All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
This month marks the opening of the door to the next chapter of my life and the closing of the door of the last chapter. With this in mind it felt like the perfect time to re-start my blog and I figured I would start with an update of my life.
I have recently accepted my offer to start school in Australia in the Osteopathy program. This means I will be in Melbourne, Australia for the next 5 years as I become an Osteopathic Doctor (If you know me at all and this concept is making you feel weird…join the damn club). This is the biggest decisions I have ever made thus far in my life and it is hella big.
I left Canada for Australia one January 23, 2013 –somewhat– ready for an adventure. I will be honest, I didn’t really plan my trip too much, nor did I really understand what I was about to embark on. I only knew I needed a change; my life was becoming somewhat uncomfortably comfortable. I had all the freedom in the world and yet I felt trapped. When I packed my bag to come out to Australia 10 months ago, I had never intended to stay out here for more than 4 months let alone plan to live here for half a decade.
As I close that metaphorical door on the life back home I am feeling nostalgic and homesick for my life in Canada. As someone who has in the past relied heavily on the support system of my family back home, being on the other side of the world has been extremely difficult. Knowing I will be missing events, experiences and time with them for five years is more than overwhelming. However, I have been learning that I needed/need this experience for my own personal growth. I am not in the place I expect to be at my age and I am beginning to learn that is perhaps a good thing.
When growing up I felt like there was this mythical place called “adulthood” and eventually I would get there. I imagined almost a transition hut where you would enter as a teenager, get a makeover and then emerge as a fully functioning adult. I have begun to realize that being an adult is just you, feeling like you are still 15 years old and then suddenly expected to figure out how life works. There’s no guide book, and there isn’t a right way to do things. You just exist. This thought is terrifying and likely why nobody tells you this when you’re little.
People ask you, “what you want to be when you’re an adult?” and as you tell them your dreams, you imagine yourself wearing oversized cookie-cutter outfits of a fireman, doctor, lawyer, and writer (mine was the latter). It took me much longer to realize there were so many other things you could be, that becoming something did not need to happen right away, that these things you could be did not define you as a human. Most importantly I am learning that it definitely isn’t perfectly smooth process. If only I had understood earlier that life doesn’t get less scary as you age, you just get more experienced dealing with the scary.
Until now I haven’t really been forced to figure myself out. I have been working since I was 13 and never been afraid of hard work or getting dirty. I have lived away from home when I did my Bachelor of Arts, had roommates, lived with a boyfriend, fed myself and did my laundry. These things are usually representative of being an adult but not representative of figuring out what makes up “you”. Being on the other side of the world away from everything you are used to, makes you figure out “you” because that’s all you have. In Australia my accent makes me stand out, I don’t know some of the local terminology, I still forget which direction the cars are going to come down the road. When I arrived in Australia I knew very few people. In this situation you learn how to reach out and grab a hold of the world around you. I uprooted my entire life, flew across the country and started all over again. It is some pretty scary fucking stuff and yet I have loved every happy, horrible, awesome, terrifying moment.
There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fears realized.
Every day I feel like I begin to understand this quote a little bit more. My anxiety has held me back in many situations and I have not taken opportunities I should have because of it. As someone who fears the uncontrollable and the discomfort of the unknown, I am beginning to learn that these issues are best dealt with head on. The quote above represents just that to me. Learning to look your demons straight in the eyes and take it all in. Don’t let the fear cause you to freeze or throw you into a sobbing ball. Life isn’t always going to be perfect but that’s how you grow and learn. The worst will never be as bad as you think and at the end of the day you have one life, do you want to spend it scared of what could happen? Fearing how things will turn out badly? Or do you want to chase down happiness, tackle it to the floor, cut your knee and giggle until your stomach hurts?
I think that is why I enjoy (and likely why many others enjoy) lifting so much. It represents a physical demon that you can see, feel, and pick the fuck up. When I walked into CrossFit the first time as a “chronic cardio” girl I was terrified. I almost walked the other way 3 times on my way to the box and then stood for 10 minutes outside in the freezing cold staring at it. Then I held my breath, lifted my chin, walked into the place that would help shape the next part of my life and haven’t looked back. I found out that lifting weights tested me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am a stubborn, hardworking, energetic, happy, sarcastic, deeply loving, and highly emotional person. These things and more are tested through lifting in ways I never expected. Lifting and the community I have begun to be a part of has changed the way I view obstacles in life both physical and mental. Lifting makes me happy; it keeps my brain alive, my body excited and gives me the best social group of friends I could as for. I wouldn’t do it, if it didn’t make me smile so goddamn much.
So in a nutshell: I am a Canadian living in Melbourne Australia, I eat paleo, I lift big and eat big, I enjoy CrossFit and now have my CF-Level 1, I am going to be studying in school again, I live passionately, I wear my heart on my sleeve (Which I have been told is likely my biggest downfall) and I am learning to enjoy the journey and not focus on the end goal. My blog will encompass all these things and whatever else I feel like. Whether it is just a place for me sort out my thoughts or something someone else wants to read, who knows. But you are welcome to follow as I attempt to Feed The Right Wolf** and figure out…everything.
** An extremely good friend introduced me to this story and I think about it almost daily. You are the one in control of which wolf you feed and therefore how you will react to life.
The Story of Two Wolves
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he told the young boy, “a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil, full of anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride. The other is good, full of joy, peace, love, humility, kindness and faith.”
“This same fight is going on inside of you, grandson…and inside of every other person on this earth.”
The grandson ponders this for a moment and then asks, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”
The old man smiled and simply said,
“The one you feed.”