When I told someone that I know that I was considering a move back to Ontario they said “well, you’ve done what you went out there to do” or something to that effect. Have I? I saw the Pacific Ocean, check, and while it only lasted three and a half years I did indeed find work. Is that all that I came out here to do? If so, then yes, but I’d like to think there is something more. I think that, and it’s only in the last three months of my forty-seven months here, I did learn several other things.
The first, and easiest to describe, is my ability to live with less. Even when I first came out here I was anchored to Ontario, and then to my duplex here, with the “stuff” that filled all the corners of my world. It was only in February of this year that I learned to value what was truly important to me and to devalue what wasn’t. I now have my entire life possessions down to the size of my truck and I see little need to possess more than that.
Next up I learned, or more accurately, became aware of some hard lessons about my personality – some good and some bad. I won’t say I have learned anything solid yet as I’m still trying to sort it out but I do believe that the choices I make in life and environment have a lot of influence.
The third thing that I have learned is that when I make plans and do so against my “gut feelings” that they rarely work out. In fact, I think it is safe to say that they ‘never’ work out. I have dictated so much of my life based on the opinions of others. Now you may disagree but that’s because on the “larger scale” my life makes brave fundamental shifts. These shifts are when I follow the path that appears before me no matter how different it is from the “norm”. It is in those shifts that I am freer and in sync with the universe. And then, when things are going well I seem to dig in my heels and try to remain in my “comfort zone” and that’s when the path becomes rugged.
The fourth thing I’ve learned is that one can find their spiritual connection wherever they are. You don’t need an ancient forest to connect with nature. It is true that the energy you feel may, will, vary between a park in the city and a great uninhabited forest but the important thing is the “feel” the energy and the connection. I did understand that in the past but now I have a point of reference. I have stood in a park in the middle of a city of millions and I have stood on the edge of a great forest with not a soul in sight for kilometres. It is all about awareness and connection.
The fifth thing I’ve learned is that I can achieve my goals if I step outside of my comfort zone. If you had come to me when I was thirteen years old and told me some day I would drive over four-thousand six hundred kilometres just to see the ocean I probably would have pointed out the fact that I didn’t own a car much less a driver’s license. Thirty-three years later and I am wondering how long it would take to drive to Halifax. The most disheartening limitations placed on your goals are usually put there by yourself.
And, while this certainly doesn’t help my efforts at finding a job, the sixth thing I have learned is that I do not love retail. I’ve been in retail pretty much since I was sixteen years old. I had a feeling last year that I was starting to get fed up with it and it has only become stronger in recent months. It is challenging because, for the most part, it is all that I have really immersed myself in during my life. I have other skills, ones that I would like to experiment with more and see what I can do with them. I am a freelance online writer, I’m good at taking either point form or basic sentences and turning them into paragraphs that are readable. I am an amateur photographer and I have uploaded over four thousand photos onto Flickr since 2011. I would like to get into more domestic photography, things like location photos for websites and helping people sell their services or products online. I currently have several websites, including this one, on the go and don’t charge for the service of updating and maintaining them. I could develop that more and evolve it beyond the hobby stage into something that makes money. If I really wanted to. I like retail because it pays the bills and keeps a roof over my head but it certainly is not my passion.
The seventh thing I have learned is that you will not “find yourself” by going somewhere different. While travelling across the country is an adventure that I recommend everyone do it will not help you to discover who you really are inside. This refers to my point concerning spirituality. You can travel to the most exotic locations in the world but it doesn’t mean that what is inside of you will change – that is up to you. I have seen the other side of the country, well two sides now actually, and I think it might be time to go back “home” and re-ground myself before my next adventure – wherever that is.
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