The View from the 14th floor

by Terry Oliver on February 5, 2012

From Paris to the Pacific Rim is quite a change and I’m only just beginning to adjust to living in a high rise in Vancouver at the ocean’s edge after a spell in the heart of Paris. Comparisons are odious, they say, so I won’t attempt one. Rather, I’m trying to adopt the Buddhist view that everything is change – a more positive or at least helpful approach to this next stage in the process of living in the 3rd Age.

With my 76th birthday fast approaching, I feel a sense of urgency in using every day and not letting them slip through my fingers.So much still to do, it’s hard to prioritise. What shall I focus on first, with everything clamouring for attention? My old fallback of writing a ‘to-do’ list feels inadequate.

The main change my significant other and I are coping with is having our own separate working and living spaces.ย  Vancouver has a surfeit of one bedroom apartments but very few three bedroom ones unless you can afford living in penthouse suites.ย  As a result, we opted for two one bedroom places on the same street with the same stunning views ofย  English Bay.

Our plan is to shuttle between the two places, alternating the cooking and sleeping arrangements. Whose ever apartment we’re in for the night, that person cooks. Then the next morning, after breakfast, the other one heads back to their apartment and we each get on with our own work undisturbed. By the afternoon when we ‘ve finished working, we get together again but this time at the other’s place. No excuses for not working.

Sounds clever, doesn’t it? We pinched the idea from JeanPaul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir who both felt the need to maintain separate working spaces. If it worked for them, it can work for us, we figured. We’ll see. Already I can foresee potential traps – like leaving stuff at one place when we’re at the other.ย  I already spend an inordinate amount of time looking for things like glasses, keys, papers etc. So I could be doubling that wasted time if I’m not careful.

Meantime, I’m trying to stay positive and open to change, like the Buddha counsels. One of my 2012 resolutions was to become more socially engaged in all that Vancouver offers. Already I have volunteered once again at the local Food Bank and also joined Village Vancouver – the local Transition town initiative.

Oh yes, and I’ve signed up for a class in organic balcony gardening. Roll on 76…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Camilla Morrow February 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

Terry, I have to say I’m impressed with the two-apt. idea – when I first heard about it, de Beauvoir and Sartre immediately popped into mind – not bad role models for you both, I must say :)…I admire the two of you for doing it in your 70’s, and hope the ‘stuff issue’ (where are my keys, glasses etc?) doesn’t predominate…meanwhile, enjoy your spectacular view, and hope it brings forth the muse for both of you…

It is now pouring rain here in la Manzanilla, Mexico, and I’m taking full advantage of these days to catch up on some writing! Too bad for the group of Vancouver/ Gibson’s women who just arrived – I’m teasing them that they brought this weather from the wet coast ๐Ÿ™‚

Terry Oliver March 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Hi Camilla, sorry for the delay in replying – ‘stuff’ is certainly causing lots of teething problems but we are undeterred – trotting back and forth with spare toothbrushes and arcane items like garam masala but the keys are now all duplicated and some of them triplicated to allow for memory lapses. The view makes up for a lot – but also a serious distraction to working.

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