the jackson approach


Friday in the Park © Raffaella Loro

I have to work an event on Sunday so rather than bank the time I took the time off in lieu Friday afternoon. I headed to the university for a lunch meeting to talk generally about technology integration in academia and government and then strolled down to Corbett Hall to read in the shade out on the lawn. Everything about the afternoon was fantastic, from the temperature, to the breeze, to the proximity to potential hydration and washroom facilities.

As I alternated between lying and sitting with my book while listening to the least distracting music I could find on my iPod (so I could drown out the sound of the traffic nearby), I tried to recall the last time that I had done something like this by myself. And I couldn't remember. It was a bit shocking to me, because I have always liked to think of myself as an independent person who would just go off and do my own thing as it pleased me. But I've realized, since moving to Edmonton I haven't done a lot of that. Every so often I would go off on a little photo exploration by myself, but those were infrequent . I moved to this city and instantly became a part of another person's social network and didn't veer far off from there. Maybe I'm just slow to start socializing on my own? Maybe it took me this long to settle in and feel comfortable enough in the city to start doing my own thing again. All I know is that I've been enjoying my time alone. I've been enjoying my recent surge of initiative to get out of the house, start new projects at work, try to forge new relationships with people (be it work or personal). Sure, this return to independence has been sort of dumped on my lap recently, but I'm taking on the attitude of one of my close friends, an attitude that I've taken to calling the Jackson approach. Basically, life is wonderful if you make it so. All the frustrations, hardships, challenges, battles, emotional turmoil... these things pass, and they pass quicker if you choose to move on and return to doing things that you enjoy doing, especially when you do them with gusto.

So what do I enjoy doing with gusto? I enjoy spending afternoons in a park with a good book and ample opportunities for people watching, I enjoy connecting with people through my intellect , I enjoy writing long streams of consciousness where I record my observations, I like trying to be funny and charming, I like being a little bit unpredictable and forcing myself to trying new things that previously made me uncomfortable (namely potentially embarrassing myself with athletic pursuits that require any sort of real coordination), I enjoy taking pictures and encouraging others to take pictures, I enjoy immersing myself in theory and then finding ways to link it to every day life, I like going for walks after work and filling my head with little narratives that may or may not come true. This list could continue on. There are endless more things I enjoy doing and will continue to enjoy doing. No need to be sorry Mr. Jackson, I am for real.