Tag Archives: new life

A “Hello, How Are You?” Kind of Day

I feel like the change I’ve sought is finally starting to happen. The gears are shifting, things are falling nicely into place, money is sorting out, my body’s pain is settling down, and I’m even starting to feel like a “local” here.

It’s a big week for me, always is. Mother’s Day. It always approaches with a sense of dread. It’s different this year. I’ve upped and moved to a place I think my mom would’ve loved to live in. We came here on a “girl’s weekend” when I was in fourth grade, so, that’s odd for me in a way this week.

One of the first things I did here as a new resident was wind up having dinner with my two aunts, both visiting suddenly, who raised a glass of wine, toasted my mom, and said “Who would’ve thought we’d all meet here, now?”

That was back in March and I already feel a million miles away from who I was that week.

I’ve tried to keep my bitching to a minimum in all that time, but my body reacted horribly to the stress of moving, the sudden shift to a “walking” lifestyle, and working from home. Oh, and the small matter of riding my bike straight into a roadsign and getting whiplash. That was helpful. Suffice to say, in the coming weeks, there was a lot of pain, and a lot of worry.

But I kept my chin up and now, this week, finally, everything is settling down and I’m not so sore, and I’m more active, and it’s a good, good thing.

I’m glad I had that unexpected adversity, though. I think it needed to get worse before I would really appreciate it getting better.

Sometimes we can be very stupid humans that way. I know I can be a very stupid human. Sometimes, getting beat upside the head with lessons is the way to grow.

Sometimes, we forget how resilient we are. That too is a great thing to be reminded of.

I think all the little griefs and frustrations that sprung up in my first eight weeks here have served to remind me of why I needed this move in the first place.

I’m 10 weeks in, I have no life, I’ve only seen minimal parts of the city because I’ve been limited to days I feel good, and YET I don’t feel homesick for Vancouver.

Despite that, I have a trip home next month. I’m speaking at the 2012 Northern Voice Blogger’s Conference. I’ll be on a panel talking about how to write with authenticity. I’m speaking Saturday if you want to grab a ticket for the day, $40.

I’ll be in town for a few days, crashing at a couple different friends’ places. A foreigner in my hometown. A couchsurfer returns. That’ll be weird. And cool. Mostly weird.

Great blue heron fishing. Shot by me.

And I’ll probably cry on the ferry back to Victoria, and homesickness will likely hit me for the first time then. Because, honestly, Vancouver in the summer? Heaven on earth, man. That’s how ya do it. (But Victoria’s gonna be pretty killer too.)

The impending, inevitable bout of homesickness doesn’t matter in the long run, though, because I know this is the right place for me. It’s that gut-check level of intuition. I can’t explain it in words, how it feels, but I wake up and this place just feels right, for right now. And that’s all I need to know.

Monday, I got up, excited to see a big to-do on the beach road, but that was a bust, so, instead, I took a walk along the beach and spotted a great blue heron fishing. I stood there sinking into shoreline wet sand, snapping photos for an hour. It was fantastic. Then, I came home and worked.

Tuesday, I got up, worked for a couple hours, hopped on my bike for a great eggs Benedict breakfast in town, then cycled around to four different food shops (Chinatown and beyond) for all my favourite cooking stuff, and headed home for more work.

That’s two days in a row with the kind of balance I moved here looking for.

This is the first week where I’ve felt like I’ve had any of that going on. It’s something to aspire for. It’s where I’m headed. If I can have 2-3 workdays a week like that, it’ll be a great lifestyle over here, and I know it.

So, change. It’s like that snowball on the hill. Getting it going is ridiculously frustrating and labourious sometimes, but once you get the foundations, once you start moving it and pushing it, it slowly amasses more, and more, and then it has a momentum of its own. If you’re not from a colder region, here’s a video of making a snowman. All true.

And that’s what I’m imagining for my own change: The Snowball Grows. Now gravity is pitching in and my ball of change has begun to roll with a whole lot less of the grunt-work from yours truly.

It’s an exciting time.

Well, this wasn’t what I’d intended to write about but it’s a great snapshot of my headspace right now, I guess. I’d intended to tell you about my jade plant and how well it’s doing and how much it’s got me being pensive. But that’ll be for another day.

In the meantime, I’m doing well. Living life, working a lot, feeling better, getting my groove on, and thinking I’m getting closer to where I need to be.

That’s your update, kids. And, hey, it’s almost Friday! Happy weekend.

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.

Unbottled

I’m awash in lazy contentment like a kitty sprawled in a sunbeam. It’s been had a long week filled with accomplishments, lotsa physicality, and a whole lotta thinkin’ goin’ on.

Through it all, I’ve kept most of my stuff bottled up. Writing wasn’t on the landscape this week. Sometimes I put a lid on it all and let things simmer and meld for days on end, like an Italian slow-food-of-love cookin’ affair. Thought-stew. Stewing.

I’ve been organizing my home. Gruelling. 2 days, 48 flights of stairs, 14 Swiffer cloths, a roll of paper towel, a bunch of rags, 95 degrees, and a lot of elbow grease.

I’d actually written about what I expected of the experience, but got was so absorbed in my other work that I never edited or posted the piece.

This is how it began:

Big sigh. I’m on the verge of something I’ve wanted for a long time.

I’ll have the most space ever in all my storage areas. Nothing will be crowded anymore, anywhere.

I’ll have a cardio machine in a non-intrusive corner of my bedroom, my living room even more spacious for working out, and probably have the best floorplan I’ve ever had.

My bathtub works again and I haven’t seen a cockroach in two months. I even pad around barefoot sometimes.

I’m so fuckin’ thrilled I could cry.

Tomorrow starts the Great Ordering of the Steffiverse. Finally, chaos will be banished.

For someone who has a fear of clutter and a penchant for lapsing into mild-mannered agoraphobia, it’s been a hell of a few years on the home front.

My friends who’ve been by my side through The Decade From Hell can attest that my home has matched my life for much of that time. The more I’ve shed of worries, weights, and problems, the more my home has opened up and reflected my personality more than my drama.

And here I am, largely on the other side of that.

***

Basking in mostly order and slack today, I’m in the midst of defining what I want the future to be over the next year, as I figure out this massive application for a self-employment program I desperately want to take, deadline Thursday.

I’ve recently been putting the feelers out, talking to people, networking, all that. I’ve really been surprised in the last couple of days at just how many people have responded positively to requests from me to put in writing that they’d like to work with me one day soon, as required by my application.

Judging by the variety of people I’ve received letters from (and I only needed 2, have 10), it’ll be a really exciting 2011. If I do get accepted into one of the programs I want desperately to attend, I know it’ll throw doors open that only I can be responsible for closing.

I don’t have any doubt in what I’m capable of, I just question how well I’ll do at making that happen. It’s like writing — just because I can form an idea doesn’t mean I can translate it into words on a page, though I may try.

But in creating a new surroundings, I’m hoping to create a new mindset open to new possibilities and inviting of opportunity. It’s the proverbial “starting somewhere”.

***

Someone told me once that purging your belongings to create space is how you persuade the universe to gift you more. You know I’m not Frou-Frou / New-Agey Girl, but I do believe we have more power to create our life than we’re often led to believe, and in a less mantra-ish kind of way than necessarily espoused by pop-guru thingies like Eat Pray Love.

Photo by Ihtatho.

The reason it’s so important to me to get my home under control when it’s in a state of chaos, which was most of the time, is because I really feel it reflects who I am at any point in time. I really do. When it’s in chaos, I know I am too, and that inner-chaos is reflected everywhere around me, visually reminding me that I am actively failing at, well, just about everything.

So, I’m getting there. Every time I organize, there’s less to sort through. I don’t feel I’m done. I can live with less. Over time, I want to explore Less. For me, less will become more.

***

I saw a line on Facebook today — that repository of deep and meaningful [said dryly] social fluff — where someone proclaimed something like, “Don’t worry about people from the past, there’s a reason they didn’t make it into the future.”

I suppose that’s true of who I once was. There’s a reason that version of me didn’t survive. There’s a reason this version of me is in flux.

Simply remembering “there’s a reason” can be infinitely valuable, after all.

Though, I must say, sometimes it’s good to remember not everything needs a reason.

***

Sometimes, you know, I sit back and think, “Hmm, I’m glad I’m a writer. Maybe now I can find some sense [or pattern or direction or reason] in all of this.” I sit down, I write, and, yeah, at the end I’m just as lost as I was when I began.

Like now. I still don’t really have a handle on where my life is going. How could I possibly? I’m hoping. Like when I tried playing horseshoes last week, I had no fucking idea how I’d get the shoe around the peg, but I aimed and I hoped.

Life’s just like that. You can’t know. You can’t be sure. You can’t be decisive. Instead, you just roll with the waves as they land on you, and hope you catch the right breaks when they do.

That’s where I am. I know what I control, I know what I don’t. What I do control, I’m trying to rock. When it all comes down, I want to know I did what I could, and I did it as best I could.

Then we’ll see.

Then we’ll see, indeed.

***

I think September has often been the most change-inducing month in my years. Twice, I’ve kicked off September just being lucky to be alive, riddled with injuries suffered in motor vehicle incidents. Other times I’ve done wacky things like moving to the Yukon. Once I quit a job, told the boss to go to hell, and started the path for losing 70 pounds. Another time I blew my back out.

See? September’s a license to get wacky around these-here Steffparts.

But this year, I’m applying for something that could set me on a completely different path.

Last week, I laid the foundation by creating a new homespace that could allow for order, success, and new acquisitions.

This week, I lay a new kind of foundation in the hopes of gaining education. And other stuff.

Next week, who knows.

And that’s kinda what I love about it. September looms. A season of change. I’m ready for more.