Today was the last day that I’ll spend in the lower mainland as a resident here. (I wonder if I’m technically still a resident since I’m sleeping in a spare bedroom at a friend’s house and our address has been changed to Ottawa by now…?) The day was spent in preparation for the next 7 days on the road and, since I was driving through Vancouver traffic, a lot of time lost in thought and reflecting on my history here in Vancouver and the changes I’ve been through while a resident in this city.
I came here as a shy 17 year old, starting my first year of university at UBC, and unsure of where the paths of life would take me. I only knew that my future was a blank slate and it was up to me to make it what i wanted it to be.
I’ll call my first decade here the “Greek decade”! I joined a sorority shortly after landing at UBC and devoted my heart and soul to this organization over the next decade (possibly more?!) Alpha Phi formed part of the foundation of who I am today… and I say ‘part of’ only because clearly my personal foundation was formed through my childhood years through my family and the experiences I was exposed to growing up. But much of who I became as an adult was influenced greatly through my experiences with Alpha Phi, as it enhanced my developing leadership skills, business organizational and human management skills, building my self-confidence, values and support system. Many of the women I pledged with remain close friends today. I am forever grateful to the woman who convinced me, when I received my pledge way back when, and when it wasn’t from the group I wanted, to give the group a chance and to accept that offer. Thank you for gifting me an experience of a lifetime… you know who you are! (I hope!)
My second decade would be called “Calm before the storm” as I went through a few serious relationships and ultimately married, moved to the suburbs and started to pursue my goal of motherhood. I started to build a career for myself and a professional reputation in my field of work, building on the skills i’d learned during the Greek decade. While that marriage ultimately failed (cue 3rd decade, coming right up…), I don’t regret getting married or the time spent in that relationship. Again, it helped me along the path of life in becoming who I am and accepting me for who I truly am. It also gave me 2 of my children and all the challenges that go with them! This was the decade of settling into adulthood and being a serious human being. The problem was, there was not a lot of joy in it.
And here I am at the tail end of my third decade in BC, deep in what I will call the “Decade of Chaos”! This past decade has been about change and transitions and embracing these. There is very little focus on me or my skills and attributes but rather it is mostly about my children and how to build them to be the best that they can be. It was during this decade that I left my first marriage, entered into my second, and all that went along with changing relationship status! This is the time of the storm, which can cause anxiety and stress, but without the storm we can’t have the rainbow. And I’ve had a lot of rainbows too!
And ultimately a huge change, an upheaval of sorts, to close out this decade and bring in the next.
3 decades and traces of each of these decades can be found in where I am today, who I am and what I believe in, and also in the decision that we made to leave this city, heading out on the highway, looking for the adventures we may find, and ultimately a better life for us and our family.
Which brought to mind this song…
Tomorrow we leave. On the Trans-Canada Highway. Heading East.
I pick my children up at noon and we head east.
Our ultimate plan has been altered significantly due to unforeseen circumstances. Rather than bemoaning the change and the lost opportunity, I have been trying to embrace this change and see in it the blessings it has allowed.
Leaving 5 days later is allowing me to:
- Be better organized in the car: you should have seen my packing job a week ago versus today! Today it all fit in! Last week, it was 2 van loads. So I’ve done a better job organizing, and much has been edited out!
- Good-byes: I’ve been able to say some final good-byes that I’d have missed a week ago, whether those good-byes were in person or by phone, text, or messenger, I’ve been able to say good-bye. Yes there are some people I regret not seeing in person, but I cannot do it all and that is the reality of it all.
- Prioritize: What is the priority on our trip? With a shortened timeline, we can’t do the meandering trip we’d originally envisioned and planned for so we’ve had to really think and talk through what is most important on this journey. And so the trip is revised.
- Stress and anxiety: The extra few days have allowed me to relax and gather myself, and I’m really ready now to pull out of the driveway tomorrow. A week ago I was still teary eyed with each good-bye. I’m ready to go now. I’m ready to start the next chapter. It seems surreal, but I’m ready.
Here is the driving plan:
- Coquitlam to Revelstoke
- Revelstoke to Drumheller
- Drumheller for 2 nights
- Drumheller to Calgary
- Kids will fly with my sister from Calgary to Ottawa, and I will continue on driving solo so I can do more hours daily in the car!
- Calgary to Medicine Hat
- Beyond that? I’m not entirely sure at this point.
A map will be posted here later, when I’ve figured out how to do that! 🙂
And so, change is afoot and we are ready for it. While change for the past 27 years has been gradual and barely perceptible at the time, sneaking up on me to the point that I didn’t even realize that the changes were happening, we have come upon a moment of great upheaval as our world alters dramatically.
We are ready for the adventures that will come our way on the highway. Just please no flat tires! I don’t want that kind of adventure!
(We will do our best to post from the road, as wifi becomes available!)