Day 128 - Donivin

Day 128 - Donivin (1st person I approached)
May 08, 2014 - Donivin was born at Vancouver General Hospital.

“We lived in White Rock (British Columbia) for the first five years of my life. My mother was kind of into a hippy alternative lifestyle. She spent time looking into numerology and a bit of Kabbalah and came up with the alternative spelling. I’ve had to spell my name for people all my life,” said Donivin. His parents divorced when he was a toddler.

“I have a brother who is just one year younger than I am, and then three half sisters from my fathers two other marriages.”


When Donivin was five years old, the family moved to Red Deer, Alberta.

“The only thing I can remember about the move was going on a road trip with my uncle driving. Red Deer was definitely different than life at the beach in White Rock,” he said. Donivin stayed in Red Deer until the end of Grade six.

“My father had moved to Phoenix, in Arizona and my brother and I went to live with him. It was one of those situations where I was always comparing my mothers way of living to my fathers. I think my mother decided it was time I tried living there instead. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence,” said Donivin.

“I’m sure in some ways it was a nice break for my mother, being a single parent of two teenage boys. But I know it also was hard for her.”


Donivin lived in Phoenix for three years.

“Arizona was definitely far removed from Alberta. One of the first things that happened to me was a kid in school, on my first day tried to sell me some ‘yellow jackets’ which I knew as bee’s. He was offering me speed, the drug. It was America, it was right-wing republican and flags everywhere. Everything was bigger and faster,” he said.

“The environment was completely different too, snakes, scorpions, spiders. Things flying around. The home life with my father was different as well. With my mother and her hippy-like lifestyle, we were used to bikers and barbecues and gatherings. My father's house was much more structured, and a bit more regimented. I have to give huge kudos to my stepmother. She was my father's third wife and had just had a baby with my father and took on both of us boys. My older half sister from my father's second marriage didn't live with us all the time, but spent time there. My stepmother rose to that challenge with class and dignity,” said Donivin. 


After three years with his father, Donivin decided that Arizona and everything that came along with it, wasn’t for him.

“I moved back to Red Deer to live with my mother, and finished high school. When I was 19, there was a group of family members from my fathers side getting together in Vancouver. I came out here for a two week vacation. I never went back. I stayed with my grandmother for about a month in White Rock while I found a job and got settled. I had played sports throughout school, and I got a job in a fitness centre and worked there for two and a half years. Through that job, I became interested in personal fitness and became a personal trainer. I’ve worked in fitness and nutrition now for almost 24 years,” he said.


I asked Donivin if he was ever into bodybuilding competitively. He laughs and tells me

“No, not at all. I enjoyed being a personal trainer. Working with someone for a year and hearing them say that their life and changed. Or offering advice about health and nutrition and seeing the transformation. That’s very gratifying. I don’t even do any personal training now. As I’ve gotten older, my own fitness isn't motivated by ego. It’s ok if I maybe take time off from the gym, and get a little soft around the middle. With my own fitness, I’ve always done it for me.” #notastranger