This article goes somewhat nicely with my last post.
The waiting is, by far, the hardest part.
At least this weekend, I got to feel like SOME progress was being made on my end. Saturday was spent replacing doors and Sunday was moving boxes into storage. We have a half-ways clean house again, so hopefully we can get it listed soon.
With the box fort conquered and brought to storage in Crossfield, I had some time to have a peek at the house. I was hoping I would be able to get in, and see the framing work that was completed in the basement but it was locked up and a muddy shit show around the back so I was left sadly disappointed.
One thing I noticed out there this time is the quiet. How nice it is to be able to take a minute and hear nothing but the wind blowing. That happens so rarely in Calgary.
Here, there’s always a car driving near by, or the sound of construction. To be fair to Calgary, these are the normal sounds of a city, and they are ones I enjoy from time to time.
But lately, I find my self enjoying the sound of silence more and more.
Because the things that make up my current day to day life are consuming.
Perhaps it’s my phone, always on and always there. Ready for a quick game.
Ready to let me know when there’s a new email. Or text. Or status update.
The internet, full of pictures of cats and funny videos that demand watching.
I have to check Reddit, and my RSS feeds. The news and, again, facebook.
Netflix and torrents of TV shows that have we simply HAVE to keep up on.
Recaps, and discussions.
A steady clip of information.
All these things on all the time.
All these things, and more, designed as quick escapes.
Designed as ways to relax and unwind.
All these things.
Completely and utterly.
I get that they’re, mostly, necessary.
A function of my job is email connectivity. I have to be able to respond to an email or answer a text.
My days are spent in front of a computer, and the occasional night too. And with that comes surfing, because it’s tough to NOT look.
When I occasionally get forced into dropping off the grid, I love it. It’s one of the most amazing things about a vacation. We carry our phones with us, as they’re handy cameras, but we don’t sit and stare at that 3 inch screen. And I think that’s why the need to drop out of the city hits us so hard when we get back from a vacation.
We’ve spent a week or 10 days at a very slow trickle of data and its refreshing.
And, as I said in my “Live Aloha” post, we always return with the promise that we will keep it up.
I turn off my phone notifications.
I vow to surf the internet less frequently.
We usually end up giving up on a show or 2.
And it always creeps back in.
Suddenly, there’s a new show we HAVE to watch (OMG House of Cards amirite?)
I’m waiting for an “important response” so I turn notifications back on.
It’s a slow day, so I surf the web to pass the time.
And I’m right back where I started.
So, there are rare perfect moments, where I find my self in a bubble of depleted stimuli.
A couple heartbeats while waiting for the bus, when it’s too cold to have my phone out and I’m headed to work early enough that the stream of cars hasn’t really picked up.
The wind in the trees, a couple random flakes darting around the street lights.
And then, just as quick, it’s over. A car comes up the hill, engine chugging and belts squealing.
But in that moment, when it’s just myself and my thoughts I always find myself in awe of the quiet.
I know that a move won’t fix all this.
I know that we’re not going to the middle of nowhere, becoming hermits in the process.
I know that a good movie, a funny post or someones uplifting status can bring happiness with it. We’re not looking to drop out of society.
And, I also know that we will have to work to change our reliance on a never ending stream of collective consciousness.
But in Crossfield, without the background noise that comes with the city I know that, at least sometimes, we can chose to be quiet.
To stop everything.
And just listen to the nothing.
“I love moving!!!” Said no one ever
I think I’ll be happier when the box fort that has taken over our living room is gone.
At least we’ve started with some of the fun stuff, like picking colors for the counter top and flooring. Well , I saw “we” in very general sense. Kelsey and her mom have started telling me which colors we’re having 🙂 I think they’ll do fine, lets just hope it doesn’t end up looking like:
Kelsey got a reminder yesterday of WHY we’re leaving the city.
At coffee with a friend of hers, she enjoyed a grand tale of the 100 different things her kids were registered in for the summer. Camps and classes. Then some classes and camps.
I grew up in St. John’s NL, a fairly small city.
As a kid, I enjoyed a pretty good freedom in life. Eat breakfast, leave for the day, come back for supper maybe.
We built some pretty sweet cabins in the woods (had a few hauled out by the fire department for working wood stoves), we drove our bikes and quads and skidoos as far as the paths (and quiet roads) would take us, we played hockey in the middle of the road (stupid drainage bump was the out of bounds marker) and got into some wholesome trouble (like raiding vegetable gardens).
As I got older, the size of the city didn’t really bug me. I knew there was “more” out there from visits to Halifax and Toronto, but I felt comfortable. The local restaurants were good for a night out, and the downtown scene, while never a big part for me, was great. When my 2 best friends up and decided to move to Calgary, I can remember looking it up on Google because I had no idea what Calgary was all about. I looked at it on Google maps and saw A LOT of brown. I can recall asking them if Calgary had any hills, because from over head it looked like buildings in the middle of a wheat field.
What the shit is this?
I know now that Google must’ve scanned the city the day after all the snow melted because there’s a ton of green space here, but at the time I wondered just what the hell they were doing. But they seemed to thing it was the best.
“So much to do!”
“Best place ever!”
But as hard as it was to have my best friends gone, the thing that ultimately drew me to Calgary was the same thing that caused a lot of Newfoundlanders to leave at the time.
The job market in St. John’s was pitiful, and I was tired of managing a staff of 20-25 and making barely enough to get by. So I decided to up and leave one day. Just on a whim. Had a shitty day at work and bought a plane ticket.
And once I got here, I was blown away by this city and what it had to offer.
Camping, mountains, cool theaters, relaxing parks.
Sun without wind.
The peace and quiet of Newfoundland was suddenly forgotten, and replaced with concerts and hockey and “OMG! Is that a real hooker??”.
And for a few years, that was enough. I met my wife, bought a house, had some kids.
We enjoyed how busy it was all the time. A mini “city that never sleeps”. Well, more a city that parties hard until about 7pm and then rolls up the sidewalks but that’s a different story all together. There was amazing food and flashy billboards and free lunches. Stampede and after work events and and and…
And then it happened.
For the first time in my life, I started to actually think about my life.
For the first time in my life I thought, “There’s more to it than this?”