On Taking The Plunge

I left my hometown to go to university when I was 19. I didn’t really intend to be gone for long, but of course, life had other plans. I don’t know if this is the way for every teenager, but I think that one of the rites of passage growing up in a small town is talking about how much you can’t wait to leave. I joined in the daydreaming with the rest of my friends, but I never deeply felt the desire to go. It was more of a “see you later” than a “goodbye” when I packed up my car and headed 6 hours north; I just had no idea it would take so long to return.

When Stu and I were newly married in our early 20s, we loved living in “the big city” of Edmonton. Thoughts of coming back home slowly started to fade. As we both graduated university and got jobs, the idea of returning all but disappeared completely. We had friends, family, and (for Stu’s part) a career that couldn’t be fulfilled back home. We committed to living in a big city and were happy with the decision. We spent the next decade plus moving between Edmonton and Calgary, setting up a life and trying to maintain in our hearts that it was good.

When Beckett was born, we both felt a shift. Our identity started to change now that we weren’t just living life for ourselves. We continued to chase after the dream until our feet were sore. We had the nice car, the big house, the curated Instagram – all of the material boxes were checked, but something was missing. We tried to line things up to move back home when I was 7 months pregnant with Eloise, but it didn’t work out and we were completely devastated. In that moment we admitted defeat and hung up the dream of moving home indefinitely.

Over the next three years, we saw our share of ups and downs individually and as a family. In the moment, many of them were scary and almost too much to bear. A second child to raise. A job change. The loss of a friend group. Rejection. A global pandemic. A tooth infection that turned into a brain infection and a lengthy hospital stay. The challenges of a marriage that looked different than it did prior to having kids. Feeling isolated and alone. Having a bit of an existential crisis, wondering what the point of living in a beautiful home was if we hardly had the time at the end of the day to enjoy it.

All of a sudden, it was like a light came on. There would never be a perfect time to pick up our lives completely and move without chasing after a job. We had spent so much of the last 14 years following opportunities that opened themselves up to us that we never really realized that sometimes you have to make the path for yourself. With no solid job prospects for either of us and no concrete reason to upend our great careers and leave our dream home, we put a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and held our breath.

Months passed by and we wondered if we were making a mistake. But the house sold. I started looking for jobs, and had interviews that seemed promising, but was rejected multiple times. Again, I wondered if we were making a mistake. But the job came. We bought a house after seeing it only over FaceTime. There were back to back showings booked for two days straight, but we put in our offer and the sellers cancelled the other showings and accepted. Our realtor said she was completely shocked, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, felt like this home was truly meant to be ours. Stu helped to start a non-profit, and even since the early days of its inception, the interest of influential people who want to support it has been consistent.

I don’t say all of this to brag. I wanted to write it down because to think of it seems unbelievable at times. I have never been a person to follow through with an idea without something concrete to hang onto. With this move, there was nothing solid, except for the unwavering feeling in our gut that we wanted to find our way back home. I have never been one to take a leap of faith with no safety net to catch me – the mere thought would usually send my anxiety into overdrive. But the strange thing about all of this is that I have never felt anything but peace. Even in the moments where I worried about how everything would turn out, a quiet voice reminded me that things would come together. Even in the uncertainty, I had confidence that life would line up. And it has.

I am trying to trust my gut more and get my brain out of the way. I am thankful for having the momentary courage to take a chance on the life we’ve always wanted for our family. I know that everything won’t be perfect all of the time, but that the path we’re carving out for ourselves looks exactly as it should. More and more I’m realizing that if there’s something in the uncertain waters I know is worth diving in for, I’ve just got to hold my breath and take the plunge.

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