Over the course of the last few years the notion of “home” has really changed for me. Being that I’m originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, I always sort of considered it my “home” since I spent my formative years there, and most of my family still lives there.
Five years ago I uprooted my life and moved to Vancouver and then just last August I did it again when I moved to Toronto. Both of these experiences have challenged the concept of “home” that I’ve held for so long. What really constitutes “home”?
When I moved to Vancouver back at the end of 2004, Salt Lake City was still “home” to me. I held on to that notion for a good 4 of the 5 years that I was living there and for some reason, I was just never truly happy during that time. It wasn’t until I realized it was THAT that was making me so unhappy. Actively choosing to live in a place while maintaining the idea that my “home” was elsewhere prevented me from putting down any roots. I didn’t get involved with any hobbies, I wouldn’t let myself really connect with people that I dated and ultimately I felt very transient for that whole period of time.
Eventually I hit a breaking point where I was literally one decision away from transferring back to the Salt Lake City office. Going back “home”. Luckily, however, in that moment of pressure where I had to decide if I was going to leave Canada, and likely never live here again, it all became clear to me. I was sabotaging my own happiness.
It was one of those rare moments when a string of seemingly unrelated events connect and you learn something new (how very after school special of me, I know) and I realized that because I kept thinking “this isn’t my home”, I limited my ability to thrive and be happy. It was at that point that I started getting involved with things. I joined the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, Stephen and I started dating and I joined the Pacific Rim Curling Club. Within weeks it was like I was a different person. I was happy, loving Vancouver and excited about my life there.
Naturally, the roots I put down in Vancouver made the decision to move to Toronto that much harder, but it also taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t just dip your toes in… Just jump into the deep end.
It would have been really easy for me to take the same approach to Toronto that I did to Vancouver and think “I won’t be here forever, this isn’t my ‘home’ so I shouldn’t settle down”- especially with the various consequences that moving to Toronto included. Thankfully, however, I knew what that would do to me.
I will always have strong ties to Vancouver, no matter what the future holds for me- just like I still have strong ties to Salt Lake City (even though I highly doubt I’ll ever live there again after living in places like Vancouver & Toronto). But, Toronto is my home now. It’s where my life is and it’s where I need to actually live my life. I don’t know how long I’ll be here for… maybe it’s a couple years and maybe it’s indefinitely, so I better make damn sure I enjoy it.
So, after three long weeks of travel to India, the Philippines and Vancouver, it’s been a huge relief to just come home- to Toronto. Knowing that Toronto is my place right now and where my life is was a huge comfort as I got on that plane from Vancouver and once again left that place of familiarity and security. Sure I’m still settling in here in some ways, but I’ve got a great apartment, an awesome job and fantastic new friends and a security network of amazing friends back in Vancouver as well… who could really ask for more?
It feels good to be home.