This Too Will Pass

I’m a city girl. I’ve admitted this in previous blogs. I was born in a city, raised in a city, and have been fortunate enough to work in many different cities. I love everything about urban living: the chaos, the noise, the mayhem, and the humanity. As Nikos Kazantzakis wrote, “A man needs a little madness....” As does a woman. My particular madness (well, among my many peculiarities) was city living.

Living in a buzzing metropolis allowed me to be engaged, involved and contributing. I ran as fast as I could so I wouldn’t miss an opportunity, in whatever shape or form it came in.  And in doing so, I felt as though I was embracing the living part of my life, making sure I did everything I wanted to do. As I write this, I realize all the distractions and noise (or what I affectionately refer to as my commitments) also helped me successfully ignore (or more to the point, squash) those pesky thoughts ‘busy’ people share: this too will pass. And I’m not using this expression as some of us would to console a friend going through a bad time. No, what I mean by “this too shall pass” is this life too will pass.

I began this blog with the idea that I would write some funny stories about living in a small town. Sharing these stories, I thought might help me understand how a city girl like me has come to love this place I call home. Funny what you uncover when you’re planning to write about something else.

I have lived in Whistler for twelve years and have many anecdotes that would have sounded cliché of small town living if I hadn’t experienced them first hand. Okay, you’re right, Whistler isn’t like most other small towns in Canada. There is always a lot to do, and of course, lots of people around. So it sometimes does feel like a city. Except, the camaraderie, friendships, and slower pace (yes, believe it or not) have made this town feel more like home than anywhere else I’ve ever lived.

Let me tell you about some of my experiences, because I have to share these stories, even if this blog has nothing to do with small town living.

I broke my wrist a few years ago. While in our medical clinic I saw a friend or more to the point, she saw me. Drugged as I was, I barely remembered the conversation, but by the time I got home, I had several messages from friends who said they’d heard what had happened and wanted to see if there was anything they could do to help. Some offered to clean my house, knowing as they do, my compulsive need for cleanliness and order. Silly me, I didn’t even think my obsessive-compulsive tendencies showed.

These calls and offers of assistance made me feel loved. It also told me a lot about this community and the friendships I’ve been lucky to make here. I’m so grateful to live here, to belong. And yet, at the same time, I’m scared too. Why? Good question. I could say I don’t know or I can’t help it or something else that would be far too flippant. But if I’m honest with myself, I suppose it’s because this (as in life, my life) too will pass.

Still on another occasion, we were out of town for a week and when we returned there was a voice mail from friends inviting us to dinner. Nothing extraordinary there, except in their message, our friends said they knew we’d been away (although we hadn’t told them), and knew we’d be having dinner with other friends on Saturday night, so they hoped Sunday would work for us. The information about our comings and goings had been passed around like a bowl of mashed potatoes at a family dinner table.

How? We don’t know, but I love that our friends knew what we were up to. It makes me feel that I matter to others as much as they matter to me. And yet, it’s also a reminder of how close I’ve come to so many people here, how much I will hurt when this too passes.

Why am I thinking about this? Time passing. Who knows? Perhaps it’s my age. In my 50s now, I think more about the losing part than the loving and living part of life. I’m working on focusing on being grateful. It helps with my fears and anxieties. And besides, what is the alternative? To lose myself in a faceless crowd, embrace the noise and keep running. Been there, done that.  

Nikos Kazantzakis (an author I love) captured this life’s dilemma beautifully in Zorba the Greek. I work on finding my own answer to Zorba’s question every day.

“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’ 
Which of us was right, boss?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek.


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