Belle said it. She totally got it. Small town, but more than just that. It wasn’t the actual small town itself; it was also the small town perspective. She was educated, interested, passionate. She wasn’t going to be happy having to follow the expected life choices that were socially anticipated. Get married (even if it’s being married to a man like Gaston who was the heartthrob of small-town France), have kids, wake up to say “bonjour”. Every day. Forever. She wasn’t going to be happy where her days were the same as every other day.
I have lived in Alberta my entire life. And I want so much more than this provincial life. So, I am openly acknowledging now that I have left Calgary, and Alberta entirely.
That means leaving people I know. That means leaving work I knew. The yoga studios I was familiar with. The pool. The gym. The running routes. Fish Creek Provincial Park. My coffee spots and the familiar pubs. A public transit system that I understood. Weather that was dry and cold (or dry and hot). My entire wardrobe is based around that weather (that applies to everything: professional clothes, athletic wear, social outfits).
I am opening a new chapter. I am so frigging excited, and also so terrified. I am building a new life and I have very little foundations to begin with. There are two things I know, two things that are familiar: running and epilepsy.
There are, of course, difficulties right away relating to my medical condition. Arranging health care coverage, particularly for prescription costs. Sorting out medical support. I still have medical appointments in Alberta and that will mean flying back periodically for those. This province has less financial support in hospitals to people with epilepsy than Alberta, so I have to be aware of that.
Thinking about those complications too much can be a bit overwhelming. The decisions I made have consequences of course. When it comes down to it though, I weighed my options. I thought about the positives and negatives. I considered the pros and cons. Staying with the life I had back in Calgary would have been “easier”. Even if I made a few decisions and changes but ultimately decided to stay there, would have been easier. Easier may be, well, easier, but it’s not necessarily my road to happiness. Maybe for some people, that is their route. Lots of people value comfort, security, stability, tangible things that support their well-being. I am aware that things would have been “easier” if I had stayed, if I accepted the circumstances, if I continued to tolerate the experiences. It would have been “easier” but I would never have found happiness there.
Here, I wake up not having any idea what is going to happen each day. It’s exciting, disheartening and motivating all at the same time.
I can go for a run, but I don’t know where I am going. I have figured out a couple routes, one that leads to the ocean and one that leads through the interior. They even connect, so I could run forever if I wanted. I have found a gym, and a personal trainer who isn’t put off that I have epilepsy. He’s helping me work on my upper body strength, which is embarrassingly lacking. I have found a counsellor, and she has experience working with people who are going through major life changes. I am geographically closer to my family than I have been in thirteen years. I am building new friendships in different communities. I have a library card and am working on becoming a regular at a new coffee shop. I started a new job a few days ago, in a completely different industry than I am familiar with (and I *love* it). I have a new pair of running shoes and a proper windbreaker.
Right now I am sitting on the front porch, typing this. It’s a stunningly gorgeous day. In the last week, I’ve logged over 70 kilometres running. Most of that has been along a beach (FYI beach running is hard!). There is a baby deer living under the trees across the street and if I walk over there, I can see him.
I’m ready to find out if there is more than that provincial life.