For a while now, I've been questioning whether or not Vancouver feels like home. Just a few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel and give somewhere else a shot. Even if it meant leaving my amazing healthcare team, renting out our house, and (dog forbid) moving. I was just sick of being here! (This sentiment seems to come in waves and this was a particularly strong one.)
Maybe it was getting a more modest response to our call for community than I'd hoped for. Maybe it was seeing the year speed and wondering what I have to show for it (it's actually a lot, but it's not very visible). Maybe it was having a particularly bad, out of the blue, fatigue flare up that I expected to thwart some plans I'd been looking forward to. Whatever sparked it, it felt like absolute defeat.
But then, as often happens when things sway too far in one direction, things suddenly shifted. As quickly as the fatigue arrived, it lifted. I didn't have to cancel my plans, and I had a wonderful time going out two evenings in a row (unheard of for me these days!), spending time with people who remind me of who I'm becoming and who I'm truly meant to be. I also got to meet some people I'd previously only known online at an art event, and I can say with certainty it was the first time I actually felt like I was part of some kind of creative community in Vancouver.
I also suddenly found myself realizing I have some solidly budding friendships, and a backlog of coffee dates that will carry me into the new year. People I'm just getting to know, people I've been meaning to get to know better, and a few I've known for ages now have been coming out of the woodwork. I got sidelined by a weird virus last week, but I'm about to get back on the proverbial horse and keep at it, reaching out and connecting, something that feels both foreign and wonderful after a long period of isolation.
Something feels different, not just my having a bit of renewed hope for life in Vancouver, but having a clearer sense of what I'm looking for in community and friendships...
Warmth. Ease. Reciprocity. Openness. Creativity.
Genuine care and compassion. Making time for each other. Helping lift each other up, rather than push each other down. Letting each other off the hook when it's needed, sans resentment.
Sticking it out through the good times and hard times. A willingness to talk through the challenging bits rather than launch into anger and insults or alternately just shut down.
No one-up(wo)manship. Manipulation and guilt, no thank you. I have healthier boundaries now, and I know how to use them.
Every day is full of possibilities. I'm remembering to write letters, and to check in just to say hi or remind a reclusive friend that I'm still here. I'm trying to remember that most days, these things are well within my abilities.
I might not be the girl you call to pick you up from the airport, but I am the girl you can call when you need a supportive ear, or want to veg out and watch a movie, or need help with a craft conundrum.
Despite everything that hasn't gone right this year, many things have. More than that, I have a clarity that I've never had before about who I am, my place in the world, what I want my life to look like, and what kind of people I'd like to surround myself with.
I'm far from perfect, but I have the capacity to be a good friend, and I know now that I am worthy of love - both romantic and platonic.