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16102023 mid autumn recap // i’m in your care

secretly, gently, i have thousands of words hidden in my site for your eyes only. september was fiery; in a matter of 30 days i have moved back to one of my favourite cities, read hundreds of thousands of printed text across a variety of domains, met dozens of new people - many of which i can label as “friends” without a second thought (what a wonderful feeling!), and have rekindled a long lost tenderness that can only be explained via the romantic yearning playlists spotify keeps recommending to me.

the days were non-figuratively smoldering. our apartment is perpetually under construction and the lack of air conditioning made our living room a sauna amidst the cusp end of summer. we’ve had a lot of people over; an odd birthday party with melted jello shots, a cozier butternut coworking session, scattered 1:1 wine gatherings, and one too many nights of just shen and i listening to our night mixes on my speaker into the late evening. our place is quickly collecting memories in every square foot and it has quickly become my safe haven.

i wake up and im in my own care. i take myself to explore streets and i spend hours gazing at trees, clouds, and my blank ceiling. i smile to strangers on trains, busses, bikes, sidewalks and there is absolutely no reason not to. kids giggle at my whimsy hat collection and exclaim “grenouille!” and my heart grows a little more each day. life continues blooming around me even when it feels like im at a standstill.

there are 2 distinct, major changes in myself. generally speaking, i am simply: 1. thinking a lot more and 2. living more plainly.

  1. with my days fully open there is nothing to do BUT think. slowly i have become a lot more introspective than i would like to admit, i spend prolonged periods looking at art and discussing open ended questions with “no point”. i’m cumulating hours biking through dark unpaved paths rather than taking the metro home just so i can have more time with myself in open spaces. it seems i really, truly, deeply understand my intrinsic values (read: twentyone.html) and i haven’t wavered from them at all. i’ve put a lot of thought around the person i am and the person i want to be. i am constantly actively planning and executing the in-between, and if i catch myself slowly drifting from this ideal, i rewatch all of the core moments in my life and i ground myself back to these curated beliefs.
  2. i feel lighter than ever before! for a while i’ve felt bored, perhaps even antsy, but now i’ve really embraced this meaningful time with myself and i can pinpoint exactly what creates happiness for me. most of my happiness is not derived from any sort of materiality (with the exception of a really good fruit), but rather being in the presence of others, doing things for others that make them glow, staring at the sky without thinking about anything else, watching children laugh, serious discussions on silly topics, perfectly constructed sentences that scratch my brain in the most perfect way, doing a set at the gym so well i feel like i’m going to throw up, sitting on the couch with shen and making incoherent noises to each other in our attempt to communicate gibberish feelings, my 30 minute subway ride to my sister’s apartment, having bibi (her dog) sleep on my stomach, wearing silly hats, teaching people how to pick fruits, cooking for others, helping strangers with directions, writing letters… and the list goes on. there simply is no shortage of the things that make me happy!

i recently finished tomorrow & tomorrow & tomorrow (whilst sobbing on my 2 hour delayed viarail train) and this particular thought stood out to me: "Sam used to say that Marx was the most fortunate person he had ever met – he was lucky with lovers, in business, in looks, in life. But the longer Sadie knew Marx, the more she thought Sam hadn't truly understood the nature of Marx's good fortune. Marx was fortunate because he saw everything as if it were a fortuitous bounty."

as of the last 2 months, i have probably said “life is so good” upwards of 1,000 times. 10 times a day at the very least. my roommate (whose spotify day mixes frequently indulges in keywords like ‘soul-crushing’) must be sick of me and my high spirits. the odd thing about this is my life hasn’t intrinsically changed much; i am still the same arielle living in existing time but just with more minutes to go deeper into everything that already exists. the days are the same but i go out of my way to appreciate them further. i feel so lucky even in the most mundane moments and in itself makes me a lucky person. i am surrounded by amazing friends, an incredible partner, i text my parents more frequently, i sold a company!!, i live in a beautiful, cheap apartment… i am lucky, lucky, lucky. but, i feel the same kind of fortune when a stranger smiles at me on the street or when i find 3 dimes on the sidewalk in a day. i find bounties in everything and this has only rewarded me with a life that feels fulfilling even when it is not of typical success.

i pulled together a vermont cabin a few weeks ago and it was nothing short of wonderful with the most amazing people. temporal explorations were frequently instigated during our girl weekend. we would be snacking on the couch, walking down beautiful orchards of autumn reds, laying by the warmth of embering wood and someone would blurt their thoughts of death. jarring; time waits for no one! and yet, i am not afraid of the truth of never waking up to see another day. life is fleeting and that’s what makes everyday feel so precious to me. the leaves turn orange, we clean the ashes off the fireplace mantle, and scarcity brings fondness.

unrelated to death, but on the concept of timeliness: we found ourselves dividing our lives in segments during our “tea party life updates”. this quarter, this semester, this year, i will […], and i realized that i have never gone past the year mark when it comes to planning my home. of course, i have long-term idealizations of my rural vineyard and a life of familial abundance in decades, but i don’t actually have any /specific/ goals in the next 5 years. no bucket list cities to live in, no plans of further formal education; i set general goals of feelings i want to emulate. ie. my occupation must be in a field i care deeply about enough to talk about for hours everyday or gives me the urgency to “pill” people. on choosing the people around me: my heart must feel warm and i will feel lucky to be in their presence (pride in my friends! always!). my romantic partner never fails to make me swoon (pride once more!) and many more ambiguous notions that bring me towards ‘happiness’.

although i have now graduated, i found myself craving one last division of time into a semester. 2 months ago i put together a curriculum (my syllabussy, if you will) for myself to follow for 4 months in montreal. one more salutation, a final ode to distinct periods of designated learning. in the last month and a half, i’ve covered a lot of ground which properly deserve their own rambles but i always end up with half-finished drafts that i’m too shy to share… but they will go live with time!

overall, this year has felt time abundant. there has been a noticeable shift in my personality pre and post acquisition and it has everything to do with the sheer quantity of free time i’ve had. it’s been 8 months since peko was acquired and life has moved very fast and quite slow in multifarious tangents. the spring that followed was chaos and my emotions felt deeper than anything i had experienced before. my summer days were slow & mindful but passed by in an instant. my fall thus far is warm, the days mean more and time means less in these moments because i am consistently joyous. i remarked that my face has been constantly sore in the past few weeks from the sheer volume and durations of smiles.

peak peko, i rarely, if ever, saw or made time for others beyond my most inner circle (and that was simply because i lived with them). life was still good, but not to the extent that i feel so strongly about now. i recently reconciled with my old best friend from freshman year; we had drifted apart fast once school went virtual and fell apart even harder once school returned. my presence was missing, both physically and as a proper friend. we recently spent hours talking through our own shortcomings and it was so easy for me to see how truly terrible of a friend i had become to people that i used to share my daily life with. through my most abominable hours, she (and many others) supported me and i took it for granted with lesser reciprocation.

friendships aren’t a balancing scale and there are no equality laws around giving and receiving. but, i feel like i received much more than i gave in these prior peko years. although i was content, i was not in love with life the way i am now, which corresponds with me constantly giving with zero expectations of a return, living earnestly and being present for the sake of sharing my life with others & nothing more.

if it’s one epiphany i’ve had this year: taking time off is actually not for myself although it does eventually reward me via other means. all the positive feelings i’ve accumulated have been a result of taking time off for others. in arguably one of my saddest weeks this year, i flew to waterloo to cook and clean my friends apartments during midterm season and it made me feel… useful. it gave me a purpose and suddenly, something in my head shifted where i craved more of this, my meagre time could bring so much joy to others and the happiness is contagious. so, i scroll through my contacts and call friends out of the blue to hear about their lives, i plan events and send unprovoked calendar invites, i learn people’s childhood dishes and attempt to recreate flavours with feeling. i only accept payment in the form of happiness and now the Bank is questioning where all of these deposits are coming from. it goes without saying but i have an inkling that my fortuious bounties are endless as long as i continue living life this way. i am happy and lucky because i find happiness and luck in everything i do.

ultimately, arielle living a full life is living a life that is shared. it is a glass jar of infinite colours given and taken from everyone i meet. it does not amalgamate nor muddle; they float in hyperspace in perfect tandem and it is more beautiful than anything i have ever known. the days are mine but the moments are always ours to share!!

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