Back in February of 2021, I made the the exciting announcement that my dogs and I were planning to pack up and moving to British Columbia. I was so excited to get to experience bi-coastal living!
Two weeks ago, I was packing up to finally make our move. I had the car packed so full that the back end of my Highlander scraped as I backed out of the driveway. This was meant to be the trip of a lifetime, and I had been planning it for over a year. I had a beautiful home waiting for me in British Columbia, an incredible teaching job, a thriving side hustle, hope and excitement for the future, and a plan. But today, that is all gone.
Where It All Fell Apart
I made it to Quebec on July 23, 2021, and that’s when everything fell apart. One of my dogs, Kona, wasn’t going to be able to continue the drive; the stress was too much on her. There was only one choice at this point: turn around, because leaving her was never an option. I had to give up my beautiful home that I was so excited about, withdraw from a once in a lifetime teaching opportunity, walk away from thousands of dollars I had already spent on this move and start the long journey back home. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Chinese government started the ban of foreign teachers, so my thriving side job of teaching English online was officially in jeopardy.
I spent the first week back in Nova Scotia wallowing in my own misery. Life felt like it had crashed down all at once. Everything I was so excited about for the last year was gone. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and leaving the house simply did not happen. I knew I made the right choice because my dogs always come first, but it didn’t make the decision any easier to accept.
Slowly, I started to unpack all my belongings back in Nova Scotia. Unpacking was hard because it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. The moving boxes spread all over my current home acted as a constant reminder of everything I had just lost.
After the first week of feeling my feelings, I knew I had to snap out of it. My mental health simply could not take it anymore. I needed a full mindset shift. So I started doing the things I enjoyed again: eating well, cleaning, reading, organizing my home. I started painting (paint by number – let’s not get ahead of ourselves), and leaving the house again. I tried to think of all the positives of staying in Nova Scotia. Being safe from Covid. Not having to drive through or live amongst the forest fires that are raging across the country. Being able to stay around the most amazing friends I’ve met this past year. Being near my family. Most importantly, the dogs being happy back in their familiar environment.
I would be lying if I said I’m fully back to normal – finding the ‘want’ to do a lot of things is still hard, but I’m trying to force myself back into reality – even though it’s not the reality I thought I would have for myself.
Sometimes, life takes you in other directions; regardless of how much planning you do, or how much you want something. My biggest lesson from this whole experience is that we have to be flexible with our lives. Everyone keeps telling me that everything happens for a reason. As hard as it is to believe them, I’m hopeful they’re right.