“Ever since my childhood I’ve been scared, I’ve been afraid, of being trapped by circumstance, of staying in one place.” – Frank Turner The Road
I was listening to this song a week or so ago as my tour bus wove its way between brilliant green trees on the trip back into Halifax and all I could think was how much those words resonated with me. I am not a fearful person per say but most of the people who know me would likely agree that I prefer to have a plan before I do anything. If I don’t have a Plan B, C, D etc. then I should probably lie down because it’s just not like me. My caution has, at times, been rewarded and other times well, it hasn’t. I take those moments in stride though, much like the rest of life.
However, I will not deny that there is one pervasive fear that lurked in the back of my mind as I progressed through my undergraduate degree – what if it all went nowhere? Which, considering life and the curveballs it likes to throw at people, could have happened. I am a staunch believer in never assuming something until it’s right there in front of you. Friends will recall that I refused to acknowledge my acceptance to Dalhousie University until I received my official acceptance letter in the mail.
I wasn’t exactly afraid of not doing anything with my life, I was more so afraid of following a path that might yield more easily to me rather than taking the path I was intimidated and yet excited by. I love Ottawa. I was born and raised there. I’ve walked its streets at all hours of the day. I’ve visited its bookstores. I’ve eaten at its cafes. I even helped produce a book about the city. But I’ve known for years that Ottawa isn’t where I want to settle down, at least not yet. After 21 years in the city I called home I needed to leave. I needed to leave in order to remind myself what there was to come back to and to prove to myself that I was more than Ottawa.
So, last week I packed up several tote bins, a few suitcases, and set out on a car ride with my dad.
Our destination: Halifax.
He went home two weeks ago and I stayed here. And what can I tell you?
I like it here. I love the smell of the salt in the air by the water. Honestly, if I could take that with me in a bottle everywhere I go, I would. I enjoy the history and how rooted it feels in the city itself. I love the green space. It feels more naturally integrated than back home. Most importantly, I feel comfortable here. I’ve found two bookstores already. I’ve eaten in several restaurants and cafes.
Here, on the East Coast I am more chill than I have ever been in my life. It’s an odd feeling to be sure. Of course, classes have just started yet so we’ll see how chill I am in a month or two but I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. Studious Sam won’t change. The Sam who can spend hours talking about fictional characters and debating with her friends won’t change. Sam who wants her PhD in English Literature eventually definitely won’t give up. But, still there’s a change in me and I like it.
I thought when I arrived here that I might reinvent myself. No, that’s not quite it, I felt like I had a shot at reinventing myself if I so chose, but I don’t want to change. I want to grow and with that growth change will occur but I do not want to become someone new. I quite like myself as I am sassiness, curly hair, and fandom obsessions included. I feel at peace with myself here in a way I couldn’t quite grasp in Ottawa.
Part of me cannot believe I moved. I am farther away from my friends and family than I have ever been before, because 2-week stints away at summer camp for ten years is not even close to the same thing as moving several provinces away from everyone. I also left behind Carleton when I moved away. For eight years Carleton was part of my future in a solid way. I wanted Carleton, I got accepted, and I proceeded to work all over the campus in an effort to place myself in my university’s daily happenings. I wanted to help shape a legacy. I suppose that sounds a tad dramatic but oh, well. I left digital fingerprints behind and I’m glad about that, but now I’m facing a new school. A new place to make a name for myself and to leave a handprint behind if I wish to, and oh, goodness do I want to leave my mark here too.
So, next today I embarked on the next adventure life has offered me and I plan to embrace my future wholeheartedly.