"Worst winter we've had in over 30 years," said my landlady, the gentleman who clears snow off her roof, and the neighbor originally from Newmarket. I'm not entirely sure if those words were meant to encourage me to come back next winter, help me to understand that this isn't normal, or was just old-timer chit-chat about the weather.
"This" refers to close to 7 feet of snow since December. Add for my benefit: minimal sunshine and 5-10 minutes less daylight than home in Toronto and the impact starts to build on me.
The good news is I feel pretty comfortable camping in winter conditions. Mind you, I didn't have to sleep outside in January when the Ottawa Valley was battling -20 or lower wind chills. I prefer to be cooler when I sleep. I now own a great sleep system: tarp, Thermarest (which I conquered yesterday, rolling it back up almost to the same size I purchased it at), yellow Evazote foam pad, -20 degree hybrid sleeping bag, fleece liner, and a great overbag to keep it dry. I love my tent. It has served as a little oasis after I've spent hours upon hours or day after day with classmates and need a little downtime. I enjoy snowshoeing and tramping off into the woods.
The unfortunate news is I'm struggling. I've posted once over on my Wordpress site, the site that's supposed to represent a professional portfolio, since the start of the term. I have great notes and audio to write up a story to pitch to spring / summer publications, but can't think of the right angle to catch an editor's attention. I feel like I haven't a creative thought in my head to get myself out there and in front of editors. Have I made a terrible mistake? Is this career change just a bad idea? If not, what's holding me back? The same doubts go for the outdoor education side of where I think I might be heading with this program. I can't for the life of me see myself doing my work term this summer working full-time for someone, yet what better place to get some guidance / structure / inspiration to set out on my own than to see what other folks are doing? While my mind is full dealing with all of that, I have little energy to get out there and run (never mind the sidewalk conditions) which spirals into less restful sleep and weak motivation for school work. WHAT AM I DOING HERE??? What is my purpose?
If I tackled the less scary question of what's holding me back, the first answer would likely be money. (Please know I appreciate there is a whole world out there in far more dire consequences than I. I also understand that this is an issue for just as many middle class North Americans who have hopes and dreams. I'd like to figure out how I can put my situation to good use.) I had been a fiscally responsible partner in my marriage up until I went back to school. It continues to be unsettling to me that my husband is carrying the whole Toronto end of our operations on his own, especially when I come from an everything-should-be-fair mentality. I suspect similarly to what's going on with my writing, photography, outdoor education plans, I currently lack creativity to look at the money issue from a different angle. If money were no object, I'd spend this work term summer with a part-time job that I want, with volunteer opportunities that get me some of that guidance / structure / inspiration, paddling Lake Ontario in the mornings, and then spend the rest of my time exploring Toronto, the GTA, and southern Ontario in day trips or short overnighters to get a feeling for how and where I could take people to get them reconnected with nature. I'd also write and pitch as much as I could, angling for extra income that way.
The second answer to that question would be experience or lack thereof. Many new parents have said to me that they didn't know they were ready to be parents until their baby (babies) arrived. If my own fledgling business plan is my baby, will I never feel like I have enough experience? Would spending my summer in that manner garner me enough experience to feel comfortable starting out in January when I'm done with this program?
UGH! When will it become clear? Will it ever feel easy? I read a tweet this morning from @NickiinNY that said nothing worth doing is ever easy. If that's the case, my third answer would be I have a hard time appreciating the journey and want to get to the end to see what it's like. Funny, considering the name of my blog is The Path to Happiness. Maybe I thought I'd appreciate it more when I got off the finance merry-go-round. Have any of you had this problem and what did it take or what did you do to be able to appreciate the road and not only the destination?