After an extremely challenging year and a half, I began to grow tired of making excuses for why I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do; of constantly relying on others for my happiness; and of waiting for my life to turn around. So – in an attempt to make up for a ‘shitty summer of 2016’ (and after realizing my friends weren’t sold on the idea of hiking in the backcountry as a fun vacation), I made the decision to go on a trip through the Canadian Rockies… Solo.
In the span of my 26 years, I have lived in nine different Canadian “cities” encompassed within three provinces and two territories – varying on a spectrum between the country’s capital and a First Nations reserve in the Yukon populated by less than 300 people. Within these places I have moved a total of 11 times. The longest I’ve ever lived in once place is five years.
For a while I lost my independence. I convinced myself that I couldn’t be happy without someone by my side; I forgot what it felt like to actually enjoy spending time on my own; and I let the fear of being alone hold me back from doing the things I so desperately wanted to do. But then, buried beneath my emotional scars and insecurity, I found it again.
There are rational fears. There are irrational fears. There is biology and there is psychology. Fear leaves us awake at night. Fear makes us run. Fear can consume us. Predominately, fear keeps us safe.
We live in a world where we are constantly waiting. Waiting for the day our parents finally let us take the family car for a spin. Waiting until we graduate high school. Waiting for our 19th birthday to take that first (legal) sip of alcohol. Waiting for the next best thing.
As someone who spent the majority of my young adult life in long term relationships, being on my own for the better part of the last year has been quite a transition. After eight years of being someone’s someone, becoming single felt like a major loss of what had been a huge part of my identity. From the age of 17, I was a girlfriend; and when I wasn’t one any longer I sure as hell had no idea how to navigate the world as – ‘gasp’ – a single person.
They say that everything happens for a reason – and while I’m not sure how much you (or I) buy into the whole fate mentality – I recently had a moment of clarity. In spite of the fact I have experienced what was by far the most challenging year of my life, for the first time ever, I felt truly and genuinely grateful for it.