I haven’t been well for the past few weeks, and instead of being a focused paper-writing machine, I’ve barely been able to stay awake. The few hours each day I haven’t been asleep have been filled with sneezing and coughing and trying to keep my fever down. It’s been awful to have such little control over my consciousness and health, and instead of bright eyes and a smile, to see a pale, exhausted person whenever I catch sight of my reflection.
The result has been much resolution- making to be a kinder, gentler and more grateful person. It’s been a negotiation of sorts. If I can only stay awake I say in my waking moments, I will refrain from complaining, I will be less impatient, I will cherish small moments, and I will focus on growing and learning as much as I can.
And thankfully, in the past three or four days I’ve become well, and yesterday when the sun came out it felt spring was celebrating my recovery by finally arriving with all its lovely life-affirming, dream-building power. The sky was a beautiful cloudless blue, the Harbourfront was sparkling, and on my way to Oakville to have a serious study weekend, everyone on the GO Train was in high spirits. Near my seat, two guys were talking about doing a play reading recently in a friend’s living room and how wonderful it is to be part of something where people are keen to make good things happen.
Their energy was infectious, and throughout my train ride I kept thinking of my time in Toronto thus far. (Alain de Botton was right when he said that journeys are the midwives of thoughts. I’ve certainly never traveled in a train without leaving it with a new outlook.)
And so as we rushed past different stations, I remembered arriving excitedly in Toronto seven months ago curious to discover what is it I care about most when apart from familiar people and surroundings. Who would matter the most to me? What will I want to work towards? What would being on my own teach me about myself? There is no word in English to describe the in-between state of being not quite a local in a city, but not exactly being a tourist either, but the crisp weather of those first few months were accompanied by crisp thoughts and hopes. In the winter, as the temperatures plunged to double – digit negative temperatures, these questions remained obstinately with me. These questions brought beautiful springtime realizations and fresh perspectives, but times like the end of term have been like unexpected snowfalls that require effort to dig out of.
In either case, I’m slowly realizing that it’s all simply weather. The good and bad times will both pass away, but my inner weather should always be under my control. Without that, living in a new place, meeting new people and studying intensely interesting material are marvelous adventures that are easy to forget to be thankful for.