Today, I am thinking about goals. I think it started with an email from SPT, or one of her friends that she sometimes promotes. I can’t remember now – my head is too full of facts about sympathomimetic pharmaceuticals at the moment. It doesn’t matter. The point is, I’ve been thinking about the goals we make, and the life lived in between.
One of my nieces was visiting, the other day, and we were talking about something I wanted to do once I had my own house. I humorously phrased it as “when I grow up“. Now, if I’d been speaking to one of my sisters, they would have understood exactly what I meant. But my 11-year-old niece was confused. I had to explain to her that, as a child, I’d had a very different idea of what it meant to be grown up, than my adult life has borne out. And in a sense, I’m still waiting to accomplish these things, before I really consider myself to be grown up.
I’d pictured myself having a job, of course. But more importantly, the one thing I looked forward to, more than anything else, was having a house. My own house, where I could make the rules, and do as I pleased. So far, I’ve had several different jobs, and lived in several different places. In residence, with roommates, in boarding, and even a few apartments of my own. But I’ve never felt like I had a home – my own home, that is. Part of that is because to me, a home is a house, not an apartment. More importantly, it is because I’ve never felt settled. I’ve never been able to just be.
My life has been one long series of goals – striving, then reaching, then starting out again. It’s all about the goal. There’s very little in between.
One spring, shortly after finishing my undergraduate degree, I bought a student train pass that was good for a month, and travelled across Canada, – with a small detour up to Churchill – down the west coast, along the southern US border, and back up the east coast, ending with a 3-day excursion to PEI before heading back to Ontario. It was a fantastic trip. I loved the train. I loved the changing scenery, the beauty of the wild places, and the adventure waiting at each stop. But at some point, I think somewhere in the southwest, the endless travelling got to me. When I got off the train in Florida, where I would be staying in my grandparents’ condo for a few days, I was so relieved to be resting somewhere that was semi-permanent – in a bed for more than 1 night, with walls around me, a door to shut out strangers, and a place to leave my backpack safely stowed – I cried for joy. I just wanted to stay somewhere, for once. I wanted to rest.
I’ve realized, since this experience, that though I still like travelling, I like it for slightly different reasons than most people. I’m not just looking at different sights and seeing how other people live. When I travel through a place, my eyes are looking for one thing: a place I could call home.
That is what I’m searching for. It’s the unspoken question in my mind. Could I live here? Would I like it? Would it be practical? It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m not really considering moving to any of these places. It’s just what my brain is constantly thinking about. Every new place I see is a possible home. And until I find it, my brain won’t stop searching.
Maybe that’s why I dislike staying in any place I’ve lived for very long. I’ve very quickly ruled them out as a place where I would be happy – either I’m very picky, or I haven’t lived in very nice places.
And, though I’ve tried to be content, it’s the same with my occupations. I rushed through high school, not bothering to even try to enjoy it – my only goals to earn A’s and get out of there as soon as I could. Same thing with university – I chose McMaster because I fell in love with the old brick ivy-covered all-girls’ residence we visited on our campus tour, but despite the building being everything I could have hoped, and my general success in avoiding the rest of Hamilton, the academic program marred my enjoyment of it to a large extent. I was in one place, physically, but my life was just another series of increasingly difficult goals: one more assignment, one more exam, one more class, one more year. Teachers’ college was more of the same, in another different city. And when I finally settled into a career, I found myself hopping from place to place. Never putting down roots. Never settling into my role – hardly even teaching the same course twice. Never feeling as if I belonged anywhere. And then another round of school. Five more years.
I’ve tried very hard, these last 5 years, to settle in, as much as possible. To make friends. To spend time with my family. To grow plants, and read books. To search for purpose in each day, and be the person I’ve always wanted to be. But school life doesn’t exactly lend itself to that. I’ve had to put a lot of my life on hold – to be honest, much of has never been started. Most of my energy has been directed, out of necessity, toward the continual striving, the never-ending battle against exams and deadlines and standards. There is very little time for just being.
Bright Line Eating has come into this situation – this life of mine, in which I feel as if I haven’t really lived – and invited me to stay. It is one of a very few things in my life that feels stable. My weight, of course, is not. That’s just one more goal. But where everything else in my life feels like a race to a finish line, BLE gives me something consistent. Predictable. Something I will never have to substantially change. I can basically eat this way for the rest of my life. And I love it for that. It’s one corner of my life in which there is peace.
But I’m still looking for a home.
Ultimately, I know I’ll never find it – not in this life. Any place I find – if I ever do find it – will be imperfect. Even if I’m able to settle into my role as a Naturopathic Doctor, and begin to feel as if I’m making a difference in the world, instead of the endless preparation for it, there will still be goals to be met, and challenges to face. Even if I stay fixed in one spot, the world around me will change, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.
What I’m looking for, really, is Heaven. It is what my heart longs after. A place to finally rest. Where I can finally be me. Where I can unpack my bags and know I will never have to leave.
The good thing is, I’m assured of that. If I never find a home here – if I’m a wanderer on the face of the Earth for the rest of my life – I’ll be alright. As tired as I am, I can keep going. And going, for as long as I have to. Because I know that it has to end, someday: maybe soon; maybe not for a long time yet, but it’s coming. I get closer to home every day.
Just a Heads Up
This weekend, I’ll be taking a trip, to my favourite place in the world. I once tried to make it my home, but it didn’t work out. Still, I get to visit, as I have every summer of my life. It is a super secret location in northern Ontario, where I will be without modern conveniences such as a stable Internet connection. Therefore, for the next 4 weeks, my blog posts may be somewhat sporadic. I will still be writing, but posting will depend on when I can get to the public library in town. Rest assured, I remain committed to BLE and to you all. Talk to you soon.