment targeting him when the news came in… really this isn’t something that we could not have been informed of at an earlier date??

A last minute roommate acquisition allowed STS to continue covering shows.  Unfortunately it was not a paying gig, Augot was soon forced to concede and return back to her hometown leaving the sole responsibility of the site up to me.

Unfortunately May 31st saw the final nail in the coffin… literally.  The death of Elaine Mahon basically saw the death of Scratching The Surface for the summer.  It completely put me out of commission.  Not only was STS left to stagnate, but all my ambition was purged from my system.  It felt like I would just stay put and live a very mediocre life here in Stephenville

Journalism can teach you everything you need to know about being a journalist, but it can’t prepare you for life itself.  Life can be your biggest obstacle.

October 17, 2011. ShallopNewf is going to turn 26.  There’s no more time to waste, I’ve already got some ventures in the works and there are a few prospects that may bear fruit in the near future.  Until then, I’m going to return to simply doing the best I can with what I got…  right now, what I got is a Call Center job, The World Is Broken blog, and Scratching The Surface (Returning October 31st).

It’s time to dust off the old Canon and Vivitar and get back at this.  Wish me luck.

– The Strength In Forgiveness –

Gandhi said it best when he said, “The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is an attribute of strength.”  It’s difficult to really argue that at the current moment.

Some people look at it as weakness, and sometimes it can even appear to be foolish.  God knows there is a friend in particular that I am thinking of right now that I would have cast into the foolish category.

Last night I was more or less broken by some words that are very sensitive to my mindset.  To them it may have been a passing phrase.  It was very unflattering but not a very extreme case.  Unfortunately it cut pretty deep.

The person in question was incredibly intoxicated and doesn’t really even remember any of this, and when they were made aware of it this morning an apology was immediately offered.

I really want to say that it’s no big deal and that everything is all okay.  I want to forgive, but there’s something that is preventing me.  When exactly did this occur?  Normally I’m the guy that lets everything slide.

It’s been a real challenge to seek my inner enlightenment and to just absolve this friend from the sin, I haven’t been able to do it until very recently.

I started thinking, what reason is there to carry this grudge?  Why do people carry grudges anyway?  Worrying, as I wrote in the previous entry, is a useless endeavor.  I’m going to let this friend know that everything is okay.

But in general why is forgiveness so difficult sometimes?

Are we scared that if we forgive the transgressions of another we are vulnerable to a repeat offence?  Or is it a direct reflection on what you think of them as a person?  (Someone you really care for usually has a much easier time seeking forgiveness than a casual acquaintance.)

Here’s the trick ladies and gentlemen.  Forgiveness is a very admirable trait and a virtue in a class of its own.  It only becomes a fool’s errand when you follow the “forgive and forget” policy.

You’ve all heard “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  Well that’s entirely correct,  you can forgive someone and move on from a mistake that was made as long as you never forget.

Don’t let yourself constantly become battered and beaten (either physically or emotionally).  You can let go of grudges but still protect yourself.

I’m really disappointed with myself that it too me almost the full day to come to the conclusion that I need to grant forgiveness.   It’s been eaten at my core all day and I’m pretty sure my refusal to grant this forgiveness has actually caused me more mental anguish than the deed in which I need to forgive.

If you take nothing else from this entry at least heed the words… if there is some kind of conflict in your life now and you can’t seem to let go, just imagine how much easier your life will be if you did.

Life’s too short for this.
It isn’t worth it.

– Why… So… Serious??? –

This is something that somewhat came to me very last-minute.  Hell, it is currently 4am and I’m desperately trying to not wake up a sleeping friend behind me that passed out in my bed.  But, I had to write this while the thought was fresh in my mind.

I just saw an image on Blair Goudie’s Facebook page that said, “Nobody really cares if your miserable… so you might as well be happy.”  This thought came to me earlier but was cemented by this image.

There’s a line in “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Lurhman that says, “Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as 
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing 
bubblegum”

As a species why do we feel the need to worry about things that are not in our control.  It’s unneeded stress that can be very destructive to a personality.  Emotionally and physically draining are just minor detriments to worrying.

I’ve found myself in a really weird place lately, and found that I kept getting myself into trouble because I refuse to let up on the cognitive functions.  I wouldn’t let anything naturally run its course cause I kept fearing the train was derailing.

What I failed to realize is that I’m pretty sure that by over-thinking everything that I not only failed to keep the train on the track, I’m certain I helped pull the lever to make sure the derailment was inevitable.

Over-thinking and worry do more harm than good.  Why can’t we just take things as they come? We really don’t need this kind of stress.

I got legit goals and objectives that need to be reached in a short period of time, life is way too short for these worries.

It’s impossible to really make a decision to stop worrying, but the attempt must at least be there.  When you find yourself worrying about an outcome or situation in your life.  Prepare yourself for a negative result, but do not lament on it.

Even if it is worst case scenario, the best thing about life is that there is another major decision just around the corner.  You don’t need to put so much stock in the here and now.

The best way to go about things is, remember the past, live for today, prepare for tomorrow.  All of these contradict each other, but if you can make sense of that line that you are already on your way to a more enlightened state of mind.

I’m tired of stressing out about things that are out of my hands… I have very tangible problems that I could be trying to resolve.. like my financial woes. Heh, oh well that’s it.

The long and short of this, is mellow out.  Worrying about things is NEVER a positive contribution.  Do what you can to suppress it, cause there really isn’t anything in this life worth worrying about.

Right now, I’m going to continue to go with the flow and try to get some sleep before I happen to wake the guest.  Let’s see what tomorrow has in store eh?

– I Can Change, I Promise!! –

Tell me this.  Are you as sick and tired of this line as I am?  The insincere outcry from the recently rejected; a desperate plea for forgiveness.  It’s such an easy line to use and yet to actually, legitimately follow through requires an inhuman amount of willpower and desire.

Lately this has come up in a couple of different situations that I have been around so I figured it was the right time to make an entry about it.  Once again I’m not sure if this is a repeat entry but either way it needs to be addressed again.

Ladies and Gentlemen, when a relationship ends and you rhyme off your laundry list of reasons why the two of you cannot work , you will commonly get the reaction of hurt and remorse.  A lot of the time you are going to hear the dreaded line, “I can change, I can make things better, just give me a chance…”  and so on and so forth.

Well folks, its story time.

Years ago I was in a relationship where I was a complete asshole.  You have no idea how terrible I treated this girl and yet she still stuck with me.  At the end of this relationship I realized I had made a mistake and broke up with one of the few girls I’ll ever encounter that will truly accept me for who I am, and not try to make me something that I am not.

Of course it was too late, my Asshole-ways caught up with me and she was gone.

I did the whole song and dance claiming that I could change and everything would be better going forward, but she had enough of that.  She never did come back and to this day I am pretty sure she will remember me as that asshole.

I don’t blame her, I didn’t give her any reason to think otherwise.

The point of this story is that me and her broke up once prior to this and when we got back together we both said things would be different and everything would be better now that we know that we could lose each other.

Things were good…. for a while.  Once the novelty of losing her was gone the natural tendency to fall back into old habits set in and I reverted right back to Mr. Asshole.

The point of this story is that I did change, I spent a long time figuring out what is going on in my head that caused those issues and have long since dealt with them.  There was a lot lingering in my head unresolved and that cause me to be the man I was.

Losing her was what I needed in order to sort that out.  A couple of years later I moved on with my next relationship and although it also wasn’t a forever type fling, it did show me that I legitimately have changed.

Yes we fought, and yes things weren’t always perfect, but I can say with the utmost confidence that I treated her great…

This is a really long-winded method of getting across a simple point.  When couples break and the dumpee says that they ware going to change.. there is only two scenarios.  #1: They are just saying that to get you back and have no intention of changing.  and #2: They are telling the truth, and they will try to change… but if you do take them back then there reason for wanting this change will fade away, therefore the change cannot happen.

If Danielle would’ve got back with me, then it meant that there were no real consequences to me being that asshole… it was losing her and accepting the fact that she was gone for good that kept the drive going to change.

Think about it, they want to change because you broke things off with them… if things get back together, it’s only a matter of time before that fear wears off… and no one can change over night.  So once there’s no more fear driving their change than there in turn can be no change.

This might be a little dry and repetitive.. but I know two friends of mine that this is going to be relevant to for certain, maybe more.

One has guilt and remorse about the hurt being caused on her ex, and the other seems to be getting through it but had a rough time going.

So, never forget, the “I Can Change” line ONLY works, if you stick to your guns, and let them do what they have to do.  Never look back and take back your decision, else there’s a slim change that change will ever occur.

– Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone –

I will admit that this topic may very well be a repeat of one I covered last year, but I cannot find such a post so I decided I’m going to risk it and write it anyway.

How often do we find ourselves repeating the same action over, and over, and over?  We know how it will end up.  We don’t try anything new.  We get stuck in a routine of repetition.

This does not strictly apply to relationships, but more towards life itself.  I can’t count how many mornings I woke up with the intention of finally breaking the habit. “Today!  Today is the day I make a change!  I start doing what’s right for me, and start making everything in my life the way I want it.”  This is said far too often.

What happens? … Well routine happens.  All of a sudden “Today” becomes “Tomorrow” and the very tragic part about planning everything around “Tomorrow” is that it never truly comes.

No matter when you seek to make a change, it always needs to be “Today”, waiting on tomorrow is a fool’s errand.

It gets so easy to just maintain the status quo and not rock the boat.  It’s a very major waste of time and if you don’t catch yourself you are going to wake up one day and years will have come and gone and you are no closer to your goals than when you started.

This post was inspired by a realization that I made yesterday evening.  My biggest obstacle that stands between happiness and surrender is not an idiot who lives 6 hours away.  It never was.   My true obstacle is the comfort zone.

We’ve all heard the stories and most of us can probably name a friend that this will describe.  A couple that is together, not because of emotion or passion, but because of habit.  One of my first crushes was a girl who was in a semi-long term relationship.  The guy actually treated her pretty bad, but she stuck it out.

It wasn’t because she was in love with him, or that she enjoyed being treated like a piece of meat without any real feelings.  Her persistence was simply due to the fact that she was so used to him being there because they have been together for so long that it became difficult for her to even imagine her life without him.

You end up at a point where you begin to define your life by the relationship.  You are no longer you, you are his girlfriend (or her boyfriend).  This is very dangerous territory because once you embark into that area, they can get away with murder and you will simply suck it up and deal with it.

My problem isn’t that there is someone who is capable of more than me, he simply had the fortune of being there first.  If circumstances were different, there would be no resistance.

This “Comfort Zone” is something that everyone needs to be aware of, and weary of.  When dealing with a conflicting situation to your comfort zone you need to stop, objectively take a look around and have a breath.  You could be in the presence of something incredible, but just because it’s new you are afraid to dive in.

You get confused and don’t know how to proceed because you are tempted to take the chance, but that would risk losing what you already have (regardless to how bad it may be).  The familiar will always have a strong hold when weighed against the uncertain.  As humans it is encoded in our genes.

Some people are better at suppressing that mentality, which results in more risk taking, but we all know that the devil you know is usually the preferred choice over the one you don’t.

The issue is sometimes in that uncertainty there is no devil waiting… but there IS a silver lining.  I’ve been stuck in a bit of a comfort zone myself over this past year.  There have been opportunities to move on and try something new… but I refused to take it.  Ever fearful that I would miss out on the opportunity to rekindle what I lost.

When I almost lost one of my best friends due to a bit of a dramatic situation that was more or less indirectly caused by this way of thinking I began to realize it wasn’t healthy.  I need to let someone new in, I need to take a chance and see what’ll happen.

I did that, and regardless as to how it turns out I have no regrets.  I threw caution to the wind and found something that puts everything in perspective.

Sometimes you just need to get out from the miserable familiar and see where the uncertainty takes you.  If not, life is just going to pass you by and you will end up miserable.

Life is about the journey not the destination.  You need to experience it.  If you stay within the lines and never venture away from the highway you’ll regret it.  The true spice of life is found when you veer away from the straight line and take a few back roads just to see what you are going to encounter.