The Times They Are a-Changin’

Just over one year ago, I made the decision to move from my small home province to the country’s largest city.

I’d been living in my university city for six years. It was a great place for school, but it was not a good fit for me as I transitioned into being a working adult. Actually, it suffocated me.

When I left both my “real job” as a radio reporter and a long-term relationship last winter, my back-up plan was to move back home. You see, I left my hometown two weeks after my high school graduation and haven’t lived there since. Even though my university city was only 90 minutes away, I never made it back there for much longer than the requisite four short visits a year.

But when my friends in Toronto contacted me about my moving in with them in Toronto, it seemed like just the adventure I needed. Anyone who knows me in real life was surprised by the decision. I’ve always been the girl who wanted to stick close to home. I’m not a big city person. I take risks, but never those that have big consequences.

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I arrived in Toronto in July after a month of travelling to Banff and Ottawa. My sense of adventure was at an all time high. I remained open minded about the experience. Maybe I’d love it and want to stay forever. Maybe I’d get the itch to move on after a year and continue my way across the country – or even overseas!

My first four months in the city were amazing. I adjusted quickly, finding work easily. Work that I really enjoyed. I already had a great group of friends I knew from university, and met new ones through blogging. I became a part of the city’s pulse. I realized why Torontonians think they’re the centre of the universe. The city has so much to offer and so much excitement, there’s no need to look elsewhere for anything else.

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But after four months, the honeymoon period started to wear off. Even though I adapted to the city quickly, I still felt like an outsider just pretending like I belonged there.

I started daydreaming about moving out West among the mountains. Maybe Vancouver. Or back to Banff. My mind even wandered all the way to Scotland. Which apparently has a decent number of personal training jobs to offer.

But when I turned my mind off and listened to my gut, my heart, and my instincts, I knew I still belonged back home. In the city I left seven years ago. With my mom, my dad, my Nana, my step-siblings and poodle.

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The three weeks I spent back in Moncton over Christmas only solidified that for me. I could daydream about living elsewhere, but in the end I truly believe that I am happiest and most in my element when I am home. I need a break from forcing myself to do things because I think they will be good life lessons or learning experiences for me. I want to make decisions based on what I am most comfortable with. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at it as the “easy way out” but come to terms with it being what will make me the most happy. For now anyways.

I remember having a conversation with my cousins when I first moved to Toronto about being displaced Maritmers in the “big city.” They were talking about how they didn’t want to move home because then it would feel like they failed at whatever they were trying to accomplish in Toronto.

I definitely do not feel like a failure. Following your heart is definitely a brave thing to do. I feel a little boring for not moving on to another adventure somewhere else in the world. But in my mind moving back home is an adventure. And will certainly be challenging.

For one thing, I’m moving to the small town where I grew up just across the river from Moncton. 5.5 million people to 16,000. I’ll be living with my dad on the street I grew up on. I haven’t lived with my father since my parents separated when I was 11 years old. I love my mom to pieces, but I’m stoked to spend time with my old man again.

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I’ll also be living with my little sister, her partner, and my brand new nephew Cole. I only hope my arm heals soon so I can hold him!

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All of this will be happening in about three weeks. I was hoping to work at my Toronto jobs up until the end of March. But then the accident happened, leaving me unable to work as a trainer or in my physical retail job for several weeks. I should be getting the cast off in Ottawa in a couple weeks, then starting the long process of learning how to move my arm again with physiotherapy back home.

My original plan was to continue working at the running store and start my own training business once I got home. But the accident has changed that. Or at least indefinitely postponed that. Right now I’m reverting to the only thing left I am trained professionally to do – write. Living at home will at least give me extra room financially to figure it out.

So there is my very long explanation of why I quit both my jobs last week. Why I’ve been Tweeting  about getting a moving truck. Why I have a Toronto bucket list and such a driving motivation to eat brunch at every restaurant in my Toronto neighbourhood so soon.

I am SO excited about being home again. Hanging out with my family and old friends. Living among the mountains for the summer would have been nice, but being at my cottage on the Atlantic waters all summer is something I always dream of.

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Oh, and my dad has an amazing kitchen. I can’t wait to get in there and start cooking for my loved ones. I can’t wait to go hiking in Fundy. To eat cinnamon buns in Alma and lobster in Shediac.To go swimming in the Northumberland. I can’t wait to be amongst Maritimers again. My people. Laid back, easy going people.

I do not regret moving to Toronto one bit. I still maintain it’s the best decision I ever made. I experienced so much while there. And it taught my just how great my home actually is.

When I was leaving my mother’s house in January to return to Toronto after the Christmas break, she said to me “This isn’t right. You shouldn’t be the one leaving. You belong here!”

And I couldn’t agree more.

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Posted on February 27, 2011, in Lessons Learned and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. :(

    It feels like you belong here to me!

    But I’ll graciously let you go – provided you allow me to come visit and show me a good ol East Coast time (because I’ve never been)

  2. There really is no place like home. And you’ll have better access to donairs and the very best seafood. Good luck with your move.

  3. I’ll miss you when you leave, but I hope you find all the happiness you could ever want back in NB. Your family seems lovely, and I’m sure being with them will help while you’re letting your body heal, and after that the sky’s the limit for you. Maybe someday I’ll be able to visit you out east, and you can show me what a real donair is :)

  4. Wishing you much success in your next phase of development. Going home can be a very good thing, especially with home being so beautiful.

    Good luck! Looking forward to continuing to read about your adventures!

  5. It was such a pleasure to get to meet you and I wish you the best of luck in NB. I look forward to reading all about the new chapter in your life :)

  6. The best part of being a Maratimer is after you are done experiening elsewhere, you are welcomed back with open arms and a sweet new appreciation of where you’re from.

    Enjoy the transition, and hope you heal well.

  7. ah, this gave me chills! that crazy cliche, things happen for a reason… getting you to the place you know deep down you want to be :) I’m excited and happy for you!

  8. Can I just say that I am so glad you’re Canadian? In the U.S., an injury like yours would almost require you to stay where you are so that you could have health insurance from your job. Best of luck moving back home.

  9. I completely understand moving home. No matter how many times I move away from Victoria, something always ends up bringing me back (family and the ocean seem to be my top two reasons). Besides, you’re still young. You’ve got plenty of time to have adventures in your life yet, if you want to return home then you should return home :)

  10. Awww Susan I am going to miss you so much but I’m so happy for you and the fact that you’ve made this decision. It sounds like going home is what’s right for you right now and I wish you all the best in your recovery and everything that follows! I’m so happy to have had a chance to meet you and if you EVER come back, you’ve always got a place to stay at my house! :)

  11. you are one seriously brave woman. i really admire all of your courage throughout all of this…opening your own business?!? amazing!! I am confident that it will come in time…

  12. I’m going through something similar in that I moved from a town of 2500 to a town of 500,000. I know not quite the “bigness” of what you moved from, but I still know what it’s like to be out of your element. I moved here in June for a teaching job, and though I have my brother and sister-in-law close by, it’s still been hard feeling so isolated. It’s good that you found what’s best for you though! Best of Luck! :-)

  13. sounds like you are making a great decision! i do think it’s important to push yourself but at the same time, keeping yourself from being happy just doesn’t make any sense. and, as you’ve seen, you can always move again if you want! that makes it win/win.

  14. I am happy for you, Susan, that you are going home, “where you belong”….at least at this time in your life, it’s a perfect set up.

    And your dad…wow, his life has changed too.
    An adult daughter moving back
    Another daughter and her partner and a new baby
    All back with him!

    I am happy for you that you can write. I know, it’s ALWAYS been what you want to do!

  15. Ahh the twists and turns of life! Looking forward to reading along on this journey you’re about to embark on! You’re already a great writer, so I think honing that craft will be excellent :)

  16. Wahhh, I’m going to miss you! I’m glad that the silver lining in your accident was truly finding out where you need to be and what you need to be doing at this point in your life.

    Also, you should consider starting up a b&b, there’s a lot of people here who want to visit you!!

  17. Oh Dear Friend . . .

    I met you when your when just starting your amazing journey . . . and you know what? You’ve gone out on your own and carved a way in Canada’s largest city. And you did it all with grace! :)

    You’ve not failed. Instead, you now know what you want. And that is something that most people never figure out; for that, you are all the richer.

    Admittedly, I’ll be sad not to see you when I’m in Toronto next. And I don’t know when I’ll be in the East Coast. But having visited your beautiful part of the country, I can definitely understand why you would want to return!

    We’ll see each other again! Maybe on the shores of the Ocean . . . at your cottage!

  18. i think it’s so important to acknowledge that doing things just because you think they are growth experiences doesn’t necessarily mean they are the RIGHT things to do. wonderful you tried, lived it, and continue to live and learn.

  19. Welcome Home…us maritimers always like to return to our roots!

  20. I’m excited for you to be “headed home” and moving in with your dad. So many people don’t take steps in life to make themselves happy out of fear, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen you do that. These big moves take guts! I know that because you are determined to take charge and find a place to be happy, you ultimately will be : )

  21. Will miss you but so glad you’ve started to figure it out. There’s no point living somewhere that doesn’t feel like home! Moncton is lucky to have you!!!

  22. Leaving everything you had known and moving to a big city WAS brave, and I hear ya- I did the same thing! You should be proud of yourself for doing it, and making the best of it even when it didn’t feel like the right place after a while. I am thankful you moved here because I got to meet you!! I hope you visit often and we can have more foodie dates :) Or who knows, maybe I’ll come out east!

    I’m glad you’re making the right decision for YOU and no one else, and am sure you’ll be happy being back at home in a relaxing environment while you’re healing! And your sister’s baby is adorable! It will be so great to be there with him!

    Can’t wait to see you before you leave! (Totally still want to sign your cast. hahaha) Take care.

    xo

  23. You are most definitely not “throwing in the towel.” Sometimes it takes big things for you to figure out where it is that you are supposed to be. Even though I’ve lived all over the US and the world, my heart will always be with my family, and I know eventually I want to live closer to them again, no matter where that may be!

  24. I’m so jealous!! Houston is way too big for me, and in a lot of ways, I wish I was back in Moncton too. Eat lots of garlic fingers for me!

  25. As much as I would love for you to move out west and be closer (Vancouver would be kickass), I’m glad you are listening to your heart and are going to be with family. I really think that will help in your recovery as well. You know I’ll be right there with you no matter where you are! xox

  26. Congratulations on your next big move! I love this post and all of the adventure it promises. Small town living is fun too, especially when surrounded by family and friends.

    (You should branch out from the cinnamon buns in Alma, though…way over-rated.) ;)

  27. Good Luck! Sometimes life throws up for a loop and we don’t know why…then, it all totally works out for the best :)

  28. I am glad you are doing what makes you happy! It looks like your time in Toronto was fun, but I understand wanting to be where you feel you belong. I often wonder about living in a new city but honestly I love being so close to my parents and my husband’s family.

  29. I’m excited you are moving home too! You are a wonderful human being and being happy is the most important. You are following your heart…do you know how many folks never have the courage? I can’t wait til you get home and your adventures. I miss the poodle….

  30. I’ve just started following your blog but it’s so easy to “hear” how excited you are for this move, i couldn’t live far from my family so i’m super happy for you to be making this change
    Good luck, I can’t wait to read along and you seriously have me craving east coast food now :)

  31. Good for you for listening to your gut on this one! Adventures are important, but so is settling into a life that feels right. I feel like you also can’t completely appreciate the one without the other.

  32. Well I’m sad that you’re leaving Toronto since I’m coming back in April and will be craving good foodie company ;). But I completely understand your decision to be back home. I haven’t been living at home in about 4 years but still find myself getting homesick every now and then.
    If you plan on making a stop over in Montreal on your way home, please let me know :)

  33. It sounds like you are making the right decision. Sometimes we move somewhere else to “Stretch our wings” and discover it’s not really the right spot. That’s ok!

  34. I’m so proud of you for following your gut. I have a lot of friends who have moved away to accomplish something and feel like they’d be a failure if they came back, even if it would inevitably make them happier…sigh. Good for you for having your head on straight! :)

  35. Best of luck in this new chapter of your life!

  36. Good luck Susan! I can’t wait to see how you’ll embrace these changes. You’ve been through so much! xoxo

  37. Awww i’m so happy for you. I love being close to home. There is something so comforting and heart warming about it.

  38. I truly love your attitude towards life and change. Good luck in this next chapter.

  39. All the best….have a lovely time back home and
    heal quickly !(nothing like a newborn in the house to bring joy and smiles
    to all around them!)

    And look forward to reading about our Scotland adventures when you do eventually head over there….I just have a feeling you will :)

    (watch out for that haggis though! :)

  40. That will be so great to live with your dad again. I know you guys are close. And your new nephew is here! I can’t believe it! He is a doll :)

  41. awww susan! i am so proud of you. again. seriously. i love your attitude about everything, and there quite frankly is something about home that nothing else can quite match. live up these last weeks sister!!!!!

  42. A bit delayed on reading your post, but i loved this.

  43. I finally caught up and now I get it all! I have been so swamped with work and our move to Berkeley that I have had no time to read how all of my friends our doing. I am so happy for you Susan ~ I think I can totally hear the happiness and conviction in what you wrote about moving home. Seriously with what you listed, I want to go with you – your home town sounds amazing!

    I read from top to bottom in my reader so this is my catch up from today ~ hope your last appointment with the surgeon went well and you are finally back home ~ I can’t wait to see pics of your Dad’s kitchen :) LOL

    XOXO,

    Danica

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