the winter blues

This winter I find myself wondering if I have the winter blues.

I don't have a solid answer. My gut doesn't immediately produce a YES or a NO, only the question. But I'm leaning towards "no," because I'm not actually sad. 

But I do feel like hibernating. Like listening to silence. Like turning off my phone. 

I do feel like opening space in my calendar, which requires an awful lot of "No, thanks, maybe another time,"-s, or "Can we play this by ear?" Or a phrase closer to the truth, which is, "I just started a new job at my work, and it's more tiring than I thought it would be." 

Which pushes my button of shame, directly. BZZT BZZT BZZT!

I think it's because I think I'm supposed to be invincible. (Do you think this about yourself, too?) That any new challenge, I'm supposed to chew it up like a snowblower does snow, and spit it out in a glorious arc over the snowbank, effortlessly. 

Except a snowblower actually takes effort. It takes gas and oil, takes a person pushing it and pulling it. Takes maintenance and care - covering it up after you're done using it, making sure it's secure. 

So, no. It's not the winter blues, that I have. It's that I'm a human, and humans get tired. Social media, and having a full calendar, doesn't make my spirit go "Ahhhhhh....." right now, the way free space, and staring up at the sky does. 

It's odd, for me, someone who has put parts of her life up on blogs or social networks, for years, to feel the opposite compulsion. But... I'm going with it for now. That's how it goes, after all, this being human thing.

How is your winter going?

xo Leah 

In Transition

 The parsley went to seed this year.

The parsley went to seed this year.

So here we are, it's a week into the New Year. Goals and resolutions hit the road. Or, wait, what's that phrase? When the rubber hits the road? Yeah, something like that. Anyway, what I mean is, one week in to the new year is when I remember that you've got to take things one day at a time. Setting goals for the year is a good thing, but it's one day at a time that dreams come to pass. That the work gets done. 

 Me running the snowblower earlier today. The joy of flying snow!

Me running the snowblower earlier today. The joy of flying snow!

It was a funny week. Monday started off strong when I took part in a really fun voice workshop with a local singer and voice teacher, and then Tuesday I was back to work. The clients at Horizon weren't back yet, it was just staff in that day, so it was very quiet around the Centre. It was nice though, to have a chance to get my bearings back in the office, before adding in the hustle and bustle of clients to the building. 

Then Wednesday morning I woke up with a full-blown head cold. Low energy, congestion, the whole bit. So that day I stayed home from work, and slept and OK, yeah, watched Outlander. (I finished Season 2 - have you seen it?) Luckily for me, I had made a big pot of chicken soup the week before, when Adam was sick, so I had a steady supply of easy-to-heat nutrients. 

Thursday I was still under the weather, so I took another sick day. This time around I slept the entire day, waking only to eat lunch (soup again). I always resist doing that, sleeping a whole day, I think because I don't like missing out on a whole day of life, but it seemed to do the trick at kicking those germs' butts because the next day I was mostly back to normal. 

I went back to work on Friday, which felt like a Monday, but of course was not. I was glad to get out of the house though, and get back to the office and see familiar co-workers and clients. It's funny - NEST is my word for the year, which I first assumed would mean getting all domestic and working on our home, but I'm already noticing that I need to get out of the nest just as much. Being around others, and working with them, satisfies a part of me I just can't get at home.

The "One Little Word" course I mentioned in last week's post asks you to pick a quote that uses your word, and the one I found and went with is: 

"By going and coming, a bird weaves its nest."

It's an Ashanti proverb, according to the Internet. I like it - it says to me that going out into the community, away from your home, and then coming back with bits you find (whether those are actual material things, or stories or experiences), is just as much a part of the nest-building process as working in or on your home. Which is good, because I go a little stir-crazy when I'm home for too long. 

So that was the week! Not a lot going on, but that's just fine. This weekend I got out, over to Sydney during the day on Saturday, and helped my friend Amanda shop for her freezer meal workshop. It was actually fun, going shopping with her, and we talked about maybe doing our weekly groceries together, to hang out together and also to spare our partners from having to do it. 

And then after that, before I came back to North Sydney, I got to have coffee with a friend who lives in Ottawa these days, but who was home for the holidays, and another mutual friend who lives in town. The fact that I'm not doing client work on the weekends means I have time for these things. For sitting in a coffee shop and losing track of the time, my hands wrapped around a mug with two cold sips of mocha left in the bottom, laughing and catching up on each others' lives. It feels really good. 

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So this blog and I, you may sense, are in transition. Over the next month or so, I'll make some tweaks to it, making it less about the freelance design business that I was starting, less about selling me and my services, and more about just... me. My writing. My photos. My design work, yes, but that design work is part of a greater body of work that I've made and want to share. This word I've picked for the year, NEST, can also mean my nest, or home, on the web, which is what this website is, when you think about it. So, like making changes to a physical space, I'll make some changes to this digital space to reflect where my life is at now, and what I want to be making and sharing. Stay tuned!

I'm turning away from having my own business, at least for this year, and to be honest, it feels OK. I had worried that I would feel disappointed in myself, or that I had disappointed others, (especially those who supported my crowdfunding campaign in 2015) but honestly, I don't. I gave freelance-on-the-side-while-working-full-time a decent shot. It wasn't for me. That's not to say that freelance design won't work for me sometime down the road, but for now, for where I'm at in my life, I prefer keeping the full-time job (for a variety of reasons), and then getting rid of a few extra commitments so that I have more time and energy. So that I'm a better worker when I'm at work, and a better friend, partner, and, well, friend to myself, when I'm not at work. 

More on all of these things, to come! I want to blog weekly I think. For now, I'll leave you with a selfie of me earlier today, after Adam and I had cleared the driveway of snow, and I went into the backyard to poke around in the snow-covered garden a bit. 

With love,

Leah

My One Little Word for 2017: NEST

It seems fitting that I am writing this post about NEST in my bed, while it rains outside. 

It's January 1st and the start of a new year. Adam and I stayed up until 2 am yesterday, watching Phish play Madison Square Garden, toasting each other with Prosecco and generally being our silly selves. Today we're being lazy. He is on the couch and I am in our bedroom, watching Outlander. "Liminal" is a word I learned recently, meaning the transitional time, and I like it. I think it applies to today - that crossover day between the celebrations, however wild or tame, of the night before, where you said goodbye to last year, and welcomed the new year. 

So. 2017 - a new year, a fresh start. This year I'm going to choose a word, and take part in Ali Edwards' One Little Word class to explore that word. A few years ago I tried choosing a word but didn't end up doing much with it. That seems to be a common experience for people. Oh well... we move on. 

This year the word that leaped up at me, asking to be claimed, is NEST. 

I'm not 100% sure why yet, except that I feel called to stop rushing. To stop being away from home so much. I want to work, yes, and I want to go ALL IN on my work, and give it lots of energy and drive. But I also want to come home from that work, and have a life. Have down time with my partner. Cook good food, and not be rushed. Keep the house tidier. Weed out possessions we don't need. Read more books. 

In 2017, I also want to spend more time in the garden. I want to write. I want to have more freedom, more free time, to spend how I wish - perhaps drawing, or writing, or working on something creative, but perhaps also walking, or weeding, or... whatever I need then. I'm also (fingers crossed, knock on wood) hoping to become pregnant, and grow our little family, so there is another meaning to the word NEST. 

My inner demons say, "That's not possible, life will always be stressful, you can't control it like that!" But the older I get, the more I learn that we do have some measure of control over how we spend our time. And indeed, that's the only thing we really can control. 

So, here we go. NEST. 2017. Let's see what's in store.