About nine months ago, I arrived in Calgary without really too much of a clue of what I was going to do next. For most people, I guess it would be quite stressful (one person comes immediately to mind, though I try not to think about her). It gave me a strange feeling of freedom. For what seemed like the first time in my life, I was free to do as I chose, and it wouldn’t affect anyone else but me.
A day after I arrived, Chris sent me a reply to the mass message I’d sent out. It was the start of what we thought would be a grand adventure to Japan. In fact, we’d coordinated a lot of things to bring Chris here, to get an apartment that suited us both, get us both jobs, and so on and so on, all under the guise that in just over a year, we’d be heading out to Japan to teach English. Friday 24 November 2000 was the deadline for submitting our applications to JET, the organisation we wanted to go with.
Not long after Chris had arrived here, the two of us were wandering around Calgary, discussing whatever we felt like discussing. (Admittedly, it was usually movies, computers, TV, and/or women, though not necessarily in that order.) Chris said something that surprised me a little. Although I can’t remember his exact words, he said that there was no way to predict the future, and it was entirely possible that things might change, and we not go.
Well, the deadline has come and gone. And we’re not going. At least not right now. I’m not sure what exact processes drove Chris to not submit his application, I know what happened to me.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m comfortable. I like my job (although there are a few egos around here I’d love to deflate), I like our apartment, I like this city, and I like my roommate (that’s a given, I guess). Humanity, in general, doesn’t like change. It likes status quo, particularly if it’s a comfy status quo. Personally, my status quo is a big, warm blanket in front of a roaring fire with a cup of Callebaut hot chocolate.
That’s not to say that I didn’t want to go. I still do — there’s adventure to be had! But at the same time, I no longer felt the need to do something "radical". Had I been able to apply and go within a month or so after arriving, I’d have gone — no questions asked. Heck, I probably still would have gone after only a couple of months here. Now? Well, I feel like a replanted tree that’s had a few months to spread roots. It’s not impossible to up and leave (I’ve done it before), but I don’t have that driving force anymore.
So what happened to Chris? He ran into some problems like mine (it’s tricky getting the right references, and ours didn’t come in quickly enough), but he had other reasons, too. (Reasons I’m not allowed to elaborate on — so don’t ask.)
When I missed the deadline, I feeling of tremendous guilt started to wash over me. It could have been the rhinovirus I’m currently fighting off, I suppose, but there was that hollow feeling you sometimes get when you know you’ve let someone down. So imagine my surprise when Chris told me he hadn’t applied, either. Needless to say, I started feeling a lot better ... of course, that could have been the Contac-C I took.
A few weeks ago, Chris and I were wandering around Calgary, discussing the usual (movies, computers, TV, and/or women ... although I should point out our more recent conversations have also included existentialism) when I happened to mention my disinterest in dating. And not because I don’t want to — nine months can do a lot, not to mention patch up holes in one’s soul — it was because I didn’t want to hurt anyone when it came time to leave for Japan. Chris had a good point of view on that:
Life is what happens between now and your plans. Don’t stop living for the sake of the future.
I swear Chris should write one of those bathroom books. He’s just full of this stuff.
At any rate, that got me to thinking. Living. That’s something I hadn’t done in a while. He had a point — I was holding myself back for the sake of something vague. So I did the only thing I could do: I went on a date.
Yes, with a member of the opposite sex! (Sheesh...)
This was Wednesday 8 November. I won’t tell you her name, but she works here as one of our Art Directors. Wonderful woman ... who was interested in someone else. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time, but I found out shortly after. Although my sources on the design floor are good, they missed the potential love triangle subplot. I decided it was better to cut my losses before I did something stupid. Probably for the best, too — I tend to work with her a lot, and I’d prefer to avoid making things uncomfortable for the both of us.
I won’t be likely having any more personal escapades for the next few weeks, though. A project I should have started last week finally starts tomorrow. With the same deadline. Yeah, that means longer hours. Whee. And that’s not counting the company moving to a new building on Friday. (We’ve been told they’re be no downtime ... I’ll believe that when I log in at 8:00 the following Monday morning.) And that’s still not counting my various research projects and task forces, and updates to the half-a-dozen sites I’m responsible for.
I love my job. (Can’t you tell, I’m here on a Sunday!)
And with that, I’m heading home. I’m tired, I’m hungry, and I’m still sick.