The last year and a half has been a tumultuous ride—something I’m sure many of us can relate to. I’ve experienced big shifts in my career, relationships, and living situation. Over the past 12 months I’ve lived in three Canadian provinces (Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia) and four cities (Toronto, Calgary, Waterloo, Vancouver). Each move was exciting and full of opportunity (with the exception of Waterloo/moving back with my parents). However, within these opportunities, there were also many challenges.
I was living in Toronto for almost 10 years before I decided to make a bold move and make my way out to Calgary. I stayed in Alberta from October to the end of January and decided to move back home to Waterloo temporarily following a break-up. I moved in with my parents to lean on my support system —to help me cope wit the flurry of negative emotions following the end of a relationship and at the same time, figuring out my next move. Over the course of the last 4 months, I was in a state of ambivalence—should I go back to Toronto where all my best friends resided or should I go on an adventure and do something entirely different? I thought the most logical move was to go back to Toronto, but after some reflection, deep down, I really didn’t want to. My closest friends all lived in Toronto, which was the only draw for me to move back to the city—to be in close proximity to my favourite people.
However, upon leaving in Toronto in October 2020, I felt like that chapter was permanently closed. I loved living there for a bulk of my adult life, but I was ready for something new. Since turning 30, I’ve become somewhat of a grandma—I don’t enjoy going out or partying anymore. I find most weekends I try to escape Toronto to be in nature vs. enjoy what the city has to offer. Don’t get me wrong; Toronto has an abundance of inner-city parks, a beautiful waterfront, beaches, and serene running trails, but I felt like there wasn’t much new to explore. I was experiencing the same thing over and over again.
I did vacillate quite a bit on whether I should give Calgary another shot on my own (I loved the city and the close proximity to the rocky mountains) or even try to go out to Vancouver for a bit—stay in an AirBnB for a few months to work over the summer. After catching up with a former colleague who just made her way out there too for an indeterminate amount of time, I decided that I too wanted to give it a go. So I booked a one way—staying with my friend for a week and planning to stay in a hotel for the second—going with the flow and potentially staying longer if it felt right.
After a week of being out here, I knew that I wanted to stay. At first, I was apprehensive about getting into a long term lease so I found an affordable 3 week sublet (thanks to my amazing friend Vicki), but after another week went by, I became more comfortable with the idea of staying out here for a longer period of time. I found a one month lease in Coal Harbour for August (where I’m staying now as I write this) and decided to sign a 6 month lease for September 1st in Olympic Village.
While it seems scary committing to a place where I don’t have my family and closest friends nearby, I feel in my gut that I made the right decision. I’ve learned to trust myself and my intuition over the years. Sometimes it takes me a long time to finally make a decision (ie. remove toxic people or leave unhealthy relationships), I’ve always worked up enough courage to follow my intuition. I feel at peace here in Vancouver; perhaps it’s the stunning nature surrounding the city (oceans, mountains, and lush forests and parks) or maybe it’s the slower pace of life. It just feels right and since coming out here, I haven’t felt lonely at all. Despite the rumours that it’s difficult to meet friends here, that Vancouver people are apparently ‘closed off’, in my experience, this hasn’t been true at all. In fact, people have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. I’ve already made some new (and awesome friends) who I hangout with pretty regularly now. I’ve gone paddle boarding for the first time, hiking, visited some amazing restaurants, gone on long walks by the water, and explored new areas outside of Vancouver —all with brand new people.
When I was living in Waterloo there was so much monotony—every day felt exactly the same. But here, I wake up with a sense of adventure—not knowing who I’m going to meet or what the day will bring. Every day feels different even if my practices and routines are similar.
Since I am inherently more introverted, I have to put forth more effort into meeting new people, but I don’t need too much social time. I’m comfortable and really enjoy being by myself. Since being out here, I’ve taken myself on several dates: going for a long bike ride then hanging out at the beach, visiting used books shops, reading in various coffee shops, and just sitting by the water, watching the seaplanes take off and land. I’ve found that my anxiety has subsided—I feel at ease here.
Overall, moving to a new city and starting from scratch was exactly what I needed. I’m excited to build a new community, reconnect with old friends, and embrace the new in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.