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30: Not Just An Age, But a Milestone

Today marks the 30th anniversary of when I was birthed. 30 years in the books and hopefully decades more to follow.

The remarkable thing: I made it to 30.

Very few people know anything about what I will be sharing below.

Something that started when I was 17 recently came back in full force over the last few months as my 30th birthday was fast approaching.

When I was a mature 17 year old, I was reflecting on how life was currently going and where I was headed. I was incredibly active and had a desire to never sleep, thinking that something major would happen and it would be missed. I was always moving, anxious, and never able to relax. That lifestyle wore on me. It would wear on most anyone. While at home one evening, I remember telling myself “if I keep this pace up, there is no way I will make it to 30.”

Since, I have had the thought of dying before I reached age 30 in the back of my mind. For 13 years, this thought has followed me around.

That thought became a perceived fate, a foregone conclusion for many years. I do think it impacted some decision I have made in my twenties, believing if I only had so much time left, I may as well experience all I can.

I was careless at times, thinking my fate was soon approaching. But I never went off the deep end doing absolutely anything and everything, breaking all possible rules, engaging in illicit drug use (yuck), among other non-optimal lifestyle choices. I was willing to consider the chance I was wrong and would make it not only to my 30th birthday, but beyond.

At times, thoughts of an early death would subside. Frequently, a new life event would have me back on the early death bandwagon quickly. Add that thought to some serious anxiety issues since turning 29 and that makes for a fun life.

Imagine having that thought in the back and sometimes front of your mind as you go through life. I cannot count how many times I have gone to bed thinking “is this it? Was today my last day alive? Did I accomplish everything I needed and wanted to?” No wonder I have sleep issues.

As my 30th birthday has approached, those thoughts of dying before reaching 30 have crept into my mind one last time.

30 is not just an age. 30 is a milestone that for years, was assumed to be something considered impossible.

It’s 11:21pm in Minneapolis, and I will be staying up past midnight solely to prove myself wrong.

12:01am: I have never been so happy to be wrong. I made it to June 1. Thanks for the conversation, Mr. Nash.

7:02am: Officially, I am 30. And 30 is going to be amazing.

With malice toward none; with charity for all.

Jason

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With Malice Toward None; With Charity For All

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I read that quote in the latest Esquire in an article about “the better toast” and instantly appreciated its meaning. The quote comes from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. The author writes “but a toast is a wish, and whether you believe in karma or not, it is always better to wish good than ill; far better to follow Shakespeare and “drink down all unkindness.”

This quote is more than a simple toast. It is a belief; a way of life that many do not follow. When you are wronged, a common reaction is to want revenge on the wrongdoer. I have been guilty of wanting revenge or vengeance on someone for any  infraction. And for what, the brief feeling of satisfaction of knowing karma had made its presence felt?

When karma reigns, does that fix everything for you? No.

This may not come across as the most charitable thought, but if people spent the energy on fixing a wrong for themselves instead of any ill will at a fellow human being, that would figure to fix many issues across the board.

It is no longer worth the effort and time worrying about what people did to you. It is worth the effort and time to spend fixing what is wrong and bettering yourself.

Save yourself before saving the world.

I am applying the meaning behind the quote in my life more. Additionally, there will be something meaningful behind my toasts for years to come.

An additional side note about toasts: I recently learned it is good luck to look the person you are cheersing with. Keep that in mind, friends!

Is there a quote you use when you cheers or toast someone? What would you toast if you were with me?

I close with a toast to my friends, readers of this blog and my enemies. With malice toward none; with charity for all.

Jason

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My Photo Shoot With High Heel Photography

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

As we all waved goodbye to 2011 and went into 2012, that brought on the unofficial restart and new beginning of many lives. “A new year, a new you” is a common mantra for people across the world. Goals, resolutions and to-do’s are created and hopefully achieved. One of my to-do’s: have a photoshoot.

Lucky for me, I know Nikki Duff of High Heel Photography, a Professional Portrait Photographer in Minneapolis. She has been a long-time friend and wife to my college roommate Nick. Nikki had me come out to St. Paul (yes, I was on the wrong side of the train tracks :)) and I quickly learned why she is good at what she does. While I saw random pieces, she saw opportunities for great photos. Below are the results of her efforts. Thank you very much to Nikki for her work.

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This backdrop produced some of my favorites. And I thought it was just an old door.

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The basic pose. Nice to have a photo where I show a smile.

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Again, the great blue backdrop is used. This may be my favorite from the shoot.

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Yeah, I have mad hops! Cool action shot.

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Of course argyle would be a part of the shoot. This might be the new photo for #ArgyleFriday 🙂

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Deep thoughts, by Jason Douglas.

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Am I looking mischievous, or secretly happy?

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Jason Douglas: happy.

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Am I: a) confused, b) pouting, or c) not liking what I am smelling, likely from my cooking. 🙂

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This picture says it all. Professional. Somewhat tan looking. Happy.

Again, I want to thank Nikki for taking some time out of her Saturday to do the photoshoot and all of her work on the photos to make them look awesome. If you’re looking for a professional photographer in Minneapolis, make sure to give Nikki a look.

Jason

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Skating at the Xcel Energy Center

February 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Those of you who know me well are well aware of my ice skating ability. That ability is non-existent. Born and bred in Minnesota, also known as the State of Hockey, I have only skated four times in my life.

Until January 26th.

First, a big shout-out to Garon Rowland for hooking me up with this amazing opportunity. It was an open skate for staff, family and friends at the Xcel Energy Center and Garon was kind enough to invite me.

I must note: while skating, I did not fall once! However, I did fall while on the ice. The story will be accompanied with a photo below.

Because seeing me skate is such a rare happening, pictures were taken.

Jason Douglas skating

I am close to the boards so my laps would cover more distance, never for balance. 🙂

Jason Douglas fast skater

I’m starting to feel confident about my skating ability. I’m cruising behind one of the goals here.

Jason Douglas skilled at skating

Now I am going too fast. If the picture is blurry, I apologize. That is what happens when you are going so fast the camera could not keep up.

Jason Douglas penalty box

I ended up in the penalty box for skating too fast.

Jason Douglas running man fail

Again, seeing me on the ice above is not a result of me wiping out while skating. After my speedy laps on the ice, I stopped to rest. However, I felt compelled to try the running man in skates. Note: I cannot do the running man in shoes on normal ground. Why I attempted such a difficult dance move on ice is beyond me. Clearly, it did not work out well.

Jason Douglas center ice

Standing at center ice. The view of the Xcel Energy Center from the ice is amazing and completely different than from any seat in the stadium.

Again, thank you to Garon for the opportunity. I know there are people more deserving to be out there and people who are much better skaters. Rest assured, I enjoyed this as much as possible. It was an experience I will never forget.

Jason

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2011: A Year of Change and Learning. 2012: A Year of Finding.

January 3, 2012 2 comments

Entering 2011, I felt rather comfortable and happy with where things were in my life. I had an enjoyable, stable job. I had a great, stable relationship. I was healthy and looking forward to my second Grandma’s Marathon. I was ready for 2011 and everything it would bring.

I closed 2011 with a very new and enjoyable job. The great, stable relationship went a different direction and is no longer. Additional things and events made 2011 forgettable. Numerous people quit on me in 2011. It hurt. It sucked. It is something I will never forget. 2011 was not a complete wash. Every moment provides a learning experience.

What I learned in 2011:

  • I desperately need to learn how to relax and slow down at the right times.
  • I need to trust my instincts more and act on them. Too many times in 2011, my gut told me what was going on. For some reason, I rarely acted on my instincts and paid the price each time. For the record, my instincts were not wrong once.
  • While I communicate well in most situations, this is an area needing improvement in other aspects of life.
  • If you want to accomplish something, it needs to be a priority and some things will need to be sacrificed.
  • I learned so much about what I want out of myself, my family, friends and whoever I date next.
  • Often, I tell others to become more selfish. While giving is great, at some point you must consider yourself first. Jason, listen to yourself more.
  • I enjoy wearing glasses.

2012 is here and I could not be happier.

What will I do in  2012:

  • A bigger focus on my health. A healthy me will accomplish so much more.
  • A happy attitude in turning 30, or 29.2 🙂 It is better then the alternative.
  • Expand my horizons and enjoy more new experiences.
  • Get back into playing golf. It has been over two years since I have swung a club which is a gosh darn shame!
  • Expand my friendship base and network. I have said that I have too many friends. That has to be one of the dumbest statements to ever come out of my mouth.

2012 will be a better year than 2011 was. I am looking forward to new experiences, a new age and new memories. If you stick with me, I promise it will be worth your time.

Happy 2012 to you and yours!

Jason

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Confidence In The Frames

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

On Sunday night, a tweet from Jennifer Hartley ended up being the inspiration for my latest post. Jennifer’s tweet reads “Seeing the cast of #entourage just reminded me how much I’ll miss them. And guys in specs… total weakness of mine.” We engaged in a conversation around how glasses are awesome. It seemed like a perfect time to share my history with glasses.

As a wearer of glasses, I always love to hear about people finding glasses attractive. However, that has not always been the perception.

I have worn glasses since third grade, which I will not quantify in actual years. Just know that it has been a while. The styles of glasses I have worn have changed over the years. I have worn anything from thick frames to tortoise frames (which stuck around for a while, for better or worse) to my current half-jacket style.

There was a long period where I would not wear glasses because the feeling and look of them made me dislike my appearance. I have been called four-eyes more times than I care to count or remember. Among insults that people used at me, four-eyes is one that always hurt more than it should. It was a cause of my instant disdain for glasses.

Disliking how you feel and look in glasses is a common experience among glasses wearers. Many people switch to contacts. Thousands have undergone lasik. Currently, I mix in contact and glasses, depending on my computer usage in a day. This is due to my growing confidence in wearing glasses in public.

Throughout my junior high, high school and college years, I would rarely wear my glasses. This included playing basketball, football golf and rugby. Yes, I played all sports without glasses. It was not until three years ago when I decided to try contacts which changed my life. I could finally wear sunglasses and see clearly. I could finally play sports and see the ball clearly. Imagine if I had the ability to see clearly during my competitive sports days?

But, due to a lack of confidence, I never was playing at 100%. Confidence in most every other aspect in life is something I had never struggled with. Why do glasses, something that improves your way of life, whittle people down?

Fortunately, my confidence in wearing glasses has changed. Below is a picture I took on an #ArgyleFriday. I tend to wear them in office settings as I think it makes me look older and more experienced. They are also a fantastic accessory for men and women.

Jason Douglas in Glasses

Thanks to Jennifer Hartley for being the inspiration to write this post. I am happy to report that Jennifer and I are #foureyefriends 🙂

I would love to hear stories from former or current glasses wearers. Post pictures of yourself in glasses as well!

Jason

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Where Was I When 9/11 Happened?

September 12, 2011 5 comments

This past week was a time for reflection and remembering those who gave and lost their lives as it was the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A common question during this week: “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” This was also asked in last night’s #tweetnmeet chat led by Erica Mayer. It’s tough to explain in 140 characters the whole experience. As promised, here is my 9/11 story.

I was a student at St. Cloud State University. It was a Tuesday and I was sound asleep when I got a phone call from my Mom. She was emotional and borderline frantic and kept saying “America is under attack!” She told me to turn on the TV and then quickly let me go. I did so and had it on NBC when I saw one of the World Trade Center towers was in smoke. I woke up my roommate Josh who had recently told me he visited New York and saw the Twin Towers. We got ready for the day and watched the coverage as it was unfolding. Minutes later, we both saw the South Tower be hit with a plane. NBC had no idea it was coming, despite it being so clear on the camera angle they had. I can only imagine what the rest of the world was thinking as they saw that plane hook around the corner.

Class time was fast approaching. I was headed to Criminal Justice, which is arguably the most interesting class to have during such a historic and unfortunate event. Oddly enough, Professor Barry Schreiber had a terrorism expert in to speak to the class. The coverage was on the big screen in the auditorium. 15-20 minutes into the class, we saw the South Tower fall. There was a sudden silence followed by the ooh’s, ahh’s, and astonishment at what we had seen. Immediately after that, the terrorism expert began discussing what would come next. She was rather spot on in predicting who was responsible, air travel would be forever changed and that we would see germ warfare including anthrax become part of the mix.

29 minutes later, the North Tower collapsed.

Rumors around gas prices increasing and additional attacks began to run rampant. Even in St. Cloud, MN, people feared being attacked. I lived in Sherburne Hall, the tallest building north of Minneapolis in Minnesota. People had a fear that a plane would hit our dorm building. I immediately found that preposterous. It shows the fears and panic this event created even 1,261 miles away. Some people criticized me about my thoughts on a terrorist attack happening in St. Cloud as Zacarias Moussauri, who was later rumored as a replacement for one of the 9/11 hijackers or an attacker in a future terrorist attack, was arrested in St. Cloud in August, weeks before the attack.

Classes were cancelled after 5pm, which did not impact me. However, my freshman english teacher allowed class to leave rather quickly. I went back to my dorm and was glued to the TV. We then found out about Flight 93 and the attack on the Pentagon. I am a junkie for news. Events such as this, I was constantly flipping between NBC, CBS, CNN, and ABC. Just imagine how things would be so different if Twitter and Facebook were around along with smart phones. I truly believe that fewer people would have died had people been able to communicate at the speed we do in 2011.

Later in the day, I started getting calls from friends wondering if I was available to go with them to fill up on gas. I did this a few times and was stunned by the lines that existed throughout the city.

Many people still say that 10 years later, the enjoyment in air travel is diminished and more stressful than ever. I never flew before 9/11. All I know is the post-9/11 way of flying. Post-9/11, there is little different in the way I live and how I conduct myself. This generation and each one that follows knows this way of life as the norm.

Ten years later, I appreciate the magnitude of the event more than I did as a college student. I understood how big it was then, but likely did not fully comprehend the fall out that would and still is coming.

That’s my 9/11 experience. Care to share yours?
Jason

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