Posted by: James Shannon | January 28, 2010

Who am I? Just Another Soul Trying to Find his Way through the Universe..

So you may have stumbled across this site, and checked out my inaugural post; at this point, you may be thinking to yourself  … ” Who the heck is this guy and why should I care about what he has to say about lifestyle design (LD)?”  Both very legitimate questions.

Over the next two weeks, the questions identified above and others will be addressed by running through the five W’s (Who am I, What is my approach to LD, Where am I going (in life and in the world), When has/is it going to happen for me, Why should you care) and the one H (How are you going to make it happen, and how can I make it happen for myself)

I think it’s important that you all know a little more about me though, so let’s start with: Who the Heck Is James Shannon???

I am a 29 year old Canadian citizen, residing in Jasper, Alberta (in the heart of the Canadian Rockies) … was I born here? I wish!  No, how I ended up in a paradise of mountains, glaciers and alpine lakes is a textbook case study in the power of active lifestyle design.

Like most people, I let society and my external environment shape my life’s course for majority of my time on this planet … I took the course that most of my peers followed after high school, and got a four year degree in Kinesiology (Sports Science).  After that, I struggled to find steady work in my field, managing my scrape my way through my first winter out of university; the real world, as I accepted it, sucked as much as people told me it would!

Things looked up the following year though, as I won an internship at the largest ergonomics consulting firm in North America.  Here I was, in a well paid internship, surrounded by friendly co-workers and a great work environment (monthly wine and cheese parties, BBQ’s, the whole shebang!)

Yet I felt vaguely uneasy, uninterested when I sat down to do my work.

I pushed it out of my head and moved later that year to Alberta, Canada to further my “blossoming” career.  I felt with a lack of presence of ergonomics out here, I would thrive.

And yet I floundered like a fish gasping for air on the dock.  I moved from job to job (to pay the bills and then leaving after getting fed up with bad bosses/dangerous work conditions) while pursuing research opportunities that led nowhere.  I started my own ergo consulting firm out of frustration, but made very little money.  I procrastinated on pursuing new leads, and pretty soon it was apparent to myself that I just didn’t care … the fire, the passion, the get-up-and-go, was absent from my  efforts.  Looking back through my five years in my line of work, it never was there.

I had bought the Four Hour Work Week 1 1/2 years previous, and had read it countless times, never working up the nerve to utilize its teachings.  Now was the time to go for what made me excited to get out of bed in the morning!

I had always loved hiking, skiing and being in the outdoors; I fear set leaving the job that paid my bills at the current moment (a job in a paper recycling facility where I literally sorted through trash to earn my daily keep), and found I had nothing to lose at all.  I saved up enough money to last me through a period of unemployment, and with no obvious prospects, I put in my 2 week notice April 6th.  I raised the stakes on myself by doing this, and was invigorated with an energy I had not known for a long time!

After submitting tons of resumes, meeting in person with countless contacts, and enduring a motherboard meltdown in my laptop halfway through my search, I was rewarded for my hard work and faith in my abilities, gaining a position as a tour guide/boat driver with Maligne Lake Tours by the end of the month!

I spent a summer driving guests to the most beautiful place on Earth four times a day, entertaining and educating them about the history and the ecology of the area. I took a canoe out on Maligne Lake, discovering hidden coves; I hiked to the top of several mountain peaks, staring wide-eyed at the vistas that laid on the other side; I woke up everyday to the majestic sight of snow-capped mountains, and the smell of fragrant pine trees. I now work at Marmot Basin, a ski resort; while I work in the kitchen, much of my time off in dedicated to skiing, which is made possible by the season pass we get for working for the ski hill.

Before, living the deferred-plan “life”, the above was only a respite from the self-imposed prison of work and meaningless weekends spent drinking to forget the fact that this was my life for 40+ years.

Now, it is the reality I have constructed for my life, one that will be spent hereafter, in The Pursuit Of Excitement.



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