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42 Words For Tired 1 comment

The People of the North have at least 42 different words to describe snow, or so I’m told. In communications-speak, we’d describe that as a “low context culture” that uses language rather than contextual clues to transmit detailed and precise meaning. Something that, in this case anyway, the People of the North have in common with the Germanic cultures.

At this moment, I’m mulling over the possibility that I could come up with 42 different words for tired. The good news is that my exhaustion hits me in the evening after a very full day and it is almost entirely physical. My brain continues to zoom along but my body, some days, just can’t keep up. I’m prepared to express this exhaustion momentarily in a high context, non-linguistic manner as I fling myself across my bed and close my eyes.

… pooped … wiped … bagged …

This is one of those damp wintery evenings in Toronto that chills a person right down to the core, even though the actual temperature hovers around freezing. It really isn’t that cold. The precipitation vacillates between wet heavy snow and cold penetrating rain. The walk back to my car after post-hockey pub was short but by the time I got into my car I was not only tired, I was shivering. Every heating device in the vehicle – defroster, heater, seat warmer – was immediately turned up to high and remained so for the short trip home. Even now, as I sip hot water and lemon and have the fireplace, I am still thawing out.

… tuckered out … spent … fatigued …

On the short walk back to my car, I caught a whiff of a fireplace in use, that lovely rich wood-smoke smell that makes you want to curl up like a cat and sleep forever. My mind wandered back to the time I bought this condo, from plans, and the stroke of inspiration that led me to ask them to put my fireplace in. Of course, I don’t have the good-smelling kind – I have the warm but kinda fake kind. No matter – the visual of having an actual “fire” to look at does as much psychological warming as the actual heat the thing throws out.

… drowsy … drained … drooping …

I bought this place in May 2002, when a trailer stood on this vacant lot. It was a confluence of amazing events that culminated in that day. From that moment onward, I drove by the site several times a week, bugged the construction guys to let me see my unit, plying them with coffee, and generally obsessed about moving in.

… dog-tired … done in … fagged …

Here are some photos taken in July 2002 by my Danish visitor, Zara. Clearly, not much had happened, construction-wise, at this point. I’m grateful that these pics don’t show, in great detail, the Worst Haircut Of My Life. I actually wound up with hockey hair … an almost mullet. This happened three days before Zara arrived and I was mortified but unable to describe to the hair-dresser – who seemed very excited about this cut – what I actually wanted her to do.

Hey ... those prices aren't right!
Here is where I am going to live someday!

Lookit! Here is where I am going to live someday!

My BMI was a tad higher in July 2002, methinks. 🙂

The building was completed, only a few months over schedule, in July 2004. Well,  “completed” is a loose, non-legal term. It was ready for people to move in.  The first four months were hell – 57 things on the list of “incomplete” or “needs attention” elements that the builder had to fix, including the absence of sinks in either bathroom. My beloved couch arrived from almost three years in storage shot through with mildew. Emotionally, I was not handling being alone very well. My fantasy of living alone in my own space didn’t get off on the right foot at all.

… haggard … sleepy … worn out …

Something shifted somewhere around the fifth or sixth month. There was a settling in, a critical mass of things getting fixed or upgraded, routines getting established, things starting to feel like they were going my way for a bit. I’ve been very very happy here ever since. I have one of the only condos in Toronto that has a gigantic tree outside the window. In the summer, my neighbours call my place “The TreeHouse”. 🙂

… done rambling … signing off … anymore words for tired out there …?

Put It In The Sun 3 comments

An ex of mine's grandfather was a doctor. Or at least, that is how I remember it. When at a loss addressing some problem, my ex's mother was taught to "put it in the sun". Thus, this was also my ex's counsel. Some wound not healing? Put it in the sun. Stains not coming out of clothes? Put 'em in the sun. Ear ache? Put it in the sun. Can't get the lid off a jar? Put it in the sun …

I have often wondered about this, especially since we are in the era of UVA/UVB rays and associated melanomas. Being as we are in Canada, and sun is at a premium, this bit of advice also must have a seasonal aspect to it. Nonetheless, I think there is a subtextural wisdom here that I will get to momentarily.

It is funny what we remember from our exes. I know that there are little bits from every person I've been close to that travel with me, either literally or figuratively, and this bit is one of my favs from this particular ex. I happen to know that, from me, she carries with her the folk "wisdom", or myth, that if cows are lying down in the field, then it is going to rain. I don't think this is as useful as "put it in the sun".

I awoke this morning a bit out of sorts. It was non-specific, one of those moods in which one cannot say "because of x, I now feel y". But I felt vaguely disappointed and dissatisfied … things not moving fast enough, feeling like I haven't done enough, situations not unfolding with either the speed or outcomes that I'd hoped for, or planned for.

Following both my Sunday morning proclivities, and my ex's advice, I put it in the sun for a while. Made coffee, bought a newspaper, took my dog to our favourite park, and sat in the sun, sipping excellent java while poking through the paper. My dog snuffled through leaves, greeted her friends, and also sat blinking in the sun. Maybe she needed re-charging, too. The sun feels so good on the skin after a long winter. I felt 100% better after putting it (me) in the sun.

Here is what I think "put it in the sun" really means:

There isn't a magic pill, or a perfect solution, or an exact linear path that each person can follow to find their Nirvana. Life is about finding the unique process that leads to the outcomes you desire. Sure, sometimes there are windfalls and lucky breaks, but mostly there is continuous hard work or, one hopes, smart work. Lots of it. It is more important to do the right things repeatedly, to incorporate the most beneficial behaviours, to find a routine that works, than to look for instant gratification, or instant success, or that one magic "thing" that will make one's dreams come true.  Sometimes you have to just do the right things and then measure one's progress in small steps. Look for small ways to improve. Keep one's eye on the long term. "Putting it in the sun" means giving it time and space to happen. Remember that patience and hard work wins out over instant gratification.

There are are many elements in my life that are pointing me towards this particular lesson right now. Weight loss, for example, isn't something that comes easily, but it is coming steadily over time. As I've noted before, it isn't linear and, in some cases, it isn't even logical. With attention and the right adaptations in behaviours, a few additions to the routine … it is happening. Similarly, a few runs at circuit training isn't going to give me that killer bod that I have in mind, but it will get me a little bit closer. 

One of the most important "needs" that I was seeking to meet when I moved back to Toronto was to find a sense of community. A sense of belonging, being part of something. I felt pretty depressed, to be honest, for several years after the break-up that led me back here. Disappointed that this sense of belonging that I so very much wanted to have fulfilled was eluding me. Well, guess what? I have it now, sometimes in spades. It took so long to evolve, but it was a matter of joining the right groups, following my instincts, making the right friends, choosing the right "family". I made mistakes along the way, some of them quite dramatic. But now, I'm feeling like I've found "my people" within this chaotic urban environment. I think this sense of having landed really started to be present for me about two years ago. Meaning that it took five years to happen. Not overnight, by any means.

Put it in the sun. Leave it there a while.

By some measures, my business is growing every week. I'm trying to do this organically, to allow myself enough leeway to try things and find out what I enjoy, what energizes me, and what I can leave behind. This takes time and will not happen overnight. I'm doing the right things and getting good responses … I need to remember to put it in the sun, too.  (Note to self: I've only been truly "self-employed" for 11-12 weeks. Get a grip. Put it in the sun. Leave it there a while.)

I'm taking a similar approach to dating / relationships. Stay open, stay busy, meet people. Have a good time. Don't push it. Put it in the sun. Leave it there a while.

Speaking of which, the sun has just broken through some clouds … looks like my dog and I need to get back out there in it.

Maybe you should, too. 🙂

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