After travelling to Kelowna and road tripping to Vancouver last year in November, we immediately fell in love with British Columbia.
It’s hard to believe a province this beautiful exists. It feels funny looking back on our time in Ontario now and our longing to live somewhere else for a change. All the while, this gem was right underneath our noses.
It’s no surprise that we’re a family who loves adventure, challenges and change, so why did it take us so long to make the move out west? I really can’t answer that question. Aside from the fact that we got so comfortable in our day-to-day routines that we became terrified to make such a large change.
On top of that, I’ve also noticed something else since making this move. When you’re surrounded by the same people and grow very close to them, they start thinking that they know you better than you know yourself. Any time I tried to make even small changes about myself (say, a slight darkening of my hair), my decision was typically met with “But, that’s not like you?” These simple words are so dangerous and haunting. Even though they are unintentional, they can have such a large impact.
For example, I found myself longing to make lifestyle changes or become more in tune with my creativity, but felt too scared to make any changes because of the comments I would receive. I dreaded those words, “That’s not like you,” and eventually started believing it.
I remember thinking, “Yea. They’re right, that’s not like me.” And even though I wanted to make changes, I ended up remaining stagnant in order to keep the people I loved at bay. (This isn’t to say that everyone in my life voiced opinions like this, but they seem to happen more often than not).
On top of that, I spent many years feeling unhappy in my career and my life, but I couldn’t justify reasons for my unhappiness. I had a job, a nice house, the perfect husband, great family and my health. I remember thinking that something just felt off yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
After sharing my unhappiness with family and friends, I remember getting an outpouring of advice. Advice mainly revolving about how I could change my mind by reading different books that would allow me to become happy in ‘any’ situation and that my happiness wasn’t about places/ things but it was a mentality.
For some reason, all of this advice led to an even bigger void in my life. Not only was I feeling unhappy but I really couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling this way. I was also being told day in and day out that no change was going to bring me the happiness that I was after.
All of the well intended advice really just ended up driving me more mad. I felt like there was no basis for my feelings and that I was ‘crazy’ and ungrateful for feeling unhappy.
I kept saying, “I feel like there’s something else out there for me.” That mentality coupled with my longing to experience living in at least one different city/ province from where I was born and raised led us to finally making the leap.
It wasn’t until my Mom agreed that I was longing for something else and that I should try to seek out whatever that may be. Our conversation gave me the confidence I needed to make the change. My Step-Dad, Mom and her sister, My Aunt were the perfect sounding boards. Not only did they champion this decision, they were there for me 100% of the way.
The moment we decided to make the move across the country, I immediately felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders. After taking my parents’ advice yet again, we decided we would keep our house in Ontario (…and we couldn’t be more thankful for this as our house has appreciated quite a bit). So, we worked with a real estate agent to find great tenants for our home in Ontario and rented it out for the year.
We easily found a condo that was small (extremely small) but would do the trick for our adventure and my husband secured an amazing job. Everything fell into place quickly and felt pretty effortless. We knew then that we were making the right decision for us.
So, this post is also an open Thank You to Mom, B-ri and Aunt Cathy. Not only did you help us to make the necessary changes to try something new, you were our advocates. You gave us time to discover if we were missing something in our lives. More importantly, you helped by guiding us through the process ensuring we were making smart decisions instead of emotional ones.
Even though we received a wide range of feedback, majority of it seemed to be very positive. There was a bit of humming and hawing, but that seems consistent any time you make a change that people around you aren’t totally comfortable with.
Regardless, we packed up our house and began our road trip. From the moment we hit the open road with our car literally packed to the brim, we knew this was the right decision for us.
Now, being out west for almost 6 months, the only thing we find ourselves saying is Why? Why didn’t we make this change quicker? Why didn’t we make this move sooner?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this journey thus far is that it is okay to make changes to your personality and lifestyle. Personal growth should be embraced not feared. Who I am today, probably will be different from who I am in a years time and I’m good with that. Having some separation has given me time to develop thicker skin and to be comfortable and confident in my own decisions.
I guess my biggest take away is… if you’re feeling unhappy or that you’re missing something from your life…well, you probably are. Does that mean you have to make a move across the country to find out what that is? Probably not. But in our case, it is exactly what we needed.