Monthly Archives: May 2008

A new approach to deja vu

Back in Toronto. Again. Living in the same place as this time last year. Same job as last year too. Dissertation? A bit different, but still seems at the same stage. You’re back again? But were you not in Brazil? Changed your mind? Yes, yes, and no. This was the plan. Just not sure it was the best plan ever.

I plan too much, and analyse the past too much too. Which means there’s very little energy to live in the present a little. New resolution: to live in the present for a change. To accept the moment, instead of always rushing to the next stage. In this, I’m copycatting a friend of mine who has planned that, from now on, she will be more spontaneous. Deliberate spontaneity. Paradoxical? Will have to do for now.

In my eight years in North America, I never felt homesick, except for the last winter, when I was counting the days to go back home. So back home I went and having spent the last few months there, it took me less than a week back in Toronto to feel homesicker than I’ve ever been ever. Funny. But here’s where the whole live in the moment thing helps.

I saw my boss yesterday for the first time since I’ve been back. He says to me out of the blue: “Ester, I don’t know whether you’re happy to be back, but we’re sure happy that you’re back!” I hadn’t even been complaining or anything. He just said that out of nowhere. “Glad someone at least is happy,” was my first thought. But then I suddenly realized that people seemed generally pleased to see me again. Not over-the-moon happy, but still not at all unhappy. Even the owner of a restaurant I used to go to frequently said that he had noticed my absence. If restaurant owners said they noticed your absence, that meant that you couldn’t have been completely invisible. A little eccentric maybe, but invisible no. And if your boss said he’s happy to see you again, then you weren’t completely useless. A little off there somewhere, but still capable of making a difference. And that felt good. Dissertation writing is not always as flattering. 

Yesterday I got an email turning down a paper I submitted for publication last year. It was surreal to see that the reviewer’s comments were almost identical to what my committee members’ comments on the same piece of work. It felt like a deja vu, but, oddly enough, it also had a surprisingly reassuring effect on me. By this I mean the same kind of reassurance one might feel when a second medical opinion confirms an unfavourable diagnosis. But still, that’s something.

Still on the deja vu theme, today was my first class back in Tai Chi. Same instructor as last summer, same introductory class as last summer. His didactic skills are not the most remarkable, and standing like a scarecrow still makes three minutes feel like three hours, but hey, that’s really good for keeping my tendinitis away. And to think that this time last year I didn’t even know what tendinitis was. So something have actually changed in the last year. Good. I think I’ll stop keeping tabs now. Seize the day, they say. As long as the tendinitis be kept away, the day shall be seized. Now back to work. 

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