In one of her recent podcasts, Belle compared getting sober to traveling to China. Scary but exciting. She said it would be a good idea to bring along a guide. ☺️
I’ve been thinking lately how to best articulate my plans for the future, now that I’m at nearly a year along this journey. A journey in China? Might be a good metaphor.
Now that I’ve been here in China for almost a year, it’s beginning to feel like home to me. I like it here a lot. The mornings are filled with sunshine and calm. The evenings are cozy and warm. There seem to be more hours in a day.
In this year, I’ve learned many things – the language, special things to eat and drink, where to go and what to do when feeling stressed or sad, and how to explain why I’m here. Not to the natives of course, but to the people back home who’ve never been here, who maybe can’t imagine wanting to even visit a place like this.
My closest friends and family know that this isn’t just a visit to China. They know I plan to stay indefinitely. Most importantly, my husband is happy here too (even though he doesn’t fully participate in the culture 😉). And my kids benefit greatly from this place. I don’t know if they’ll choose to stay for their adult lives, but at least for now, they like the lifestyle very much.
Now that this year in China is almost complete, it’s time for a shift in focus. I don’t want to make a pledge for another year or focus on counting the days. Closely monitoring the time is becoming tedious. Setting another goal feels like my stay is intended to be temporary. Instead, I want to concentrate on nurturing the new life I’ve created here. Smoothing out the rough spots, appreciating the already smooth. I want to lean into it more fully.
Maybe I’ll even retire to this place.
The other day my mother in law quietly asked me (for the first time ever) about my not drinking. She didn’t say much or ask a lot of questions. She only asked if I planned to continue this way. And she said she was proud of me. It was a tiny, enormous moment.
Later on I asked my husband if she had talked with him before she spoke with me, to find out what was really going on. Of course she had. And when he described what he had told her, I was sort of amazed. He was able to articulate the reasoning behind my sobriety so perfectly, and in such respectful terms. With just a few sentences, he made me feel proud of myself and my own story. Enormous again.
And last night I had a “happy hour” with some work friends who know nothing about my life in China. 🤔 I wasn’t sure what I was going to say exactly about not drinking, but when the time came, I said that I really didn’t want any alcohol because of the sleepy factor. And I really didn’t. We ordered food and talked and laughed and it was lovely. Afterwards I drove like a madwoman to get to my son’s choir concert nearly on time. And that was lovely too. And then I came home and watched football while eating Christmas cookies. All sober. And all good.
I like it here in China.
Happy sober Tuesday,