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  • Writer's pictureMiss Rebecca J

Your New Life Will Cost You Your Old One

You Can Have Anything, But You Can't Have Everything


I stood in the centre of the living room letting the waves of overwhelm crash over me. I felt like I had been fighting upstream ever since I had made the decision to pack up my life and move 2,300 miles away. In all honesty, I’d been drowning for years, flailing around in the waters of uncertainty looking for something to cling on to; a reason for me to stay. My business? My home? My friends? Whatever comfort they may have offered me in the short term, I kept arriving at the same answer: it's time to go.


Deep down I have always known that I am no match for the force majeure of the universe. The day it declared I should leave I knew there was no point arguing, but the warrior instinct in me that has kept me alive throughout my darkest days has a hard time knowing when to put down her spear. Together we are trying to learn that sometimes the only way to survive is to acquiesce. Like most other hard things, learning isn't linear; knowing I can't take her with me hasn't stopped me from grappling to hold on to fistfuls of Toronto. I looked around at all my things: my ornaments, trinkets, and velvet-covered furnishings - the physical embodiment of all the comfort I had fought for over the last eight years - and I panicked. HOW was going to transport it all across a vast country?! Wrong question.


It came to me again in the same, small but firm internal voice that I had heard beside the castle ruins in May:


"Your new life will cost you your old one."


I understood then that I was being asked to pay upfront with every material item I’d invested in over the best part of a decade. It was a hard moment of reckoning as I accepted that I could only take what I could carry. And so I cut up every piece of physical prosperity I had known and I sold it all for scrap on Facebook Marketplace. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. My city of velvet and brushed gold was being razed to the ground.


Begin again. And again. And again. This has been the tune of my life so far and I know that the only option is to keep dancing.


My friend Erin told me once that letting go can take place "one finger at a time"...and I feel that. Surrender is something that also comes in waves... and meaningful change comes at the end of a string of hard decisions that are underpinned by an ultimate commitment to our vision of our best selves. There is a reason people get stuck. There is a reason people don’t chase their calling; it’s hard. There is a sacrifice at every juncture. We’ve talked about scheduled burns before and I guess if there is one unifying theme to any and all of my successes it is the painful understanding that you don’t get to keep everything and everyone you have ever encountered. You just can’t. Oh my darling, I wish you could but alas...no. You can have anything you want, but you cannot have everything you want. This is the most crucial lesson I have ever learned and I am constantly being asked by the universe to put it into practice.


Four years ago I stood, lost, in a small mountain town and she sized me up. She then told me through her peaks, her rivers, her trees, and through the permeating magic in the air she breathes, that it was time for me to come home.


"You don't know what you're asking of me, I have a life... it isn't here... it is filled with people and things I've worked hard to collect and keep. It isn't that easy!" I would say each time she looked me in the eye with her blue skies, knowing full well she *did* indeed know the gravity of her decree.


Her gaze never faltered. She stood quietly and patiently waiting for me to act upon her instruction, even when I bitterly lamented the losses of things I fought so hard to hold in my hands.


She kindly reminded me that I needed them to be empty to receive the gifts she has waiting for me here. She wouldn't tell me what they were, she just invited me to have faith.


And so I have. I don't believe in God, but I believe in this feeling enough to have sacrificed what might have looked externally like success to others to go and live in a shared home with two girls ten years younger than me with very little idea of where my next pay cheque is coming from. I'm holding my nerve. I'm letting go. I am not struggling against the tide any longer. I am trusting the universe.


This morning I took a walk over a bridge and watched an impossibly blue river flow through the town. I got off a plane with my cat in a bag six days ago now, but it has only just hit me: I live here. This is my life now. There is so much uncertainty in every single area of my existence in Banff, not least how the actual fuck I am going to finance this dream, but for a few incredibly poignant moments none of it mattered, just that I did it. Ohmyfuckingchristididit. Everything I ever gave up brought me to stand here, in the sunshine, in the mountains, directly in the heart of my soul-place. Free. Home.


One day I am going to die. I sure as fuck hope that it isn’t any time soon… but when I do… I can do so knowing I did this. I did something I said I was going to do. Alone. Because I listened. It was rough but I lived my intentions. I let go. I came home.


As I walked back home to my new alpine apartment, where my city cat is learning how to catch moths and watch birds from the window ledge, a brand new sentence presented itself to me:


"Succumbing will be your becoming."


Okay. Right. So... this next-level sounds... interesting.


Challenge accepted.





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