Monday, 11 March 2019

Celebrate everyday

There is an old man who walks by my house in Princeton three times a day. He has a tiny white dog, old and slow, and he walks that dog all over the neighbourhood. I see them every day when I'm here, and I often wonder about his life. 
Does he have a wife or is he widowed? Does he ever go away or is he at home 365 days of the year? Is he happy? What will he do when his dog dies? I hope he will get a new one. 

I picture him at home, making coffee in the morning while talking to his dog, telling him how he slept last night and that he has to refill his prescription today, and that there is warmer weather in the forecast. When he makes lunch he gives his little friend some scraps, and after their lunch walk they have a nap together on the couch. He eats a pastry with his afternoon coffee every day and then they watch TV together. Once a week he plays cards with his buddies. 
It's a small life, I imagine, but a good one. He is content. 

My life during the week when I'm away for work is quite similar to what I imagine the old man's life to be.
I walk my dog Lily three times a day. I talk to her more than is probably normal. She gets to lick my plate after I'm done eating, something I never let her do at home. We spend every minute together unless I go to work.

I go to work Monday-Friday during the day, and stay close to home on the weekend in case the hospital calls me in. 
The weekends can be long. I wake up early, usually around 6:30 am, and an entire day stretches ahead of me. I have to stay put in a small town where I don't know anybody except for my room mate and my co-workers, and where there isn't even a movie theatre or a mall to pass the time. 
It used to be daunting. 

At home there is lots of life and action: the animals need to be fed and watered, neighbours and friends drop by for visits, I have a house to look after, and then there is of course my husband: we watch TV together, go out for lunch or to the pub, run errands together, and hang out in our friend's man cave  (I'm allowed inπŸ˜‰). 

But in Princeton, my work town, I have none of the above. Sure, I sweep the house and do the dishes and take care of the recycling, but it doesn't take long. The majority of the weekend I have free time. Lots and lots of free time.  By myself.

The first couple rotations last summer when it was all new and strange I felt sorry for myself. The first week I was living in a shabby hotel, the second in a place that was quite depressing. My main goal was to somehow make it through the week before my "real" life would resume. The week away felt like my life was on pause, like nothing good could happen during that time.
But I quickly realized that by treating my life this way, I literally only lived half of it.

I changed what I could about my circumstances by moving into the place I'm still living at now, seven months later. It is more expensive than the other one was, but 100% the right move because I feel very much at home there. Since I couldn't change anything about being away from home, the only other option was this: to change my attitude.

I decided to celebrate every single day, away from home or not. Being able to bring Lily during my third rotation (which is when my new mindset began) was a huge help. Living without animals is almost physically painful for me, and having her with me was a game changer. Apart from having Lily there and walking (and talking to) her every day, here are a few of the other things I do to make every day special:

  • I wake up early to have my coffee in peace. I drink a vanilla-macadamia nut coffee from Hawaii that reminds me every morning of our vacations to these beautiful islands.     
  • During my walks I look out for my special friends, the tame deer that are all over this town, and I never get tired to take pictures and videos of them:

  • I write every single day. It's amazing what you can get done if you don't have the distractions of a husband or normal life around you. 
  • I take little videos of things that make me happy:

  • I eat elaborate, huge salads almost every day, dark leafy greens topped with avocado, butternut squash, olives, fresh basil leaves, chicken, sometimes pasta, sometimes orange peppers, always sweet cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. I also eat something sweet every day, coconut chocolate or almond bark or sour candy or sometimes, when I'm feeling decadent, a big warm cinnamon bun. Yum!
  • I make lists of all the projects I want to do at home, reveling in the knowledge that I can rest until then.
  • yoga
  • I read. 
  • I Netflix and chill a lot.
  • I sit in the sun. 
  • I talk to Rich several times every day. 
  • I give thanks every morning for everything that's good in my life (the list is long).
It's a small life, but a good one. I'm happy. 



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6 comments

  1. No comment, except I'm happy for you ;-)

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    1. You are sweet 😍
      I hope you are happy too!

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  2. Well said, Miriam. Sometimes the small life turns out to be the most satisfying of all. And I love your video with the bird songs! I am enjoying the same glorious songs as I walk this week down at the coast.

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    1. The birds sense the change in the air, they're all atwitter (literally!) all of a sudden! It still freezes at night here, but the days are slowly warming up and it's so exciting! Definitely reason to celebrate 🎈

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  3. Your other life away from home sounds pretty great, despite being away from your other babies and Rich. You've come so far! Attitude is everything.

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    1. It really is. This job and the time away have turned into such a blessing - I'm learning a ton about myself and life in general, and I'm so grateful for all this time I have to myself! In a world where time is of short supply to everyone, having more than enough of it is a real gift.

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