Thoughts in the Dark

I’m sitting here in the dark with the lights of San Diego glittering through my balcony window. It is quiet, so quiet, with only the occasional soft rumble of a plane coming in to land at Lindbergh Field.

It is the first night I have slept in my own bed in two years.  When I began “living travelly” I had renters, so when I was in San Diego between assignments, I stayed with Dan in his condo around the corner in the same building.  I got so used to walking by my door i hardly felt any association with the place at all.  For the last few months, my son Ivan has been staying in my condo, and though I have gone in and out, mostly in search of clean clothes since I got home three weeks ago, it wasn’t until he moved out today that I have been able to reclaim my bed.

It feels good, just as I remembered it. My perfect mattress, lovely bed linens, and enough fluffy pillows to make a nice backrest.  I feel like the queen of the nest again.

Well, sort of.  With all Ivan’s things out, the place looks kind of stark and dull. With his energy gone, it just feels kind of funny.  Not mine. Not yet.

I have been toying with the idea of leaving San Diego, as you will already know if you read my blog, but I had the passing thought tonight that this is really pretty nice.  Maybe I could get used to it. I won’t have renters again, most likely, because I don’t have any assignments of more than two months this year, and longer breaks between them, but also because  I want to try to be more “all-in” when I am here.

“Home is where the anchor drops,” one of my favorite t-shirts proclaims, and it is such a blessing to feel at home wherever I am.  I’m leaving again in about three weeks, so I won’t have a chance for any lengthy tests of whether the return to life as it used to be will be satisfying enough. I’ve never gone back to anything I can think of, so I can’t predict.

I do know it will be nice (and easier) to have all my possessions handy, and I am looking forward to opening my closet door tomorrow and see choices of clothes and shoes I haven’t worn for a long time, and to have my blender and coffee maker handy. I also cherish my privacy, something you lose when you are perching with others, and I love that I can make all the decisions about my space now.

But it won’t be the way it used to be, not fully. The biggest challenge over the next nine months or so is going to be living without a car. I haven’t had a car for two years now, but I also haven’t been home for four months either, as I will be doing when I get home in early May from one assignment and don’t have another until early September. I suspect being car-less will get old pretty quick.  But I have done fine For the last two years, so  I will manage somehow.

My original plan was to buy a cute little sports car when I got back from the Australia/New Zealand gig, which would be now. I can picture myself in a jaunty little coupe with the top down, and isn’t one of the privileges of reaching my age to be able not to be responsible and practical about every last thing?

However, if I end up moving to Canada, a sports car would be a bad choice.  If I move to a city like Montreal, having a car at all might be a problem. My goal now is to make it to the election before deciding what car to get.  I thought about taking over a lease until then, but really, doing without will be an interesting challenge. And if you see a photo of me with a cute little convertible in a year or so, it will mean my country has been rescued from the menace it faces now, and I won’t have felt the need to leave.

But for now, I’m staying right here, in a bed that feels familiar, in a life that feels partly familiar.  In the morning I will be slightly astonished, I think, at the  magnitude of all that has happened since I last woke up here, and I will begin trying to feel at home.



Rolling Along

Something interesting happened to me on this last cruise assignment.  We had the typical fairly rough crossing the first time I sailed the Tasman Seas between Australia and New Zealand; In the past, i would have just slapped on a scopolamine patch for seasickness, but for some reason I decided to wait to see if I really needed it.  For the next few days I totally forgot about it and was fine the whole way.  On the reverse itinerary that followed, I decided to see how well I could do again without the patch.  Just like the previous time, the ship was pitching and rolling  enough to tun everyone into drunken sailor impersonators in the hallways, but still no symptoms.  The same held for my third and final  crossing, and I came to the conclusion that maybe, at least in seas like that, seasickness really is all (or mostly) in one’s head.  If you expect it, you watch for it, and you find it.  That’s not always true, especially if the ship is rolling side to side, but I learned something about not assuming the worst.

I had a similar situation with jet lag on my return.  I had a truly horrendous time on my westbound return from the Baltic last summer, with four days of complete insomnia that left me staggered.  Traveling east is not nearly as bad, but I was amazed that I really had almost no symptom I could attribute to the travel, at least that wasn’t taken care of by a short nap the first two days.  I suppose it helps that I was dropped into a whirlwind,  having only a couple of weeks to do everything it takes to move my things back into my condo, move my son out of said condo, do a serious downsizing by clearing out a packed-to-the-ceiling storage unit, and preparing for the Great Giveaway party I am having in a few days, to pass on to my friends things I think are special but I no longer want to keep.

On this last assignment, I thought about what a move to Canada would mean in terms of possessions. After several decades of moves reduced my living situation from two homes to a one-bedroom condo, I am down to things I have cared (a little to a lot) about keeping.  I still have far more than I would consider taking that great a distance into an uncertain situation. And anyway, could I replace that favorite pan or vase, and not lug all that bulk and weight along with me?  For some things, easily yes, but other things remain priceless.

How much of what I still have reflects a life I no longer want or need?  What is memorabilia of a person I no longer am? How much stuff do I need to fulfill the still somewhat foggy vision I have of the next chapter in my life?  How much (or how little) will my son Ivan truly want to inherit? 

Nothing like asking him while he is here.  After multiple trips to Salvation Army, the consignment store and the dumpsters, I am considerably downsized, and he is figuring out how to take what he wants with him when he leaves next week. It’s more than I thought he would choose, and it pleases me he cares about some of the same things that have meant a lot to me. He  is in a different stage of life and he is taking what suits him now, or some version of himself he hopes to have soon enough to make lugging boxes worthwhile. Plus he can deadlift or wrestle pretty much anything in and out of a car now that his diet and exercise program has gotten him so gorgeously buff!

So back to the point about self-induced ailments, I have been simply too busy in body and mind to have jet lag, so I didn’t.  Maybe it’s a one- off, but it was a nice gift.

Oh, and another thing.  I have kept my weight pretty consistent, gaining only about ten pounds in seven years,  despite all the excesses of my way of life. This time,  for whatever reason, I packed on some pounds.  How many?  I don’t know, as I am scared to get on the scale.  When my clothes fit as well as they used to, I will weigh myself and say “gee it must have been really bad if I still weigh this much.”

Ivan has been doing the keto diet combined with 16/8 intermittent fasting for some time, the latter of which he got me started on before I left in November. He  has lost 30 pounds and looks fantastic.  I was pretty good most of the time about the  intermittent fasting (easy if you don’t care about breakfast) but apparently It wasn’t enough, so I added the keto diet the day after I got home.  I mention this because  there is a lot of talk about “keto flu,” the symptoms one may get when starting the diet.  Well, the symptoms are a lot like those of jet lag, and my conclusion is that starting the keto diet immediately upon return  was a great way to roll any mild symptoms of jet lag and keto flu into one short period.

So, dear readers, if you come back from vacation dragging from a long flight and feeling a little roly poly,  may i suggest that very low carbs and a couple of afternoon naps are a way of killing two birds with one stone.  One stone.  That’s fourteen pounds.  I’ll settle for that.