I’ve been back in Canada since mid-January, after yet another trip to Europe and my ‘hometowns’ via visiting as many friends as I could fit in.
I didn’t write any blog entries as it wasn’t necessarily the smoothest of times and I was focused on ‘being there’ for the family as well as trying to understand why each trip back ‘home, home’ requires so much emotional courage.
I mean, this has been a conversation topic, film-theme, chat-show content, political debate since people started questioning their moods and feelings and becoming more self-aware… anyway – certainly not the focus today.
So yeah, I was too busy thinking to do any writing.
But I have a thought, nay an observation to address today… and the time to write about it.
Since I have been back I have worked a lot, normal daytime hours 8-4 or 9-5 teaching my French at my school, followed by a private student somewhere in and around the city (usually studying English) which usually means I do not return home until after 7 or 8pm, leaving me hungry and tired – after food leads to a couple of episodes of Netflix, with a routine of one hour of Planet Earth and one episode of some sort of drug-fuelled, witch-hunt, dragon-fighting or prison escaping protagonist… Depends on my mood.
At the weekends I teach ESL online until mid-afternoon and either make it a stay-home-all-day weekend or venture into the splendid wonders of Canadian nature at some point.
I realise this is not the most exciting of lifestyles… at least not compared to some previous locations of discovering new things constantly in Taiwan or socialising every night with incredible people in Spain.
Sometimes I question the lifestyle, as one of my biggest fears in life is ‘boredom’ and this prediction of the future because everything is so well planned and dare I say even – expected of you… So I wonder where I’m headed here. Rarely leave the house to socialise unless it is to be paid for – being a introvert and a teacher certainly is a social experiment these days… So yeah, if I do leave the house to meet you (for free) it’s a massive fucking compliment.
But yes, back to the point – I doubt my ‘making the most of life’ by doing very little outside of work: rarely eat out, drink out, hang out, visit museums, cafes, events, etc.
But then, I realised something…
I do go out, socialise and have adventures… it’s just more spread out over time and more intense. When I go back home to Europe once a year – I’m constantly socialising, exploring and making efforts to visit people, I step out of the shell to experience life and all it’s eccentricities.
Every 6 weeks I do tend to go away for a long weekend somewhere in Canada, either camping in the summer, visiting cities in the fall or spring season and skiing trips in the winter.
I don’t spend a lot of money as a daily habit, I eat at home, bring lunch to school and have a wonderful collection of alcohol at home which lasts a while…
And ever since my year away from clothes-buying, I find it difficult to let go of my hard earned money for fabric – when I probably have something similar in my large collection anyway.
I don’t have a gym or yoga membership, but use YouTube and apps, I don’t add any books to my collection, until I’ve read what I have, use up all my makeup and toiletries before repurchasing and prefer old sentimental jewellery to new fads. I also dye my hair at home (and far too occasionally cut my own hair on a whim) to save on paying for ‘getting things done’ but that’s because I hate making small talk as well, so an extra bonus.
This way – I have extra cash for my trips, I can book an $800 return flight to Europe every 8 months and not work for several weeks without feeling the pressure of no income. I can afford to stay in accommodation that doesn’t leave pubes on the bathroom floor or have suspected stains… I’ll stop the details there… I can visit friends on a whim because suddenly they’ve moved to teach in a different location or they might be closer to my side of the world finally.
I strongly believe that prioritising is what makes us rich or poor, knowing what we want to spend our money on liberates us, better to have 3 elements of life that inspire us and make us happy than to spend the majority of our hard-earned cash a little everywhere and keep trying to make ends meet, yet never fully feeling the happiness of delving deep into something. Unless that’s what makes you happy of course. Who am I to judge. But still even this way, you’re still choosing or prioritising your funds on trying a little of everything and this makes you happy, so it’s still follows my train of thought.
Of course, there are those of us who can afford to dabble and try everything to the full extent and never have to worry about cash flow (but I don’t really know that world so can’t really comment). I can only comment on those of us who make enough and have disposable income but it is limited.
That’s a lot of wording to say that I was feeling worried about falling into a rut here, but actually, making the most of the dark hours of winter and working a lot whilst saving up my ‘dough’ (doh? no, that’s Homer) allows me to follow my strongest desire in life – to travel. To buy that plane ticket and travel home, or to buy that plane ticket, train ticket, boat ticket and discover somewhere new…
Spending 30 minutes each morning googling potential summer bikinis for my France/Italy trip in august in simply a side-effect of having no life yet planning for something fun 🙂
I can’t say this is a longterm idea, I think ideally, you enjoy where you live fully and then can take a couple of trips a year instead of spending 6 months only looking forward to your time away… but whatever works.
I think it’s also linked to getting older, maybe once in your 30s – you’re more in tune with what’s important for you in your life, and you’re willing to drop other things in order to get closer to your happiness-triggers.
It’s nice to know what you want in life, what you enjoy and what you’re willing to spend your money on. Simply by making a list and narrowing down your priorities is a good starting point.
Less inspired by your base? Work hard and save up (because you can) and enjoy the benefits of long trips and long weekends instead.
We all do what we can to enjoy our gift of a life – and at the moment – this is mine.