We are on the road. Somewhere in between Swift Current and the Saskatchewan border, on what is now our 3rd trip across Canada in three months. But it’s all good, the little voices in the back seat keep asking if we’re still going to BC as it’s taken so long, and this is only the second day of our travels! Yes, we are still going to BC, this time with two of our grandsons and our daughter, so that they can explore our new home and community, on a short vacation before she begins her new career nursing.
This trip is stage three of our move from Lavenham, Manitoba to Qualicum Beach, BC, and what an adventure the last 4 months have been. We can’t even say for sure what spurred it, although moving west has been part of a thousand conversations over the last many years, the topic came up again somehow in January, probably triggered by a short blast of -40 Manitoba weather, and within weeks we were in the car heading west to look at properties. We found the perfect one, went home, sold the farm, began the purging and packing and here we are…still unable to believe that we are making the transition after all the years of talking about it, we are finally taking action.
The move for me has been a huge process of letting go of things and ideas that I never expected that I would. I know that it’s been something that I’ve been wanting to do, and in fact working at in small, defined ways. For example, the way we’ve changed our Christmas giving, to parting with meaningful items and sharing the story of their meaning. The tiny bits of organizing I’ve been able to do after reading ‘The Life changing Magic of Tidying up’, certainly not perfecting her method, but managing to have done several of the steps outlined, which did make the moving process easier. Then also, there is the dream I’ve had of simplifying my surroundings, ever since the winter we spent on Salt Spring Island in 2009.
That winter we’d rented a small, two bedroom shack along Walker’s Hook, and spent the months there with the most minimal selection of items. 4 plates, cups, and bowls. A two person table and chairs. Just a handful of pictures of family and friends to connect us to our roots at home. I remember hoping that when we returned to the prairies, I could do the same and simplify my surroundings from the storage of 5 generations worth of ‘stuff’ to a collection of things that I found beauty or joy in. However, within days of returning home, my Mom got her cancer diagnosis, and instead 5 weeks later I began the process of sorting and storing her life.
So now, here we are. Six years later, taking the leap that our hearts tell us is our next step, but our minds still keep us questioning. Are we doing the right thing? Why do we want to leave the place that we do love, where the majority of our friends, family and histories live? What is pulling us towards such a big change at this stage of our lives? Yes, the mind has a thousand questions that it keeps throwing at us, but our hearts still say just do it.
Back on the road with another load of the things that we do want to keep in our new home and our new lives, and a second round of the purging behind us on the prairies we move ourselves forward. It isn’t easy by any means. So many things I’ve held on to because I believed it was what I should do for the sake of my parents, my deceased loved ones, my old life. But what I have come to realize is that even though there are things that I do like and indeed loved at one time, this new home of ours is different. I want it to be open, and welcoming and full of the things that we have chosen because we love them. Not just all the things that were passed down to us by others in hopes that we would give them a home for the full of our lives. That to me has been one of the toughest things. Letting go of the self-imposed sense of responsibility that I have felt I needed to be the one to do that. To keep ‘others’ treasures and hold them sacred for their sake, not for my own. To let go.
It’s been interesting, and freeing and hard, but it’s happening. I’ve had to ask myself some big questions. If something happens to me on the other side of the country, who would I want this item to go to, and what are the chances it would be returned to the prairies by someone else? Do I need to keep the semi-annual gifts of birthdays and Christmases received from family and friends over the course of 40-50 years, or can I choose just one or two that I absolutely love the best to hold onto and remind me of the relationship? Do I need those dozens of pictures on the walls with memories and messages, or can I take pictures of them and find another way to display them, maybe by Pinning them or getting a digital frame that can display all of them in their own time for a period? Often asking myself ‘does this item bring me joy in memory of a lost one, or a sense of sadness in the loss?' One of the big questions has been, who am I holding onto this for? In many cases, my home became a storage place for things that are not even mine to worry about, but for some reason I took on that role. Again…time to let go.
So slowly but surely I have. Even having participated in the “Grief Recovery Certification Training” was one more positive steps forward in letting go. I was more clearly able to see of some things that I know have held me in place for longer than I would have chosen to be had I been more honest with myself sooner. That has been a very good thing for me, and my hope is that now I am better equipped myself, I can help others who have also been held back by the pain grief can cause.
As we travel along with each other, our new companion dog FeeBee, our 2 grandsons and our daughter, I am enjoying that feeling of freedom and looking forward to the next steps on this journey. I have also begun to realize more deeply that home is where my heart is, and it doesn’t have to be in one fixed address. Home is overlooking the Assiniboine Valley from our little cabin/campground when we are back at Lavenham. It’s also smelling the wonderful cedar and evergreens when I step out on the deck at our new place on Spider Lake Road. And it’s in this truck, right now, right here with some of the people I love most in the world.
It takes time and energy to become who we truly are! In life, so many things can get in the way of our figuring that out..but the time comes in each of our lives where we need to be able to do that if we're going to live happy fulfilling lives that are authentic reflections of our best selves. These are just things I've learned along the way. I hope that they might help you in your own journey into being Truly You!