Different Sorts of Things

If this blog were a band, this post would be it’s self-titled album.

A good friend of mine, Jeremy Ellis, is the unwitting source of the name for my blog. Back in 2012 when I created this space to host my writing, I was living with Jer and two other buddies on Cole Road in Guelph. We were all in the last year of our degrees, and the house got along pretty well (other than one memorable tirade about dishes, that went something like this definitely NSFW (Not Safe For Work) piece of work from Washington Capital’s coach Bruce Boudreau, but that was an aberration).

One morning, when I asked Jer what he was getting up to that day as he walked out the door, he responded: “Oh, you know. Different sorts of things.” And he left.

That’s quintessential Jer. Short and to the point, didn’t really care that he hadn’t answered the question at all, and most of all, hilarious.

Later, when I was looking for a name for my new blog, this phrase crossed my mind. As the FAQ section still says, I didn’t really have a specific reason for starting a blog (a theme that continues to this day). So I thought that I’d better title the blog something broad enough to cover whatever I might end up doing in the space. At the same time, I didn’t want to choose something boring and then have to change it down the road. When “Different Sorts of Things” came to mind, I stopped looking – that was the one. At the time, I just thought that it was kind of funny – it reminded me of Jer, and was whimsical enough to adequately fill the space at the top of my new blog.

As time has passed (whoa, 6+ years now…) I’ve given a bit more thought to “Different Sorts of Things” as a title. And I’m still really glad that I chose it.

I think it does a good job of conveying a part of my personal philosophy – that it is important to be a well-rounded person. To read about, to engage in, and to do different sorts of things (interesting things!). It’s easy to get caught up in what we do for work, in our one favourite hobby or genre of music/movie/TV show, or in reading only the same few publications over and over. Routines are important, but it’s just as important to build variation into that routine.

I think the name also does a good job of not taking itself too seriously. The Roman philosopher Seneca, in the 1st century AD, wrote on the question of “How to live?”, that one should give up the pursuit of wealth or high office, and instead spend one’s days philosophizing. This perspective was brought to my attention in an article in The Guardian (which I listened to on their Long Reads Podcast), discussing the cult of time management, pervasive today around the world. To me, doing different sorts of things represents that philosophizing.

In a global economic climate where there is so much concern for efficiency, productivity, and getting (and staying) ahead, this philosophizing is vital to keeping one foot firmly planted in the reality that all the hustle and bustle of big city life isn’t all that there is to our existence.

So thanks, Jerry, for the inspiration. You’ll call BS when I say this, but you continue to inspire me every day.

Jerry's Cigar Bar and Ellis Burgers in Bruges, Belgium.

This post is the ninth installment in my month-long project, #500in28. For the next 28 days, I’ll be spending 28 minutes a day writing 500 words. See here for my first post explaining the project.



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