I’ve been walking to work lately, most days. I take the neighbourhood route, avoiding the busy road until the winding residential streets run out. I walk in the cool of the morning, on the sunny side of the street, past quiet houses, and listen to the birds sing. Sometimes I see other people out walking their dogs, or jogging.
I arrive at work, where the spot I used to park has been taken over by roofers, and the rest of the parking lot has been removed by the construction crew working on a large building project. We are surrounded by drilling, thumping, hammering, blasting, and digging. Sometimes we can hardly get out the door for the cement trucks, dumptrucks or other heavy equipment moving in and out of the construction site. Yet people still manage to arrive, anyway, for art classes and gallery openings, workshops and meetings.
Then I walk home again, and when I reach the quiet streets of my neighbourhood, I see kids playing in backyards and cars pulling into driveways. And people are out walking dogs and jogging. And sometimes these two yappy dogs are out in their front yard, watching, ready to scold or gossip or at least make a lot of noise as I walk past, smiling.
Photo taken on March 31, 2011
My new job is a new beginning, but it’s also an ending. It’s an end to lazy mornings lounging in my pajamas, and mid-afternoon play sessions with the dogs. It’s an end to looking through employment ads and updating only the expense side of my balance sheet.
In the past week I’ve tried to absorb more information than is humanly possible to retain, began to bond with people who will soon be leaving, and learned some of the history of a place which is now in the midst of change. It was a mentally and emotionally exhausting week.
I am preparing for an undefined role in the difficult time of this workplace, at the moment in which everything seems to be in flux. Yet there is so much potential — it could turn out to be a really fascinating and fun job. But if this first week is any indication, I won’t be following a predictable pathway, I’ll be helping to clear a new one. Yikes!
Photo taken on January 30, 2011
Wait a minute. Yes yes, of course you’re busy, there’s much to do, but you can afford one minute. OK, take a deep breath and let it out again slowly. Let your shoulders relax. Now, I know it’s less than three weeks to Christmas, but picture each day as a separate event instead of letting them all run together. Then imagine that each day on the calendar has a door that you can open ahead of time and peak inside.
Before you look, think first about what you would like to find behind tomorrow’s door. It might be something as simple as enjoying a cup of tea while the smell of baking cookies wafts from the oven. Or the single perfect snowflake that falls on your sleeve when you are walking to work. Or throwing the ball high in the air, watching the dogs quiver with anticipation and seeing, for a split second, time suspended.
Now imagine what you would like to find when you open the next door, and the next. Think of things you can look forward to over the next three weeks. Think of this as your Advent calendar, full of little gifts and small joys waiting to surprise you each day. The things you aren’t looking forward to will happen the way they always do, of course, and then they will disappear into the past just like everything else you once worried about. But if you don’t stop, now, and deliberately anticipate some of the good things that might happen, you might miss them entirely.
Photo taken on November 24, 2010