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Tuesday 2 May 2017


It is my day off and I find myself sitting in the window of a cafe on Yonge St in Toronto feeling very contemplative.  Maybe it's the rain.  Maybe it is the paino lesson that was frustrating but good.  Maybe it's the young couple that ducked into the bus stop to make out right in front of me.  Maybe it's the rain.

It has been quite some time since I last posted here.  It has been a busy and fulfilling time, full of excitement and adventure, but less about quiet reflection.  It is nice to steal a few minutes away from the world to check in.

On December 12, 2016, I had my last session with my therapist.  It has been nearly six months since I last had any contact with her.  It is strange.  Therapy was so much of my life for the last four years, and now... well, it's a new world.  Our last session was a beautiful trip down memory lane.  We laughed, we cried, we exchanged gifts.  We held a little ceremony where we smudged with sage and I went on my way into the world at large, ready to take my place in it.  That first step out her door was surreal.  After four very intense years, I was captain of my own ship, as I never had been before.

I went out on New Year's Eve for the first time since 2012.  I wanted to celebrate, despite the fatigue I felt from working two contracts.  It marked the end of one journey and the start of another.

During autumn of 2016, I came to a realization that my life was barely half over.  I had spent so much time lamenting all the things I had missed out on doing because I hadn't done them when I was younger.  Then, in October, I did the math.  If I relived every single day of my life I would be nearly sixty-nine years old - four years after normal retirement age.  Barely a senior.  After that, barring any calamity, I could still reasonably expect to live another fifteen to twenty years.  I wasn't even half way through life and already mourning the things that would never be.  I still had time to redo everything I had done up until that day, and then some.

I look back over the past ten years and am dumbfounded at the number of things that have happened.  I don't even feel like the same person.  I can hardly fathom what the next thirty-five will hold.  Though time does seem to fly by these days, seventy has always felt closer to thrity-five than twenty.  It wasn't until I actually counted it out, that I was able to realize I have a lot of years left and that nothing had been missed.  I was, as I typically do, just following my own path.  That was when I decided to fill the time I spent in therapy with piano lessons.  In ten years, I want to be a pianist.

On my first day, my teacher asked if I could find middle C on the piano.  I couldn't.  Turns out, it is the key in the middle of the keyboard.  Aptly named.  A few weeks ago, I was playing Ode to Joy, quite proficiently, may I add.  I had come a long way in a matter of months.  Today, I was back to feeling like everything I played sounded similar to a cat walking across a keyboard, but my teacher was encouraging and wouldn't let me sit in my defeat.  She urged me on and sure enough, things began to sound like some form of music again.  I just need to practice.

This has become my motivational motto these days: It just takes practice.  I apply it to everything I do.  Dealing with conflict: practice.  Playing the piano: practice.  Writing: practice.  I'm writing my practice novel.  I've never written a novel, so I decided to try.  Just to go through the motions.  The first draft is almost complete.  I'm not sure what will happen with it, but at least I know how to go about doing it.  That's what this motto is about.  It is not about the success or failure of an endeavour, it is about the learning that comes with trying something.  Sometimes things work, but, as I've learned from playing the piano, when you first get started, most often they fail, but each time, it gets a little easier.  And you often see pay off in places you wouldn't expect.  I was shocked how much the three months of piano lessons were already paying off at work.

When you're starting a journey up a mountain, you can walk for hours and feel like you have not made any progress towards the summit.  It's not until you look back and see how far the ground seems that you really see how far you've come.  I think I've been spending too much time looking up the mountiain and not enough looking back on where I was, just a short time ago.  It feels especially disheartening when you've just summited one mountain and now find yourself at the bottom of a new peak.  I guess life is just a series of mountains.  We can choose to climb or we can be content circling the base.  I've always been a climber.

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