This Canada.

Back to The North, a category on this blog that I’ve ignored for a few weeks.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve now lived in Canada for a year and a half. I’m slightly incredulous because I’m still geographically disenfranchised, my family is back East, and I’m unable to articulate the phrase “eh,” despite my best attempts. More interestingly, I’ve come to the mild conclusion that Canada embodies, in some ways, a better, more holistic vision of Western culture and capitalism than the United States. More to the point, I now think Canada is the relatively happy step-sister to the United States, which is riddled with Ritalin, war, and religion. By no means is life in Canada utopian (as many of my left-leaning friends in the States would like to think), but, in speaking with people here, I’ve learned that, while American complaints and anxieties are real and very massive, Canadian counterparts are real and more minor.
I probably need to give an example, and a personal one would be best. Living in New York, even before 9/11, I was constantly worried about random gun violence, trains falling off the track, car accidents, nuclear terrorism, environmental degradation, and potential loss of healthcare. Don’t get me wrong; living in New York for 11 years was phenomenal in every sense of the word. I wouldn’t have given it up for anything. But there wasn’t a day that went by in which one of these worries didn’t enter my consciousness and some days, sadly, all of them would coalesce to battle out a win for keeping me up at night. I sought help and got it and there’s no doubt that my own internal and wired neuroses traveled on the same airplane to Canada as I did.
However, the rapidity of these worries, while still extant, is much less pronounced. I’ll occasionally get a tinge of anxiety about personal income, terrorism, financial collapse, poor road conditions, or some other lovely thing but the intensity just isn’t there. I can only attribute this, in some part, to environmental effects. Canada, or the place I live in Canada, has modified my complaints. Weakend them, in fact.