And I have so much to tell you.
For the past five and a half years I’ve been deep in the frenetic, slow, joyful, depleting, isolating, transformative phase of self-discovery that is birthing and raising young children. There wasn’t much time for blogging, though there were a few false starts.
I became a bit lost from myself for a while. Or my self just completely shifted. I’m still not sure. Either way, I’m now getting to know and love my authentic self.
When you realise what you are supposed to be doing, and then look back, you might discover a magical wormhole-like tunnel carved through the universe. It is so exciting to see the past and present so clearly and feel ready for something (especially when you have been holding on for dear life inside the wide learning curve of raising humans) and also a little disorienting, as hindsight can be.
When I look back, I no longer see a series of turbulent choices – I now see that I have been travelling all this time on a path.
I am thinking of that sweet and anxious 16 year old who stayed in on weekends in high school teaching herself HTML code so that she could build websites and publish regular online journal entries (before the word “blog” was ever uttered) and connect with a very dim and scattered tribe at a time when the Internet felt intimate and magical.
I’m remembering that eager and reckless 18 year old who flew off to Europe the week after graduation to explore Spanish fish markets, Paella and Tapas; Olive farms in Tuscany, tiny hole-in-the-wall Focaccia counters in Italian villages, gelato in Rome; Sausage and Beer at German family restaurants and the best french fries with thick mayonnaise from kiosks on the Reine; and a variety of baked goods in Amsterdam…
I’m awed by that adventurous and self-destructive 22 year old who found herself eating raw sea urchin from the back of a fisherman’s truck in the middle of nowhere in Baja Sur, Mexico while listening to stories in broken English of how the young men of the nearby village dive daily to walk along the ocean floor to collect these and lobsters both.
Later, she learned to make civiche with the fisherman’s fresh whitefish with a worn paperback copy of Robert Carrier’s Great Dishes of the World outside her van while the sun set over an isolated beach.
She clung tight to her passion even while lost to herself in many ways
I am proud of that brave and newly in love 25 year old who learned to grow her own food in containers on the decks and backyards of various West Coast apartments and travelled across country with her lover and a cherry tomato plant in their van.
Together, they tasted the landscape and slept under the stars – stopping in Saskatchewan for Saskatoon berry soda; making bison chili on a single burner stove in a lightning storm at an RV park in Manitoba; stopping at the Kenora farmer’s market in Ontario for sauerkraut stuffed pierogies; frying fresh lake trout on the riverbank of a bird sanctuary under the moonlight; buying Fletons from a fish market in rural Quebec and discovering the first bite that the mystery fish was indeed Halibut; eating traditional fresh fried cheese with maple syrup and ethically made foie gras while surrounded by fat white geese on Ile D’Orleans.
I am grateful to that 28 year old who returned home to Nova Scotia, and to the rural life she left ten years (and a lifetime) before, and that 30 year old who eloped with her love on a heritage farm, celebrating with Paella, French wine and a cake adorned with local wildflowers by candlelight with two friends in a Lunenburg County barn on a hot summer’s night, naked baby nearly asleep, only a few miles from their future home in one of the most magical communities on earth.
And that woman in her early thirties? She is perhaps the most incredible. I’ll save her story for another day, but she did not type her thoughts out endlessly into the night, or savour gelato on cobblestone street corners, kiss new lovers under the stars, or court inspiration to the hidden reaches of her talents. Her adventures have been quieter, her growth painful and the value of it all overshadowed daily by the work.
But, she is the one who ushered me here.
Here I am, nearly 35 years old (a shocking fact to me), married with two children. When I was eight, I journaled my vision for my future. I described it again when I was a young student, living in the city, uncertain about my next big move. I relinquished it when I felt trapped in an unhealthy and destructive life far from home. But, for most of my life, I visualised that someday I would live in the country in a home by a willow tree, a river and a garden with someone I loved and that I would be a writer.
The moment that you discover that you are thisclose to your dream life and maybe you’ve been holding back too long because of fear and the only thing stopping you from reaching out and grabbing it is YOU…
…well, as I write this, the willows behind my house are budding, I can hear the river running through the dark wood, and my three true loves are sleeping upstairs. Spring is coming. And here I am, writing…
I am so inspired by all of the bloggers and podcasters and writers out there and by my friends who are following their passions and living bold, creative lives. These people are my tribe!
What inspires you on a daily basis to dream big? When you found your tribe or your passion, did it surprise you?