We’re still right where we left you – Canada. I’m not sure if you should be surprised. Our intention was to get here and stick it out until the kids finished high school, but that’s a good long while of living in one place, so I understand if you didn’t think us capable of it. I mean Covid has definitely helped with that. We’ve been locked into this place since we got here so there’s been little chance of galivanting abroad – but we did manage a 3-week trip through Canada over the summer holidays. More on that to follow in a later post.
I’m going to start by filling you in on me for a change – Mama-bear – because it’s normally not about Moms, is it? So, I’m going to take the time to fill you in on where I’m at.
For the first time in a long time, I’m finding the space to breath. It could be the Canadian air, but more likely it’s that 12 years after having children, I’m starting to step back, starting to look inward, and starting to focus on me. I mean I thought I was doing this before, I remember having moments of thinking I was doing it, but it never lasted long. It was always snow-balled into the next sporting engagement, birthday party, family trip or whatever else happened to be on the calendar. The intention was there, but sadly the follow through was not.
Before having kids, I was introspective. I made time for introspection. I can attribute that in large part to Oprah. Laugh if you must, but she opened a window into my soul that helped me dive deeper. I put time into meditating each day, actively focusing on my intentions, making gratitude a daily practice. It helped centre me and filter out some of the noise from the world. It was good. And it wasn’t just good for me – it was good for my relationships with people; my patience, my confidence. Then children happened; a blessing beyond anything previously known, followed swiftly by utter chaos, a lack of time for even personal hygiene, and an almost amnesiac existence occurs where you completely forget what you even did before having children.
Conversely, having children means a greater need for the virtues gained through meditating and daily intentions, yet finding time, energy and head space for it becomes the hardest thing in the world. Enter burn-out, frayed nerves and in my case, lots of tears. As much as I’d like to say I have parenting down to a smooth art after 12 years of doing it, the job is constantly changing; just when I get on top of one challenging age, they enter into another one! And not only that, but 2 children from the same 2 parents are not at all the same! It’s like levelling up in a video game only to find you’ve switched games and now your controller is incompatible with the consol. Sorry, I’m digressing here.
All of this is to say that I am finding my way back to inner peace – ambitiously speaking. I’m carving out time in my mornings for me. Yes, that means getting up earlier to make the time, but it also means stepping back and allowing the children to do some things on their own. Enabling them to develop skills like packing their own lunches and making their own breakfasts. Yes, this also means more cleaning up for me because the kitchen looks like it was attacked by a marauding troop of baboons, but armed with the patience my rediscovered meditation provides, I should be able to handle it, right?
Having been in Canada for 1 year and 8 months – yes I’m counting – and having the children happy and settled in school, Shaun knee deep in his job, and the admin of the move almost entirely behind us, I’ve been devoting a lot of time to deciding what I want to do work-wise. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to sit back and think about this, and I haven’t taken the privilege lightly. I have undertaken the soul-destroying task of applying for work, meaningful work, jobs that really speak to me – in the hopes that I will feel like a worthwhile contributor to society and ramp up the goodness I hope to contribute to the world. Idealistic goals, I know, but I feel like they’re worth pursuing. I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I’m in the right place, and attempting to carve out a path for myself, not just the family.
Although I thought I was doing alright for the first year and a half of being here, it turns out I was really rather an emotional mess. Reminds me of how I felt when Lincoln turned 2, and I looked back over the first 2 years of his life and thought to myself – ‘Yikes! You weren’t as ok as you thought you were. You could have done with asking for a bit more help’. It was a humbling realisation for someone who thinks herself as capable as I do. I made the mistake of thinking I had to be strong all the time. But also, I was just in-it, and sometimes it’s hard to see it for what it is.
Emigrating is hard. Covid-life is hard. While you’re in-it you just keep pushing through. Now that we’re through the worst of it (here’s really hoping!) and I look back; emigrating was harder than I expected it to be. Maybe that’s because Covid threw the most astronomically large pie; but also, maybe because emigrating is just hard. And even though we’ve done our fair share of flitting about the planet; going somewhere and knowing that’s where we are staying, whether we like their accent or not, whether we agree with the political motivations or excessive style in which most people live and think is normal; all of this just has to be accepted, because now it’s home. It was bigger than I thought it would be.
None of this is to say I regret the move – I don’t. I just think I underestimated it. I know I underestimated it. Would I do it again? Sure – with the same naivety I had the first time.
So how am I really? I’m happy to be feeling more myself again, and I’m happy to be on what feels like the right track. Only time will tell, but my commitment to improving my spiritual self and creating a path for me has been transformational. Shaun has been encouraging me for years to get back into painting, and I am so grateful he kept pushing. Re-discovering the things I loved doing before life got too busy, has been like rekindling my soul. And I needed it.
Canada continues to amaze me with its landscape, wildlife and unqualified magnificence. It’s awesome to be in a place so seasonally different from what we’ve always known. It gets colder; it gets hotter; the leaves turn an almighty red in fall; and blossom literally rains from the trees through spring. Getting to actually experience all 4 seasons – although largely chilly – is beautiful! We have high hopes of being able to explore more wilderness areas and walk unspoiled lands as we find more balance in our life here.
Living out-of-the-ordinary lives is a constant challenge – it’s so much easier to fall in step with the drumbeat of the corporate world and materialist culture. Fighting it, really choosing our own path, has led us along the most incredible journey, but also demanded a lot psychologically. I’m learning now to be thankful for this quiet, challenging time too, because it’s forced me to look inwards, and regroup. I’m enjoying getting my balance back. I’ll keep you posted where to from here – when I know.
So for now … all my love to you.
(& S & L & L)