I was restless the other day. I needed a change of scenery to help me adjust to the slower pace of life. I picked the only place to go in this small town: Tim Horton’s. Have you noticed they have a different culture than Starbucks? People go to be social, and in the middle of the afternoon (like it was for me) it was mostly seniors. I felt self-conscious as I opened my laptop; I may be the only person ever to have opened a laptop in this place. I should not have been surprised that an old man sat beside me and struck up a conversation. I smiled and responded and went back to my reading. He said something else, I half-reluctantly replied. The conversation ebbed and flowed like so many coffee conversations I’ve had before with the older crowd in Tim Horton’s.
Since my work wasn’t pressing, I decided to shift my attention to him. I was, after all, the one breaking the cultural norm by trying to ignore people. We chatted about cell phones, computers and the rapidly changing world around us. I discovered he lived alone in an apartment. His wife, in a nursing home for five years. She’s his second wife. The first died in 1992. The second has dementia. She doesn’t even recognize him anymore.
“It’s hard to visit her,” he confessed. I wasn’t sure how to respond how he invited me into his life. I didn’t even know his name.
“They don’t talk about this part of marriage when you do the vows, eh?” I said.
“No,” he shook his head, “they don’t. I don’t figure they’re doing much to try and fix Alzheimer’s these days.”
“Oh I think they are. It’s a lot of work, though,” I responded.
”Really? You think?” he was surprised and hopeful. “They’re doing music therapy with her now. It might be working.”
The subject shifted to her kids who live in BC and his kids who live in town. He shared about visiting Montreal and traveling the continent in their motorhome together. He finished his coffee, his cue to leave. Gathering his things and rising laboriously, he wished me a good life and said goodbye.
He came in looking for coffee and conversation, I for a change of scenery. It appears he got what he was looking for. I got a lot more.
I was texting with my mom today and she was asking me how I was doing being away from home for so long. I kind of laughed it off and blamed her for turning me into someone who gets antsy when I’m any one place too long. We moved a lot growing up. I’m fairly sure that’s turned me into someone who craves a change of scenery every so often. I haven’t lived consistently 12 months-in-a-row in one place in over 10 years. Last summer we spent a month of the summer in Florida, then two weeks away from home in Canada. The summer before that we spent a month in Paris. The summer before that I spent a bunch of time all over. You get the idea. Even at work, about every three months I’m itching for even a slight change.
I’ve learned to love habit and routine. It’s a little bit of normal in a whole lot of change. Change I like, change I choose, but change nonetheless. These daily habits help me adjust. They’re predictable. This summer few things are predictable except that I load the dishwasher and run it after lunch and before bedtime. The TV is off all day long until 7 or 8PM and then my in-laws turn it on and watch it until they go to bed. I have a coffee at 1PM. These are some predictable things.
It’s possible I’m a weird genre of people who like change. At times the comfort derived from habits borders on OCD. Eg: Willy will try and get me to walk a different way to work and I get weird. It makes me crazy (thanks to The Power of Habit I understand why!). I walk one way to the metro in the morning and a different way back from work. That’s just how I do it.
Keep at it
Despite the fact that I find comfort in these routines, when there’s so much change it can take a lot of work to rebuild routines or start new ones. For the first few weeks here I had a morning routine that I was enjoying. I have no idea what derailed it but I haven’t done it in easily a month. Now I’m trying to go back and restart it. It will take some effort at first. The momentum will come as I enjoy the routine. I will feel less and less like I’m working at it.
But it’s almost a fact in my life that some sort of change will come up in my life, there will be another blip on the radar and I’ll have to fight for consistency. It’s predictable. It’s almost a routine in itself. Fail. Start up again. Succeed. See things start to nosedive. Correct. Succeed. Fail again if I’m not giving it the attention it requires, or if I’m stressed or something.
It’s a pattern I’ve noticed and I’m working on.
Are you someone who likes a lot of change? Are you able to form good habits despite your enjoyment of change?
Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and who filled out the feedback form. I was surprised at how many people responded. I’m basically super surprised anyone reads this ever. I thought you might be somewhat interested in hearing why other people read the blog. I did a pretty bad job at asking questions (and double posting them, too) so sorry if you felt like I was asking the same question over and over. I kind of was. I’ve also realized I’m becoming more and more of a nerd. Metrics! Graphs! Data! Stats! Who knew these things could be so helpful?
And now for the part that you’ve been waiting for: the winners. There were considerably less entries this time than last giveaway so your chances of winning were quite high. If your name is below, please email me your address so I can hook you up with your prize.
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If you want to go check out Zevia for yourself, here’s where you can find it in Canada and the US.
Every so often someone will tell me that they read my blog and love it or they were talking about it with their friend who also reads it. For the record, I will be weird about it if you tell me in person that you like my blog. At a recent family picknick a few cousins-in-law told me they liked my blog (hi Tena and Laura!) and I was super awkward. I just don’t know what to say. I think I just need to start practicing saying “Thank you” so that when I clam up next time I can at least be robotically polite.
I’d really like some feedback as to why you read my blog. It takes 3 minutes. Would you fill it out for me? (If you can’t see it below, click here).
“How’s it going with living with less?” my mother-in-law asked me. (I guess she had been following along on my blog).
I’m happy she asked. I haven’t thought much about it these days but I think that’s saying something good: I don’t miss having more than one suitcase of clothes. In fact, I’m not even wearing everything in that suitcase. I’ve been doing two loads of laundry a week – two small loads. I noticed that on Sunday when I had finished up.
I could get used to this, I thought.
So far, I’m happy with how everything is going. I have what I need. I feel pretty.
Isn’t that all a woman needs?
Don’t forget I’m running a giveaway which you can read more about here
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