Time, when your daily routine is the same, passes without little or no notice; then, one day, you realize not just days or weeks, but months, have passed. At the end of this summer of recuperation, I am gradually getting my energy and stamina back, but it has been an uphill climb. On shortened hours, half my day is back at work with the other half being at home sleeping, dilating, eating ... functioning. I am fulfilling my one and only resolution for this year, to get through surgery and recovery, to do radical self-care. Physically, it has meant listening to my body and knowing my limits, prioritizing my post-op aftercare and exerting only as much energy as I can, regardless of what anyone may say about it. This is also true emotionally. I have learned not to take on other people's issues, absorbing their anxieties. There are energy suckers around who want your attention, your energy and all the rest. To them, I have been staunch about not letting them have it.
More than ever, I have lived on my own terms and needs.
And my cat's. Tatum became ill with pancreatitis in late May/early June while I was still off work. A few vet visits, an x-ray, an ultrasound and several medications later, he had made a full recovery, but it had been a tense few weeks. It had reminded me of how vital a friend he had been in all the years since I had adopted him, years ago when we were both shipwrecked in life. Since then, he had watched me through some very dark times and many changes. I was not ready to let him go just yet.
Last Monday, August 24, was my twentieth anniversary in Vancouver. Once long ago, I arrived with only two pieces of luggage (although six boxes arrived a couple of days later), but much baggage. Devastated by grief and terrified of disease and mortality, I sought to make a radical departure from the life I had led up until then, to overthrow old habits, learn new things, to live the healthiest life that I could. Every day was a brave new world. I still have a few souvenirs from those days: my meditation cushion and various shrine ornaments, supplemented by two of my late mother's brass candle holders, a second-hand Cowichan sweater, my first new item of clothing that I bought at a bazaar in the old UBC student union building. The future was completely open, the world seemed friendly. I miss those days, but I am glad I had the privilege to experience them.
I turned out that the student union building would have more in store for me then just clothing bazaars. During that first year of graduate school, I did the volunteer orientation for CITR FM, but I would not have time for volunteering until over a decade later. It then became the setting for my nightlife as a radio DJ. Some of the swing dances I went to, and DJ'd, were upstairs in the party and ballrooms. I grew with both of these. Eventually the dances there faded and I left the show. At the end of this past June, CITR moved into the new student union building, called the Nest. I went to the on-air continuous wake on the last Friday evening of that month. An alumni from the 1990s had me on as a guest for about ten minutes. I played two songs and then talked about how great the new studios looked, then made my way. I missed those days as well. Adding this to my reflecting on my transition this past spring and summer has made this year more melancholy and nostalgic than I anticipated. Music will always be a deep part of my life.
Part of coming into one's own is taking your place in the world, becoming aware of it's state and finding where you can be a service.
The world is in dire shape and I feel the need to be a part of the solution. I know it will be a world of tough choices and sacrifices and I am steeling myself for it. My personal goals of the past twenty years have led to this point. The decisions I make on how best to live, be activist and contribute to a newer world will be built on top of them. We now head into the thick fog we call the future.