600 km north, 365 days later

Honestly, blogging hasn’t exactly been first and foremost in my mind. Even though I’ve been doing pictures for project 365, I’ve fallen behind on uploading them, partially because one of them needs to be colour-corrected and I hate doing things in bits and pieces.

Also, the things that come to mind to blog about are whiny things. I don’t want to be whiny, although it’s about the only thing I can do at this point, other than sit and wait — it’s not being passive, it’s being patient. I’m not kidding. But since I’m not very good at being patient when I really want something, I’m avoiding blogging, so as not to be whiny.

Which is why even though I was planning to blog about officially living on my own for one year, I’ve now missed it by about 10 days. It’s a big deal to me, because it doesn’t feel like it’s been a year. The two four-month internships I did, living away from home, kind of went in stops and starts — they started out feeling really long, but by about the middle of July, they zipped by. I expected the same thing to happen here — after the four-month mark, things would drag. Actually, they were pretty even-keel to begin with, and since the six-month mark (July) it feels like things have not slowed down.

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to move out. When I was 14 or 15, I actually had a countdown on my wall calendar of how many days before I turned 18 and would move out. Of course, that didn’t happen. But I survived.

My relationship with my parents has definitely changed — they still nitpick about things that I don’t want them to nitpick about, and my mom, after 22 years, has still not figured out that (when I’m home for a weekend, etc.) even though I’m up at the crack of dawn, no matter what, I like to be left alone in the morning. But on the other hand, at Christmas, my brother was trying to explain to my parents why he’d gotten a certain mark in one of his university classes; my parents didn’t understand grading on a curve. I explained it once to my mom, and then when J. was trying to explain it again to Dad, he’s like “Catherine, you do it.” My brother and I never agree on anything.

So here’s a short list of things I’ve learned in the past year. Might add to it later, because although I’ve been building this list for a year, things keep popping in and out of my head, so I’ll add them as I think of them.

  • I really like the colour green
    Living with three other people, your stuff just gets thrown into the mix and you don’t notice any patterns. But when it’s all your stuff, you start to notice that the case for your phone is green, your wallet is green, your sweater is green, your cutting board in the kitchen is green …. And all the same shade of green too — lime green, but not so lime that it’s hard on the eyes, not so dark that it can’t be classified as lime.
  • I really like sunflowers
    Same idea as the colour green — I didn’t realize it until I realized I have a pretty healthy collection of sunflower-themed items: my mat in the bathroom is in the shape of a sunflower, I’m looking for a nice sunflower print to hang on my wall.
  • Grocery shopping counts as retail therapy
    There aren’t many options for shopping up here, and besides, right now I’d rather squirrel my income away as savings with just a little bit left over for fun activities. There are days when I really want to go grocery shopping, just for an excuse for an outing. There are also other days when I’m at the grocery store — it’s five blocks away — three or four times, because I keep forgetting one item.
  • I don’t mind it when it’s quiet
    I used to have to have a radio playing all the time — when I worked in St. A I thought it was so weird that the only noise in the office was the police scanner; a huge change from working in a playhouse where there was literally drama all the time. Now though, there are days at home when I don’t turn on the radio at all, and I only listen to music at work if I’m doing pagination or photo editing, things that don’t involve words.
  • I am allowed to take time for myself
    Sometimes, my body will be screaming things at me — usually, “More sleep! Please, more sleep!” and I’m not very good at listening. But lately, I’ve caught myself having conversations with myself along the lines of — “Sleep in tomorrow. It’s OK. And it will make you feel better.” (Don’t judge me for having conversations inside my head with myself.)
  • I don’t understand the attraction to “stuff”
    As a rule, journalists, especially young journalists, don’t stay in the same place for long. One year is the longest amount of time, in the past three years, that I have lived in one city. I can’t even say that I’ve lived in one place for that amount of time though, because I changed apartments at the end of June. So I pack and unpack things a lot. I actually just flattened my last moving box a couple of weeks ago. I’d love to get a Kindle, but I’d feel like I’d have to get rid of my books just to have the e-version, and despite the fact that I think it’s ridiculous it takes three and a half boxes to pack all my books, I love the feeling of a tangible book. But the ability to have less tangible things is the attraction to the Kindle in the first place. 
    When I moved, family and friends of family pawned all sorts of stuff off on me they thought I “might” need. Now, if I don’t use it inside of six months, it goes back to Calgary. I do not need more “stuff.”

I’m a firm believer in the universe and Desiderata — that everything happens for a reason, that “whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” There are lessons that I’ve learned in the past year that I know I couldn’t have learned if I had stayed in Calgary, whether that’s for better or worse. (Those lessons, however, are something you’re going to have to ask me about.)


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