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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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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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How To Get the New Facebook Timeline

September 22, 2011 7 comments

On September 22, Facebook announced their latest revisions which include integration with Spotify, Netflix and an overhaul on the user timeline. Access for all will be rolled out on September 30th. I am not patient enough to wait nine days for the latest and greatest version of Facebook. I thought “how would someone get access to the new  Facebook?”

Here is an idea: Google “how to get access to new Facebook.” Or, keep reading below.

I found an article from the Huffington Post which includes a video and a list of what to do. Below are the steps I followed to get access:

  1. On Facebook’s search bar, type in “Developer.” Click on the first result. Then click “Allow” to give the Facebook app access. In the next few steps, you will become a developer for a minute. Check that off the bucket list!
  2. When in the Facebook Developer App, click on “+ Create New App” button. Fill out the App display name and description. While nothing will be made public, be safe and name the app after yourself.
  3. Agree to the Developer privacy agreement. Don’t take the time to read it. You are only delaying and depriving yourself out of new Facebook.
  4. On the left side, click on “Open Graph” and type in a test verb and noun for your new app.
  5. Run through a few pages of new app information. There is no need to enter anything here. Keep on saving changes and continuing. The quicker you do this, the quicker you have new Facebook!
  6. Once completed, go back to your profile. It may take up to ten minutes, but you should have a prompt at the top of your old timeline to view the new Facebook! Hooray!

The above process is what worked for me. For those who do not want to play developer for a few minutes, there is another, yet slower way to get access: sign up for beta access where there is no guarantee on how long it will take to gain access.

Note: when you publish your timeline, only others who have followed the above steps to launch the new timeline for themselves will be able to see your new timeline. Everyone else will see the old profile.

Thanks to the Huffington Post for clearly documenting the process.

After you gain access, take the quick tour, play around and share your thoughts on Facebook’s latest and greatest version of itself.

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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Favorite Photo of Myself

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Here you go, #tweetnmeet friends 🙂

Jason

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Well Timed Marketing by CrowdCut? Marketing and Selling Around Tragedy.

Considering the events that transpired yesterday, I found the CrowdCut email I received interesting. Is the timing intentional or lucky? See the deals for today below. I did see some tweets with reports of contractors, insurance people and remodelers posting signs on every house to gain new customers throughout North Minneapolis. Some would call that aggressive. One used the term “vultures.” Others consider it opportunistic. There’s a need and someone can satisfy that need. It would be mutually beneficial.

What are your thoughts on marketing and selling around tragedy?

Update: CrowdCut just tweeted me and said the six deals shown in the screen shot were planed two weeks in advance. Just a coincidence. 

~J

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