in which i reflect on many one-year anniversaries of a big life change
It's November. Here at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, the days are getting mighty short. It's not cold -- most days still reach 9 or 10 C -- but the gray sky and low sun feel like winter.
This time last year, everything was happening. I was buzzing with nervous energy -- making lists, organizing the cross-country move, preparing to leave my job, preparing to leave my life and start anew.
Now, I feel a tremendous sense of calm and contentment.
Next week begins all the "one year since". One year since we left our jobs, began driving from Ontario to BC, one year since moved into the rental house, began our new jobs and our new lives. One year since we stepped off a cliff into the unknown.
Nothing is ever 100%. There's no such thing in life. I accept that and like to acknowledge it without regret. I miss people. I miss the unique joy and energy I found working with an incredible union team and what we accomplished together. We lost Diego, and -- since we adopted new dogs while he was still with us -- I barely had time to mourn him.
This downside is a small corner of my brain against a huge wash of happiness. I sometimes feel a little twinge of guilt or embarrassment at my good fortune. I remember when we first moved to Canada, I had the same feeling. I wish everyone could be this happy.
My job has given me an opportunity to really stretch out professionally, to test my skills, to turn my knowledge into action. There's been a huge learning curve and a lot to negotiate, but it's unfolding the way it's supposed to. I see the impact we're making on the communities we serve. It's incredibly gratifying.
My job brought me to this unique little corner of the world, where a strange combination -- both of us being well-employed in a place with un-inflated housing costs -- led us to buy a house. We are thrilled. Not because we now own instead of renting -- in fact, I often wish I could call a landlord to get something done! It's the house itself. It's the nicest place we've ever lived, and it suits us perfectly. I feel so perfectly cozy and content in it.
And there's one more change in my own life, one I knew was coming, but couldn't predict how it would feel. I suddenly have time to myself. A giant chunk of time that was formerly devoted to activism or grad school or my union is suddenly... free. It's more than a little strange.
On one hand, I miss activism. I miss the passion, the collaboration, the unique and powerful feeling of being part of a team, all working together for something we deeply believe in. Whatever I was involved in, over most of my adult life, I've had incredible experiences that imbued my life with meaning.
My activism has always taken up a big chunk of my time. I've taken breaks in between causes or groups, but in those cases I was either recovering from illness, making a huge life change, or going to grad school while working two part-time jobs.
Plus, for much of my adult life, I had two job streams -- my day job, and my writing. I would juggle and cycle back and forth between them.
Now, the meaning that I found from activism, I derive from my paid employment. Meaningful work -- what a concept!
And add in one more factor: small-town life. We spend no time commuting. We spend no time stuck in traffic, or looking for parking. Everything we need is in one place, two minutes away.
So all at once, the constant busy-ness of my life stopped. Even though I work full-time, I feel I have a lot of time to myself, because my calendar isn't packed full of meetings and events.
Most of this free time, I spend doing the things I've always done: reading, writing, watching movies or series, doing jigsaw puzzles, walking, hiking. Taking the dogs to the beach. Cooking. Eventually, piano lessons. It's nothing special -- but it's hugely special. I feel so at peace.