Funny how opposites work. In couples, you often find that opposites attract each other, perhaps to complete one another, finding the Yin to your Yang, or your soul mate as its very often coined. In this couple, the dreamer is well balanced with the analyst, a realist that keeps the spontaneous one grounded.
An opposite is being the “other” of two related things, like Right or Left, Hot or Cold etc..But in between the two, there is a broad area of stuff that comes in between. Its all that “grey zone” in between that offers endless possibilities.
Another thing about opposites is that you can’t appreciate the existence of the other, until you have gone without it. You have a better appreciation of good, after you have experienced bad, or evil. You don’t know how sweet something can be, until you have tasted something bitter. Its the deadly combination of sweet and salty….
A wise friend once told me that it was best if we didn’t view and express things in absolute. Nothing was ever 100% as it seemed. Words like probably, likely, possibly, were better choices than never or always. Things appear to be as they are, we perceive reality to be what it is, we believe we understood correctly. Leaving a small space for doubt and uncertainty is probably a good way not to have to backtrack, and be corrected.
That would have been good advice to remember when we were making plans to be bumping around the world for the next year as carefree travellers. We may have been a little too cavalier thinking that we could easily give up the stable life we had at home for one that would require us to move every two months or less. Living out of suitcases is fine, but having to pack all our belongings into them every few weeks and lifting them in and out of cars, planes and trains took its toll sooner than expected. We were absolutely convinced we would love the opposite of what we had been living for 30 years.
Fast forward 102 days of Italy, Spain, Trans-Atlantic and Panama cruises, and a few weeks in the US and we were ready to return to our old life. Having had a steady diet of adventure, had us longing for stability. Having stretched out summer an extra 4 months had us longing for cold-weather cocooning, warm soups and Netflix marathons. Most of all, hearing Christmas music amidst pine trees and huge box stores had us missing the warm hugs of family and close friends. At the risk of speaking in absolutes, I never thought I would miss the Canadian winter and was likely the most surprised to discover I was ok to spend the next few months of winter at home rather than escaping to warmer lands.
If I was still uncertain, then the fact that I became emotional and teary-eyed when we finally stepped up before the airport border agent with our Canadian passports left little doubt in my mind. I love my country, my home.
All of a sudden, I had a clearer vision of what I wanted to do for the next few years, and it included being home near family and friends, and making time to travel, in shorter spurts. In that grey zone between all- travel-all-the-time and being at-home-all-the-time was a wide range of options. In all this upheaval, the grey zone became clearer, helping me discover balance and how to plan to keep things simple.
To someone like me, who thrives on a changing environment and enjoys spontaneity, the grey zone affords an opportunity to plan shorter journeys, and include friends and family. As a Cancer, I recognize that I enjoy making a home that is welcoming to my family and friends, and I enjoy hosting, and planning excursions that will entertain them. As I grow older, I realise that I look forward to those get togethers, and unfortunately, these were not opportunities that were available to me when I was abroad.
The last month has been a whirlwind, as we searched and found a new address to call home, planned a move, purchased new furniture and settled in. As I unpacked, my mind was already making plans on how I would entertain, and what activities would fall into my new schedule of retired and in Ottawa.
You can’t take the Canada out of a Canadian girl like me. I belong here. I know because I get emotional just writing this blog. The best I can do, is take small journeys, if only to appreciate home and family more.