The Chic, Elegant and Connected Renovation Experiment

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – July 13, 2014

Today I was woken up by the gentle sounds of warning sirens and the hum of human activity just before the mid-century modern Sir John Carling building, opened in 1967 in celebration of Canada’s 100th anniversary of confederation, was blown to smithereens within clear view of my front window. The community knew it was coming, but it was a surreal experience nonetheless. A couple of booms, a rapid implosion, sounds of people clapping and happy chatter, a billowing dust cloud, dust, a cleansing downpour (just meteorology, but might as well pretend its an allegory), and gone. A metaphor for a life.

Bobby Grimby’s CA-NA-DA Song

I have lived in Ottawa since 2000. I moved here for family and work reasons but have never connected with the city. My fault. Toronto is my ancestral hometown, where I was born, grew up, and have deep roots. Ottawa is not my Toronto.

Watching the demolition, I had a personal epiphany. Like the Sir John Carling Building, I have let my mid-century-modern self go – internally and externally. Poor maintenance. While there are many wonderful things in my life that I would not want to change, simple redecorating will not fix my cracking foundation problems.

Einstein is quoted as having said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. ” The geeky rumor mill posits that Einstein was very very smart – even if he was a theoretical physicist, and is dead. So at the fabulous, pre-menopausal (not even a hot flash) and tender age of 53 and a half, I have decided to take advice, even if it was not directed at me, from a smart dead theoretical physicist, and choose not to be insane. I have decided to undergo a major structural renovation before I go boom.

In order to tackle my interior and exterior renovation problems, I will view this journey as a strategic enabler for personal enhancement and opportunity. In an ode to Sheryl Sandberg, I am deciding to “Lean In” and explore the “jungle gym” of “moving forward” therapies that will help me on my journey to tomorrow (although I am giving myself a year or so to reach tomorrow… I’m slow). At the same time I have to remain true to my core values.

As a simple ethical hedonist, in the tradition of Aristippus of Cyrene (a student of Socrates), I firmly believe that pleasure is the highest good. Finding new epicurean pleasures that I can enjoy will not be hard, as I am easily satisfied… with the best. I will not deny myself pleasure.

That would be just silly.

“There are only two mantras: yum and yuck. Mine is yum.”

  • Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker

The Chic, Elegant and Connected (CE&C) Renovation Experiment

My goal: I want to renovate the CE&C pillars of my foundation so I can increase my pleasure in life and help others increase theirs.

My hypothesis: That by becoming CE&C I can get closer to my goal of happiness wherever I am.

The experiment: I will embark on a CE&C renovation experiment in which I will repair both my exterior and interior foundation problems.

Anticipated results: It is my hope that through this hopefully transformative journey I will renovate and rewire my brain and be able to:

  • renovate my interior by stopping running and cherish and take care of what I already have (my soul, my people, my city);
  • renovate my exterior by finding and developing a signature mid-life style (lifestyle choices);
  • figure out what my mid-life dreams are and then develop a plan to achieve them; and,
  • maybe, if I am lucky, inspire others.

While some CE&C treatments may span many weeks, my plan is that every week (except during holidays) I will blog about a new CE&C treatment or add notes regarding ones I began earlier.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

  • Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Please join me on my journey… feel free to offer your wisdom and pearls of humor. Because at the end of the day it’s about a rich journey that makes the world a better place.

As of today I am no longer a blogging virgin. Glad to finally get that out of the way.


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