Inspiring Human of the Month: Tony Patterson
Tony is the former Publisher and Founder of Silicon Valley North, Ottawa's premier tech newspaper during the high tech boom that once graced Kanata. A brilliant writer, he also freelanced for Maclean's magazine and hobnobbed with Ottawa's most notable movers and shakers all while fathering 6 kids and 2 step-kids and now has 8 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren and 1 step great grandchild!
Tony and I went on to work together and co-founded another newspaper after the completion of the show, working out of his swanky market condo. Tony liked to put out an assortment of salty nuts for me to snack on for our meetings as we'd regale one another of the tales of our lives before we'd get to work. Later I had my daughter and chose to change careers but we continued to be supportive of one another, sharing our life's wins, challenges and family get-togethers where I met most of his kids who are kind and welcoming of me.
I consider Tony to be part of my special 'chosen family', people I love and who I know come will always be there for me, and I them.
To quote Bryne Rebele-Henry, author of the book Orpheus: 'You know, the thing about family is that you can choose it. And I choose you.”
Interview with Tony:
- Where did you grow up?
- What were your parents like?
- Was life easy or challenging as a kid?
- What’s been your greatest obstacle to overcome?
- What do you do for a living and why did you choose this?
I write. I don’t think of it as a choice. I was doing it almost from infancy.
When I discovered that one could be paid to write, it was inescapable.
- Did you have any previous careers that helped lead you to what you do today?
- What are your most important values in life?
- What brings you the greatest joy?
- What do you fear most?
I’ve never been afraid of much.
- Have you overcome any of your previous fears? If so, how?
After my children grew up I lost the fear that something hurtful would happen to them.
- What is your greatest strength and how has it served you well in life?
Native intelligence has allowed me to steer an independent course through the obstacle-laden institutional maze.
- What has been your greatest weakness and how do you work on it?
Addiction. I’m always in recovery, every day, in some cases for more than forty years.
- What motivates you most?
- Who has influenced you most or had a great impact on you?
- Was there a time where you messed up or failed and if so, how did you bounce back?
I have lost everything two or three times in a long life and each time has been the same. I wake up the day after the fall and start again, one day at a time.
- If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Play more tennis; wear a mask in goal.
- What qualities do you look for in friends and community?
Understanding of and engagement with the causes of the time.
- How and where do you find inspiration?
Tales of achievement.
- Is truth important or do you think it’s more important to keep the peace?
Truth is most important except in extremis to keep the peace.
- In your opinion, how does one live a balanced life?
By eating veggies, staying fit, getting rest and acquiring the necessities of life from an activity aligned with one’s interests.
- Do you think it’s okay to break the rules sometimes, and if so when?
Yes and when you know the rules better than anybody.
- What’s the best advice you would give to someone who’s struggling to find their way out of a difficult challenge, feels trapped or afraid to pursue something new?
If you are not comfortable, change something. A little change will do to start.
- What’s the best advice you would give to someone who hasn’t really found their ‘thing’ yet, something that brings them great joy or passion?
Try anything you can think of until something grabs you.
- Do you have any rituals or routines that you maintain to keep you sane?
Tai chi has been very useful.
- What top 3 books or reading would you recommend most?
The Bible, Shakespeare and Guy Murchie’s Seven Mysteries of Life
Thank you for your time and inspiration!