There has been three very distinct moments in my life when I was faced with a fork in the road. I’m certain there have been many more than this over my 34 years but like I said, three really stand out for me. It’s these three moments that I want to share with you.
The first moment happened in 2005. I was 26 years old and had recently split from my husband. All together we had spent nearly 10 years together so to say it was traumatic is probably an understatement. At the time we were living in Nelson, BC and my family and most of my friends were back in Winnipeg, MB. When we split my family wanted me to come back home. They wanted to see me. They wanted to comfort me.
I didn’t want this.
Going home was the equivalent of failing. At least that’s how it felt. So I agreed to a two-week vacation to visit before I moved on with my life. I had arranged to move to Whistler, BC with a friend who had lived there before. We would get a place together and I’d “move on”.
With my plans in place I hopped a plane to Winnipeg. The visit was good, but hard. Part of me was anxious to leave while the familiar comforted the other part.
The two weeks passed quickly and before I knew it I was back on a plane to Vancouver. From there I’d meet my friend and drive out to Whistler to look for a place to live.
Whistler is beautiful. If you’ve never been I would recommend you going. It was April by the time I arrived and the ski/snowboard season was winding down. It was eerily quiet as we walked the streets. We checked out a few places and talked about the move. I was excited but a nagging voice inside kept saying, What exactly are you going to do for money out here?
I tried to ignore that voice. I didn’t want to worry about getting a job. We spent the night at her friend’s place. I slept on the couch and thought, What the hell am I doing?
At that point I was a month into my separation from my husband, and in a town where I knew exactly one person. I had no money and no job prospects. I was scared. BIG TIME.
The next day my friend could tell something was wrong. She took me out to this beautiful spot along the river that overlooked the mountains and asked what was up.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” She asked.
I wasn’t sure.
I was scared. I wanted my mom. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run back to Winnipeg and hide under the blankets in a dark room.
And that’s what I did. I had my friend drive me to the bus station so I could get out of Whistler A.S.A.P. In that moment it all felt TOO BIG for me to handle. I felt like I was standing on the edge of something but I wasn’t strong enough to make the leap. My friend agreed to drive me to the station (though I am sure she wasn’t too pleased about it) and I ended up back in Vancouver a few hours later.
As I sat in the bus depot trying to get ahold of my Vancouver friends to come pick me up it took all my strength not to freak out. Two days later I was back in Nelson packing up my things and catching the first bus back to Winnipeg.
I arrived in Winnipeg exactly one week from the day I left. My parents picked me up from the Winnipeg bus depot at 6:00 am. It was dark and the weather was still cold. I had opted for the familiar instead of taking a risk at something new.
I felt like a failure.
It’s hard to say what would have happened if I had stayed in BC. In the years that followed I would look back at my decision and kick myself for giving up so easily. But you can’t spend your time dwelling on things you cannot change.
I’ve learned to see the positives that came from my decision to move back to Winnipeg. I met my future husband two months after I moved back, I was able to spend time with my granny before she passed away (she passed 6 months after I arrived home) and I met some amazing people that I now consider my family.
So was it the right decision? I’m not sure. But it was definitely the easier one and easy doesn’t always translate to fulfilling. Moving back to Winnipeg set me back in other ways. It took me further away from my dreams. If I had some cool way to go back in time (Anyone have a DeLorean?) I’m not sure I’d change it. We all have to accept the choices we’ve made whether they’re good, bad or otherwise. Sometimes we are spot on and other times… not so much. It’s what you have learned from these decisions that’s important.
What I’ve learned is that things happen for a reason. Yes my life would be different if I had chosen to stay. Maybe by being brave and taking the risk I could have saved myself a lot of heartache in the future. Maybe I’d be further along in my creative career. Maybe, maybe, maybe etc. It can really make your head spin!
The great thing about life is that it’s never too late to make a change. There will always be another fork in the road. There will always be another decision to make that will be scary. There will always be another opportunity to take the path less traveled. Sometimes it will feel right to take it. Sometimes it won’t. Only you’ll know which path is right in that moment. All I ask is that you really stop to think (or feel) about which path is right. Are you choosing this path because it’s right (in that moment) or easy? In the immortal words of Robert Frost,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
I encourage you to take the path that makes all the difference!
Next time I’ll tell you all about my second fork in the road. Spoilers: I took the easy way again 😦 Bad Angie *shakes finger*