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The end of the road

I've been waffling about when to retire from my current job for a long time now. I kept hoping things would improve to the point I could stick it out for another year, then leave feeling I'd accomplished something worthwhile. Sadly, that's not the way things are shaping up. There have been a few positive developments in recent months and plenty of promises, but not nearly enough real action, and I've little reason to think that will change anytime soon.

It might be worth sticking around for another year if I wasn't sacrificing quality time with Husband and the critters, but I am and that makes all the difference. No amount of money can buy back the time I'm losing with them. 
Today, I started the leaving process by telling a trusted colleague and friend that, barring some drastic change in the next few weeks, I'll be calling it quits by year-end. I'm sure it's the right call because just saying the words out loud made me feel lighter. Now, I just ne…
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Plus ca change...

I came across an old notebook when I was cleaning out a closet last weekend. In it, I had done exercises recommended by the life coach I was seeing at the time. The purpose of the exercises was to encourage me to contemplate what would give my life more meaning and joy.

It was unsettling to reread what I'd written because many of the issues I identified back then - more than 10 years ago - haven't changed all that much. I'm still frustrated by how little time I spend in creative pursuits, worried that I'm too selfish, and dissatisfied with my day job, On the upside, I'm much happier in my marriage, more financially secure, and (I hope) a good deal calmer and more resilient than I was. 
Still, it worries me that I've made so little progress dealing with some pretty significant issues. Does that mean I'm doomed to spend the rest of my life frustrated and unhappy?

For the past few years I've told myself things will improve when I retire and have more time.…

Ominous heat

We're having another series of very hot days this week - 29 degrees C today and the forecast is the same for tomorrow. I've never minded the heat much. Winter's are long in eastern Canada so I've always been inclined to savour hot weather when we get it - reveling in the feeling of being warm through to my bones.

I haven't been able to enjoy it in the same way this year. The unusually long stretches of high temperatures and humidity seem downright ominous in light of the grim environmental news from across the country and around the world - massive fires burning out of control in the west, ancient ice packs collapsing in the north, extreme flooding in some parts of the world, desperate droughts in others. The signs that our little blue planet is in crisis are all around us.

Despite that evidence, it seems most people prefer to pretend climate change isn't happening and carry on as if it's business as usual. I don't get it. Do they imagine someone else i…

Summer's end

Summer's not really over yet. Here in Nova Scotia, we often get warm days well into September. But there's no question the end is in sight. The nights are much cooler, and there's a crispness to the air  - even during the day - that reminds us winter's not far away.

When I was young, I loved September. It felt so full of possibility - new teachers, new activities, new friends. The thrill of shopping for new outfits and school supplies, the pleasure of cracking the spines on new textbooks, and the joy of reconnecting with friends and teachers made going back to school a pleasure. It's been decades since September involved going back to school but I still think of it as the reak "new year"- the time when everything begins anew.

I suppose that's why I like taking vacation at the end of August - so that returning to work feels a little like going back to school, which takes some of the sting out of it.

Returning to work will be especially hard this Septem…

Mortality

I read an article last week about the stages people to go through when they're coming to terms with the fact that death is imminent. The author's observed that because we tend to think dying is something that happens to other people, it almost always comes as a surprise when it happens to us - which is a shame really. If we truly understood how precious and fleeting our time on this planet was, I suspect we'd make better use of it.

Husband tells me that he often thinks about the worst that could happen - not because he's naturally depressed or pessimistic - quite the opposite, in fact - but because it helps him remember to be grateful for all the good things in his life. I'm not sure I have the right temperament to adopt that approach myself but I think he's on to something.

I'm intrigued with the notion of "death doulas", who help people navigate the dying process, and encouraged by the many stories of people who were able able to die in more me…

Puppy smiles

If you'd asked a few years ago, I would have told you I liked dogs but was really a cat person. I preferred cats because they're generally more self-sufficient and make you work for their affection. Also, because there's nothing better than a purring cat to help you relax.

But that was before I got a dog - a Jack Russell Terrier to be precise. Now, I can't imagine my life without her - particularly, her smiles, which melt my heart every time I see them.


The way she approaches things is so totally life-affirming. She lives entirely in the moment - ready for each new adventure, happiest when she's with the people she loves, content to savour the good things that comes her way without worrying about tomorrow.

I'm not sure I'd feel the same way about any other dog. After all, our girl is pretty special. In fact, I sometimes think she's rather cat-like. She's got an independent streak that's very feline, and loves snuggling her people. She's also…

Good people

Husband lost his cell phone Friday night. He dropped it while we were stopped by the side of the road so he could have a pee. He didn't realize it was missing until yesterday afternoon, and, by the time we went looking for it there, it was gone. As it turned out, a fellow named Steve, who was in town for an event yesterday, found it when he stopped for a pee at the very same spot. I kid you not.

Needless to say, we were relieved to get Steve's message this afternoon. Though Husband only uses his phone to phone, text and check  email, it was nerve-wracking to consider just how vulnerable we'd be if bad guys got access to our personal information.

Fortunately, there are a lot more good people than bad in the world - like the gentleman who found Husband's phone - but sometimes that's hard to remember when we see such awful stuff in the news all day every day. It's important to try though. Otherwise, we go through life being suspicious of others, when the fact is m…