It’s the end of a great summer — probably the best summer I’ve ever had. We look at summer in novels and television shows and other outlets for coming of age stories because there’s something magical about that transitioning period between one school year to the next and the growing up, mistakes, discoveries and romances that occur during those precious few, hot days with their long lazy nights and fireworks and long weekends and barbeques.
I’m grateful for summer. I’m grateful that this year has been my best one. There was a time in my life when I looked back on another magical summer, 2007, and thought to myself, “Will it ever be this good ever again?” And I realized I felt this way because for a long time, quite a few years actually, I was stuck in a place, doing a job, that I was never really satisfied doing. And it all seemed to take me back constantly to the ‘glory days’ of my early twenties where there was so much possibility that lay out before me and yet, I was old enough to really stand on my own two feet in a way and do things I never thought I would, or could, do. Like ride the mindbender at West Edmonton Mall and see Ryan Adams & the Cardinals alone in Vancouver, a city which then, I was totally unfamiliar with. It can, and it does, get better. It can always get better. The best day of my life has passed, but it might also happen tomorrow,or next year, or the year after that. It could be my wedding day. It could be the day I finally get accepted into a Masters program. It could be the day I get my first teaching job. But it’s coming, just as much as it’s already gone.
I love summer because of the stereotyped magic that accompanies it. There’s a mood in the air. It’s almost over, summer, and we’re heading into another fall which will transform into another spiny rainy winter, which will lead to January which is scary and sad and terrifying all at once. But for now, I’m grateful and happy, because there are still a precious few days of summer left.
In honour of the fact that this is my second last entry and that 29 is my favourite number (and a somewhat lucky number as well), I have to dedicate this one to something less specific.
I have a charmed life. I have a family who loves and supports me in multiple ways, and I have amazing friends, both who live here and who don’t and most importantly, I have had in the past year, a lot of serendipitous luck and fortune amidst a lot of misfortune that led me to making specific choices I made and ultimately ending up a certified teacher at the end of the day. A lot of life is happenstance and a lot of my life has been happenstance that has allowed me to be where I am, and it’s that which has allowed to be in PDP and thus ‘forced’ me to continue with this blogging project which has helped me to evaluate and re-evaluate what is good instead of dwelling on what’s bad.
I found my apartment and apartment furniture through pure luck and a kind but super weird stranger, and I found someone really special through switching schools and being randomly a part of a school in my practicum that was wonderful, supportive, caring, kind and diligent in caring for its student teachers. I am fortunate enough too, to have been paired up with such great mentors that I built strong, important and lasting relationships with. I was far from perfect and far from being the kind of teacher I truly wanted and yearned to be, but to get as close to that as I did was not because of hard work entirely but also finding the right people and the right circumstances to allow that to be possible.
I’m a teacher now, and that means everything to me at the end of the day. And I worked my ass off to achieve that goal but without happenstance that forced me to make choices and without allowing those choices to play out, I wouldn’t be where I am now and I’m so happy for all of it.
I’m so grateful for the record, “What’s the Story, Morning Glory?” by Oasis. The 90s, much like the 1960s, were good years for British pop/rock and the whole gang, whether lesser or greater than the sordid Gallagher brothers, were following in their footsteps. For, they were the kings of the second coming of the British invasion, and they knew it, and they had good reason to believe so: Morning Glory is a monster of a record. Full of hooks and tear-jerking intros, ballads, rockers, cheeky British humour, and non-sensical classic lyrics like “Slowly walking down the hall/faster than a cannonball” which somehow mean nothing and everything all at the same time.
In their later years, Oasis became a bit of a joke for a lot of reasons, some justified and some total bullshit. I was lucky enough to see Oasis just weeks actually before they called it quits. It was pretty incredible and you should have heard the cheers and singalongs and loud worship-created claps from thousands of fans when the band started singing “Wonderwall”. They still had it, and they could still do what Oasis does best, even as they drew near to the end of their era.
I am grateful today for reading through a really good story; the way I pore over every little detail, the way it feels when something truly terrifying, frustrating, gratifying, satisfying or wonderful happens to the protagonist, the jealousy I feel when I read something I wish I had written, or wish I could write. Reading a really good book is the most engrossing and most underrated escape, or means of escape.
One time, a wise although vehemently opinionated woman I met while volunteering at EPL’s Human Library Project a few years ago said something to me that has stuck with me, whether correct or not, all this time: your world is dark, but it is not dark enough.
Maybe I haven’t seen the fullest extent of what darkness can be, despite how dark I know my world is. The fact of the matter though, is I know people who have seen that lowest point; I know so many people who have suffered greatly and fought all kinds of battles pertaining to mental illness: anxiety, depression, attempted suicide. They have seen that point of near-no return and have been fortunate enough in one way or another, in some way or another, to be pulled out of that hole.
What I’m grateful for isn’t that I haven’t seen the fullest extent of what darkness is or means. What I’m grateful for actually, is for the people in my life (and people who aren’t in my life!) who have come back from their own darkness and who have managed to find joy again in life. This is no easy feat: in the minimal capacity with which I have known depression, and yes, it is minimal, there feels like there is no way out. Waking up, seeing people, facing the day, looking in the mirror, are chores. Next to nothing feels exciting anymore. We go through the motions of life on auto-pilot only so we can return to sitting in a desolate and empty world alone, which is what we want because it’s easier. This is where that darkness begins, but never where it stops. The lucky ones are the ones who have only gotten this deep and even then, this depth is deep enough.
To everyone I know who have come out and admitted freely their depression in light of the passing of Robin Williams, I thank you, for in some small way you are helping others who have succumbed to depression and those currently suffering to have a voice. It’s your bravery that creates awareness and ensures that a hilarious, charming, touching and deeply influential actor and comedian’s tragic and untimely death did not happen quietly. I am grateful for each and every one of you.
Today I’m grateful for visitors.
Since I’ve moved here I’ve had so many people come to visit me, both family and friends and even ex-coworkers and it’s always been so awesome to show my Edmonton friends around and introduce them to some of my favourite places. I had a visitor this past weekend, I’m expecting one tomorrow, and I have a couple of more before the end of the summer. It’s one of my favourite things, to show people around and take them to eat awesomeness, or take them to Seattle or Whistler or the island. There’s so much to do around here.
Today I’m grateful for rainy, cloudy days.
This might sound weird. What we (me and everyone else) loves about summer is these long, hot sunny hours where we can lay on the beach (should we be so lucky as to have a beach lying around) or cruise around listening to bad hip hop/pop music. I love that, you love that, we all love that.
But with this insane heat wave that Vancouver’s been going through the last week, I have to say… I miss the rain a little bit. Just a little. I am beginning to appreciate that chilly foggy cloudiness, the way rain feels when breeze carries it across your arms and soaks through your jacket. Sometimes hot in excess is too hot. It’s too much of a good thing. I love it and I never want it to go away. But it helps me to appreciate days when it’s cold at night and in the early morning and rains buckets all day.