What Now?

Sometimes I wonder if I've really learned things. God, after the roller coaster that was this summer I sure hope so.

On one hand, I know that I've learned some things. I've learned not to take life for granted, or your loved ones. That lesson it seems is one that we are bound to repeat time and time again during our lives. I've learned that even the most resilient of people can  experience - and most importantly, are allowed to have - moments of fragility.

I've never really considered myself a fragile person. Although it's fair to say that the obstacles I've faced and overcome during the course of my life that have brought me to the point of being a somewhat responsible adult are all comparative to our individual experiences, I like to think that I'm fairly resilient and have maintained the majority of my core personality traits that make me my irresistible self.  But talking to a friend of mine over the last little while and taking stock of the events of this summer, he said I was fragile.

And at that moment, something shifted. Yes, I was. And it was OK. And while the challenges of this summer are relative to my own experience ... a lot happened all at once. It is true that no doubt others would call this summer just what happens - it's called Life, put on your big girl undies and deal with it.

Now, don't get me wrong - the majority of the summer was amazing. The weather was beautiful. I drank way more than I should have more than once. There were trips to the mountains, dance parties at the river, camping trips, weddings, two family visits, and a lot of time with some great friends. But believe me when I say that there were times when keeping a chipper demeanor was ... hard. And that's not to say that every challenge I faced this summer was negative. In fact, I did some things by myself this year that I never thought I could do.

I moved from one end of the city to the other in record time. I packed, apartment hunted, and moved in the matter of a week and half - two days after a minor car accident. On a good day moving, to me, is one of those things that I would just rather not do. At all. I'd rather slam back a bottle of wine and pay somebody to do it all for me. However, I did it. I had help from friends. I had offers to crash on couches, offers to stay at friends houses for a month. I had co-workers help me navigate the waters of an auto and bodily injury claim. To all of you, I owe an immense gift of love and gratitude.

The car accident took me off work for about two weeks. After a month almost of physio and not healing properly, I finally agreed to take time off. That meant that I got to enjoy the last two weeks of official summer. I took the time and relaxed, let my body do what it needed to do to heal. There were lots of hot baths, books, quiet nights with wine and hot afternoons in the sun. I started to feel like myself again - something which I hadn't felt like for a long time.

Then, the time came to go back to work.

A week later (if that) I found out that my cousin had been hospitalized and we lost her two days later to a brain tumor. She was almost 41. The same age as my oldest brother. There are days when I'm still processing the whole thing. It's true that as we grew up, I'd grown apart from most of my cousins - I'm the one of the youngest by a decent margin. We all grew into adults and started laying down our roots in different places. I'm here, another in Ontario, another in Labrador, a handful in their hometowns with kids of their own, and another's a pilot somewhere - it's been so long since I've seen that particular cousin I don't even know if I would recognize him anymore. It's kinda what happens I guess. Following the news that she was gone, everything for me kind of happened in a blur. Tickets were booked to go home for the funeral. Time off from work had to be booked. It took me six different attempts to pack my luggage to go home. Every time I looked at them, sitting there in the closet I'd cry. Hurricane Irma was also raging across Florida and I had an auntie and uncle outrunning the disaster. We kept in touch over FB Messenger to make sure that they were safe and OK, while trying to come to grips with our own grief. Even now, it's still there. I sent text messages to my brother's saying I loved them, checked on them to see how they were, if they needed to talk. I barely slept for the three or four days leading up to my flight leaving. I would have given anything to not have gotten on that flight. Still, my feet propelled me forward and I did get on that plane and traveled to the other side of the country. I slept the entire way. The weather was cold, rainy and full of fog for the first few days and the day of the funeral it poured rain. It was like nature was grieving with us.

The day after the funeral, the sun came out. The wind died down. Temperatures went back into the high 20s - which for September in Newfoundland is almost unheard of. I spent some great days with my nieces and nephews. Took in IT with my brother. There was a concert with a friend of mine who I hadn't seen since I moved away. There was coffee with a girlfriend who's about to get married. Then I got back on a plane and came home to Calgary.

I came back to an inordinate amount of free time. The day after I heard of my cousin passing away, the company I worked for eliminated my position. So, I had come back to the city that I've come to call home with ... what? I could make it sound bleak and awful and depressing. I could wail and protest and say how it isn't fair. I could panic and scream and cry and stress, worrying about the future - but I won't. There's no doubt in my mind that there's at least one person I know of who's doing the lion's share of worrying, and me adding my own worry to the pile isn't really going to change much.

Just because you're good at your job doesn't mean that it's going to make you happy or fulfill something inside of you.

Straight up, plain and simple.

Did I nail every aspect of my job one hundred per cent of the time? No, of course not. I said I was good at it - not perfect.

Did I get a sense of fulfillment, or feel that I had contributed to the overall scheme of things at my job? God no. Like a lot of us, I was just a tiny cog in a big money making machine.

Did I feel like I was helping people - and I mean, *really* helping people - at my job, or that I was being creative in some way? Again .. big no.

So while the case can be made that the timing of my position being eliminated was incredibly awful - and, in truth, at the time I was inclined to think so - it was probably the best thing to have happened. I got to extend my trip home for a few extra days and spend more time with family.

So. What do I, then?

I'm in a unique position. I have absolutely nothing to loose. I can start over. I can be bold and just go for it. I have no commitments here to fulfill. No pressing responsibilities that need to be tended to. Everything is digital, so no matter where I go I can still manage what I need to with either a laptop or a cell phone.

Now that I'm back,  I can take all the time I need to focus of finding something that really speaks to me. So, here I am. Undergoing probably the biggest career change of my life. I'm either incredibly stupid or incredibly brave. Or the perfect blend of the two.

I know I need to write and create things. Whether that happens as a full-fledged writer, or in some sort of marketing aspect, I have no idea. Will it be here in the city, or will I travel and blog and write freelance articles instead?

Who knows.

All I really know is that I'm standing on a ledge. There's no safety net. And all I gotta do is take that leap.

Maybe I did learn something after all ...


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