I've been riding my bike most days from when I learned when I was 7. Late, I know; I remember feeling scared and uncertain. I took a hiatus around the time I learned to drive but came back to it around 2001 in the form of a stationary bike and then back on the road a short time later. I moved to the bay in February of 2004 and remember feeling the nervousness and uncertainty from when I first learned to ride. Traffic is quite different in urban Berkeley than in suburban sprawl of Kansas City. I did overcome my fear and soon after I became a bike messenger in San Francisco. In that year in the city I put a few more than ten thousand miles on my dad's hand-me-down bike that he bought when I was 12; I remember at 12 thinking is was enormous and that I'd never be able to stand over it much less ride it. After a year biking the streets of San Francisco I had much more confidence riding in traffic. I now feel quite comfortable and safe riding in the busiest of traffic conditions. I bike toured around Europe in 2005 with my partner at the time, biked a few months on the streets of NYC and returned to the bay area that I now consider to be my home. After riding the same hand-me-down bike for most of ten years, I bought a touring bike at the end of 2013. Currently, I put about 50 miles a week commuting to work and wherever else I need to go.
I remember first becoming concerned with the food I eat in high school, before that I never thought much about it; I unquestioningly ate what was served to me. I was vegetarian for most of the year I was a bike messenger until being served meat in Germany without the language skills to communicate otherwise. I've eaten a variety of different ways since but the underlying theme since 2006 has been to eat local, organic foods acquired in a mostly unprocessed state. I starting brewing beer in 2007, and mead in 2008. I've had quite a few compliments on it and I think that most of them are believable. In 2009, I got my first pressure canner and started processing beans, applesauce, other fruit sauces, soups and stews. I purchased several large (4 gallon, 7 gallon, 9 gallon, 15 gallon, and 20 gallon sizes) stainless stockpots in 2012. Production peaked between 2012 and 2013 when I would fill my larger stockpots and process them into jars for days in a row. My goal was to eliminate my need to buy processed foods altogether, which I have mostly achieved. I got a used dehydrator in in 2011 and started drying everything I could get my hands on. By 2012, I had killed my used dehydrator and bought a 9 tray Excalibur (made in Sacramento). At the time I was delivering stone fruit to grocery stores in San Francisco, working for a small California stone fruit farmer. There was an almost constant flow of overripe stonefruit that I spent days and hours slicing into the dehydrator and mashing into my oversized stockpots. I've scaled back production on some items as I've gotten better at estimating my actual needs, including gifts for family and friends.
I've been working for the same farmer in 4 area farmers' markets a week for the last 4 years. I didn't think I'd be able to work at the farmers' market as most of the jobs are inconsistent throughout the year and don't pay well. I'm probably among the highest paid employees (some commission based sellers could make more in a single market but my annual earnings are higher than almost anyone else with the possible exception of business owners), my farmer gives me healthcare, a van to drive (including maintenance and repairs), and a credit card for anything I might need. On top of those things my farmer is actually a good guy and I enjoy my job.
I've been indoor climbing for a year (I'm up to 5.11a and 5.11b, if that means anything to you), and lifting weights to help me progress as a climber. I took up a yoga practice again after a ten year hiatus. I've always been naturally flexible which my yogini partner back in 2005 was quite impressed/disgusted by. There were poses I got in easily the first time I tried that she, after many years of practice and after completing yoga teacher training, was unable to achieve. During this last 9 months of yoga practice, I've been working on building up strength and balance. After an insight from my teacher recently, I feel like I am very close to holding handstand. I recently started a running practice and I am looking forward to building endurance and increasing my cardio strength.
Sexually, I'm a bit of a prude. I'm open to trying new things though many of my partners have described me as vanilla. Sexual relationships are a big deal and not something I enter into lightly. I tend to get attached to people with whom I engage in sexual activity and care about them deeply. Through early trail and error, I discovered not everyone is the same in this way. I've developed a series of personal rules and standards for choosing new partners that tend to keep me emotionally and physically safe.
Here's some of my current personal guidelines and standards for choosing new sexual partners:
The possibility/likelihood of a lifetime romantic partnership
A desire to have kids
Commitment to care for yourself both physically and emotionally, including the willingness to receive love and help from others as needed (including cardio health in the form of some kind of exercise integrated into your lifestyle and a healthy diet)
Spending at least three nights sleeping together with clothes on
Enjoying/desiring cuddling that is not necessarily sexual in nature
Something worth mentioning here is while I make enough money to live in relative comfort, I don't make enough to provide for a family in the bay area. My job, that I love, is only available here in the bay and is dead-end in that it is unlikely that I'll ever make more money than I do now. The skills that I've acquired and honed are unlikely to prepare me for another job like it. The other farmers market jobs don't pay as well and the sales field is not something I've ever been interested in working in. The reason why I love this sales job in particular is because I'm working for someone I like, I'm selling the highest quality product available, and I'm able to use the position as a soapbox for what is wrong with the food and agriculture industry as a whole and by providing an example of a better way.
The take-away from this is that it will be important that you have a career that you like that pays decently and includes healthcare. I don't really care how much you make and I don't want your money as I make plenty for myself but to raise a family together and to find and afford permantent housing in the bay, we'll need more than I make.
Another field that I would be interested in going into is construction/maintenance. I have a fair amount of experience in electrical, plumbing, carpentry, flooring, tiling, sheetrock, painting, and fence building over several years from several teachers, contractors, home owners, and personal experience from years as working as a helpful/handy person. And after a transitionary period I could make more money (potentially, enough to provide for a family somewhere outside of the bay area). I've been reluctant to leave my highest paying and favorite job with my favorite boss to finish the training I would need to get hired as a maintenance person or to be a private contractor.
I look forward to taking an active role in child-rearing. I spent two and a half years providing childcare 40 hours a week, without compensation, for my then 4 year old to 6 year old goddaughter. I've been an active caretaker in her life since she was born in 2009, when I became her godfather. After my friend got sent to prison for cannabis in another state I stepped up to help my goddaughter through the time he was away. They moved to Colfax in May, a 2 hour drive away, and I get to see her much less frequently than before. Usually only once or twice a month for only 3 to 8 hours in a stretch.
I'd love to be able to be a hybrid of a stay-at-home dad while still working about 3 days a week while our kids are young and go back to working mostly full time when they are old enough to go to school full time. Regardless of the number of days I work, I'd like to continue my food preparation of home processed foods and home-cooked meals.
I was drinking coffee once a week but I don't think I have the enzyme to process the caffeine molecule, as I can still feel the caffeine 24-36 hours later. After going without a cup for 4 weeks I had one and I think it was my last. I mostly stopped drinking alcohol as well as my desire to drink has all but dried up. I'm open to enjoying the occasional glass of wine with dinner but am not interested in going out for a drink other than sharing a flight (small samples) of local craft beers.
I want to reduce my dependency on corporations, both as the provider of my income and the provider of my goods and services. And in action that looks like: trading and buying goods and services from local businesses and farmers' markets and doing without unnecessary "conveniences" especially those which are resource or energy intensive. Making fewer american dollars and incidentally paying fewer dollars to taxes, creating many of my own end-products from renewable resources from the local area and region, establishing trades (including work trades) with others also making their own products or working for small businesses.