When did you get that YOLO tattoo?

I had lost hope.

I didn’t know what it was going to take to keep going. Everything I had worked for and committed myself to had crumbled away. I had nothing to show for 10+ years of effort. Friends of mine were beginning to talk about retirement. Guys my age do that. They are making plans to finish their rat race and move into a season of life where they can begin to enjoy the fruits of their lifelong labor.

That was not going to be the case for me.

Hope was dried up. At my age, I thought I’m … more »

Hope is a Good Thing

Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I had a math teacher in high school that told me, “Shinn, life is a series of choices. You can choose to do your work or choose to get in trouble. From there, you can choose your punishment. You can write a ten thousand word paper on the manufacturing of sulfuric acid or you can take the swats (yes, they did that back then.) Shinn, you always got choices.”

I was a smart mouth kid in high school and as a consequence, … more »

Identity and Illness

It was my own experience of being defined by my circumstances that has let me to believe that a secure sense of identity is foundational in addressing mental illness. As I understand them, mental conditions are influenced by multiple factors, none of which has an easy solution to overcome them, But I believe there is hope. There always is. This quote by N.T. Wright has reinforced my belief:

Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible.  –NT Wright

The pain of life forced on me a limited worldview, one that was hopeless and … more »

Why every conversation with me will include the subject of identity.

I’ve become convinced that a clear understanding of personal identity is critical for well-being. It is this awareness that has helped me beat back depression and stand in a new way of thinking about myself. I will attempt to write it down in a form that will make sense and lead to a similar transformation to those that need this word.

What is identity? I define it as that picture of who I believe I am without even thinking about it. Its a subconscious orientation that governs my actions, whether good or bad. A more simple explanation. If I think … more »

How I Confronted Depression.

Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible.  –NT Wright

Anthony Bourdain’s death this week has gotten me thinking about how to help people who suffer from depression and mental illness. I tread lightly because I know its a subject that is misunderstood, but I have decided that I will not let fear prevent me from making my best attempt to make a difference.

Over the years, I’ve been impacted by the suicide of a few I was close to. In addition to the sense of tragic loss of life and friendship, I … more »

Goodbye to a Friend I Never Met

How does a person I’ve never met have such an effect on me due to his passing away?

Last October it was Tom Petty. Yesterday it was Anthony Bourdain.

I loved the work of both of these men. Some of Petty’s songs are indelibly etched into my subconscious brain, I probably mutter them in my sleep. For Bourdain, it was more than that.

At age 40, I began to explore the world of food as I contemplated making a drastic career change into becoming a chef and opening a restaurant. Author Michael Ruhlman became my culinary instructor and through his … more »