Category Archives: Victoria Lifestyle

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.

Morning Movie, Memories, and Mental Detours

Good morning. It’s grey, dreary, quiet. I’m down to the last mug of the French press, contemplating a fleece jacket. I’ve not yet acclimatised to living on the ocean, despite growing up near it.

I’ve lived on the river for the last 12 years, on the Mainland, with the ocean a few kilometres off, but this waterside-life on the southern tip of an island that’s the last stretch of land in the Pacific Ocean before one reaches Hawaii, well… it’s an altogether more chilly beast on an early spring morning. One day, I’ll adjust. Today, there’s fleece… and time to think.

A Cinematic Escape

One of the many neat alleys in Victoria. By moi.

Lazily, I’ve had a “slow” morning. Quiet, breakfast, and coffee, watching David Lean’s A Passage To India. Thinking.

It was my mother’s favourite movie. I think I saw it as a youth, and I remember seeing it on PBS or something 10-12 years ago, shortly after her death, as I was consuming all manner of things loved by her in a deluded attempt to keep her memory alive. Needless to say, the movie didn’t really sink in then, either. I didn’t “get” it.

Now I’m about four years away from the age my mother was when she first saw it. Maybe now I’ll see what she saw.

A lot’s gone down for me in the 10-12 years since I last saw it. I still remember next to nothing of the film, so I’m quite enjoying it from my new eyes of being a woman in her 30s who also had two roads to choose from and picked the more complicated, daunting one after a good long think.

I also get to watch Passage in HD on my big-ass still-new-to-me TV, and the detail is so much more beautiful than I imagine it was back then. David Lean movies are like a master class in photographic composition. The lines, the colours, the light… things I’m really looking at as I fall back in love with photography in my new and highly-photogenic home.

A Riding We Will Go

I smiled and paused the movie to come write for you and I once the protagonist Adela goes cycling into the Indian jungle and finds a lewd temple depicting sexual scenes in stone, a la Kama Sutra, then has aggressive monkeys chasing her away. “What fun,” I thought. “And that’s what’s great about cycling. It’s so easy to just go a little further and investigate.”

Yesterday, I got the good wordword from my chiropractor that it’s okay to bring cycling back into my life, slowly, after a six month break. It’s my favourite way to discover the world around me, and if I’d never had back issues with it, I’d never have stopped riding, so… I can’t tell you how excited I am that a cycling life looms for me.

That’s why, when Adela has her first real “adventure” in India as a result of finally going cycling off the beaten path, it made me smile ear to ear.

There’s much of “real” Victoria I have never seen, and much of it can be cycled in 30-60 minutes, provided I make my life easier by using a bus to get to outlying parts, then cycle back to civilization. I have saddlebags, I can get to some of the neat food purveyors in other seaside areas, cycle home. I can bring cardio back into my life in a beautiful scenic way. I can photograph all the miles and miles and miles of coast and nature around me here.

It’s an incredibly exciting development. But I have to ease into it. And that’s okay too.

Moments of Doubt

Speaking of easing into things, I’m nearly four weeks into the move and, yes, doubts have risen from time to time.

I see I'm not the only one at a loss for where to go next. A perplexed seagull in Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf. By me.

The doubts don’t last long, and I don’t invest much in them because I know they’re just normal-humans-being-scared overthinkings. Did I make the right choice? Will I get a life, get a man, get a move-on? Will I have fun here? Did I unpack too quickly?

It comes, and quickly goes.

All I need to do to get my head back on straight is go for a walk (or: bike!), see some neat new thing that makes me like a certain element of Victoria’s citizenry, stumble on a new view somewhere, or return to Dallas Road’s incredible beaches, and POOF, I think, “Well, it’s a pretty damn good mistake, if I did fuck it up.”

And then I remember that my mother wasn’t the only one in my family who was into adventure. My dad lived in the Yukon for a year at the same age as I went Yukon-ho on my own — 21. My brother did his own kind of adventuring too, from hang-gliding to scuba-diving, and he’d be doing more now with the means for it. I think we’re supposed to be adventurers, us Camerons. I think I got root-bound staying in the same place too long.

When my mother saw A Passage to India, it was near the end of her marriage to my dad. It would be a long strange couple years and, with the hindsight of being a grown-up woman staring at the end of her 30s, I’m now wondering what books and films inspired her to set out on her own. Was this one?

What kind of doubt did she nurse as she considered doing what no other woman in the family had done — leaving her man, while still raising kids? Going back to school in her mid-40s, starting a career, providing for herself? If she did those things without doubts, she must’ve been a super woman, but I have a whole lot of evidence that she was normal, weak, and flawed like the best of us.

I don’t know what her doubts were, and safe to say, I never will.

But, as much as I love my dad, they just weren’t happy together, and the lesson I learned from their divorce was: If you’re not happy, make changes. It hurts, it’s hard, it takes worth, but there’s a lot of life to be left lived and doing it unhappily just isn’t the way to go.

My move here, to Victoria, is part of that life lesson their divorce gave me two-plus decades ago. If you’re unhappy, change it.

Did I make the right choice? I have no crystal ball but I think I did.

I do know staying in Vancouver would’ve been the wrong choice. So, there’s that.

Here’s to adventures, cycling, and seeing new things in a new life.

And here’s to finally feeling like writing more often. Looking forward to this feeling.