The Priceless Philo of a Girl by the Sea


We finally picked up the mail on Friday, and in the giant stack was a letter from my eighteen-year-old cousin Alexandra who recently moved to Halifax for university. I love Alex more than most people in the world.

We’ve been exchanging letters, and my last to her outlined some of my November blues, and here, on the last day of this not-so-awesome month, I will share with you some of her perfectly brilliant “philos” (short for philosophies).

Try as hard as you can to live in the absolute present – when you do this, without comparing to the past, or worrying about the future, you will most likely see how incredible your life is right now.

November is a herald to cold winter magic, and being wrapped in the warmth of people you love. Food also tastes better when it’s cold outside. This is absolutely true.

Everyone needs a quiet sanctuary with pieces of familiar, personal things. If you can’t create that in your head, either find a refuge, or carve one out for yourself. You can find these kinds of places anywhere once you start to look for them. If you are a creative person, living without this is just a bad idea.

Sometimes its important to tell the people who love us the most that even though we are treading a path that feels like it is taking us far, far away, they will always have a permanent home in our hearts, and we will always make time in our big adventures to find our way home to visit.

Putting your pen on a page will unlock your heart and often surprise you.

Opening yourself to the possibility of people, without expectation, can pave the way to beautiful friendships.

Things are mighty strange here in Schnooville. Despite this, I have this incredible feeling of stability, which had been evading me for a while.

Last week I started seeing a psychiatrist and parted ways with my day job, all in the same day.

The shrink is to help me sort out the events of the last several years of my life, and to help me develop better tools to deal with some cyclical thought patterns that are just not working for me.

The job thing was a mutual break-up. My priorities have shifted, and life is very different now, and a small and feisty not-for-profit deserves someone who is 110% passionate and committed to what they do. I wasn’t that girl anymore, and it wasn’t coming back. I’ll miss the team. They are such incredible people, all of them. Thank god I have such supportive partners. There are lots of amazing opportunities on the horizon, and both my girl and guy are committed to helping me realize what lies ahead.

This humbles me more than I have words to express. This kind of belief in my ability makes me feel so incredibly lucky. As a young woman, I took such things for granted, but I really feel like I’m positioned to make everyone very proud of me right now. As I grow stronger on the inside, everything I’ve ever wanted seems more and more possible. I’m working at accepting this gift of love and support. It’s a tricky one, but I comfort myself with the knowledge that I would do anything to help each of them realize their own dreams and aspirations. It’s so beautiful to feel such unyielding confidence in my ability from the people who love me. I’m not one to shrink under the weight of that, either. Positive reinforcement is the greatest fuel for my fire.

This weekend, we went to the Winter Fair at the girls’ school. A huge fundraising event, the Winter Fair sees the facility completely transformed. Waldorf schools are magical to begin with, I’m learning, but the sight of this place, and the atmosphere was completely inspiring. I keep wondering how different my life would be if I went to a school that taught us to believe in fairies and to honour the cycle of the year. Saturday was the best day I’ve had in so long. As our six-year-old took my hand and led me through her school with pride, and our three-year old chripped away with a chocolate-stained mouth, I took a deep breath and whispered a thank you. I felt like I really, truly belonged. Like I had a family who all loved me, and who all wanted me at their side. When our older girl introduced me to her teacher, the teacher said “I saw you there with your beautiful, fiery hair and I thought ‘This must be Schnoo’. I’ve heard so much about you, and its so nice to finally meet you.” I was warmly greeted by parents who I have met at other functions, and for not one second did I feel like an interloper.

It made me want my own little one to add to the joy, but in perhaps the healthiest way I’ve thought of such a thing in a very long time. The idea of baby felt like a sweet, hopeful addition to what was already so very beautiful. It was like adding icing to an already lovely cupcake, and the feeling of filling a deep void, or the anxious desperation were gone from that equation. It felt possible, instead of like the terrifying spectre of my own past difficulty.

After the Winter Fair, we went north to the country where I met my girlfriend’s entire family at their holiday reunion. I’m fairly sure that most people there knew about our relationship, but beyond a few lingering stares (to be expected, I think) everyone welcomed us and treated me like I was a very welcome guest.

Today I woke up to receive an email from a friend with a link to an article about a woman who lives with four other women and a guy, and they’ve been together for seven years.

Something I often hear is “Two-people relationships are so very difficult. How can three people possibly make it work?”

Am I naive to think that if the traditional model isn’t working out so well for most people, that perhaps the time has come to try something else?

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