a life lived online and in the city

Recently I’ve realized that I am very thankful for the opportunities that the combination of moving to Hamilton and my online presence has afforded me.  Many times I have looked back on the past ten years and remarked on how my life has changed for the positive because of these two factors:

  • I have become better connected to my creative energies and outlets due to being able to focus more on “me”, my loved ones and my city.  This is partially due to my:
    • Health improving as I am far more mobile and willing to explore my environment as I am not leaving home at 5:30 in the morning and returning at 7:00pm at night.
    • Moving from the head office (Downtown Toronto) environment of my day job to the local Hamilton office reduced the length of my workday by 4 hours due to the commute and has enabled me to become more connected and engaged in my local community as I am working right downtown and can explore the city during my lunch hours and breaks.
    • Focusing on my physical, mental and emotional health once DH was able to get his health issues straightened away.  Hamilton has a wonderful medical system, despite the grumblings about it and my initial difficulties in finding a family doctor.
    • Reconnecting with old friends from Hamilton (such as DM2) who are both spiritually and emotionally supportive of my endeavours both in business and life.
    • Meeting new people who have become good friends who are both spiritually and emotionally supportive of my endeavours both in business and life.
    • Meeting a vibrant community of people, both online and in real life, committed to making the City of Hamilton a creative and safe environment in which to live and work.  It is incredible how connected and diverse the Hamilton community has become and that people of all ages and backgrounds are gathering together to make the city a place that everyone can be proud of.  Diverse communities such as James St. North, Locke St., Ottawa St. as well as the Stinson, Corktown and Stipley neighbourhoods are focusing on carving a liveable environment that encourages creativity.  This continues to spread throughout the city and you can see people beginning to care about their local communities:
      • Adjusting my philosophies to focus on small local business people and, when possible, working directly with individual craftspersons and artisans.  In my direct support of other craftspersons, I have gained an appreciation for the creative process and gained a healthy respect for items which are as unique and individualistic as they are, plus my money stays in the local community for the most part, instead of being shipped overseas.
        • In supporting local businesses, I have been able to find and clarify my voice both as a musician due to finding a local craftsman who has made my main guitar and as a photographer, courtesy of finding a camera at a local retailer that allows me to express my visual aesthetic.  I am grateful for these chance opportunities leading to my improved ability to express myself!
  • Finding, exploring and supporting locally-owned businesses as unique as their owners.  This past Christmas season, aside from two gifts (DH’s True Blood DVD boxed sets and the Wii drawing pad for my nieces), all of my presents were purchased directly from local independent retailers or direct from the artisans themselves!
  • Knowledge that I am improving my health and the health of the local community by supporting local organic farmers, food providers and restaurants.
  • I have had the opportunity to meet, engage and have some level of direct personal, professional (and meaningful) interaction with a number of my musical “heroes”:  MK, Tom Wilson, Bif Naked.  All of whom have staked out careers that are wildly different, but also representative of their creative needs and personal outlets.  I deeply respect these people and am honoured by the attention they have given me and interactions I have had with them.  This has also enabled me to meet new people who have become musical “heroes” to me:  Oceanship, Aaron Wrixon, and has granted me the opportunity to meet with them in person to discuss and share ideas and insights with them.  These opportunities I will never take for granted as a musician.

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly engaged as a citizen of Hamilton and as a musician.  By doing this, I have I have grown as a person and found my voice as an artist.  I am a lucky person and I am thankful for all the opportunities living in Hamilton and growing my online presence has given me.

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