I don’t have a lot of peace. Even if things appear calm, cool, and collected on the outside, the inside of my brain is a rat’s nest of stresses and insecurities. I don’t have anxiety that needs to be cured, only problems that need to be solved. That’s what occupies my consciousness 99% of the time, leaving little time for peace and quiet.
However, there are a few things that I do when things become too much inside my head.
Spend time at ‘the land’
After a long workweek (and sometimes right in the middle of one), I like to get out of the city and into nature. Sometimes that’s having my morning coffee overlooking the bay, but usually it’s driving 15 minutes outside my city to Pinchgut Lake, to one of its 80 cabins, one of which belongs to my parents.
I called it ‘the land’ above because that’s what we’ve always called it. Way back when I was a kid and my parents purchased the property we couldn’t say “Let’s go to the cabin,” because there was no cabin there. Over time the land has been cleared of trees, drainage and a proper driveway installed, and a structure built. It’s not liveable yet, but that’s my parents’ eventual plan.
The only one who loves Pinchgut Lake more than my dad is Bailey, our border collie mutt. Since she’s a border collie she has a ton of energy, the best way to tire her out is to take her to the lake and let her go hog-wild. It’s during that time that I like to sit and think, read, walk, run, or swim. And of course, throw a ball until my arm is tired.
It may not be pretty like the fancy cottages of northern Ontario, but it’s home, and it’s available to me whenever I need to get out of my own head.
My favourite tweeter, Emily Thomas, once wrote something to the effect of “To see what someone really cares about just look at their Instagram feed.” Well, most of my Instagram feed is pictures of my girls at Pinchgut Lake.
Where do I even start? Coffee and I go way back. I remember starting to drink it in high school because I was experiencing really bad insomnia but still needed to get through the school day. For many years thereafter, even though my sleep had improved, it just became a part of my routine and I never gave it a second thought.
I don’t think I was ever drinking too much, but a few years ago I was working a job that required me to get up at 5am. I knew that it would be tough, but I knew that if I was going to manage, and not require ten cups of coffee per day like my coworkers, I would need to work on improving my sleep and other healthy habits rather than depend on an accelerant to make it through the day. I was able to quit cold turkey and I was better off because of it.
When I stopped working at that job I started drinking coffee again, just a cup or two per day. I really enjoyed (and still do enjoy) having my cup in the morning just to kind of clear the cobwebs and start my day off right. I could get by without coffee at all, but this long-winded explanation is my way of illustrating how much I enjoy it.
I find peace at the bottom of a cup of coffee. That sweet, warm nectar of the gods that helps you believe that anything is possible. It’s just ten minutes of calm.
I feel similarly about a pint of beer, but not to the same degree. Sometimes after a long, hard, hot day, nothing hits the spot quite like a cold beer. I don’t drink often, but sometimes just that one beer helps you shake off the day and also helps me find peace.
Okay, so not really exercise, but I’m optimistic for the future. At the moment exercise (which right now means running very poorly or some home bodyweight exercises) is a challenging endeavour that requires every iota of my concentration. This means that there isn’t a lot of room left in my brain for stressful thoughts, but it also means that my mind doesn’t have the opportunity to go blank and relax. Focusing on the exercise is its own kind of stress, but I’m hopeful that as I improve it will be more cleansing and less hard labour.
I can also only say writing half the time, because while some writing can be incredibly cathartic, other times it can bring out the craziness that has been lying deep within. It’s therapeutic, sure, but that’s not always peaceful. Journaling is the best way, though. Blogging sometimes feels like brain exercise.
Blogust is my attempt to challenge myself to write every day for an entire month. The end goals include practice writing, more material on my blog, establishing a daily writing habit, and accomplishing a personal challenge. I have not given these posts any forethought, all prompts were conceived by other people.