a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘moving’

the DNA of your everyday life…

Yesterday I was speed walking through Waterfront Station at my usual frantic pace, distracted from lack of sleep, and suddenly realized I needed to pay attention.  Because I wasn’t on my way to the client – but to the German Consulate –  so I couldn’t just operate on auto-pilot.  I have been traversing this same route a lot in the past couple of months and a routine has been established that I had to break.

It got me thinking about our everyday routines and how ordinary places become part of our life whether we are aware of it or not.  I think lots of people don’t realize there are places and rituals that have become an important component of their life – and that they would miss them if they didn’t do them.  This is why some people feel a bit lost the day after they retire.

Having moved likely about 40 times – changing everything from neighbourhood to town to country – I have always been very conscious of my daily environment.  And have found quite ordinary places and experiences imbued with great meaning and inducing much nostalgia.

Back in 1990, I lived in Sydney, Australia.  When I went back in 2000 for my first return visit, I took the train to Artarmon.  It’s a residential suburb that no one but a local would know and has nothing to attract tourists. But I wanted to get off the train there and retrace the route I had taken so many times.  Check out magazines in the news agent.  Walk by the TAB without placing a bet.  See if the Indian restaurant where I used to look for my boyfriend if he wasn’t in the apartment was still there.  Gaze up at the high rise where I had lived then.  Just soak up the atmosphere of my everyday Sydney life and try to re-live some memories.

Moving so much has taught me to value my everyday life and the relationships I develop in each place.  My hairstylist, my drycleaner, my tailor.  They all KNOW me.  It’s a personal relationship, not just a business transaction.  It makes everyday life sweeter and more meaningful.

The thought loop finished at the German Consulate, which as I expected was in the same building as one of my other clients.  They have moved to a new building but it still feels familiar to enter the door and know where to go.  Which made me think of the fun of new routines.  It’s good to break habits and explore new things.

I once dated someone who used to not take the most direct route when we were walking – but the most interesting or pleasant.  I am all about efficiency (the German Consulate felt like home 🙂 but I had to concede he had a point.  And while I generally take the efficient route to run errands, when I explore new cities or have a day off in my own, I just wander and see what happens.  In Paris, I might find a wonderful patisserie.  In Amsterdam I might encounter someone dressed like Darth Vader.  And here at home I might end up helping a lost tourist find the right bus.  Going beyond the DNA of my everyday life always offers unexpected pleasures…

the origin of friendship

This afternoon I had a wonderful, much too brief, visit with an old friend on his way from the airport to his mother’s 90th birthday in our favourite city.  I first met him when I was dating his best friend, 20 years ago now.  Yikes!  But we know I’m old so the interesting part of the story is that when I broke up with his friend, he asked if WE could still be friends.  I am pretty unconventional so it was fine with me.  But not a very typical way to acquire friends…

For whatever reason, that seems to be my norm.  I never gave it much thought until friends started playing a party game called, “how did you meet Marla?”  I had this eureka moment that most people develop their friendships from a very limited set of channels.  The typical ones are school, work or sports.  There is nothing wrong with these channels, of course, but it means that most of the people at the party will already know each other.

And likely have a lot of similarities.  How I started throwing parties is another story but I have thrown a lot of them and it’s always a diverse group.  People have commented on how much they enjoy my parties because it’s such a broad mix of people.

I think that stems from my lifestyle.  I have always been a gypsy child.  I spent my first six birthdays in a different town every year so I became used to new people.  But I guess I also yearned for more stability in some ways so once I got old enough to afford stamps, I would stay in touch with anyone I met who really caught my attention.  My criterion was an interesting conversation rather than shared interests or contacts.

I never really set out with a plan to acquire friends.  Just to meet people and treat them well.  But it’s ended up being a wild, wonderful ride.  Some of my best friends have rarely ever lived in the same city as me.  One friendship developed because we always brushed our teeth at the same time in university residence and would invariably end up on the sink counter with our toothbrushes chatting into the night.  Another was my random roommate for six weeks during a summer job in Calgary – we didn’t talk very often but when she taught me the longest word in the English language I knew she was one of my tribe 🙂   Yet another was acquired after I had been instructed to meet new people at an Australia Day party – by another friend who I acquired via a friend I met on a boat cruise by mistaking him for someone else…

You get the idea!  I would encourage everyone to make a goal to try and acquire at least one new friend each decade that you didn’t make via the normal channels… someone you met randomly at a bus stop maybe… we’re still going strong 30 years later… and I am really hoping she will be able to fly in for my 50th birthday party 😉

architects love chicago 🙂

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