Category Archives: slow

Finding My Words

I’ve been enjoying the reclusive life and doing a lot of solo exploring in small chunks since I’ve moved. It can’t, and won’t, continue for much longer but it’s been a brilliant choice on my end.

It’s only now, clearly, that my desire to write is returning. I was sure this would happen sooner, and part of the Being Antisocial Plan was so that I’d reconnect with my words. Well, yeah. It’s taken time but it’s happening.

Sunset off Clover Point in Victoria. Par moi.

I’ll embrace antisocial behaviour for a little longer — a week, maybe two — to let my wordy seeds grow. Then, I’d like to start meeting people and think it will be easy to do so. Optimism helps, kids!

If I’m in the right mood, people generally like me. Or, people I like tend to like me. That’s not cockiness or anything, because being liked just isn’t hard — be nice, be interested, be interesting, be kind, be authentic. It’s much easier, of course, when you actually talk to people and make an effort. So, until I do that, I shall remain anonymous and lifeless. Yay?

As we both might know, I’m no dummy. I’m the thinky-thinky type, like all geeky writer girls tend to be, and all my cerebral wheels have spun something fierce in the months leading to this moment.

See, I know what small towns are like, and at 1/9th the size of Vancouver and my living in a very small neighbourhood within that, I know anonymity evaporates in a hurry once you start fitting into the community. And that’s great, it’s nice to feel noticed and like you belong, but once you have THAT, you never have THIS again.

I talk to people, I’m chatty, I smile a lot, and most people enjoy bantering with me, so I expect to start knowing more people than I don’t. One day, I’ll be able to recall this 8- or 10-week period where I saw no one but strangers, did nothing beyond shop browsing, and never got greeted by name.

Kinda awesome. For a while. Life and its contrasts are fantastic. People should enjoy their weird life phases a bit more. The start of a relationship, the awkwardness of being new… Newness is fantastic and fleeting. Everything gets old so quickly.

It’s common that we get so caught up in wanting the future to happen now that we forget we can never come back, we’ll never have THIS moment again. We’re the impatient fast-food, flash-cooking society, and it shows in our lifestyles.

I don’t own a microwave. I am in no hurry, friends. Anymore, anyhow. Namaste.

There’s nothing to regret about holding off on joining the Locals Club. I know I’ll get there, and when I do, I’ll absolutely adore being a part of this community. It’ll be great living in a place where I can walk all the way home after 2 or 3 drinks, where I can casually go meet people at the city’s most popular parks and beaches, since they’re all a short walk away. I’m under no illusions of a) what my life can be like here, and b) what it’ll take for me to connect with others.

But, for now, I’ve more literary aspirations in mind.

For that, it’s nice, this anonymous wanderer schtick of mine. A rewarding way to burn off the rat race hangover I’ve had since I escaped the faster, bustling drone of big city life.

I’m still in the headspace where I feel like I have so much I need to do, and that’s all part of the necessary efforts in transition. It’s catching up on work, finishing projects around my home, and other little things. But now I’ve found time for writing (and even blogging) each day for a week.

The change I’ve sought is officially afoot, it seems. Oh, writing, how I’ve missed wanting to do you.

Longtime readers know I’m a big believer in writing being a muscle. The more one does it, the more one taps into the rhythm and grind of what makes writing great.

But if you’re living a life where nothing inspires you, nothing sets you free, it’s hard to tap into that. In fact, it’s damned near impossible. I should know, because that’s how I was feeling for much of the last two years. Trapped and frustrated.

That’s changing, quickly. I’m becoming fascinated and intrigued often. I’m becoming inspired and recharged from time to time. I need more. More, more, more!

Creativity requires much in life but it mostly requires focus and awareness. Stimulation, too. And we can trick ourselves into thinking the city is what we need for stimulation, but, for some, cities are built for distraction, not stimulation.

I’ve been so distracted so long that this silence and quietude in my new life is overwhelming at times. I’m so undistracted I’m confused.

And that too is part of the life transition. Slowing down. It’s the emotional and mental equivalent to the way solid ground feels after an afternoon of being at sea or a day spent 4x4ing. The sudden stop is jarring to our equilibrium.

Well, I feel the same these days. It’s almost panic-inducing at times, because I’m still waiting for that day when I don’t wake up thinking my vacation’s over and I need to return to the city soon. Because I don’t. I live here now.

That’s something I have to remind myself of, daily. There is no rush, there’s no return, there’s just me, here, now.

So, that’s where I am today. Still anonymous, still wandering, still transitioning… but a writer once again.

On The Quieting of the Self

I don’t think I’ve blogged regularly in months, but that’s the nature of lifechange for me.

I don’t deal well with change, and it’s possibly why I resist it so hard for so long.

That said, there’s a book on ADHD called The Unquiet Mind, and that phrase aptly describes my mental state of the last several weeks/months.

In asking how I was acclimatizing to my new life/world/routine over here in Victoria, a friend replied to my flustered response with “Change is good, and often overdue.”

I began thinking how overdue my change has been, and it’s too far back to get into, but a couple years anyhow, if not longer. But the delays in undertaking the change resulted in my descending further and further into my funk before I got out. I suppose that makes me more ordinary than I’d like to admit, since most of us don’t adopt change particularly well before it becomes mandatory.

Photo by me. Shot on Victoria's Clover Point.

As the days bleed one into another over here and I slowly become A Local, it occurs to me that just making the choice to move here was only the start of my change, and many of the things I hope to introduce in my life will take a long time to make a reality. It harkens to the cliche “Rome was not built in a day.”

No. I guess it wasn’t. Nor will be my new life.

It’s been seven weeks, and I’m only now reaching the point where my apartment is beginning to feel like a home. Just a week or so ago, I had my first instance of being late for an appointment, missing my bus, and solving it like a local would — via another bus on a nearby route. I felt smart and shiny, like I’d inherited some pretty new Big-Girl Pants.

But, in those seven passing weeks came a lot of problems with my body — one adjustment after another causing upheaval for my fucked-up skeleton, and it’s also only now that these things are settling.

It got scary for a bit as New Badness kept occurring, since my back and body are big reasons I’ve moved to Victoria — where it seemed easier to get around, geared to the walking lifestyle, and more fitness-oriented in a ways I would be able to incorporate into my days. But when you make that move and things go in the opposite direction from what you’d hoped, yeah, it’s a hair-raising segment of change that isn’t what you’re ready to receive.

For weeks, people kept asking if I was “loving” my new life, and I tried to put the Smiley Face on, but the truth was, I was scared, hurting, and hoping I hadn’t made a Big Scary Mistake.

But transition takes time, both mentally and physically. Knowing that, I just kept my head down, kept my goals ahead of me, and tried to keep my head in the game.

That worked, and my transition’s easing into a better normal now, with a mo’ better normal yet to come.

With my home nearing completion, it’s time to turn the transitional focus onto me — my body, my health, my mind — and really reap the rewards of making this big change in my world.

Last fall, when I would imagine life in Victoria, I was off on a number of points, but that includes underestimating the amazing surroundings, the quiet, and the pace of life around me. I know now that it’s a place I belong.

When I imagine my future today, I see myself embracing more walks on the ocean, finding a better sense of balance time-wise, learning to meditate regularly, photographing/writing daily, and falling back in love with reading.

Because, the thing is, this Unquiet Mind conundrum of mine, it’s been the status quo for me since about 2009 or so. Seldom have I found peace or quiet in a way that resonates for me. I think I’ve found it here. I think I’m learning now that, while I was born and raised in Vancouver, and love it on some level that’ll never change, I think I’m not built for life in the big city. I suspect one day this place, too, will outgrow my soul.

It’s funny how much I can surprise myself, how much I still have to learn about who I am and where my place is in the world, but I suppose it’s all part of the EverBecoming of being human. If you stop growing, you may as well push up daisies.

I know that, by delaying the needed change in my life, I fell further into a horrible rut, and undid much good I’d struggled to accomplish in life, but something tells me the grief of my relocation, the bodily aches and pains that came with, and the turmoil I’d felt during it all will result in some amazing days to come.

It’s good to be on the other side. Now, where will I be in a few months? I don’t know, but I think I’m gonna love getting there.

The Move, The Life, The Update

A brief recap of my recent life.

Holland Point Beach, about 5-6 blocks from home, by me. Day 3 as a Victoria Resident.

I Moved West

I moved across the Straight of Georgia to the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

There, I live in Victoria.

A few numbers about Victoria: Downtown, some 74,000 people live, compared with Vancouver’s 680,000. Greater Victoria packs a total of 360,000 fine folk, compared to Greater Vancouver’s ever-increasing 2.3 million. Vancouver is in a rainforest, Victoria is not. Both are largely coastal, but Victoria has open ocean around it, large waves during storms, and speaking of storms, receives a greater volume of bone-chilling Pacific blasts of weather than Vancouver. It also gets less snow than Hollywood North, as it’s marginally warmer.

And, oddly, it is second only to San Francisco for the number of restaurants per capita.

Into An Even Smaller Neighbourhood

I moved to the oldest neighbourhood north of San Francisco on the West Coast. It is littered with heritage homes.

I live in a great building that has a “no pets” policy but is home to the arthritic cairn terrier Winston, who limps and wags his tail in the lobby when his boss, the caretaker lady, is doing her thing in her office. We love Winston. He makes me smile every time I see him.

And I see the ocean more than I have since I was a child. This makes my soul happy.

Not All Smooth Sailing

My move involved:

  • a ferry
  • five men, four women (four men on both sides, then the odd also-helper on both sides)
  • one 36-foot truck
  • 4,500 pounds of belongings
  • a massive furniture-hoist over a third-floor balcony
  • 24 beers, 2 litres of wine, 3 extra-large pizzas, ferry food for lunch, and an amazing John’s Place breakfast for 4

…And some very scary moments. It was $1,000 for the move itself, $350 for the food, and much more on other related expenses. But, all in all, a low cost for a complete lifechange.

Or Smooth Riding

Last week, upon deciding to take my cruiser bike — which I had not yet ever ridden, and which has pedal-back brakes and not hand brakes (the only kind I’ve used in the last 25 years) — out for a bike ride, I realized the seat was too high and needed adjusting. I tried doing that, but both feet came off the ground for the briefest moment. This is when I learned how steep the incline to my apartment step was, because my bike lurched forward. I had two choices as I panicked because there were no hand brakes (the pedal brake didn’t compute) and those choices were: Go straight into traffic, or turn and let myself stop via smashing into a road sign.

My face hit the metal pole but I luckily had a helmet on, or it could have been much worse. A week later and the bruises are just healing. I spilled to the ground, stunned. The parked car was fine, the car I avoided hitting in traffic was gone. An old lady and a girl who was walking her dog both ran to check on me. The fancy tape on my cruiser’s handlebars was split. But my head would be all right. A minor case of whiplash, and life goes on.

Needless to say, I’ll be practicing riding/braking in the back parking lot before I take my big-girl bike out for a big-girl ride in the real world. *cough*

Sunset at Victoria's Ogden Point Breakwater. Photographed by me, day five of Victoria residency.

And Then There’s The Spaces

My apartment is great. My landlord cares. I’ve had plumbers in three times and now all taps and drain work perfectly. A new oven is on order. The building’s newly renovated gym will be open in a week.

I’m a five-minute walk from one of Canada’s Top 10 public spaces, Beacon Hill Park, and also from shoreline on all three sides. I’m 10 minutes from downtown Victoria by walking. I have the best of every world within a few minutes on any side.

It’s a walker’s paradise. Now I just need to become a walker. Workin’ on that.

But I’m Not At The New Normal (Yet)

I’m adjusting to the work-from-home life, but liking it. Riding buses once or twice a week is enjoyable and a change of pace. I’m liking the stores I’m discovering but don’t have a shopping routine — not even close — just yet.

In all, every bit of my life is an adjustment. And I’m not even done unpacking!

I’m the sort of person who writes as part of a routine, but when I don’t even have a routine, writing doesn’t occur to me. I think, I do lengthy pithy Facebook updates, frequent tweets, but I don’t sit down long enough to pound out my thoughts at length. Apologies, sorta. I’m doin’ what I gotta do.

This has been an epic month for me, and I really do look forward to obtaining my “routine.” I have strong suspicions this won’t happen until April, after Easter, which is when I’ll have a four-day weekend, my first real chance to breathe and adjust, and my work schedule stabilizes.

Until then, when it comes to EVERYTHING in life, I’ll just take what I get. So too, minion, shall you. Soon, we shall be together with new material, and often, since life here will be much better paced for that.

Because, all the way around, this new lifestyle, new place, new way of operating is doing more for my soul after two weeks than anything I’ve done for happiness’s sake in the last five years.

Sometimes, change is the only way forward. I’m glad I learned that sooner than later, because I can’t wait to hit my stride here.

 

Little girls playing at Holland Point, a few blocks from my home.

Overbooking Ourselves To Death

Every now and then I hit this mode of sheer panic.

It’s that crushing realization that I have a virgin’s chance in hell of surviving my scheduled week. Not a chance. Well, a slim chance if the wind’s at my back, the cosmos aligns, and the sea parts before me. Then, maybe.

Somehow we always get it all done, and if we don’t, still no one loses an eye. It`s not like we’re some hero in the movies, racing against the clock to save the innocents before slaughter or anything. It’s drycleaning or a doctor’s appointment or something.

Chill, yo.

But, yeah, I freak out. Then I’m all jackrabbit-in-headlights as I figure it out. Maybe if I channel Flash Gordon and develop a need for speed. Make it so!

Another rainy night on Vancouver buses, by me.

This morning I’ve had a delayed moment of genius in which I’ve realized I’m having dinner a block from where I was to get my hair cut today. Okay, now I’m not going out of my way today — instead I’ll get my hair cut Monday, and do dinner, all in the same block.

Sounds logical, right? No NASA engineer was injured in the making of this epiphany. I mean, I’d booked both appointments 2 weeks apart from each other initially, so it wasn’t something that occurred to me.

I bet smarter bears analyze their schedules all the time. Yay, you, you smarties!

Me, I’m just getting the fuck out of the rat race so I can stop the stupid, since having daily appointments that get me out of the house will be what keeps me sane over in the island life. The idea of my being locked up 24/7 captioning my little TV shows or writing makes my head go spinny. Well, after a month of isolation so I can do my Rat Race Detox, that is.

But this is what my life has been reduced to in recent weeks. Small moments of victory when the only real win I’ve had is shaving 30 minutes of time wasting from my week.

I know there are the hours I spend just chilling or recharging, but I won’t apologize for that, and I don’t feel that’s the problem. Why shouldn’t I want more time to enjoy my home or whatever pointlessness I feel like accomplishing? It’s MY fucking life. Screw appointments and work and whatever YOU think add values to life. Mine comes from doing things I want that recharge my brain so I can be the wordy girl I love to be.

As a writer, part of the writing process is long hours of doing what to others is “nothing.” Really, what does one accomplish sitting at a keyboard tapping away? The dishes go undone, dust starts holding conventions on your bookshelves, while appointments loom like some evil curtain to be drawn on a great idea, enforcing an end to writing efforts by actually standing up and walking away from the words all because you have to see some guy about a thing.

As far as time management goes, writing is the worst crime to inflict on anyone.

So, you can imagine my loathing of a world that revolves around deadlines, starting points, and any kind of chronological order at all.

It’s a wonder I even believe in being punctual, and even crazier that I’m a Deadline Slayer. Must be the Recovering Catholic thing.

It seems extreme, picking up and moving from a town just for the sake of time management, but that’s a large part of what I’m doing. I’m forcibly excising my endless aneurysms due to bus commutes, soul-sucking scheduling of rehab with work commutes and micro-planning the things I need to do, all because some 10+% of my life evaporates weekly just for the to/from of my job. Even if I worked from home in Vancouver, I’d still spend my life in long commutes, because it’s the nature of this city.

If moving is what it takes to stop overbooking myself to death and losing countless hours sitting on public transit staring at strangers I don’t give a shit about and will never break bread with, as a world locked behind water-streaked dirty windows passes me by, then so be it.

There are moments when sheer panic hits me and it’s not about the time scheduling. Sometimes it’s about what a 180 my life will be when I hit the brakes and start working from home in a place that’s walking distance from the ocean, 30% the size of my present town, and knowing that I can’t afford to undo the decision if it doesn’t turn out to be the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Then I breathe again. And I remember: I’m also making this move because I often find myself having to remind myself to stop and breathe, and there’s something wrong with forgetting such integral parts of existence.

Soon, appointments will be a welcome diversion from my quiet life. An exciting reason to get out and see the world, and not this obligation or sense of burden I seem to see them with now.

Yes, 2012 is the year where I won’t have to fear finding myself under a tombstone that reads “Here lies Steff, whose head exploded when she had One Appointment Too Many on a Dark and Stormy Tuesday.”

I just have to survive overbooking myself to near-death for six more weeks, then my life will feel like the soft pneumatic whoomp you experience when an elevator suddenly aborts motion after 30 floors. And that will be something worth writing about.*

*It’s a personal blog, people. Of course I’ll blog about my life in Victoria. Might even start a whole nother blog too.

Breathe, Grasshopper.

I tend to see patterns in life, from time to time.

These days, there are a few things cropping up here and there, all through my rehab, and it’s starting to echo in other aspects of life, but I’ll spare you the excess drama there.

One is the idea of ending the crazy by focusing on the moment. Another is that of breathing deeply and purposefully.

They both sound pretty basic.

“Think about now? Okay. Got it. Breathe slowly? Uh-huh. Got that. Rocked it. Moving on.”

But, um, you’d be wrong.

Some say 75% of adults are breathing incorrectly. If your shoulders move when you breathe, you’re doing it wrong. Your diaphragm hits belly-level, so your gut should fill and expand rather balloon-like, I’m told. If not, yer doin’ it wrong.

Photo I took in Vancouver's Olympic Village. Unknown girl: breathing/being.

And being grounded in the moment? Well, for example, can you tell me exactly what your body is doing right this second? What do you really feel? If you’re not sure about it, that’s a no. That’s what being fully in the moment means. It’s about knowing what’s truly going on around you, what your body is doing, and more. It’s hard to attain, ‘cos we’re so interminably distracted by the go-go-go of life.

Part of why I’m changing things up by leaving for a smaller city is I’m just so lost from any given moment. I’m incomprehensibly distracted. It wasn’t bad enough that I had the constant drone of both traffic and airport traffic surrounding my neighbourhood and my work, but now my apartment pipes and my refrigerator both do nightly practice of imitating Wookie death-rattles.

Add to that the constant-whiny buses and the roaring-fast traffic encircling my work and home, and it’s amazing I can finish sentences, let alone blog or write longer works. Focus is hard when you’re constantly on Pedestrian DefCon 3 and you’re not built for it, like sissy-pants Me.

But I digress.

So, I have this new chiropractor who’s all Zen-Master-Geek-Lord about back health, which is to say he’s weirdly good in a “Dude, that’s too easy!” kinda way.

I have this new theory that, like doctors over-prescribe medications, docs like chiropractors can over-adjust patients just because we’re under the guise that we’re broken and need fixing. My new chiro will only make the adjustment if he thinks I’m restricted. If he’s not, he won’t do anything.

He has me breathing for homework. Everyone else has been all “Gimme 20 push-ups” or whatever, usually involving extreme effort, all of which has gotten me only 70% of the way I want to be, after 9+ months of back-rehab stupid, and a second such serious injury in three years.

Zen-Master-Geek-Lord, however, has me pursuing breathing exercises, followed by simple advice. Like after I asked him “But what abdominal muscles should I be contracting when I walk?” Zen-Master-Geek-Lord replied with “Never mind. That gets confusing. You tell people that, they start thinking too much, and counter-intuitive stuff happens.  Just walk one inch taller. That’s all.”

So, I have, and it seems to be helping. And it sounds STUPID that I should require such SIMPLE advice, but this is how we get injured.

We get injured because we UnLearn basic nature. Our human nature is, breathe deep by expanding your belly. One day, you get hurt, or sick, or something, and you start breathing differently.

It takes an average of 21 days to learn a new condition. Ergo, it takes 20 days to unlearn one. I don’t know when I stopped breathing right, but I’m betting it was long, long ago. What else don’t I do anymore? I’d like to find out.

I’ve unlearned a lot of good things in all areas, and I want to change that. I’m looking forward to attaining Change: 360. Life full of learning and unlearning for a while. Sounds fun to me.

Life’s stressful as I head to the new-world days, but it’s been stressful for ages, for all the wrong reasons, and now it’s because I’m embarking on newness. That’s awesome.

But when I’m stressed and tired: I forget to breathe. And when life went in the toilet with my injury earlier this year, my bad breathing probably got worse. Breathing deeply doesn’t feel stellar with serious back injury.

Lately, I’ve had three different health professionals remind me to breathe, and more asthma issues more often. It’s funny I should be told now that part of my injury is that I’ve stopped breathing correctly and it’s resulted in muscles around my diaphragm weakening, causing my chronic back issues in the lumbar region, and that the asthma’s likely more behavioural than biological.

And knowing that just breathing correctly is fixing my back, when exercising daily wasn’t, is kind of bizarre and Twilight-Zone-ish.

I breathe more in the summer. It's not hard, here.

All this is affirming for me that it’s the simplest things often have the most profound pay-off, or consequence, in our day-to-day, and also that neglecting fundamentals can have rippling effects. Affirmation comes in another form, too, in that the idea of moving away just to knock a whole lot of speed and stress off my day might be the right plan… especially if I wanna focus on the moment and take the time to breathe on a constant basis.

I’m very, very excited about the year to come. I don’t mind taking the opportunity to ground myself, take some breaths, and save my energy for humans instead of for mundane things like endless work commutes.

It’s good that I’m seeing patterns. The above may or may not compute for you, but it resonates loudly for me. It’s the “seeing things” mode I need to achieve before I can find my will to write, and write often. Hallway vision, as they say, has been AWOL for a good long time. To unlock the “Be a Writer” Badge might be a little inconvenient time-management-wise before my move, but it’d do my soul a world of good.

I guess that’s why I’m learning to stop and breathe. Maybe writing needs me to pause a whole lot more to get through the crap of daily life and find the marrow.

Next week becomes both about being still and moving forward. Taking breaks, but starting to pack. Balance, grasshopper. Breathe.

2012, you’re looking good. Can’t wait. Om. [takes a deep breath]

My Choice to Move: Addressing Your Comments

Time to tackle some of the comments from the last week on my “bombshell” of my leaving this storied city of glass, Vancouver. [My original rant about getting out is here, and the “deeper reasons” posting is here.]

After this, I’ll move on to blogging about the process of moving, the reflections it creates as I go through a lifetime of belongings to ready myself for a new life, and other things one might be lost in thought over during such a process.

The Preamble

First: I’ve deleted TWO comments. Both were from people who didn’t know how to say they disagreed with me or thought I was whiney or whatever without calling me names and generally being dicks about it. I know you have freedom of speech and I encourage you to use it, but there’s no constitutional amendment that requires me to listen to your bullshit when you decide to use said freedoms to be a belligerent asshole about it. So, yeah, feel free to waste your time, but I’ll be deleting that crap.

Second: Let’s clear a few things up. I don’t think the day-to-day things will be much cheaper at all in Victoria. What I think is, I can get a much nicer home for only a few dollars more than I pay now, and live in a much more convenient neighbourhood that’s easier on me in every way than the place I’m in now.

Third: I don’t plan to return to the city every week or two, so travel costs don’t matter. I don’t plan to suddenly become a “concerts/theatre/ games” person because it’s been out of my budget the last couple years anyhow, so I’m quite content for a quiet life of parties at home, reading more, and exploring the world. Fact is, Vancouver’s priced most of the entertainment world out of my reach, so moving to a place where there’s less of that really isn’t a drawback. In fact, it’s a bit of an advantage, because I won’t want what I can’t have. Between my back problem and my lack of writing, being stuck on buses for up to 15 hours a week and not living close to any decent shops, the commuting is killing me. I want a walking lifestyle in a reasonably quiet, convenient area that will be better for me creatively, physically, and quality-of-life-like, and where people don’t drive 70km through the side streets like they do where I’m at now.

Okay? All rightie then.

From Culture to Pace

I get why people love big cities but a lot of the things about big cities aren’t things I’m really wild about. I don’t like the endless bustle and noise. I don’t like crowds and chaos. I don’t need “excitement.”

Deep down inside, a part of me would like to live in the Scottish Highlands and visit society once a month. If anything, I worry Victoria isn’t quiet and small enough for me.

One reader, @NiftyNotCool, commented on the backwater attitudes in the small Saskatchewan town she was raised in, and that’s why she needed to get out and move to a forward, progressive city like Vancouver. I totally get that, and it’s something I DO love about Vancouver — how open-minded it is, how many of my gay friends have found community here, how multicultural it is, and how well it seems all us races get along most of the time.

Clearing Up What “Foreign” Means

Now, let’s address the obnoxious comment I deleted that made it sound like I’m some racist who hates the fact that people of different ethnicities moved here and the real estate market escalated.

No, if you LIVE here, then I think it’s great. Hell, I’ve been an ESL teacher in the past, so the culture shock of moving here has even been my bread and butter.

My problem is with foreign millionaire landlords who don’t live here, don’t pay taxes here, and who buy properties solely as investments in an overpriced market, then charge high rents to reap rewards on those investments, thus escalating the market as a whole for renters and people who are looking to invest in a home to live in. I want the market protected from outside investors for a while, just so the local population can catch up — whether they’re “born” local or transplanted. Buying to live in it? Fine. As long as you’re interested in community and being part of the city, welcome to ya, whatever your background.

I may also have a problem with the number of SUSHI restaurants in Vancouver, but that’s the extent of my racial discontent.

I Think I Need A Drink

And, speaking of restaurants, I regret ever bringing up the motif of the “$10 beer” in my first posting. I know overpriced beer exists in Victoria. Hell, they charge $60 or something for High Tea at the Empress, so you know the stupid’s going on across the pond too. Let’s forget I ever bothered with that argument, since I also have to admit there’s $3.75 sleeves 10 blocks from my present home. I never grumbled about a $10 Guinness last fall, just this sleeve of Rickards. It’s too ordinary to be expensive. Still: You people are right, I was wrong, and there we go. Moving on. Ixnay the eerbay, eh?

When Money’s Too Tight To Mention

Another comment I had came from some 21-year-old shithead who thinks he knows something about life and the struggles that might come down one’s way. I’ve been around too many blocks to even begin caring about that perspective, and that got deleted on merit alone since he was such a mouthy little fuck in his arguments, and the mouthy little fuck knows jack about my life.

It’s not like I’ve been forced to hit up the Food Bank or anything. My argument primarily is: the ridiculous renter’s/buyer’s market is insane and it’s now draining a lot of people like me who’ve “gotten by” for years but need to get ahead finally, and it’s just not happening in this city for us. The cost of living is high, and one would expect that today, but the real estate is off the charts.

If I’m paying high rent to live in the city but still spending a minimum of 10-15 hours in commute for work each week, and getting none of the “convenience” of living in the city, and I can’t afford the “scene,” then, what is it am I paying for? It’s a problem for a lot of us. For some, the solution is moving out to the ‘Burbs. For others, it’s just moving somewhere new entirely.

Ain’t No One-Size-Fits-All Dealio, Bob

I don’t think that the solutions I’ve chosen are right for anyone but me. I’m not trying to suggest I have the answer to anyone’s problems, or even a clue how to solve Vancouver’s market problems, but I think I’ve found the right choice for me, for now. I didn’t grab a Magic 8 Ball looking for Band-aids to life here, I took most of the year to decide when and where I should be going, on criteria that matters to me, and I considered cities across this great country. Ultimately, moving far from home doesn’t work, because I truly love this area.

I’ve been slow and careful in choosing because I think I had a fork in the road many years ago and took the wrong path. I think I’ve spent years struggling because of choices I could’ve made but didn’t.

And that’s life. Making a wrong turn isn’t something that becomes clear in a week or a month. Sometimes it takes years. And, yeah, it’s clear to me now. I think.

The Vancouver “problem” isn’t the culture. It’s not the mix of races. It’s not the beautiful setting. It’s not the fun festivals. It’s not the amazing bike paths, seaside routes, or any of that. It’s not the “Greenest City in the World” plan. It’s either that you can afford to live where it’s amazing, or you can’t.

And, me, I’m over city life. I’m tired. I don’t need the noise or the crowds or the commutes anymore. I don’t need to be an hour from town so I can “live it up” now and then. I need something less on a constant basis, and for quite a while.

For me, for now, less is more.

Now, I’ll assume I’ve said enough on the whys and wherefores. Moving on, kids.