Reading everything (EVERYTHING) as a child.
I became the protagonists of the stories ~ Heidi and Harriet the Spy and Anne of Green Gables and Nancy Drew and Joan of Arc ~ and had the grandest adventures. Books nurtured my imagination and curiosity which turned out to be the twin-keys to the magical-world-doors that have have, one by one, swung open as I was ready to walk through them.
Doing, literally, whatever craziness was required to complete my undergrad, my teaching degree and my Masters. None of it was easy. I put myself through school so I worked the entire time. I dropped out of university after the first semester, worked retail for a year and a half, and then got my minimum-wage-earning-ass back to Carleton where I took five more years to complete my undergrad. It was worth every single difficult post-secondary moment to have the freedom and confidence to create this life.
Damien. Best friend. Best partner. Best choice ever. Period.
(She whistles!) Who knew you were allowed to say no? It’s just not how the women-folk of my generation (and all those before me) were raised. Although I don’t think of myself as a particularly passive person, I’ve said yes to a lot of things that took me off my true path and, as a consequence, I’ve spent too much time course-correcting. Not so much now; I have moved into the era of The Transcendent No.
Becoming a Counselor.
Training and practicing. Moving from the question, “How can I help you?” to “What kind of life do you want to create?” Expecting that the students with whom I work actually want to change and not feeling responsible if they don’t or cannot yet. Asking hard questions because the questions will help the student and not because I am curious. Listening with my whole being.
Moving to Japan.
For harmony and peace. For fascinating people-watching on trains that always arrive on time. For the intricate choreography of umbrellas on rainy days. For ramen. For cherry blossoms and other celebrations that mark the four seasons. For delicate manners and shoes left at the door and artful floral arrangements. For safety, Mount Fuji and an abundance of cute things. For the blustery way the wind blows off the bay in April. For quiet-joy.
Dyeing my hair red and then purple and then red again ~ after a lifetime of absolutely safe hair choices. A student at our high school died and the universe whispered to me, “So what the hell are you waiting for?” There was no good answer. I’m learning that being worried about what other people think is never a good reason to do, or not do, anything.
Creating Geography of Now, Poet Laureate and The Sunday Reader. Identifying the intersection of creativity and thriving, that exact radio frequency, that makes me hum… and then sharing it with other people. Writing and encouraging other people to write and make things. Gathering up a tribe, my own tribe of wonderful humans. Growing, learning, noticing.
We first visited Paris (and Europe) ten years ago when we lived in Mexico. I researched for months. I learned that Parisians only drink cafe au lait at breakfast and that whenever I entered a shop, I should always say, “Bonjour, Madame” (or Mademoiselle or Monsieur) and ask for permission before I touched anything. And I learned not to dilly-dally on the escalator. These were good suggestions but all the books in the world could not have prepared me for how I would feel about The City of Light. Arriving in Paris was like landing on another planet ~ the planet I was always meant to live on. At the end of our vacation, I cried in the shuttle on the trip back to the airport. In April of 2016, just a few weeks ago, we visited Paris for a week and, again, I cried in the taxi on our way back to Charles de Gaulle. Paris is the place where I feel most alive.
This idea came from Danielle LaPorte’s Facebook page and I thought it would be fun.
What are nine of the best things you ever did?
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