Thursday, 29 August 2013

Another Birthday Looms

Well, it's almost here.  Birthday #55. 

Aside from wondering where all the time has gone, it's a good time for some reflection too.

The "Up Series" - British documentary films of a group of children starting at age 7 and filmed every 7 years, embraced the premise taken from the Jesuit motto "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man".  

Me, about age 7, landing a jump off the stairs.

Looking back to me at age 7, I remember a girl who was chubby and self conscious of the fact.  A girl who loved music, be it singing or playing an instrument.  A girl who loved animals, dogs especially.  Who loved her family.  Who "played school" for fun!  Who hated sports, because of the competition.  Who wanted to be "the best", but hated competition - figure that one out!  Who, if she couldn't be the best, didn't want to participate.  And sulked.  Who felt socially awkward and needed to be coaxed and coaxed to join groups.  Who, once part of a group, felt very connected and loyal to the group and didn't want to leave it.  Who liked loved the comfort zone.

Essentially I am exactly the same person!

Here's me, now.
I struggle with my weight.  Luckily the last couple of years I have discovered the secret of a diet with few processed foods and the discipline of swimming regularly.  These have trimmed and toned.  However, the last three months of crazy hard work with getting the city house ready for selling and getting the country estate ready to move into have set me back.  There has been less time for food preparation so more of the nasties have crept back into my diet, and swimming has fallen by the wayside from a lack of time.  Once a week (or less) has been the recent regime.

I love music.  Singing in my choir, Burstin' with Broadway, has been one of the most wonderful experiences in my whole life!  Although I really had to step out of my comfort zone to join in the first place.  That was eight years ago and I have got myself dug in so deep that I am going to commute weekly into the city for rehearsals.  I have tried to use the choir as a vehicle to get out of my comfort zone, auditioning for solo parts and doing introductions during the concerts.  And trying not to sulk when I realize that others are wayyyy better than I am!


My costume for "Hair", one of last years choir numbers.

Once we are settled at the country estate I am also going to find a guitar teacher or group to join to improve my guitar skills, and spend more time on the piano, too.

I can't wait to get another dog!  Aside from a few years when my children were young that I went off dogs for a bit, I have always loved them.  Looking back at those few years I think it was more a case of being overwhelmed by parenthood at a young age and not wanting anything else to be responsible for at that phase of my life!  But now I am so looking forward to having a new doggy companion in our family. 

Jacob, who we looked after in May when his family were in Hawaii
Meanwhile I enjoy looking after other people's dogs and have jokingly suggested to Chuckle's that we start a doggy daycare called "One-At-A-Time Dog Sitting Service" since we only ever commit to one.

My original family of four is still as close as ever.  In fact, the phone lines have been buzzing this week with plans for our upcoming trip together to Mexico in early October which has become an annual tradition. 

Here we are last October in Puerto Vallarta
It is so special for us to spend a week together in a relaxed environment, being waited on hand and foot and enjoying each others company, whether we are chatting or enjoying companionable silence.  None of us has to rush off anyplace, cook a meal, or deal with work or outside concerns.  It is a very special treasure that we have maintained our close relationships, and that we have been blessed with our parents in our life for so long, this year they are going to be 88 (Dad) and 86 (Mum) and they are still both going concerns.  My sister, Jennifer, is the most selfless person that I have ever met.  She spends her whole life caring for others, her family, her pets, complete strangers and strays as well.  Only half-jokingly we often say that if you are down and out, go to Prince George and find Jennifer and she will take care of you.  It's the absolute truth, and so it is very good to see her being looked after by others at the resort. 

While I no longer "play school", my favorite pastimes are music, reading, writing, crosswords, Sudoku's and things of  that nature.  When we moved from Ontario to BC when I was eight, I was behind in arithmetic, so my Dad took every opportunity to drill my on times tables, and mathematical problem solving.  Sitting in the King Neptune restaurant in New Westminster, between trips to the trough (it was a seafood buffet, our favorite in those days), dad was making drawings on a paper napkin and I was to choose which drawing was different from the others.  After answering several of the problems successfully, he drew a picture of two candlesticks and asked which one was different?  Hmmm... that puzzled me. 

Chuckles cracks up when I draw a star on the top of finished crosswords and write "good job!"  Is that wrong, I ask you?

So looking back I see that indeed I really am the same person I was at age 7.  It's liberating to know yourself so well.  To know ahead of time what will be hard, what will be easy.  What will feel like a challenge and to weigh whether it's worth pushing forward with.  Moving from the city to the country is definitely a move out of my comfort zone, and I have doubts about it every day.  But, it's also something I really want, and have thought about and planned for over 5 years. 

So I am pushing through the self-doubt, and getting on with it, dreaming about my big garden, my new dog, the new friends and experiences that await.

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