New Year’s Eve 2016. I’m sitting in bed in my PJs and vow out loud that 2017 will be a calm uneventful year. 2016 was nuts and I needed a drama-free break. Fast forward five months and 2017 has been the exact opposite. I’m in the middle of another huge shift that will flip my life back to front (again) and I couldn’t be more excited. The last thing I was expecting was to head back to Toronto for a full-time job … but I’m moving next week.

Photo by Tara West at the Lumas Gallery in Yorkville, Toronto.

The past nine months have been an epic journey of self-discovery. Halfway through (stranded at home in Vancouver in yet another January snow storm), it felt like leaving my job and starting my own business across the country had been a massive mistake. I realize now that I took on way too much, too fast, all at once. Layer in the coldest snowiest Vancouver winter in 30 years, and I was completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d made an expensive misstep that put my life and career (everything basically) on hold. But, now five months later, I’m starting to understand that my experience was actually the complete opposite. Although the expensive part, unfortunately, is true. Lesson learned – don’t buy and sell real estate in a hurry.

I wouldn’t be in this moment now – starting a fantastic new job with exciting growth potential, and signing an apartment lease in Toronto – if I hadn’t moved across the country to Vancouver in November. I was craving change and in the process, I learned some valuable lessons – like exactly what I want to do for work and where I want to live.

Illustration by Monica Smiley at EightySeventhSt

“What scares you about this job?” I was asked about working with the new leadership team at Nordstrom Canada. “Nothing” I answered truthfully. I’ve scared myself to the moon and back so many times over the past nine months that I’ve lost count. Not much can scare me now. I’ve pushed myself past my limit on every single front and experienced my first-ever panic attack. (Lesson learned: Don’t Google symptoms. I was convinced that I was having a heart attack.) I’ve always been super confident about my decisions but this time, I started to second-guess every single one, and beat myself up constantly. Yet my adventure brought me exactly where I need to be. Work at home? No thanks. I’m way too much of an extrovert to work alone in my sweats. Freelance? I loved the projects I worked on but need more structure and team work in my daily life. Live in a residential suburb? I crave the energy of a plugged-in downtown neighbourhood. Weird, I know, but I even missed the clanging sweaty Toronto subway system.

The truth is, I needed to make such a drastic change in my life to appreciate what was in front of me. I would have always regretted not moving to Vancouver. I would have always wondered “what if?” And I likely would not have been in the right head space to take on a new challenge in downtown Toronto. Nine months later, the best part is my new energized attitude. I can’t wait to get started in my new job. I’m already decorating my new apartment (in my old Toronto neighbourhood) in my head. I wasn’t ready for any of that last year. 

“The universe will provide” my friend Steven has constantly reminded me over the past nine months. At first, his words irritated me to no end. I didn’t believe in fate or that “things happen for a reason”. But, you know what? Now I do. I made lots of decisions (some wise, some phenomenally dumb) and the universe guided me to this new path. A chain of events (coincidental meetings and Mother Nature to name a few) paved my way. Go figure. Although I am hoping for a drama-free boring end to 2017. Let’s hope the universe provides that!