Friday, June 29

Some Summer Tips in the Form of this Rant

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Nick's a hard worker. Too hard a worker for this girl. He's working two jobs and most days I feel like we're ships passing in the night. I get home at 5, and he leaves for work at 4:30. What ends up happening is that when we do have an evening together we just want to stay in and watch a movie and have a good long cuddle. Sometimes I make dinner, sometimes we order in. Sometimes we devour a TV series (Community season two is only our most recent victim, following the likes of LOST, Castle, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Life on Mars, Twin Peaks, and How I Met your Mother. We have a lot of DVD box sets.) Sometimes we watch a movie. Sometimes we just watch that Chopped or Iron Chef marathon on our only good channel, The Food Network.

The point is, we don't get out much.

Weekends have always been that one time when we can sleep until 11, have a delicious homemade brunch (my favorite meal to eat, and to cook), and get out in the sun and, you know, do something. We go to the farmers market, or the Muttart Conservatory. We walk around the lake with my parents or visit the Art Gallery of Alberta. Sometimes we go to see a movie, hey, at least it's a change of scenery. 

What's been happening lately is that Nick has been working weekends, instead he'll end up with two days off midweek (when I'm working my 9-5). This means that we don't get that quality doing something time that I really need to feel like a human being, and I'm left in the apartment alone all weekend.

Maybe this wouldn't be an issue if I knew how to drive. I could go visit my friends or family, I could drive to the river valley and take a walk, I could go to the mall. As it is public transit takes an hour to get me anywhere and I usually just say no thank you and watch TV all weekend. In the winter months this doesn't bother me, but when it's 24 degrees outside and sunny it drives me insane.

No, the answer is not that I need to get my license (thanks guys, I totally heard you suggest that) but I think I have found an answer, at least a partial, kinda helpful one that has me feeling a lot better about the situation.

The answer is: I need to learn to be brave on my own. You know, enjoy my own company.

I used to be a pro at this when I was a kid (perhaps I was anti-social, I'm going to keep using the word brave). I would sneak off and instead of playing with friends at summer camp I could be found sketching or painting or reading a good book. Sometimes I just sat and listened to nature and enjoyed my tweenager-idea of introspective thought. I didn't need a friend to keep me entertained or feel like my weekend was productive, and I certainly didn't need a boy. Eww.

I didn't date until I was nineteen guys, and it's only been about three years and somehow a lot of how I identify with myself, and see my self worth has changed. Nick and I spent the first two and a half years of our relationship pretty much with each other every single day and somehow moving in together has given us more space instead of less of it.

So now, with all this new-fangled space I have I'm learning to fill it with things that make me happy and make me feel good. And I'm not talking about watching reality television all day and laughing at what horrible people there are out there. Although that can boost my mood.

In the last week I've made more of an effort to get out there and make plans around both of our schedules. Monday Nick was working late but instead of saying no when a friend invited me to attend a movie premier downtown I said yes. This meant busing to a part of the city I don't bus to very often, walking around where I have a small percent chance of being stabbed, and doing something fun without my man. And you know what, it made me feel good! Really good! I felt brave and empowered by even that simple thing.

Then, on Tuesday, I worked around Nicks Schedule and made plans to go back downtown for a fun dinner at a Mexican restaurant! On Wednesday I walked to Superstore and did our grocery shopping... alone. It made me feel amazing that I didn't chicken out even though we needed milk and I knew it was going to be heavy -- I bought it anyway and carried all four bags of groceries home by myself without once complaining out loud (which is good because my neighbors would have probably thought I was crazy).

Then, I used my groceries to make the healthy, delicious dinner pictured above. Avocado mash on toast with fruit. Nick doesn't believe in meals that don't include some form of meat, so I can take advantage of his absence to eat what I want, including those vegetables he has no interest in.

So I'm learning to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I might otherwise have been hesitant to do. I know carrying a jug of milk doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it's the very first time I have freely offered to go to the store and do all of our grocery shopping without Nick picking me up after to bring the groceries home. I felt like a bloody Amazon!

I'm learning not to say no when people invite me out just because it's a little inconvenient and I like to be home by 9 so I can go to bed at 10. I'm learning to go to bed at 11.

I'm learning that it doesn't count to buy tons of books on, patterns for, and supplies to start a sewing project if you don't actually do it, and that I miss painting, and I should paint again.

I'm learning to enjoy a book again! I think studying literature for three years put a stop to a lot of my reading ventures, in fact I can't rightly recall the last really good book I enjoyed. This week I've loaded my Kobo with five new books and promised to read them all before Summer ends.

And most of all, I'm learning to make compromises instead of demands. Instead of "you need to take Saturday off, I don't care if you get fired, I need you to be with me on Saturday so we can do something fun!" This week I said "It totally sucks you're working all weekend long on this holiday weekend, how about I book a day off when you're not working and we have an early weekend."

Best decision ever. Knowing that our time together was precious we celebrated Canada day three days early. We went to a new outdoor pool we had never tried, walked down Whyte Avenue and bought cookbooks and novelty trinkets. We ate at our favorite restaurants and then, only then, did we come home, exhausted and sun burned, to finish Community.The perfect summer day.

This is a crazy long post, and I apologize, if you're still reading you're practically a saint in my eyes, but I just thought that there might be someone out there who was feeling a little depressed this summer and not sure about what to do with themselves. Or maybe you're going through a rough patch with your significant other, or maybe you're single all of a sudden and aren't used to enjoying the summer months alone. Compromise on how you spend your time, get in those things you love, and be brave enough to get out of your comfort zone. Those are my summer tips right now.

Oh, and go have some avocado toast. It's delicious.

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