Solstice to solstice to solstice: A note from South Africa

Over the past year I have embarked on a journey that began, unexpectedly, with the recognition that I had allowed pressures at my job to consume me, to drive me to the very brink of a complete breakdown. It was summer solstice when I removed myself from the office, imagining at the time that I would soon be back and on track. I had no idea how sick I was and no real appreciation of how much I had sacrificed to work and children. Now, with work in tatters and children grown I wondered if I had really lived the full and rewarding life I imagined that I had. Finding myself (again) in mid-life has been difficult, dark and lonely – a task I felt ill prepared to take on.

But it has been the very best thing that could have happened.

From a very low point last December, winter solstice, my life has started to change in very real and important ways. A wonderful therapist and proper medical support have been crucial, while finding a supportive community has helped me start to move out into the world in an honest and authentic way. But, much to my surprise, blogging has opened up the world in a way I had not anticipated. I began with no clear objective, fueled with manic energy, spiraled into a little anxiety driven meandering as my world fell apart and solidified this year into a basically book focused blog.

Along the way I made a friend who has become a ballast for me – a touchstone, someone who understands the experience of navigating the storms of bipolar disorder because she rides them herself. Someone who is also queer. And an avid reader.

Nobel winners waterfront CT Indian ocean

However, getting together for coffee required a little planning. I live in western Canada, she lives in South Africa. And so I marked this past solstice, trading summer for winter, in Cape Town. Then I boarded a bus for the Eastern Cape province where I am now. I have long had an interest in South Africa, with the literature and history of this complicated and important place. The dust has not settled here.

My friend has given me a gift I will not soon forget. Our friendship has opened a space for us to explore our own personal journeys and to talk about our respective countries – to compare the differences and the similarities.

And I am also  guaranteed to arrive home with books.

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

13 thoughts on “Solstice to solstice to solstice: A note from South Africa”

  1. You’re a delight – I’m just as glad we connected and it’s great that we can do coffee 😉

    I love the beach photo; I’ve been photographing it for years and it’s awesome to see a fresh view of it. And I’m so glad you enjoy the flipside of the usual SA experience.

    Now we just need to find you a good man, win a lottery or two and arrange the 6month plan 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny. I regret that I won’t get up your way but maybe next time :). I will have many observations about this fascinating place that I might prefer to share outside of a post if you would not mind a private email at some point. It has been fascinating to have such a low key visit, observe and engage with a variety of people who live here. I traveled by bus which was very interesting.

      PS I just directed a blogger I know to you. I believe she is interested in a SA blogger for a guest post on her blog.


      1. It would be great if you came to Canada. It is a huge country land wise but I do live in the province next to BC.

        Now that I am here in ZA would love to see more of the country, but I want to be able to spend time in each area, not do the rush through tourist thing.

        I think the blogger I sent in your direction is looking for someone who might contribute a guest post on her blog. She reviews and writes more general bookish themed blogs – very interesting. And she has visited South Africa herself a few times.

        Liked by 1 person

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