On Top of Mountains: Where Everything Makes Sense

grouse-mountain-british-columbia

It’s my last day in Vancouver until I move here next month and I can’t help but feel a longing to come back here already though I haven’t even left. My whole life, I spent moving to a different place every few years. My family has never been one to fully settle down anywhere. Boxes were never fully unpacked because we knew we were going to get up and leave soon and I could never fully feel at home anywhere.

When I moved to my university town, I thought I’d love it there. I thought these past four years would give me some sense of what it’s like to feel at home and create a family, and it has. This is where I got my shit together. This is where I started working, where I figured out that it was writing that I wanted to pursue and any other work would be a way to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. This is where I decided that I didn’t want to go to grad school in psychology and take on a 9-5 job. This is where I decided what I didn’t want my life to look like, and that was a big thing.

I chose to change my degree to 3 years and start working full time at a job that’s now letting me move to Vancouver with it. A job that gave me a family, structure, financial stability, and a comforting zone that just let me be exactly who I was, even when I didn’t know who that person would be.

This small town gave me friendships that I thought would last a lifetime but those people were only supposed to be a part of my journey for a certain period of time. I lost a lot, but I gained even more in terms of authenticity.

Sometimes we feel we outgrew a place, a position, a person, a life. And when I reached that point, I felt lost all over again. I felt like I was back at square one when really, I just got better at knowing myself and what I needed.

Yesterday, I got a call back on my first real adult apartment in downtown Vancouver that I got approved to live in by the kindest manager/landlord of the building who helped me know the city, the laws and what to pay attention to. I got the same feeling from her that I did when I signed my previous lease at university with my roommates from a landlord that I established a wonderful relationship with.

I went to my second work meeting at another store where I got that same feeling from the Store Brand Leader who worked there. These past two days have felt like things are beginning to fall into place, FINALLY. I realized that since the day I fell apart, wanted to quit everything and go back to the way things were, I’ve gotten nothing but good news and success after success. How funny life is that it’s always after you reach your breaking point that you begin to rise higher than ever before.

My life here will begin sooner than I can fathom. I mean, by the end of August, I’ll have moved in to my first apartment on my own. I’ll have a better position at my company waiting for me. I’ll live a 10 minute walk away from it. I’ll be in a city of wonder, beauty, nature, outdoor adventures, and a wave of calmness that swifts through the air.

Yesterday, I climbed Grouse Mountain and got the call for my apartment as I was exploring the top of it. First of all, climbing a mountain is no joke. It’s always been on my bucket list and for someone who lives a very active lifestyle, I still wanted to die about 3 times in-between. I went really fast in the beginning and quickly learned that that isn’t the way to reach the top. You just have to keep a steady pace and not outdo yourself. The group of people around me became my cheerleaders and I was theirs. We were our own little family, supporting each other. When we reached the top, the 9-year-old boy hiking beside me jumped up in the air and high-fived me. I was speechless and on a new level of high. I wanted to experience that sensation all over again.

grouse-mountain-bc

grouse-mountain-bc-2

The views for beautiful at the top, but the climb was my favourite part. I met so many amazing people and was surrounded by beauty everywhere I looked. I took moments to stop and just look behind me at how far I’d come. How beautiful the world looked from where I was standing. I wanted to stay in those moments forever, but I absorbed what I could and then continued to climb.

I made it up a lot faster than I thought I would: 1 hour and 23 minutes. I can’t wait to come back and live here so that I can do it again because I learned a lot from that climb. I learned a lot about myself. How quickly I want to speed through it to get to the top, how quickly I’ve always wanted to rush through my life to get to where I want, and then understanding very quickly that that isn’t how you’re supposed to do it. You’re supposed to meet people along the way. You’re supposed to keep your pace steady so that you don’t burn out. You’re supposed to have cheerleaders and be the cheerleader for others. You’re supposed to take moments to stop, breathe, and look back at how far you’ve come. You’re supposed to look at the world around you and take in the wonder, the beauty, the life that exists everywhere. You’re supposed to let yourself feel like you’re a part of it all.

It was a beautiful climb, but it doesn’t end here. You’re never finished and I don’t know if I want to be anymore. There’s always more beauty, more heartache, more tragedy and more wonder. I’m grateful for it all and I can’t wait to see what’s to come next.

Continue Reading

Mental Health and Adventure: Am I Scared or Unhappy?

There was a turning point I reached yesterday, one where I was faced with this understanding that some of my ghosts still exist and that it is my decision what I am to do with them. Whether I will breathe life back into these thoughts, this outlook on life, carrying it all forward, or whether I should simply walk away.

I’m afraid that they will always be a part of me because part of me also knows that these things, these thoughts, this way of being, doesn’t just go away. Mental health doesn’t work like that, so I’ve learned.

Yesterday I came out of what felt like a disastrous interview and completely fell apart. It was like I was back at square one. That these two job opportunities were the only thing that I could count on. Everything else: the apartment hunting, the prospect of leaving things behind, the expenses of moving, all of it was chaos. But this job transfer, it was stable. It was the thing that held me together. When everything else got too scary, I told myself that it would work out because this one thing was all the structure I needed to fuel the rest of myself off of.

It’s not that the meeting went poorly, it’s just that I didn’t get a good feeling off of it. It’s not like I don’t have another meeting with another store today, because I do. It’s just that I held on to this one thing so tightly that when it didn’t go exactly the way that I wanted, I fell apart. I felt 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 years old all over again. Back when I was emotionally unstable, in a state of depression, distortion, and a mindset of nothing will ever go right. Life will always look this way and I will always feel like this: weak, depressed, confused, alone, and lost.

As stressful as it is to be on this “vacation”/business trip to Vancouver with my parents for 10 days, I’m glad my mom was here with me. I’m glad that when I fell apart, I could crawl into her arms the way a toddler does when they scrape their knee. I just wanted it all to be over. I wanted to go back to the life I had in my small town where everything was simple and I finally got to a place of financial and emotional stability. I wondered why I am the type of person who always craves adventure and a curious life when I could have the simple, routine one that’s available to me when I get back.

I wanted to spend the rest of the day moping, upset, and eating chocolate even though I had lost my appetite. I wanted to opt-out of this moving fiasco that felt more like an apocalypse than an adventure. But I had made plans to go to Lynn Canyon Park and hike next to tall trees, walk down the suspension bridge, and sit on the rocks next to the water. I didn’t want to ruin my parents’ trip just because I felt like a complete and utter failure. I didn’t want my mess to travel into and consume everyone else’s life. So I went.

mental-health-and-adventure

And suddenly nothing else seemed to matter anymore. Not the treacherous apartment search, not the expenses, not the jobs, or my scattered and afraid mind. Suddenly the world was still around me and I remembered why it was that I felt like I was being led to this place. It was the nature, the wonder, the beauty, and this sense of grounded adventure everywhere I turn. It was the wave of calmness that I felt in the air the moment I stepped off the plane. It was the mountains and hills, the way the trees stood so tall you wondered if they had an endpoint. It was the way the water swayed and made you believe that your body was designed to flow this way, too.

Sometimes we get so caught up in all the details, so focused on the things that are made to take us away from what really matters. What really brought you to where you are and what is really leading you towards the next chapter. That’s when we become afraid, anxious, triggered back to our old patterns of thought. It’s the singular focus, this narrowmindedness of filtering your life through negative events. That’s when we are led off track from the truth. Sometimes we become so lost in ourselves that we don’t see the greatness that’s directly in front of us. We miss the beauty because we don’t believe it’s there.

I’m glad I remembered. I’m glad I remembered to see what was in front of me this whole time. Sometimes all we need is to be still to get back, even though it’s the last thing we want to do. But I think we need to be stubborn about our stillness the way we’re stubborn about everything else. I think we need to force ourselves to be still so that we can feel like we are a part of this flow again. So that we can remember that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. That worry is not a solution to our problems; that it never was. And that we need to trust that what is to come was always waiting for us.

Continue Reading

Who Can I Be Here

Have you ever lived a day that’s felt like three? It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad way, but some days are just longer than others. We just live through them differently, slower for some reason.

Traveling will usually give you a few extra hours. Like for instance my yesterday was 27 hours…or longer, instead of 24. Isn’t that weird? To just be handed three extra hours in your day? I’m not going to lie, I’ve been kind of on edge. Something that apartment hunting, lack of sleep, and spending a full ten days with your parents can do to a person.

So yesterday was long. Probably because the night before saw no sleep. My mom and I spent it doing loads of laundry and packing because that’s the kind of stuff you should be doing 4-5 hours before your flight. Right????

I don’t know what it is about spending time with my parents that turns me back into an angsty teenager, but I feel bad for it. My mom and I went on a nice 2-hour-long hike yesterday because that’s a thing you can do pretty much anywhere, here in Vancouver. It’s beautiful, everything is green gold. The trees are taller, the mountains are hoverboards, and there is this ease to things that I have never met before. I came here and I felt this wave of calm wash over me, like the anxiety of Toronto, was put on the back burner and it was time to try a new way of life.

It’s about 5:00 am here and this is justĀ about the only downtime I’ve gotten. The world is quiet, it’s a bit chilly but not too much, and the sun’s going to wake up soon. I like writing now. I like that this place asks something different of me. I like that it’s frustrating to compromise. And I like that in about two months or less, I’ll be living in the midst of all the beauty Vancouver has to offer.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 35