The Long, Long Weekend

12.June 2010

Settling In

P1110115 I returned to work this week. Admittedly, it’s been a slacker week – my supervisor and co-workers are fabulous and are easing me back into the reality they have been living while I’ve been gallivanting around the world. It felt, however, like I was just away for a long, long weekend.

I went to a meeting where a woman, who I had worked with often previously, kept glancing at me with a puzzled look. I could tell that she knew something was up but couldn’t put her finger on it. It wasn’t until someone else welcomed me back that she clued in to the fact that she had not seem me in over a year.

At first I felt like a little baby who knows nothing. I looked through documents and listened to conversations and was impressed by all the stuff I used to know. I knew a lot of stuff and had a tremendous amount of information available at the fingertips of my brain…I was smart!! It’s amazing how quickly one set of information can be usurped by another – how all the things I know about traveling will soon be supplanted by work again…I will be indoctrinated.

As the week wore on more and more of my memory returned and I found I could easily retrieve even small details from meetings and decisions made long ago. Next week it’s likely I’ll be expected to be a contributing member of the team again…I think I’m up to it.

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People have been asking how we are adjusting to being back home. It’s hard to answer without somehow feeling as though I am questioning the Great North American Ideal. I’m discombobulated by how un-discombobulated I am…how ‘the same’ everything is…work, shopping, working out, life…it’s all the same…like slipping on an old sock…like we’ve just been away for a long, long weekend. I’m bored with it and we’ve only been back a few weeks…how do I tell someone that? And what do I do about it? I don’t have the answer…yet, but know that I am not trying to be insulting; I’m just trying to figure it all out.

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I’m finding some aspects of daily life annoying. I am particularly annoyed by advertising, especially for those products that are trumpeted as must-haves if we are ever going to live a life of adventure, beauty or comfort. Wrinkle cream ads, home decorating magazines, Oprah…I seem to have no patience for anyone telling me that if-I-just-did-this or if-I-just-had-that I would be so much better off. I feel stripped down to the basics and, so far, I like it. I wonder if we wouldn’t all feel so much better about our lives if we weren’t constantly inundated with messages that tell us how much better it could all be ‘if only’.

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I’m trying to watch less TV than I did before we went away. Not for any high-and-mighty righteous reason other than I find that it can easily suck a lot of my time. I’m a natural procrastinator and, although I have embraced that fact in the last few years, I also don’t want to feed the procrastination addiction. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of other ways to procrastinate and I think I’m creating new ones every day – but TV was a particularly bad one for me and so less is better.

There is plenty to do to keep me busy.

  • For one, there seems to be an expectation that I show up at work every day – that severely limits the time I have for other interests.

  • We read a lot while away and I would like to continue reading – not only novels but also non-fiction books and websites that challenge how I think and keep me moving forward.

  • Although I edited my pictures as we went and posted them on Flickr, I would like to do some kind of electronic scrapbook that I could have printed as a physical memento of our travels. I made a scrapbook of our Greece trip in 2004 and we often look through it to ‘remember when’. There are plenty of options available out there and I think I’ve narrowed it down to one that is a)free, and b)gives me some good editing options. I don’t need too many doodads and thing-a-ma-hickeys – just some photo collaging, interesting backgrounds and an ability to add stories. It’ll be a fun project and so, obviously, gets to the top of the to-do list pretty quickly and becomes a procrastination tool in its own right.

  • This American Life. I was turned on to this most interesting series by Dirk of MyMindsInk and have him to thank for relieving the boredom of many a long bus ride over the past year. The tales told are diverse, interesting, and entertaining. I’ve learned a lot about a variety of subjects and have had my interest piqued about many more. I want to keep listening to them but, while it was okay to listen to them while staring out a bus window for an hour, it feels funny to just sit on the couch listening and I find that I really can’t be doing anything else and pay attention to the storyline. Maybe I’ll listen while gardening or cooking or doing some other non-brain needing activity.

  • I’d like to keep OneGiantStep going and have some thoughts of a site redesign. That would mean re-learning how to do that and then actually doing it. I really enjoyed setting it up the first time though and think it will be fun again. I have some ideas of where I see it going but need to work further on the goals and vision around it. On that note, if anyone has any ideas, thoughts or suggestions regarding the site feel free to let me know. Tell me what you like, what you don’t and/or what you would see change or stay the same.

The return home continues to be an interesting ride. In some ways more interesting than the trip itsself – I think because travel challenged what I didn’t know about myself and coming home is challenging what I thought I knew about myself. I’ll keep you posted.

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5 Responses to “The Long, Long Weekend”

  1. Asa Says:

    I’m really glad you’re going to keep the blog going! I like the site as is, but I’m sure your instincts will guide you well in however you decide to redesign it. It is pretty interesting how easily one can slip back into old routines. Since we’ve been back I’m already surprised how our trip seems so far away, as we get busy with day-to-day activities. I too am trying to limit my TV viewing, although I’ve already made some exceptions for the World Cup…but when that’s over, I’ll cut back :-)

  2. Shawn Says:

    Maybe you should just rid of the TV, it is only a brian drain.

    If I ever have to go back to America (California) I will just buy a van and live in that, I did my truck for a year and like the life style.

    I will not return to the average North American Ideal.

  3. Alisha Says:

    Thank you Gillian! I am back in the States for the summer and can completely identify with your remarks about advertising. I am completely irritated and even shocked sometimes by the claims, innuendos and misinformation. No wonder people feel inadequate, unsure and disillusioned about their lives! I can consciously choose to stay away from it but it makes me sad to think that other people; especially children, don’t have time away from it enough to realize that it is someone’s interpretation and opinion and not reality. I am so grateful that travel gives me this objectivity and I appreciate you pointing this out so that others can stop and think about what they are exposing themselves to and make choices that will instead, inspire and uplift them. :o)

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