Around this time of year we have a family tradition.

My dad passes around these little cards to anyone who might happen to be spending the holiday with us.  These cards are usually small, unique and special.  Cards you don’t just find anywhere.  He finds these cards over the year and hoards them in his secret stash for this very occasion.  You see, the cards HAVE to be special because it is not just any Hallmark greeting that is going to be written on these cards.  On these cards we will write our deepest hearts’ desires for the following year.  On these cards, we will write our Big.  Ass.  Dreams.
(And yes, that’s what we call them)

These are not the dreams that you have which are fleeting, or the dreams that you have while riding the bus.  These are not the dreams that you have in your sleep or New Year’s Resolutions that you know you will not follow.   These dreams are the ones that tug on your heartstrings daily, the constant whispers that we are most likely to ignore.

If you’ve ever walked the Mall in Washington D.C., it’s like starting at one end with the Lincoln Memorial, and then to the middle with the Washington Monument, and then finally, at the end of the road, badabingbadaboom:  The White House.  This is not a political campaign, nor am I suggesting we perpetuate the American Dream by saying that we can all be president if we set our minds to it.  What I’m getting at here is scale.  We’re not talking peanuts.

We’re talking Big.  Ass.  Dreams.

The Rules of the B.A.D are as follows:

1.  On your card you may write one to three of your most daring hearts’ desires.  BUT, they have to be tangible and measurable by next years’ end.  For example, “I will win the lottery and marry a millionaire” is probably not very tangible.  However, “I will move to Seattle, get a job at Microsoft in hopes that Bill Gates will fall in love with me” is something a little more reasonable.  If you DID move to Seattle and got a job at Microsoft, even if Bill Gates did not see you fit to photocopy his bum-cheeks, we’d still give you a golf-clap of approval because two outta three ain’t bad.

2.  Your B.A.D. MUST remain top secret throughout the year.  You cannot tell your lover, your priest, your therapist or your dog.  Capice?  TOP SECRET!!!

3.  You must seal the envelope of your card with a kiss and positive thoughts.  And then you deposit self-blessed envelope into a very magical pouch, which gets stashed and stored until next year.

Each year we read each other our previous years’ hopes and dreams.  We applaud one another for success and we support one another through failure.

So as the dawn of a New Year fast approaches, I encourage you to pause for a moment.  Find a little card or even a piece of paper.  Listen to the whispers of your heartstrings and go for it.  Write it down.  Send it out there.

For I am wishing you the most humongous of hineys, the biggest of booties, the most colossal of cabooses, the maximus of gluteus, the daring-est of derrières; the awesome arse, fantastical fanny, serious seat-warmer,  the all-I-wanna-do-is-a-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-and-a-zoom-zoom-Rump-Shaking, Bootylicious BIGGEST, BADDEST-ASSED DREAMS for 2013.

Happy New Year.


No Guts No Glory

The girl that I was travelling with through Central America, Sarah, met a guy in El Salvador, Jude, and they well, hooked up.

Aside from the helpful accoutrements of their surroundings–ah, nothing more than paradise, sunshine, salt water, freedom and cerveza, they fell in love.  But it wasn’t the kind of love that you find travelling–the kind of love that is waged like your last dying day, bound by the finite constraints of Time but bolstered by the addictive adrenaline of adventure–loved with that much intensity and that quick a fizzle.

Somewhere amidst the waves and the hand-rolled tortillas, Sarah and Jude found something more.

Sarah returned to her soon-to-be new professional life in Toronto, because for a time, success and financial security was what she thought she needed.

Jude returned to Portland, Oregon to fix up some properties, make some cash and plan his next surf trip.

Now against the Travel Laws of Romance, for everyone knows not to fall in love with a surfer you met by the sea; everyone knows loving is easy when its served with a small slice of Paradise Pie, whereas Real Life Love is a whole different can of sea snails altogether.  Regardless, Sarah and Jude “kept in touch”.  Which probably means they developed an intimate relationship with their Skype accounts.

Dot, dot, dot and the next thing I know, Sarah is flying out to Oregon, loading up Jude’s truck, strapping surfboards to the roof and they are driving back down to Central America for an INDEFINITE AMOUNT OF TIME. 

Sarah and Jude said fuck Real Life Love.  We’re gonna live our dream and eat Paradise Pie every day we damn well please.

More and more I see people redefining the way life is to be lived.  More and more I see people writing their own stories, making up their own rules.  I see more people living bravely; living outside the confines of four square corners and a pension plan.  You create your own destiny.  (Although I would argue, you co-create your own destiny.)

This life is so short.  And living it fully takes Courage.  Bravado.  Moxie.  Balls.  And sometimes, it takes a LOT of those things.  Sometimes you have to allow your world to be turned upside down.  To be shaken to the core.  To hand over the reins of control, expectation and plan to the daredevil of Death himself, throw your hands up in the air and enjoy the muthafuckin’ ride.

Without running the risk of sounding like an inspirational fridge magnet, you can have the life you want but first you must dare to dream.  And sometimes, that knowledge is terrifying.

To Sarah and Jude, tonight I drink a Tecate in your honor.  (Because Toῆa is impossible to find in Montreal)  For showing me courage.  For choosing yellow fever and bikinis over business suits and responsibility.  For choosing hammocks over California Kings.  For choosing waves and wanderlust over rents and real jobs.  But most of all, for choosing LOVE…against all the odds. 

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