Monday, December 12, 2016

What your happy place can do for you

published in the Chronicle Herald - Dec 12, 2016 and the South Shore Breaker Dec 14/16
I have a confession to make. I am well past mid life, but I have never had a mid life crisis. I havent had an affair, or bought a new sports car. I didnt quit my job and go globe trotting. I never felt the need to change anything (well, if my husband is reading this he might disagree since every five years or so I start looking at real estate).

Until this year.

I still haven
t had an affair or bought a shiny new sports car. Even though Im well past what might be defined as "mid life", I started wondering about things. Hopefully I have many years ahead of me, but that didnt stop me from thinking about needing a purpose. I think a lot of us go through the same questions at some point in our lives, often when our children are grown and no longer depend on us.

Is this all there is? Why am I here? Who am I? What do I really want?

It didn
t seem enough to just "be", I needed a project or a purpose. I have been reading some articles and have been assured that all those thoughts are okay and many people face the same questions. It doesnt mean we arent happy. It just means that we have reached a point in our lives when we give some thoughtful consideration to what we want to do with the time we have left.

But all that thinking almost got me on the wrong path. I spent the summer struggling with a decision that I really shouldn
t have spent any time on. I researched and planned. I prepared for a possible new career that would have changed life for both me and my husband. My personal struggle with "why am I here" almost ended with disastrous consequences.

But then came a day where I had a massive headache, brought on by the constant battle my mind was having with all the back and forth thoughts in making a decision that would impact our lives.
My happy place is the beach, a place where I go to unwind and de-stress. (photo by John Harley)
When in doubt, we go to the beach. Theres nothing like a long beach walk to put life into perspective. I came to the realization that there was a reason I was having such a difficult time making my decision. A long discussion with my husband in a place I find the most peace helped clear my mind. It became so evident that I was headed in the wrong direction that I wondered how I could have been so silly and my headache disappeared almost immediately. Ill probably get off track again at some point, but life has a way of sorting things out if youre patient enough.

I don
t love to be in the water (thats what swimming pools are made for), but I feel at peace when Im near it. Walking along the shore, listening to the gulls cry. Sun or wind on my face, heart pounding, spirits soaring. Or sitting on the shore hearing the waves break on the rocks. There are no words to explain it, I just feel at peace.
Some people feel at peace walking along the shore. Listening to gulls cry, or watching sandpipers run along the water line can calm a soul.
The ocean soothes my soul. When I am near the water, I feel a completeness. The problems of my life drift away, like seaweed that has lost its mooring. Life is simple, and problems dont loom quite as large. The ocean waves have come into land for ages and ages, and will continue long after I am gone. All is calm.
Just before a storm, when the wind is howling and the waves are pounding, can make a person feel alive. Life is at its most basic and primal.
Or just before a storm, when the wind is howling and the waves are pounding, I feel an exhilaration that this is life. Life at its most basic and primal. I lift my arms in celebration and raise my voice to the skies. Hear me roar. I am alive!

The ocean is what called me to Nova Scotia from Ontario. I know that not everyone feels the same way. But everyone does have a place of their own that makes them feel alive. Maybe it
s walking in the forest. Or driving in a sports car on a winding road with the top down and the wind blowing in their hair. Perhaps its being at home with their children or grandchildren or their pets. There is a place for everyone, a place that makes their heart happy and their soul smile.

That is the place you need to find if you don
t know it yet. And that place will help you find your own answers about why you are here and what makes you happy. And thats something good to focus on.
I spent the year collecting images of seaweed letters with my camera during our walks on the beach – nature's temporary gift that would be washed away with the next tide.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy I came across your blog…after reading a comment you left on Flora 's. I felt an immediate connection, as I love Nova Scotia,the ocean and dogs- (we have 2 border terriers:) There are so many interesting things to read in your blog, like a good book, I am going to go thru them and savour your insights and great images.

    We have a 260 year old farmhouse on the Digby Neck and being there or anywhere in Nova Scotia is wonderful to me. Thinking about it brings me to tears.

    Also, I watched your video "Rescue Me" which is stunning- loved it.

    I so appreciate all your tales of the places you have explored with your dogs, as we have not spent too much time discovering, as we don't live in NS, as yet…
    which is why I cry :)

    Sorry to blab on and on but just wanted to touch base and thank you!



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