Northern Alberta can be picturesque, adventurous and a complete winter Wonderland. It can also be isolating, lonely and frigid. That being said, if you can stick with it and get used to being alone often(if you come alone, that is), soon enough you’ll get used to it’s northern ways. Don’t get me wrong, High Level has become like a home to me. Yet I would be lying if I said “me time” is my favorite time.
I had a conversation with another teacher about the ups and downs of living up north. There are vast differences between here and there(there being Newfoundland). One of the hardest things for me to get used to is the remoteness and isolation that comes with living here. I know, I know…I’m not in the Arctic circle or on some boat floating around Baffin island, but change is change.
Living in St. John’s, Newfoundland (for those of my readers who aren’t from back home) means lots of hustle and bustle. It’s no New York city, but it has enough people and noise to keep a girl content. Being in your head can be rough, especially if you’re an over thinker or worrier, much like myself. I find the sound of traffic, chatter of a crowd or hum of nearby buildings to be soothing. With not even a traffic light to be found in High Level, there is no hustle and bustle, simply silence.
I was happy to finally meet people I could relate to and talk with easily last week. High Level is a very transient town, lots of people come and go like the wind, so most people don’t take the time to get to know newcomers. Therefore being new to town has been hard. After meeting some new friends and getting used to time on my own, I feel accomplished.
I had a week off to attend teachers convention in Edmonton, and even had time to visit Calgary, Banff, and see the Rockies for the very first time! There will be pictures included, but most are blurry because I could barely contain my excitement. I got to visit so many new places and see so many new things, life is too amazing. Perhaps one of the most amazing experiences was getting to see Taylor Mali live. Mali is one of my favorite slam poets, and he just so happened to be presenting at the teachers convention. Needless to say, I was in utter shock as he stood not even five feet away from me as he walked on stage. He had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt, and get so emotional I had to go to the little girls room for a time out. The man is a GENIUS! If you haven’t already, check out his stuff on YouTube and prepare to be blown away!
Now…onto the mammoth! I know, mammoths aren’t exactly a problem in the 21st century, but that’s where you’re wrong. I stumbled upon this amazing article online (http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html) and found myself engrossed in it. When I finished reading I sat back and realized, damn…I have to tame this mammoth! For those of you not wanting to dedicate that much time to reading the article, I’ll give you the short version. We all have a mammoth, an internal voice that we have had since way back when that demands we seek approval from others in order to survive. The article points out that even though we do not rely so heavily on how people view us nowadays (we can survive if people dislike us or not, it doesn’t mean we’ll be cast out of the tribe to starve to death!), a lot of us can become obsessed with how others view us. This mammoth demands we feel down and out when others view us poorly, and even reinforces the paranoia we can experience over people potentially not liking us (But…do they REALLY want to hang out with me?)
I love the idea of a tangible mammoth poking around in my head making me paranoid about others not wanting to be my friend, but even more than that I love that someone was able to put all of those ideas into such an awesome article. We all struggle with how others view us and how we view ourselves. We are often our own worst critics, and we have it tough enough sometimes without stressing about what others think. Truth be told, people are usually so worried about themselves they don’t notice if you’re having a bad hair day (sorry, but it’s kinda true!) I’m not saying we give up caring what others think, because it’s important to maintain friendships, create positive relationships, and even get a career! Heck knows that we focus on it too much though, so the taming of the mammoth starts here!
Here’s to the taming of imaginary beasts, here’s to whatever comes next.