“I’m sad you’re leaving.” It was Genny who said it. She’d just found out that I wouldn’t be working with her at the grocery store for much longer. “You’re so nice.” She added, in explanation.
I thanked her, in the way I’ve learned to accept compliments from people — because, let me tell you, it’s something one has to learn — and smiled. Leaving is something I know. Leaving is something I do often.
For all my good intentions of staying put in one place, I’ve decided to take the opportunity to go back to Hawaii. I’ve decided to leave where I am. Again.
England wasn’t working for me. I went into the situation thinking that I would get a job in my field — communications, writing, editing — and a flat and a cat and friends and a life. I knew it wouldn’t just fall into my lap (well, expect maybe the cat). I knew it would be hard, that I would have to work at it. But I didn’t expect to realize that I didn’t actually want it. I certainly didn’t want it in England.
England is cold and I’m the person who goes to the Southern Hemisphere at the first signs of autumn frost. England colonized much of the world and has a history of aggressive expansion embedded in its DNA. England “voted” to separate from the European Union and assert its independence. England has been undergoing a political policy of austerity for a number of years, resulting in disenfranchised populations and cut-back social programs.
England was not the place for me.
So I thought I’d move to Victoria. “This is really it,” I’d tell people. I’ve tried to move to Victoria a couple of times. “I’m going to move there and get a job in my field.” I was so resolute. So sure of myself. That alone should have tipped me off.
I’d started applying for jobs before I left England, even though I knew I’d be taking some time travelling with family and wouldn’t really be able to start anything until September. Things, as they tend to, changed. And I’ve always been a woman of change.
Change is hard. Sometimes. Humans astound me as being one of the most adaptable species on the planet, yet also so resistant to change. Our behaviours become engrained and markers to change them are forgotten. It’s a brain thing as much as it is a mind thing. As synapses become accustomed to firing, deep neural pathways are created in our brains.
I’ve read enough books about the brain through my lifelong experience of depression to know how negative thoughts can affect our brains. We get into patterns and it’s hard to get out of them. Like literally pulling ourselves out of deep ditches we’ve dug with simply our own thoughts.
That’s one reason why learning is so integral to brain health. It supports the creation of new neural pathways, thereby sending life energy to parts of the brain that may have been neglected.
But damn, learning is hard. First, I’ve got to admit that I don’t know something. Then I’ve got the step aside and allow for new information to make it through my sense perceptions. Then, even though it’s all new and possibly confusing, I’ve got to implement it again and again until I understand it and can utilize this new information when I’ve discriminated it’s appropriate.
So this is the first step: I don’t know how to come up with scintillating stories that editors want to publish (and that they want me to write). I just don’t know.
I got a second compliment at work today. A customer came through with a black shirt that read The summer of Isaac. “Is your name Isaac?” I asked.
“Oh, the shirt! No, Isaac was one of my employees and another employee made these shirts for his going-away party. No one’s ever asked me that in the ten years I’ve had this shirt. You must have a curious mind.”
I smiled and said how I do and I accepted the compliment in the way that I’ve learned to accept compliments.
Things is, I’m curious about everything. I research and over research and put things together and know way more about way too many things than makes any sense. But what can I say, I’m curious.
It’s a fabulous trait to have. The only problem is that it makes it somewhat challenging to know what others will be interested in. Just because I’m interested in everything doesn’t mean that people will want to take time out of their days to lap up all the information that I would.
And so I have a learning curve when it comes to knowing what stories to pitch. If I follow my own timeline for learning up there, I know that I have to let go of what I know so that new information can come forward. I have to step outside of my comfort zone and integrate the information that is all around me telling me what people are interested in reading about. And then I need to practice it. Just like I need to practice the actual writing.
My love of change intersects well with how learning is such a require trait in life. Change is a fabulous thing. It’s a value I’ve built my life around.
I’m leaving Victoria next week. I thought I needed a shift and I thought that it was supposed to look a certain way: namely, staying put in one single place. But that’s simply not who I am. I do need a shift, though. I need to use my skills and contribute to this world and learn about what stories others also find interesting. But I can’t stay in one place. Because I am a woman of change.