Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Mark Des Cotes, I drive a Kia Rondo, a car sold here in Canada but not in the USA, and I believe if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. In today’s episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I look back at what got me to where I am today.

So, do you have a sugar hangover from overindulging in last night’s Halloween treats? I’ve been very good so far and I haven’t touched any of the leftover candy. But the day is still young.

Wow, does it ever feel good to be back here behind the mic in the SILYverse. When Darrell told me he was planning on ending SILY after this season I told him he had my full support, on the one condition that I get to put out one more episode before this podcast rides off into the sunset, or where ever it is retired podcasts go to settle down.

So here I am with one more instalment before I hang up my SILY hat.

But before I get to the meat of the episode I want to put out a plea to you. Yes to you. You see, when this podcast first hit the airwaves with the story of a garbage whistler, I like so many of you, was hooked. Not only did Darrell let us into his life through his personal stories, but he made us look at our own lives in ways we don’t normally do. Then came Derek and Mandy followed by my little stint. After I left, a handful of new hosts came on board to share their stories and I’ve loved each and every one of them. But during all that time, what I’ve loved most, is hearing your Friday Forum submissions. Stories like the ones from Mike, Jason, Joshua, Zach, Justina, Linda, Hannah, Faith, Bonita, Susan. And many more over the past few years. What I love about them is their spontaneity. We hosts of SILY have to put out our episodes. We have deadlines we need to meet. But those on the Friday Forum don’t. Sure you’re reminded each and every episode to send in your stories, but the thing is, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. There’s nobody holding you accountable. And that’s what makes those stories so special and genuine.

Now there are not many Friday’s left before the end of this podcast, so if you want to be part of the SILY legacy you need to get something in now. Coming up with a story is hard for some people, so if you can’t think of one, why don’t you submit something telling us how you were affected by one of our stories. Did it hit home? Was it something you needed to hear at a certain time in your life. I know for myself there were so many episodes I could relate to. My brother passed away not long after Emilee’s father did and I paid special attention to her stories about her dad. And they helped me. So what episodes affected you? Visit goldenspiralmedia.com/feedback for all the ways to contact us.

Today’s Fun Fact of the Day:
November 1 is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a Mexican celebration. It’s a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honour of those who have departed. On this day in Mexico, the streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations, flowers, candy skeletons and skulls, and parades. All to celebrate death and those who have departed. It’s truly a joyful occasion.

Thanks to Emily from The Story Behind Podcast for giving me the idea for this fun fact.

Here’s What I learned yesterday.
Have you ever done one of those connect the dots drawings? Of course you have. I used to love them as a kid. You start at the beginning connecting dot 1 to dot 2 and so on until the hidden image is slowly revealed.

They’re fun because when you look at the “blank sheet” you have no idea what all those dots represent. But slowly as you draw from dot to dot you start to figure out what was hidden on the page. Until you finish and there’s a race car, or unicorn, or some other revealed image. And when you look at that completed image it seems so simple. All those lines you drew between each dot combined to make it.

Life is like a connect the dots drawing. You don’t know what your final picture will be, but it’s slowly revealing itself as you connect each dot in your life. And if you take the time to look back, you can see how each one of those dots is connected to form the picture so far.

This episode isn’t about some deep meaning story or some wise anecdote. Instead, I want you to take some time to look back at the connected dots that make up your life’s picture.

Let me give you an example.

  • I’m talking to you today because Darrell invited me to do one more SILY episode before the podcast ends.
  • Darrell invited me because I used to be a SILY host.
  • I was a SILY host because Darrell needed someone to replace Derek when he left and I’m a friend and fellow podcaster.
  • I became a friend of Darrel’s when he helped me set up Solo Talk Media, my TV podcast network.
  • I set up Solo Talk Media to talk about the TV show, Orphan Black.
  • I wanted to talk about Orphan Black because I loved the show and searched for a related podcast, but there were no podcasts about it so I decided to start my own.
  • I searched for an Orphan Black podcast because I was really into TV Fan podcasts for shows I liked.
  • I was really into TV fan podcasts Ever since I discovered Darrel’s Revolution podcast.
  • I discovered the Revolution podcast when I updated my iPhone and saw a new Podcasts App and wondered what’s a podcast? And decided to check it out.

So in this example, I can trace back the dots that make up the picture of me as a podcaster. If I hadn’t upgraded my iPhone and looked at the Podcasts app when I did, I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you today.

But I can take it back even further.

  • I had an iPhone because I’m an Apple fanboy and won’t buy any other smartphone.
  • I’m an Apple fanboy because I’m a graphic designer, and when I started, Mac computers were the way to go for graphic design and I’ve never owned anything but.
  • I’m a graphic designer because I graduated from that program at my local college. Something I had never intended to do.
  • I took graphic design at my local college because I didn’t have enough money to attend University and do what I originally wanted, creating TV commercials.
  • I didn’t have enough money for University because my parents were having financial difficulties and I was helping them out.
  • My parents were having financial difficulties because the company where my father was Vice-President was bought out by a larger firm and shut down and he lost his job.

So, in a way, my dad loosing his job all those years ago lead to me podcasting to you today.

Now the fun thing about looking back over the connected dots of your life is, unlike the paper versions, you can see different branches that add to your life’s picture.

As I said…

  • I took the graphic design program at my local college because I didn’t have enough money for University.
  • I planned on only taking one year of graphic design as I worked and saved for university but I fell in love with the program and decided to stay.
  • I loved the program because it allowed me to unleash my creativity.
  • I attribute a lot of my creativity to many, many hours of playing Dungeons & Dragons during high school and beyond, especially my years as a Dungeon Master.
  • I learned about Dungeons & Dragons from my friend Todd Sturgeon.
  • I met Todd in the Columbian Squires, a boys club I belonged to sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
  • I was in the Columbian Squires because my best friend Ric’s father was a Knight of Columbus and he wanted his son to join, and Ric wanted me to join with him.
  • Ric wanted me to join with him because we were best friends and did just about everything together.
  • Ric and I were best friends ever since he moved into the house directly across the street from mine.

So, in a way, Ric moving into the house across from mine, all those years ago, led to me podcasting to you today.

I could go on and on telling you about why my parents bought that house, or the reason we moved from the province of Quebec to the province of Ontario but you get the idea.

Our lives are like one of those connect the dot drawings. The illustration may not be complete. There are still many dots in our future that we haven’t figured out what they become yet. But looking back, you can see what dots have made up your life’s drawing so far.

So What Have I Learned?

Well, nothing really. Except that it’s fun to reflect sometimes and look back at your life to see what dots got you to where you are today. There may be good dots, sad dots, possibly some tragic or even devastating dots. Good or bad, they all make up who you are.

What dots in your life led you to your significant other? Led you to your current employment? Let you to the hobbies you love?

Take some time today, a few minutes to reflect on your life. Try to picture the events that moulded who and where you are today.

There are worse things you could do with your time.

I’m Mark Des Cotes and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

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