Monday Musings: recalibrating

I am exhausted.  Is it fair to complain about being tired? Isn’t everybody tired? Yes, everyone is tired. I am also tired. And it feels liberating to state it. It occurred to me today that the last ten days have been more exhausting than most, and when I thought about why, one word came to mind: recalibrating.

I’ve been recalibrating in virtually every single aspect of my life:
–to a new town
–to a new house
–to a new job (hello, being busy for the first time in almost a year)
–to a new office (my house)
–to a new gym (I miss my Steve Nash Fitness World!)
–to new running routes (they really don’t like sidewalks here)
–to new grocery stores
–to new driving patterns (don’t get me started on the drivers here…)
–to new sights and sounds
–to new faces and places
–to new eating patterns (read: eating sugar again. sigh)
So yeah, to everything.

I’m not saying this negatively. All of it is very exciting. At the same time, it is also very, very tiring. When one thing is new, I feel like my brain can wrap itself around the change rather quickly. When everything is new, however, my brain is like “hold up! WTF just happened?!? Where is all the stuff I am used to?!?!?” It takes a while for the old brain (or this old brain, at least) to readjust to all the newness around it, to make sense of all the new patterns, and to slowly transform the new into the normal.

I have to say, I am looking forward to the day when all this new feels normal. Until then, I will keep on keeping on, recalibrating to this new life we’ve created, and looking forward to the day when I feel rested again.



Monday Musings: limitless energy

Have you ever been dead tired? Like the kind of tired where every muscle in your body is aching and you wondered how you would possibly stay awake to get done what you set out to get done? And then not only did you stay awake to get done what you set out to get done, but you also did more?  This has been my last four days, start to finish.

We moved this weekend, and I think we can all agree that moving is one of the more exhausting and stressful life experiences. This move has involved four days of wonderfully rich moments like the bank waiting until the last possible second to send info to our lawyers so that we could take possession of our home; movers showing up and delivering only 85% of our possessions (where the other 15% is remains a mystery); the basic joys of unpacking 50+ boxes, finding a home for everything, folding packing paper, and breaking down boxes; visiting household stores at least three times each because we kept forgetting things; and spending three hours assembling a new credenza, somehow without killing each other.

Yes, four days of that.

What’s my point? My point is that throughout this all we’ve been tired, so very tired. On many more than one occasion it’s been tempting to take a load off, maybe even take a mid-afternoon nap, run from our piles of disorganized crap and take refuge at the nearest watering hole where we might drown our collective frustrations and exhaustion in some fine Okanagan wine. But we haven’t. No matter how tired we’ve been, we’ve kept moving, kept doing, and kept getting more shit done.  Even when we think we have no energy left in us, we have proven that we actually do.  Because getting our home settled matters to us, and doing something that matters sparks a seemingly infinite pool of energy.

I think of all the times during a given work week that I’ve felt like I’m dragging my ass from task to task all day only to go home and find myself ‘too tired’ to do anything but lay on the couch like a slug. I’ve tended to genuinely think that my energy is spent.  After these last four days, I’ve been reminded that our energy is not so finite a resource as we sometimes think. When you feel tired, sluggish, incapable of carrying on, is it really because you’ve done too much, worked too hard, and spent all your available energy, or could it also be that what you’re doing doesn’t matter to you enough to keep you going?

Monday Musings: is it normal to miss your possessions this much?

I am t-minus five days to relocating to our new community and home and I couldn’t be more excited.  We will be in (Canadian) wine country. We will have a giant lake bordering each side of our community. We will be close to golf courses. And we will be in our brand new home. That’s a lot to look forward to. As I contemplated all these changes, one thing kept popping into my head: the fact that I will finally be reunited with all my worldly possessions. Every time this thought crosses my mind, I then have a moment of panic where I wonder if it’s a really, really bad thing that I miss material possessions so very much. And yet I do, which has left me feeling highly conflicted.

For some background, we’ve been living in a furnished rental since October 1st.  With the exception of our wine stash, our clothes, a few sentimental items and, you know, our beloved toaster oven, virtually all of our things are sitting in a storage unit awaiting the completion of our new home. That’s five months that I’ve been living without 90% of my belongings.  That’s five months where I’ve had multiple daily moments during which I’ve thought “ugh, this would be so much better/easier/simpler/nicer if I just had my [insert material possession here].” It’s proven to me that I could never go minimalist. Though I constantly cull through my stuff, I still have a lot of things. And I love them and miss them dearly.

And so, even though it probably makes me a horribly shallow and materialistic person, I thought I would share the five things with which I most longingly look forward to being reunited (yes, longingly). Judge if you will, but here they are:

1. Food processor–every time I pull out the box grater to make cauliflower rice and shower my kitchen floor with cauliflower shrapnel that then gets  stuck to the bottom of my foot, driving me absolutely nuts, I daydream about my food processor and the rapidly approaching day on which I can once again quickly and cleanly make cauliflower rice.

2. My books–I work in content design and, over the years, I’ve amassed a solid collection of topical books and resources to support my design work. Somehow, I didn’t have the foresight to bring any of it with me to our temporary rental. Many times, I’ve been working on something and realized I have the perfect resource or book to help me with it, only to then realize that I do not have it. Because it is in storage. 430 km from me. Ugh.

3. My stand mixer: I never use my stand mixer…or so I thought. Suddenly I’ve realized that any time I want to take baking to a family dinner, or make whipped cream, or make these ridiculous cream cheese-based “fat bombs” that are a lingering part of my ketogenic phase, that in those moments my stand mixer is indispensable.  I picture it’s slightly chipped and hastily cleaned (i.e. there’s probably still dried cake batter somewhere on it) exterior and imagine the day when I can once again drag its painfully heavy body out of the most inconvenient cupboard in our house for some task I actually could do by hand if I weren’t so lazy.

4. My clothes–It’s not even that I even really remember what clothes are packed away. I just know that every day I go into my closet and struggle to find something I want to wear, and I believe deeply that all the things that I really would love to wear are in storage. This is likely incorrect. I’m sure that once we settle into our new place and I am opening up my boxes of clothes, I will be thoroughly disappointed by what I find in there.  However, for now, I will continue to fantasize about having clothing choices and refreshing new wardrobe options.

5. “Moosey”. You have no idea what this is, nor should you. Moosey is our prize piece of ‘art work’, a wildly technicoloured moose painting that stole our hearts the second we saw it in a vacation rental, so much so that friends of ours sought it out on the interwebz and ordered it for us as a gift.  You don’t have to understand Moosey and, to be fair, it’s not just that piece of art that I long for. It’s all our wall hangings, all the things that make our house feel  like a home. Our rental is perfectly lovely, but it’s never the same looking around your space and having pictures or art that others have selected. They don’t represent us. Moosey represents us.

You don’t have to understand it. It’s not YOUR prized artwork.

Perhaps this post and my obsessive materialistic ways have frightened you now. What can I say? I miss and love my things deeply.  If you are looking for me next week, you will most likely find me basking in the wondrous glow of being reunited with all my favourite things.

Monday Musings: 4 weeks to go

Ever since we bought our place in Vernon, it’s seemed like something so incredibly distant.  We bought back in July knowing that our place wouldn’t be ready until January at the earliest.  That seemed a lifetime away. Even as we sold our old place and moved into a rental in October, January still seemed like a million years away. Then our possession date got pushed back to March and I really started to feel like we were never going to make our move. Long story long, it’s never felt like our move was coming any time soon.

Now we suddenly find ourselves just four weeks away from a scheduled possession date. That’s four weeks to get our place packed and reorganized, get everything organized to move into our new home and, most importantly, to say goodbye to the people and place that have been our network and home for the vast majority of our adult lives. As we start to make lists of things to do and people to see, and slot those people in to dates, it’s clear that there’s really not much time left at all.

I’m generally pretty pragmatic about such things in life. I’ve moved a lot, left people behind a lot, managed the logistics of big moves more times than I want to remember. There’s steps to be taken and things to be done.  In some ways it’s old hat to me, but what never gets familiar is that sinking feeling when you realize: right…things are actually going to change in a really big way. 

A move to a new city shakes up all the comfortable, routine patterns of your life. It’s little things, like your local grocery store, the place you go to get a bottle of wine when you realize you’re out of wine, where you find the best coffee, who makes the best donuts, or where you go when you want an ultra satisfying dinner out.  But it’s also the big things, like being able to call up a friend and see her at the drop of a hat, like realizing the Sunday family dinners (which, ironically, were mostly hosted on Saturdays) that you used to have monthly are at risk of never happening again or at very least will require some serious logistical masterminding, like realizing we’ll have no family closer than a four hour drive away from us, like absolutely everything being new and different, even if only a little bit.

Don’t mistake this as second-guessing our decision to move. I couldn’t be more excited to go. I’m excited for the potential positive impacts to our lifestyle and to our careers, and incredibly excited to be so dangerously close to all of the wine. But one can be excited for the future while still experiencing a feeling of heavy loss for all the good I’ll leave behind, of which there is a lot.  Amidst the excitement of leaving, and all the waiting and having it feel like it took forever to get to moving day, I carry a bit of that heaviness and grief with me every single day. And I know that feeling of loss will continue to grow over the coming weeks as I start to realize that every time I see friends or places I love, it’s one visit closer to not seeing them in person as often.

In some sense, it is beautiful, this conflict between excitement and sadness. It tells me that this place and its people matter to me and that I need to make sure that I stay connected even if at a distance. It tells me that, even though I am leaving, there is a lot of potential to expand the people and places I love once we (finally!) get to Vernon.

Monday Musings: on ending 2017 and moving into 2018

Happy new year everyone! I hope you all had as wild and crazy a new year’s eve as we had over here, and by wild I mean barely making it to midnight and spending most of the evening attempting to complete an infuriating puzzle that claimed to be for ages 6+. I want to know who these 6 year old puzzle wizards are, because we are 38 and the struggle was real. Visual-spatial perception is so not my jam.

Alas, that is not the point of today’s post. Today is New Year’s Day, which likely means no one is reading this. For many, like me, today is the last day of holiday vacation glory and tomorrow signals the return to work. Ugh. But before that, it’s always fun to take a look back at 2017. I mean, where did the year go? I had more career low points than I’ve ever had in one year, which were thankfully balanced out by many high points in my personal life.  My injury continued to plague me, but the upside is that I’ve finally (I think) wrapped my head around my new definition of fitness. In other words, 2017 had a lot of ups and downs for me, which mostly balanced out in favour of the good.

If I had to describe 2017 in three words, they would be: change on steroids. I moved to the suburbs, started a new job, quit that job, took four glorious months off of work, sold a house, bought a house, started another job, moved into a temporary rental, contemplated quitting the new job many (many) times, recognized that the new job is serving its purpose right now, and completely revamped my approach to fitness.  I’m exhausted just reading that.  And that’s just it, although there was a lot of good in 2017, I can also say that it was a tiring year. Change is tiring.

What I’m about to say is probably going to sound contradictory. Even though 2018 will be another year of big changes, I’m super excited for it. Bear with me on that one. Yes, I just said change is tiring, so why would I want more of it? Well that’s the weird thing about change. Whether change is good or bad, it’s equally tiring to me.  But at least the changes on the horizon are ones that I’m excited about. So bring on the change, 2018. I’m ready for ya!

Mid-Week Tangent: Dangers of a New Neighborhood

I am in love with my new neighborhood and the impact it has on my commute (hello, 15 minutes!), but there is a dark side to my new neighborhood: it’s full of tempting and delicious…and expensive distractions.

We walked 10 blocks in each direction from our house and discovered all manner of ways for us to fritter away our money. There are pizza shops, and fusion restaurants galore, and dear lord there is a Dairy Queen a mere 600 metres from my doorstep. I should not be allowed to live so close to my beloved pecan mudslides. Not only are they dangerous for my health but they also put a serious ding in the pocket book, weighing in (pun intended) at a steep $7 per treat.

Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of temptations at my doorstep now.  The one benefit of the suburban life was that very few temptations were within walking distance. Ultimately, I am too lazy to get into my car to drive for treats, but I will walk to them in a heartbeat. This does not bode well for me in my new neighborhood.

Already, in the span of three days, we’ve visited a nearby bakery twice. I am not normally a fan of yeasted donuts (cake donuts for life), but this donut was the best yeasted donut I’ve ever had. And I didn’t have to pay upwards of $4 for it, nor step foot in a hipster donut haven. I wish I could share a picture with you of this dulce de leche stuffed donut coated in thick caramel frosting but I devoured it so quickly that you get only this:

If you look closely, you may be able to see remnants of its deliciousness.

At this point, I am deeply concerned about our bank balances and our waist lines. This could be a very, very dangerous five months for us.

Monday Musings: on the return of relaxation and its enormous power

It surprised me how much weight I was carrying from this move. It wasn’t that we weren’t organized. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a lot of time to deal with it. It wasn’t that I’m not overly skilled at moving (because I am, care of 10+ moves as an adult. and that’s not even counting all the dorm moves in university). In my experience, moving is just one of those things that is all encompassing. It eats up your life for weeks on end as you fill your precious leisure time with unglamorous tasks like…

…purging junk you’ve been clinging to for a decade…

…trying to list shit to sell online to absurd bargain-hunting flakes…

…packing in waves so you aren’t living in an empty house for too long but not leaving too much til the end…

…and trying to clean years of filth from the darkest reaches of your home (hello, under the kitchen sink, I’m talking to you)…

As if I weren’t feeling enough like a shadow of my former self with the new job and the heinous commute, adding moving to the mix took my monster status to the next level.  There has been no fun, or at least no fun that hasn’t been overshadowed by nagging feeling that shit still needs to get done. Then, this weekend the clouds parted (literally and figuratively), and we were blessed with a true Sunday Funday and I had forgotten how significantly true relaxation alters one’s state of mind.

For the first time in months, we weren’t weighed down by the mental stress of feeling like we should be doing something else. We leisurely and carelessly strolled the streets of our new neighborhood without that nagging feeling that we should be packing or cleaning or organizing. It was glorious. We played at the local Pitch & Putt course, which ended up taking a full three hours thanks to many, many beginners slowing our roll (as a sidenote, never have I felt so good at golfing), and I didn’t once think “oh crap, this is taking too long and now we’re going to be f*$%ed later on.”

I cannot tell you how much lighter I felt without the stressful weight of the move. Relaxation truly is a miracle worker.  It didn’t take a major vacation or even wildly elaborate plans. We did what we always do: walked and golfed and drank some wine (not at the same time), but we did it without the burden of a million unfinished tasks. This feeling may not last long, but I’m going to enjoy the peace of relaxation while I can.