I got out of quarantine one week ago and I have been too preoccupied to think about much of anything except getting a driver’s license, registering and insuring my car, signing up for medical care and a SIN (the Canadian SSN), getting a small storage unit for when I am between rentals, setting up a bank account, applying for a Canadian credit card to start building a credit rating (my stellar numbers in the US don’t count here). I also got a haircut and a brow wax! All that remains now is gas and a car wash before I head into Victoria on Monday to start my two-month stay there. Quite a lot for one week, but the pace I set has now put me in a position to be on vacation for the next few days.
Today I began the real transition into residency here, now that the work is done. This morning I went up to a regional park and hiked along this trail leading to a viewpoint overlooking the ocean.
Almost instantly the clutter in my head began to clear. The silence reminded me of how long it had been since I had not been surrounded by noise. The occasional bird song and the rustle of bushes caused by an unseen animal was all that broke into the barely perceptible hum that was my ears adjusting to hearing nothing.
One of my first thoughts was, “here I am, walking in a forest.” Metacognition of this sort is often the preamble to insight for me, and today my thoughts went something like this. “I want to be the kind of person who walks in forests. Most of the time I am a person who thinks about walking in forests, but doesn’t actually do it. But here I am, doing it.” At the moment I was the person I want to be, rather than the person I very often am.
There is no reason, I thought, that I can’t be more of the person I want to be. It is entirely up to me. I can look at pictures of beautiful places and imagine myself there, or I can get up and go. I have absolutely no excuse, now that I have set out on this new chapter in my life. I am going to call myself out on all my old excuses—no time, no money, no transportation, nobody to go with.
As I hiked, the me I usually am tried to defeat the me I want to be. The hike was farther and steeper than I expected, and I saw clearly the toll that a closed gym, curtailed life, and quarantine have taken on my stamina and strength. The complainer in the back of my mind said I could just turn around, but the me I want to be pressed on.
As viewpoints go, this one was relatively unspectacular, being more a peek through the trees than a wide-open panorama (see photo below), but really for me the larger point was the walk in the woods, and the bonus of a walk through my own head. And so, there I was, a bit breathless, as I looked out on the reward I had earned by being the better version of myself. It is going to be so worth it to let her loose!