From Where I Sit – Last I Heard

It’s almost the end of March and it looks like we’ll make it through another winter. Woohoo. With spring in the near distance, it seems we’re a bit late planning a getaway to break up the long, frigid brutality of winter.

Last fall we talked to my sister and brother-in-law about a Vegas quickie. Not because we’re huge gamblers (we’re not) or because we have tickets to some big act (we don’t). We were hoping to use the ?rewards? from the My Vegas Slots game Sherry and I have been playing on our phones for years. She used some on a previous trip so we know it actually works. Because Jim’s health isn’t great and out-of-country travel is risky, they pulled back.

The regular family trip to Palm Springs didn’t happen. Roy and I didn’t leap at a trip to an all-inclusive Mexican resort partly because of our schedules and partly because of the weak Canadian dollar. My Banff writers? retreat was aborted by my fall and subsequent injuries.

And so we find ourselves at the end of March. What has become our default position is taking mini breaks. Tonight we’ll be attending the first of a three-part theatre mini-pak at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. Before that, we’ll watch Grady play hockey in an Edmonton tournament.

There is no doubt there are many options for scheduling small distractions, no matter your interests. The Citadel Theatre has been deluging me with regular sales mailers. The latest pitch is for six plays in the 2017-2018 season. I sit firmly astride the fence so far.

For my birthday I got a gift card for a month of unlimited classes at Lifestyle Meditation, ?Edmonton’s first meditation and mindfulness-only based studio?. Dontcha feel better just thinking about it?

We know dining experiences galore exist. There are continuing education classes in every subject under the sun. I’ve got a gift certificate for a special room rate at the Best Western Camrose Resort and Casino that expires in September. There are spas, greenhouses, museums, galleries, libraries, shopping malls all wanting a piece of our disposable time and money.

So we know choices exist. The critical thing is to actually choose. We need activities that provide a mental, physical, emotional reprieve from our daily grind. And we can’t leave it to chance or hope they fall into our outstretched hands. It’s a matter of safeguarding our mental health, of resting and renewing so we can summon the courage to face our real life with all its must-do obligations.

With unemployment hurting so many and with a weak dollar and safety concerns, foreign travel may not be feasible. I implore you to find ways to get the break you need within the reality of your circumstances. It may be as small as a free outing lasting a few hours. Unless You’re a total useless lay about who hasn’t worked a day in your life, you need this. Last I heard there are no medals for martyrdom, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.