Sunday, January 02, 2011

Endings, Beginnings and All the Blurry Moments in Between

I've been thinking a lot about beginnings and endings lately, probably because my life in 2010 was overflowing with both, from ending my life in Kingston, to starting afresh in PEI with the intention of staying rather than simply making a stopover. In the process I landed myself a new job, a great apartment in downtown Charlottetown, found someone to love, made fabulous new friends and missed old ones, and successfully defended my thesis.

That's a lot of ending and beginning, even for someone who is pretty much an old pro at uprooting and moving on. The blunt truth is that I was tired of uprooting and, so, in many ways 2010 marked a much larger ending than just leaving Kingston behind, it marked an end of my wanderlust ways. My heart led the way in this decision, it told me that traveling was no longer the way to learn more about myself or feed my soul. Firm ground and deeper roots, those were the ways forward. And so, here I am, in the very place I spent most of my twenties leaving... six times if you count the two times I did co-op work terms in Ottawa. It was never so much that I felt the need to escape PEI, as it was I felt the need to find adventures elsewhere. Now I have determined I am ready to carve my own adventures here - it's no longer about throwing myself into the unknown with blind faith that I'll stumble upon some sort of opportunity for self betterment and discovery; now it's about taking all that I've learned about myself and the world and creating something concrete that's speaks to my passions and my strengths, while also permitting further growth and self-discovery.

So, while I've been embracing all of these changes, I cannot deny that the number of them and the speed with which they've happened have taken a bit of a toll on me. One thing about traveling that I always loved was that there tended to be these big chunks of time where there was little to do but write and reflect -plane trips, days upon days in the Australian outback with only horses to keep my company. I had little choice but to think about where I was, where I'd been, and where I was going - sometimes quite literally, but more often in a figurative sense.

I have not allowed myself such a luxury in a very long time, certainly not in the past year. As all these changes were taking place, I managed to stay afloat, propelled by the momentum of thesis deadlines, the threat of having nil in my bank account, and the excitement of a new relationship. Deep down I knew I was neglecting the downtime and self-reflection that are necessary for me to move forward and digest everything, but I ignored niggling thoughts like "I should be writing", "I really must buy a journal" and "I need a good livingroom dance session". It was just easier to keep coasting on the adrenaline and then, as December marched forward, to let myself get swept up in the madness of the holidays. Whenever I told myself I needed some downtime, I assured myself that January would provide such an opportunity. For surely, January would be a quiet month..why I'd probably be starving for things to do. No doubt, I told myself, I'd have plenty of time to 'find myself' in the new year.

And then January 1st came and went, and I found myself back at the office, loaded down with work. I looked at my google calendar. The first week was packed with things to do almost every evening and through the weekend. And so it went for the rest of January - no rest for the weary. As I careened through the days, I felt less and less sure of my footing. Eventually I found myself so overwhelmed on numerous levels that the only way out seemed to be a big ol' cry. On some levels I couldn't understand it. How could I be crying when my life was finally filled with all the 'things' I'd been longing for? I had found my passion (food, of course), I had well-paying job, I was back home amidst family and friends, and, of course, I had finally, after a very long time, found someone that I wanted to be with and love.

So why was I crying? I'm still not sure. I cannot pinpoint it, and perhaps it is irrelevant. What is important is that I have come to realize I can no longer neglect my 'self'. I need to reflect. Just because all the changes in my life as of late had been good, does not mean that they are undeserving of my attention and reflection. Why, I've barely given myself a pat on the back for successfully defending my thesis. Nor have I taken the time to journal all the changes that being in a relationship brings to one's self-identity, thoughts about the future, and the such.

So, here I am. It is January 30th (Happy Birthday Mom), and I am finally sitting down to write. I've still not bought that unlined journal I've been meaning to and I still have plans for next weekend and the weekend after that, but my 'self' has let me know (loud and clear) that it needs attending to, it needs to be fed with silence and reflection. So I have made myself a promise that I will write, at least once a week. And journal for half an hour a day, at least four times a week. It's a beginning. I already feel more steady for having taken the time to write this blog. It seems to me, that in neglecting my voice and the writer inside me, I've been starving myself of much needed nourishment for the soul. No more starving shall be permitted. Even if it does mean saying 'no' to some social engagements or *gasp* a trip to the gym.

I will sign off with this quote: "What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Rob said...

Took me years to work this out S - be kind to yourself

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Shannon Courtney said...
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