Do you see a lot of change in your life compared to a year ago? Would you say you’ve grown? And are you surprised?
One year ago this week I was on the brink of moving back to Manitoba to start my new job on August 1st,, 2012. I was a social work graduate, living in downtown Ottawa with my boyfriend of 6 years. I wouldn’t have called myself a ‘city slicker’ yet I can’t deny I enjoyed some hustle bustle of urban life; like restaurants, movie theatres, shops and city skylines. The majority of my family lived back up North in Flin Flon while I had not lived home since 17 years of age. I had grown accustomed, for better or for worse, to an independent way of life – although it satisfied me in various ways, was by no means fulfilling. My degree aside, I settled into the thankless world of retail, styling people in trendy frocks and pushing sales day in and day out. “Can I help you find your size?” I’d ask. “Thank you and be sure to come again next week when the new collection is out!” Always promoting, pushing; It was a paycheck to paycheck life.
Creatively speaking I performed independently in a handful of local Ottawa establishments since 2010, recorded an independent album, published a book of photography and started flexing my artistic muscles in a way unlike I had allowed myself previously. We can hold ourselves back sometimes, right? I attempted to face some fears of expressing more.
All in all – I considered myself a work in progress with confidence to gain professionally and artistically, despite milestones accomplished up till that point. At the time I boarded that flight westward bound, I was in the middle of recording a follow up album with Darren Holmes, and not looking especially forward to a year away from my boyfriend; particularly when my hometown represented past ghosts and forgotten reverie.
Flash forward to today: I’ve been back ‘home’ a full year, working full time in the mental health profession, surrounded in nature, family, community and creative inspiration. To my wonderment I’ve found fulfillment in this homecoming; and the one year anniversary compels me to consider the journey. Immediately wheels were set in motion; my world slowed down enough where I could stop and literally smell the roses, re-connect with kin and roots. It’s had its pains, yet in the process I learned a little something about ‘letting go’, be it of the past, old thought patterns, belief systems about myself and life.
By no means am I a self-actualized being; I’ve a journey to travel and I can still hold on to things. I enjoy being surprised by life, and there is still something for me to gain from being ‘home’.
With that, I’m not ready to leave yet; and in fact I won’t until its time. I’m living it out and even buying a home. Yes indeed, my first home is a Flin Flon home; my boyfriend will be coming to stay – and we can begin settling into this new abode. A time will come where it’ll be time to leave here too, and who knows when that shall be; what I can say is the future is open – and for today I feel fine.
And so – what is it you see when you look back on this past year?