Yesterday I finally hopped on a plane with my bike, and the kitties, and trekked on back to BC to live on the Sunshine Coast. It feels both completely brand new, and like coming home, all at once. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I’ve got friends here. But there’s so much newness in actually living here.
The journey itself was a little hectic – bumped flight, delayed bumped flight, amazing airport >> horseshoe bay rescue by my pal Matt Milligan, ferry ride, and late evening pick up by Jac, but made it with the kitties and all of my things in one piece, and it’s so nice to have this feeling of home.
I spent the day getting settled. I got some things for Rosemary and Thomas, answered emails, put my bike together, touched up my roots, and did laundry.
Before dinner, I biked to the store to pick up beers, icecream, and salad things, and riding my bike out here felt so nice. I’m sure that over time, there will be things about cycling on the side of a rural highway type road that will irk me, but for now I am just relishing the lack of city traffic. I am relishing the extreme chill West Coast vibes in such stark contrast to cycling in Toronto.
It is beautiful here, and it is magical, and I know it’s gonna’ be just great.
There’s been a lot of change in my life in the past few months, and there’s going to be even more in the months to come. I wanted to make an update post to keep people that I know in the loop about what the heck I’m up to these days.
- I’ve had an injury. The week after I made my post about how active I was and how much I love being active, I got a stress fracture. I was told to immediately stop any activities that had a high impact on my foot (ie: running). I tried yoga, but the upward to downward dog transition hurt my foot. I tried swimming, but the foot paddling associated with anything but the breast stroke also caused foot pain. I tried to walk less, but I’m such a big walker, and honestly it’s been a crazy struggle. 4 weeks later, I’m not feeling that much better, and I’m wondering if the end will ever be in sight.
I’m going to try to get back to going to the gym, but with no box jumps, skipping, steps ups, etc etc etc, and see how it goes.
I’ve seen so many runners that I know deal with injury, and it’s so fucking difficult. On the plus side, it has made me MISS running so much. I constantly think about how much I love it and how much I want to get back out there. Distance is definitely making the heart grow fonder in this case. So much fonder.
I’m trying to remember to see the long game (patience!). In the big scheme of things, one month off (or two…) is so short when you compare it to a lifetime of physical activity.
This injury was also a good reminder for me. I knew that it was time to replace my shoes. I could tell that they were worn. But I put it off. And with the level of physical activity that I was putting in, that was a fucking stupid decision. I will never do it again.
- I’ve started freelancing full-time. This decision came about in late 2016 after a series of personal breakdowns and revelations, and I finally realized, “I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT” and went for it. I spent the next few months taking every meeting and coffee that I could get, and now things are starting to come together. I’m so god-damn excited about the year ahead. I’m excited for the variation in projects and clients, and the feeling that I never have to be stuck in a specific job if I don’t want to ever again. BUT WHAT DO YOU DO, ALTAIRA? Well, I’m still kind of figuring that out.
For now it mostly falls into a few buckets:
a. Writing. I love writing, and I’m good at it, and I can pretty much write about anything. I’m hoping to do more health care communications work, some work related to environmental and social issues, and also some work making online resources on various topics. This will be balanced with a healthy dose of blog posts on things like running and mental health and creativity. Writing all the time.
b. Research. I’m good at digging for things online, I know how to identify legit sources, and I’m basically a professional lurker. If you need something from the Internet, I can find it. I love going down knowledge rabbit holes and digging forever until every bit of useful information has been found. Whether it be for an environmental scan, or a policy paper, research holds a special place in my heart. It is a good partner to writing.
c. Other consulting. This third basket is a mixed bag of other things that I like doing. This includes some consulting about events (how should it run, what issues might you come up against, what are your goals), some strategy, and I’m hoping in the future to help teams develop online courses/workshops etc to supplement their own consulting work. I’ve helped to shape countless workshops and online education modules in the academic world, and I’m ready to take those skills and apply them to creative projects.
d. Workshops. I’m also running a series of workshops here in Toronto called Just Write. The purpose of which is to give participants the tools that they need to turn off the part of their brain that tells them that they can’t, and to just start the writing project that they have been thinking about, because that is the first and most difficult step. The next one is THIS SATURDAY. If this sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to register. This month’s workshop is only 45 bucks and will include a really great yoga session by City Yogis.
- I’m (mostly) moving back to BC. You heard me. May 2017, I will be packing up my Toronto life and moving it back across the country to Gibsons, BC. I’ve known for a few years that I would be planning a move to BC’s Sunshine Coast, and now the stars have finally aligned and it’s time to go home. I. CANNOT. WAIT. If we’ve ever spoken about my homeland in real life, you will have noticed how my eyes light up when I talk about the smell of the forest, and the damp air coming off the sea. I’m ready for bonfires and vegetable gardens, for trail runs and swims in the ocean on my lunch break, for easy west coast hangs that blend from morning into night, for long table dinners in apple orchards and afternoons spent holding baby sheep. READY. FOR. IT. In large part, this readiness has been facilitated by my decision to freelance. I was always hesitant to move back, because even though my heart ached for the West Coast, the thought of leaving my Toronto life completely behind, and visiting a week or two a year was just too much to bear. So at the moment I’m building up my Toronto clients, with the plan to have a home base in Gibsons but to come back and live in TO 2-3 months a year. The Sunshine Coast has so much possibility, and I cannot fucking wait for the projects, events, community building that I have started brainstorming for the year ahead.
- I’ve met so many wonderful people. WEST COAST HIPPIE MOMENT. When I finally gave in to what I really want from my life, I started to meet even more of the best people. I already have some truly wonderful, supportive, funny, generous friends in my life. But the connections that I’m making have just started to explode off the fucking charts in recent months. It’s blowing my mind a little.
- Everything is always working out for me. My fam, Jacqueline Jennings Pierrot has started using the term, “coming out of the spiritual closet” for people connecting with their purpose, and generally getting into new age spiritual practices like tarot readings, crystals, positive vibrations with the universe etc. One morning, on my most recent trip to BC, she was like, “I’m listening to this positive thinking podcast, I know you think that it’s stupid, but whatever, it’s totally working”. One of the things that she said from the podcast as a positive mantra was, “everything is always working out for me”. And my immediate reaction was *EYE ROLL* *FUCKING GAG ME* and J was like WHATEVER. And then I started saying it as a joke, because it was too self help, new agey for me, but then actually everything started just working out for me in exactly the way that I hoped it would. Soooooooooooooo… EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS WORKING OUT FOR ME.
Update COMPLETE. Big thanks to everyone who keeps reading my blog, and sending kind words or letting me know in person that a post that I wrote really resonated with them. You’ve helped me to write more consistently and honestly in the year that’s passed, and encouraged me to dig more deeply in the year ahead.
I really dropped the ball on the last quarter of the 100 day project. Regardless though, I DID write more in this time period, so I suppose in that way, it still served its purpose. Right? Right.
The summer so far has been an amazing blur of way more running than in the past, pal hangs, lots of creativemornings things, and many many meetings to talk about current and future collaborations. Sometimes I can’t believe the momentum I’m gaining in terms of just meeting incredible people. How many new and wonderful, talented, humble, wonderful humans can one person possibly meet?
ANYWAYS. I’m home visiting Vancouver and the surrounding areas at the moment, and it’s always an emotional, but also comforting experience. I miss the coast. But there are also so many reasons that I’m not ready to return. More and more, I am mulling over the idea of trying to create a life that allows me to split my time between these two cities. Vancouver/the Sunshine Coast are so deeply connected to my heart, and the deep deep depths of my soul. My heart and bones ache for the mountains and ocean when I’m not around them, and I actually can’t help but cry when I’m taking the ferry home across the ocean. THAT’S HOW MUCH I MISS THE GD OCEAN, AND THE LANDSCAPES OF COASTAL BC. Long days running through the forests and plunging into the ocean; harvesting veggies from my friends’ gardens, and feeling all of the love and security of people who love me incredibly.
But then Toronto speaks to me, inspires me, and drives me in completely different ways. It pushes me to grow, and to be better, and to be brave. I can feel myself becoming a better and better version of myself with each month that passes that I live there. I have more confidence, and more sureness of myself and my abilities, and more security in my own strength. I would simply not have been able to reach this level of growth had I stayed in Vancouver.
SO WHAT DO I DO NOW. Two battling loves, and two very different lives, both of which I crave so deeply. I just want them both. Now I just need to figure out how to make that happen.