High expectations of happiness

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.


17 thoughts on “High expectations of happiness”

  1. Your description of meditation is more or less how I do with meditation whenever I try it. And I’m the same way at home, not a big socializer at all. I’d rather be out on some trail 🙂

    1. Meditation is a tough one! I guess it takes a lot of practise like anything, but my mind is so sneaky sometimes I don’t even realise it has wandered off. I hear your preference to being on a trail rather than at home for sure!

  2. Hey there
    Where are you working? I’m going to be in Stanwood,WA for a few weeks and would be close to Vancouverid love to take a drive up ….
    Look around a bit and visit your store..,

    That was one awesome photo of you lying down with mountains in the back ground
    Take care
    From Ravens Roost

    1. Karen! So good to hear from you! I’ll send you an email so you can let me know when you’re in town!

  3. Just read this post…I like it alot, and am not sure why yet, will mull it around a bit…and come back with my usual long winded replay (yes be afraid) haha.

    1. I hate the expression LOL, but I don’t have enough room for all the hahaha’s I would need to express towards this comment! 🙂

      1. Been mulling awhile, bet you thought/hoped I’d forgotten my promise/threat of a long reply. LOL back at ya!! No, not forgotten, but have been waylaid by massive changes in my own thread of existence. Life, even when you think it has settled down in normal (not routine..bleh, never that) patterns, can still sideswipe you with something totally new and unexpected. That this can happen to you at any age is a new revelation to me. I am now, maybe more like you, searching for meaning, and seeing even old accustomed things with new eyes. Life for me (and all of us) has always been a never ending search, but there are times, as I now know when you wake to find all is different and a veil (self imposed) has been lifted. A sleeper wakens…might be appropriate…and once awoke I can not go back to sleep again.
        So you in this episode of your story Rozanne you have found a sort of stability. You have found simplification and the joys bringing life down to the basics, the things you love, and to love the things you do brings. Awesome, but you smile I know, because you know inside this is the eye of the storm. Enjoy this time I think you need it, but the winds will call and catch you again. Never fear the maelstrom! When it’s time grab it and ride to wherever it takes you! Enjoy the ride!!
        I am learning that anew.

    1. Thank you! It’s gonna be hard to beat, but change always opens a door to a new experience so it’ll be interesting to see what’s behind the next one!

  4. Hey Muk, have your ears been burning? There is a gal on trail currently, Kali, who was influenced by both of us. I picked her up in Castella at the same place where I retrieved you. Oh what grand memories. Here’s a link to her blog post where she mentions both of us. http://wp.me/p58sok-da

    1. Thanks so much for this Jan! I was sent this link recently by Gary in a previous post and absolutely love her writing! It’s so wonderful that you have become her mentor and have helped her reach the point where she is today. The trail never stops giving and like Woooner, I have been fortunate enough to receive the magic you provide to so many hikers! Thank you on behalf of us all! 🙂

  5. Hey Muk! So awesome to get your new posts. You always give me such a great sense of inspiration and encouragement to make the most of life. Thank you!

    1. So great to see your name appear again and know you’re still reading!! I really appreciate YOUR encouragement so thank YOU too! May life continue to bless you with endless surprises!! 🙂

  6. While reading this blog, Rozanne, I thought about how going on a trail is so much like life….you are walking along a trail where you have never been before….wondering what the next bend in the path will be and look like….(I know that when I would go backpacking, I loved the wonder I felt had going towards a bend in the trail and seeing something I had never seen before. I am also remembering how I felt when I would have to go uphill or downhill….I knew that either way, it would not be easy on my knees and would make me get really winded [mostly, of course, going up the trail} and though I was still wondering what was ahead.)….and thought that your “bend in the road” is in your coming life experience….It is also rather like a restless and anxious feeling for me and maybe you might be feeling that way also…especially losing your abiding place and soon homelessness (perhaps?) facing you right now….

    I read your newest blog yesterday and couldn’t leave a reply because I didn’t have how to write it….but this AM brought that idea of “trail wondering” and how it might fit your life right now….I also kept thinking how much I would love to teach you how to surf…in fact, I was thinking about Southern California and where you could stay….both of my daughters know how to surf and live there and could teach you….AND, I worried you might try by yourself and maybe get into surf that was either too big or beach breaks where the waves crash without a face to ride on…I go on my computer every day to a surf program I have that shows the surf conditions all over the world…it is a streaming real time and semi-satisfying to me, even when I can’t go there because I too far away from the coast or country….

    Anyway, these are my thoughts, sweetie…don’t know it is meaningful for your life…but wrote them for you hoping that they might help you right now in your reality (real time streaming..smiling)…..Love to you from me to you….arms around you with a big hug….

    1. Barbie your words and analogies always amaze me! Having a curiosity for life continues pushing us forward on the trail to see what is around the next bend. It could be another 3000 foot climb, or a meadow with windflowers. Either way, the path always continues on, and like hiking, we never dwell in one place for too long before the next bend presents itself. If I’m ever down in Southern California I’ll be letting you know. I won’t tackle the surf alone, I have a lot to learn before I hit the waves. Thank you for your beautiful words again, as always!!

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