I’m back at my Phở restaurant. Needed time to think and reflect. Life has been moving at a fast pace recently and I have such a jumble of thoughts running through my head I’m attempting to obtain some clarity.
For the first time in my life I’m not sleeping well due to useless repetitious thoughts about interactions at work, the fact I have to move house, planning my next short term adventure, and then general musings about life in Canada, how long I want to stay, and what on earth the future has in store.
Today I woke up at 5:45am with two more hours to sleep, yet despite the fact I was so tired my head actually hurt, my busy mind went wandering for almost two hours before I plugged my headphones in and tried some guided meditation. I’m on my 22nd day straight of Headspace, an app that talks me through a 10 minute meditation-style chill out. Only today it ran over 10 minutes, maybe because I changed the settings or progressed to a new level; and I lost my shit in a completely non-Zen fashion. I stared at the screen of my phone angrily watching the seconds tick past, before ripping my headphones out and giving up altogether. It was absolutely ridiculous how irate I was, considering my app had only forced me to sit still for probably another 5-10 minutes. That event basically set the tone for the rest of the day, although I was surprisingly relaxed and jovial during my 8-hour shift at the store.
I had to laugh the other day when a member came in who had read part of my blog and told me I was lying when I said I actually enjoyed work. “No you don’t,” he corrected me. “I read your blog.” I’m not just saying this because I know people from work ARE now reading my posts, but I’ve actually grown incredibly accustomed to the unusual environment; living out the laid back, non-conformist, cap wearing, gear junkie I never thought I’d be. No wonder I feel like learning to surf and living by the sea. Soon I’ll be tree planting or dog walking or owning a stall at a farmers market. Who knows what great things the future has in store!
I don’t actually have a care in the world at the moment. I’m living the exact lifestyle I’ve only dreamed about before, surviving on so little, and feeling almost as free and close to nature as I did on the trail. But over the last few days I could feel my internal storm clouds brewing. I’m either incredibly susceptible to menopausal mood swings, or I just get down on life every so often. Or I’m letting the fact that I REALLY don’t want to move house get in the way of my happiness.
I’ve literally found the greatest living situation of all time – my roommates, the house, the location and the price. It’s beyond perfect, but as I only agreed to sublet, I’m soon again to be homeless, and so the tedium of room hunting has been taking up the better part of my spare time. What I’ve actually found most interesting is how people convey the kind of housemate they are in a short concise email. I’m obviously not doing so well, because out of the 30+ emails I’ve sent, I’ve only received three responses. One meeting was via Skype, and after 30 minutes of talking and agreeing to meet face-to-face the following day, the girl emailed me the next morning to say she Skyped with someone afterwards and already made her decision. That was a lovely blow to my ego; what on earth was the other person like?
In reality, despite what I say in my emails, I do keep to myself a lot at home. I’m rarely ever there, and when I am at home I’m mostly on my computer in my room. I’m certainly not antisocial, but I don’t often seek out long-winded conversations or sit in front of the television. Home is a place to get chores and projects done, while the rest of the time is dedicated to sleep. So if that’s your cup of tea and you live in central Vancouver, let me know!
I’d somehow convinced myself I wouldn’t have to move over the last few months, until I recently confirmed that the person I’m subletting from is actually coming back. I still have a sprinkling of denial over the reality, but am forcing myself to send emails and view places, against every impulse of not wanting to do so. I’ve gone from moving every few months without a fleeting question, to wanting to stay smack bang where I am. And if I do need to move, I still want to remain in the same neighbourhood. I’ve surprised myself by how attached I’ve become to my low priced supermarket within walking distance, the cemetery where I take my evening walks, my favourite coffee shop down a few blocks, and of course my beloved Phở joint.
Becoming attached to things is not something I’ve recently been accustomed to. I get asked at work all the time if I miss home, which I inevitably do. Especially this week as my entire family are spending two days at the snow, and I’m missing snowball fights with my niece and nephew. But I try not to dwell on the idea of missing things too much to avoid the notion preventing me from enjoying what I’m doing. Thankfully my mother continues to send me motivational cards each month, like the one I received today which says “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined,” – a quote from Henry David Thoreau (an American author, poet, philosopher etc from the 1800’s Wikipedia tells me). Her cards are always incredibly fitting, and are the only post I receive outside of my monthly health care invoice, which is abominably high considering my monthly earnings.
I’ve been delving into how my fellow colleagues survive on their wages recently, and it seems that sharing a house with up to 11 roommates is a conceivable option. Some have partners who earn more than they do, many have second jobs, but most work at least 30+ hours where I’m balancing an average of around 27. At least I’m answering the question, well and truly, that money doesn’t bring you happiness; because I’m as happy as I was on the trail with nothing – minus the heavy pack, blisters, bland food and 10 daily hours of steady walking. The obvious key to my blissful mood that I can easily identify is my simplified lifestyle, lots of outdoor activity, a good community of people and an exceptional work/life balance. It doesn’t hurt that Vancouver is also experiencing one of its greatest summers yet. Talk to me in the fall when the rain starts and the cold weather begins, I may be singing a slightly different tune.