It has often been said that subliminal imprinting creates many of our likes and dislikes, that it can be accused or applauded for how we become the people we are.
Little did I know that my usual ‘don’t worry, be happy’ philosophy on life, my laid-back procrastinating lifestyle was actually a product of not necessarily my upbringing so much as where I was brought up.
Or at least that’s my excuse, made rather pointedly tomorrow when the little towns in which I lived my formative years officially declare Aug. 15 “Relaxation Day.”
The region now known by the tourist-oriented ‘Oceanside’ moniker is made up of the villages of Parksville and Qualicum Beach, joined together by French Creek (with, by the way, Whiskey Creek just up the road, which may explain one of my other proclivities).
It is now, apparently, home to the greatest concentration of seniors in the country. When I grew up there, you either became a logger or worked for pennies in the seasonal tourism industry. And as the population of the combined communities was less than 2,000 when I finished high school at QBSS, there weren’t a lot of jobs available at the best of times. Thus a mass exodus of youth to the bright lights of the city, the construction and industrial opportunities throughout the rest of the province or to higher education that you hoped would lead to a reliable paycheque.
So while the various cohorts of youth left the villages and their exceptional strands of sand, seniors and others seeking the ‘relaxed life’ moved in.
It’s rare that I return to Vancouver Island – my home for two-thirds of my life has been the Fraser Valley – yet I still have a lasting attachment relating mainly to the cemetery of the historic log church St. Anne’s at French Creek wherein lie the remains of generations of my family dating back to my great-grandfather, who expired in the vicinity around 1916.
However, family history aside, the communities that sprang up adjacent to the magnificent beaches in the late 1800s have always been known for their haven-like attraction, abetted no doubt by the fact that the area only gets about 28 inches of rain a year, cold winters so infrequent most kids only rarely find ponds frozen enough to skate on.
And maybe that’s why there aren’t so many families flocking to the region. Not much in the way of work, few amenities for organized sports, and major shopping centres a half hour drive away.
But wow, does the area attract the oldsters – so much so that the official stance of the village councils is not only recognition, but declaration, of the need to relax.
Maybe that is something, thanks to our city council, which has been missing in my life these last few years.
As the mayor of Qualicum Beach is quoted as saying, your doctor doesn’t tell you to “make sure stress is a big part of your daily routine.”
How refreshing … rather than threatening residents with draconian bylaws, with piling rules upon rules at ever-increasing tax rates, there is a political philosophy in the sleepy little burgs of east coast Vancouver Island that urges its citizens to take it easy, to relax, and at the same time have some fun doing it.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea for politicians on this side of Georgia Strait to share some of those thoughts with their political brethren/sisteren in laid-back Oceanside.
At least then I’d be able to revert to my intrinsic heritage of a relaxed, couldn’t-care-less slacker.