We had a beautiful September – warm and sunny with very few chilly mornings. Really, it was everything I could have asked for when living in a converted trailer with the R-value of a sieve. And I've had so many good times with friends, at the West Dublin Market, at the beach.
And yet, I feel more excited than loathe to leave. I'm renting space from a friend in Lunenburg and I'm looking forward to being in town for the winter.
I'm looking forward to being able to leave my car at home when I go to the Farmer's market or – gasp – a restaurant or the pub. I'm looking forward to having real high-speed internet access again and running hot water.
ResolutionsI am starting to make winter resolutions. I have decided:
- I am going to become a member at the Lunenburg Makery and finish off as many of my half-completed quilting projects as I am able to complete over the next 6 months
- I am going to knit in the evenings, make some socks and maybe even complete an unfinished sweater or two
- I am going to get back into a regular yoga practice with YogaGlo
- I am going to read all of the books I have gathered about organic gardening and solar/sustainable housing
- I am going to practice my new DIRA habit
- Salinger and I are going to do more jigsaw puzzles (I currently have 20 puzzles that I have won and not yet assembled)
- I am going to keep up the good work budgeting with YNAB; I think I'm finally getting the hang of it!
PerspectiveI have to say how deeply grateful I am to be feeling well this autumn.
A year ago, when I was moving into winter accommodation, I was a mess. Heartbroken and depressed and not even sure I wanted to make it through the winter. Grim times.
I got a lot of support from my friends and family and I've had many epiphanies over the past year+. Some of them I've written about in this blog (Here's one. Here's another.)
But I haven't yet written about my most recent epiphany. It happened a couple of months ago when I read this article – that, yes, I saw on Facebook. The article has kind of a stupid title, in my opinion, but the body of the article is not stupid. It basically says that the crappy times are where the growth happens and are therefore are some the most important and most fertile times we have.
The article is focused on intimate relationships. But I think it applies equally to our relationships with ourselves. Relationships are not just about the good times. When we go through something really challenging with someone else, it either strengthens the relationship – or breaks it, depending on how much people are able to show up for one another and and how well they are able to bear the situation. The same goes for our relationships with ourselves. I can see now that I really showed up for myself this year. I didn't do it perfectly or anything. I spent a lot of time feeling mad at and disappointed by myself. But when I read that article I could see that, on the whole, I stuck by myself in The Pits. I didn't abandon myself into another harmful relationship or booze or drugs. And even my relationships with eating and work – two of my favourite, safest hiding spots – didn't take over too much.
I kept going with my goals at the pace I could manage. I kept trying to be kind to myself and others. I struggled to let other people's kindness in and accept help. I let myself cry – a lot. I figured a lot of things out. I hung out in The Pits and I feel like I gained a lot in understanding, in tolerance, in forbearing.
And Sondheim?I'm reminded of some lyrics from Sondheim's Into The Woods:
And I know things now,
Many valuable things,
That I hadn't known before:
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood,
They will not protect you
The way that they should.
And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers.
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good.
Now I know:
Don't be scared.
Granny is right,
Just be prepared.
Isn't it nice to know a lot!
And a little bit not...
Actually, Sondheim obviously knows this stuff inside out and backwards.
How about these lyrics from Merrily We Roll Along:
All right, now you know:
Life is crummy.
Well, now you know.
I mean, big surprise:
People love you and tell you lies.
Bricks can fall out of clear blue skies.
Put your dimple down,
Now you know.
Okay, there you go —
Learn to live with it,
Now you know.
It's called flowers wilt,
It's called apples rot,
It's called theives get rich and saints get shot,
It's called God don't answer prayers a lot,
Okay, now you know.
Okay, now you know,
Now forget it.
Don't fall apart at the seams.
It's called letting go your illusions,
And don't confuse them with dreams.
Yes sir, quite a blow —
Don't regret it,
And don't let's go to extremes.
It's called what's your choice?
It's called count to ten.
It's called burn your bridges, start again.
You should burn them every now and then
Or you'll never grow!
Because now you grow.
That's the killer, is
Now you grow.
(For all the rest of the words, go here.)
How did I end up writing about Sondheim? I don't know. It's raining. I'm procrastinating packing for my move.
I think it's time I put a little Sondheim on the speakers and started making breakfast and getting this rainy day underway.
The moral of this story: difficult things happen and they are difficult. If you can get through them with a mostly open heart, you will grow. If you get through them with a mostly open heart inside a relationship with a partner who can also keep their heart open, the relationship will grow.
Easier said than done, I know.
I wish you and me and all of us lots of luck.