This is a blog post I wrote a few weeks after moving to Vancouver, BC. I’ve been living here for almost three years now so when I read this piece, it made my heart sing a little.
My life has changed quite a bit since I moved from the East Coast to the West. Had I not made this decision, I would not be working at a non-profit that aligns with what I believe in. I wouldn’t have made the friendships I now hold dear to heart, and I wouldn’t have met my partnerwho I love more than anything. There was a lot I didn’t know about what would come next when I wrote this. The people I would meet, the line of work I would pursue, the relationships I would have the ones I would lose.
This post was also very well received, so I thought I would bring it back today, for the sake of this moment in time where the majority of us are getting a chance to really dive inward and reflect.
The rain here is different – warmer, kinder. Difficult to explain. I guess like most things, you’d have to feel it to understand. I bought some candles today to warm up my space and make it feel cozier; more like home, I suppose. It’s working.
It’s officially been a little over three weeks since I’ve been in Vancouver and it feels like it has been months. People keep telling me that that’s a good thing and I think I believe them. I feel a sense of belonging here that I’ve never felt before. And everything that is new still has this sense of familiarity to it that I can’t really explain.
It seems as if everyone has been injected with some calmness drug and I’m the odd one out who doesn’t know how to relax. Maybe it’ll rub off on me eventually.
One of my best and oldest friends and I have been sending letters to one another. Handwritten letters that we post at the post office. Very old school and very heart felt. I like that I have someone I can do this with. Someone who I can write to about anything and everything, kind of like what I do over here. But I always get a response back with updates and stories. Letter-writing is so personal that way. There’s this connection you get out of putting pen to paper that just isn’t the same thing as a phone call or text message. You feel more open speaking about your truth.
What I’ve been realizing more and more is that when you make a big change in your life, there’s this very real expectation that you should be happy all the time. That you will be excited all the time. It’s true that I’ve moved into a completely new place that I am really excited for. It’s breathtaking. It’s soothing. It’s both familiar and new. It’s the kind of place I’ve always wanted to be in because some part of me must have known that this is where I’d feel home. And I do.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any other emotion. That it will only be excitement and giddiness. I’m so beyond grateful for being here, but I am still the same person within this new environment, meaning that I’ll still have mental health struggles when it comes to my anxiety and depression. It means I’ll still feel nostalgic. I’ll still feel sad and angry and lonely. But I’ll feel happy, too. Just because you’re experiencing something great, doesn’t mean that you have to feel great all the time.
I realized that when talking to friends or family, I thought I had to pretend. Even though I was excited, I was going through such a wide range of emotions all at once and it felt pretty overwhelming. But I felt like I couldn’t share that with anyone because how ungrateful would I seem? I should feel happy, I kept telling myself. Why am I crying? Why am I nostalgic? Why am I feeling anything else? And I felt guilty for it all. For the moments I felt overwhelmed. For the times I cried. For the times I chose to stay in and read instead of going out and exploring.
Thanks to the great practice of meditation and reflecting a lot, I understand that right now, my job is to feel at home here. I’ve only been here a short time but since it felt like longer, I thought I should have done more by now. So I had to hit the pause button a little, take a step back and evaluate what would make me feel sane right now. And I knew (because we always know deep down what it is that we need) what would save me in this time was to do things that allowed me to feel at home.
So I went out and bought a cozy cushion and throw blanket for my couch so I can make it a comfortable little reading nook for myself. I bought candles that smell like baked goods (because those are my favorite) and placed them around my apartment. I set a bubble bath for myself and lit a candle so that I could read for a little while. And that is exactly what I needed.
If you follow me on twitter, you know that I am an avid hiker. I love to explore more than anything, but right now, what I need is to have some days where I stay in and read, take a bubble bath, do some yoga, and write. I need to feel at home and ever since I listened to that voice of knowing, I’ve been feeling calm and good instead of frantic and anxious.
When it’s time to explore more, I’ll do that, too. But there is no rush. I’m here for a while and I needed to give myself some room to feel that.
Sometimes, we just need to listen to the voice that tells us what we already know, but rarely act on. It knows a lot more than the loud voice, I promise.