Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes

This week’s photo challenge, The World Through Your Eyes, is a particularly relevant one for me.

I spend a lot of time with my children. Heck, I event took parental leave for three and a half months last year after my second son was born. By the way, I highly recommend that all fathers take parental leave if they can manage it. It truly is the best way for us to establish a similar bond with our children that mothers naturally have from birth.

Since having children, I have always wondered what goes through their little minds and how they interpret the world from their perspective.

The images below are a representation of the world through my eyes, and by extension, the world through the eyes of my children.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

This week’s photo challenge covers an important topic – fleeting.

Now more than ever, we are being pulled in several directions at the same time. Too many people, priorities and devices are competing for a few seconds of our precious time that we often forget to stop and take a moment for ourselves. I often fall into the same trap, but my children have made me recognize that it’s very important to stop and take a breath, to pay attention to the subtleties in life, to enjoy those fleeting moments that can so easily pass us by.

For me, one of those moments was captured when I suddenly stopped my daily charge through the subway system to watch and listen to these two old friends playing music as thousands of commuters passed through Toronto’s busiest subway station.

The Importance of Running

My first pair of shoes

As I woke, I peeked out the bedroom window to get a sense of the day ahead. I often do that so I know whether it is sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy… whatever. I also saw my neighbour returning home from an early morning workout. That was the spark I needed to get back into my running shoes.

I had breakfast and got the kids off to daycare just as I always do, but I also let my mind relax so it could plan out my first run of 2013. After returning home from my pre-work chores, I quickly jumped into my running gear, darted out the door… and ran.

It felt so good to be back on the road again, to feel the sun on my face, to feel my heart race, and listen to the metronomic (I think I just made that word up) cadence of my feet gripping the pavement with each bound.

I felt free, and for a brief period I felt completely unplugged from the rest of the world and living solely within myself. No computers, no tablets, no cell phones… just ME!

I love running because it allows me to slow things down, to reflect, to think. Running is my time to completely zen out and gather my thoughts. I think nearly every great idea or decision I’ve made in life has come while running.

The rest of the day was a complete joy. I was happy, I was upbeat. I am often those things, but it felt less forced yesterday and I attribute that to my morning run.

I can’t stress enough how important exercise is for the mind. I think people often treat exercise as just another chore to complete, but I think that if we can find the one form of exercise that truly lets us relax, and lets our minds become free, then we can be much happier. I believe that exercise can help us see things more clearly, deal with challenges more easily, and live a more productive life.

What is it that helps you recharge and regroup from your busy schedules? I’d love to find out what you do by leaving a comment below.

Childhood Memories: 3 Objects In My Childhood Bedroom

As an only child, I was spoiled growing up. We were not well off by any stretch of the imagination, not even close. Thinking back, we were probably living a shade above the poverty line, if that. But, for some reason, I had everything. I not only had my own bedroom, but I also had my own “toy room”. the toy room had shelving from floor to ceiling on all four walls, and I’m not proud to say it, but I was able to easily fill each and every shelf. And though toys were a huge part of what consumed my time as a youngster, the three things listed below invoke stronger (and fonder) memories than any of my old toys. These three things weren’t toys at all…

1. Return of the Jedi bed sheets
There wad nothing bigger for someone growing up in the 80s than the Star Wars movies. I loved those sheets. I wish I kept them so I could pass them along to my sons, but they probably wouldn’t be much more than the consistency of a wet Kleenex by now. I studied each character on those sheets. My bed probably didn’t see anything else on them, which makes me question how often I let my mom wash them… um, gross.

2. A horse-shaped bedside lamp
Growing up, I was uncontrollably afraid of the dark. I’m not sure why, but maybe it was because of the creaky floors and doors in the house, maybe it was the unknown of the black night that you only see in a rural setting, or maybe there really were monsters trying to get at me. For peace of mind though, I’d like to think that a monster could have gotten at me 🙂 Having that lamp on at night kept me in a safety bubble and allowed me to sleep soundly… when I eventually fell asleep. It cut through the blackness with power and authority. It also had such a beautifully detailed horse statue as the base. That horse was my protector.

3. A massive closet
The closet provided me with a gateway to an alternate universe. I could step through the door, and be anywhere or anyone. I think closets are one of the best play spaces a child can have. Today, my older son pretends his closet is an ice cream truck from which he serves us ice cream almost every night.

What were the special items in your childhood bedroom? Did you have a favorite toy, piece of furniture? Or clothing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

The idea for this post came from a book I picked up recently called 642 Things to Write About, by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. It’s full of wild and random topics. If you’re ever stuck for something to write about, I strongly recommend picking up a copy for yourself and thumbing through it. Many of the titles will make you laugh out loud.