Two-Year Anniversary

Tomorrow, June 4, 2014, marks an interesting anniversary in my life. It was two years ago tomorrow that I decided to finally move to Toronto, and start making a life for myself.

It was a warm and sunny Monday evening in Calgary, but I wasn’t watching the sun set to the west. If I remember correctly, I was facing north, sitting on a curb on the corner of 15 Ave. and 6th St. SW, when I lit a cigarette and wrote a text message to my family that read, something to effect of, “K. and I have split. I’m going to move to Toronto on July 1. Loves.”

With that, my decision was made, and I headed to my favourite pub.

Now, I don’t want to advocate for making major life decisions while you’re heartbroken. The only decision that anyone who is newly heartbroken should make is what drink to order next. Hell, a good bartender won’t even have you ask.

K. and I had thought about moving to Toronto together, and I had been thinking about it for a few years before I met her. So, really, it wasn’t too outlandish for me to make the decision I did two years ago. The expediency with which I made the decision is questionable, though.

I received this as a gift from a student, while I was on placement. As you can see, I haven't unwrapped it and put it up. Wherever I next, I'll use this to hang my keys.
I received this as a gift from a student, while I was on placement. As you can see, I haven’t unwrapped it and put it up. Wherever I next, I’ll use this to hang my keys.

If I hadn’t made that decision, on that very day, I wonder where I’d be today. I wonder if I’d still be in Calgary, working in a restaurant, and living in my parents’ basement. I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t be living in Mariposa now; I probably would never even have heard of it. I probably wouldn’t have been fired from as fortunate to experience as many jobs as I did while working (?) in Toronto.

When I arrived in Toronto on July 4, 2012, Independence Day in the USA, I had one objective: to make a life for myself in Toronto. A year ago today, I felt defeated by Toronto — I wasn’t going to make it. I was working in a restaurant, which I hated, and I was planning my move up to Mariposa to start teachers college. Truth is, I couldn’t wait to get out of Toronto, and start an exciting new adventure.

The adventure wasn’t that exciting, but it did move me forward. Now that it’s over, I’m looking ahead again. This time I’m setting my sights even further east, across the Atlantic Ocean, on London, England. Somehow, even though the context of this major life decision is different this time, it still feels like I’m running away from something again.

This time, I’m not heartbroken. I have a job lined up. I have all the necessary paperwork (visa and such). And, I have a balcony to sit on. The only thing I don’t have is a plane ticket.

I went to London back in the summer of 2010. I was talking to a friend from back home a few weeks ago, and it came up that she thought I wasn’t going to come back from that trip. She earnestly believed that she’d never see me again, even though I bought a return ticket. I have a strange affection for the Brits, and she thinks that London is the place for me. It’s hard to disagree with her.

This time, however, there is a reluctance hanging over me. I almost don’t want to go. This sentiment is new for me. Never before I have a run away while looking back.

Here’s the thing: if I go, I don’t want to come back. My visa stipulates that I must return to Canada within two years, but there’s got to be a workaround, no?

Lately, against all of the advice that I’ve received, I’ve been desirous to settle down. I want to put art up on the walls. I want to buy a book shelf and start filling it. I want to RSVP to wedding invitations without having to include a caveat. I want to cancel my mail-redirect subscription. I want to have more than one set of sheets for my bed. I want to have a better collection of clothing. I want to find a woman who is completely capable of breaking my heart. I don’t want to have to think about what I’m going to do with all of my shit when I move next.

You’re still young, they say. You’re single, they remind me. You’ll have a great time in London, they assure me. It’ll be a great experience, they proclaim. They ask why I wouldn’t go, given that I’ve got nothing keeping me here.

This time, I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of starting over, again. The familiarizing myself with my surroundings. The making of new friends. The adjusting to cultural norms. All of the things involved with starting over scare me this time.

This time, the conditions are ripe with possibility. In fact, it couldn’t be any better. Yet, I’m scared of something. Maybe it’s the perfection of the situation that scares me. Maybe, I just don’t know what it’s like to run toward something.

Two years ago tomorrow I started running east, and now I’ve got to start swimming if I’m going to see the world from the London Eye.

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