By Craig Allan, Contributor
I wake up in a panic. My mind racing as I look at the alarm clock. The clock says 4:00, but there is no light outside. It must still be early in the morning. I could be forgiven for not sleeping. After all this is the fourth, or maybe fifth time I have woken up tonight. As I stare at my empty room with only a bed, alarm clock, and a couple of pillows to occupy it the reason is clear, for today is the day that I am finally moving out of my parents Vancouver house, and moving to a quaint apartment in Winnipeg.
This has been a long time coming. I am 28 years old and after years of struggle, I have finally reached the point in my life where I can sustain myself. I received a job offer that will pay me enough to live a very good life. The problem is that job is in Winnipeg. A place which might as well be the other side of the world.
For years, Vancouver had been my purgatory. A place where I grew up but could never live. The apartments are too expensive, the rent is too high and as I grew, I felt the city grew away further from me. For months I was looking forward to this move. Now that it is happening, all I feel is dread. I feel this because I am scared that I may never be allowed to return. Sure I will be able to take vacations and stay at my parents’ place, but they are not going to be in Vancouver forever. What happens when staying with them is no longer an option?
The idea that I may never be able to return—that I will be a tourist in my own born and raised hometown is a disturbing prospect for me. I was so happy to leave Vancouver due to the struggles I have had establishing myself here, but now I feel an overwhelming sadness about the prospect.
I wake up again. This time at the appropriate time and head to the bathroom to shower. Outside of the bathroom window is a mountain. It has always been there, but I had never noticed until now. Things like this, the mountain, the ocean and the overall feel of Vancouver is something I never thought about. I won’t be able to have this experience in Winnipeg. I will be experiencing multiple blizzards in the winter and blackflies in the summer, at least that’s what my dad says.
Maybe I am being too pessimistic. Maybe the nerves are getting to me. This opportunity to live on my own and blaze my own trail is always something I’ve wanted. Sure it’s sad and a little scary to leave an area I have grown up in, but I know it’s for the best. Still, that does not make me any less sad, especially during the drive to the airport. I never realized how much of Vancouver I have never seen. I’ve never been to the revolving Harbour Centre Restaurant, or Grouse Mountain. I just always thought there would be time.
As I arrive at the airport, say goodbye to my parents, who are a little too overjoyed to see me leave and enter the plane the thought of my stuff being shipped to Winnipeg comes to mind. What if it goes wrong and my stuff does not make it there? That stuff is the last vestige of my Vancouver life. If I lose it, it will be like I was never a Vancouverite. I begin to panic. I could just open the emergency exit and leave. End this Winnipeg excursion and stay in Vancouver. Living with my parents isn’t so bad, and I don’t have to buy boots, or a new jacket.
As I try to unbuckle my seat belt and make a beeline to the emergency exit, I look across the aisle and see a mother and her child. They are discussing how happy they are to return home to Winnipeg. If I continue to live in Vancouver, I may never have enough money to afford a family and a life like that. That is what I need to be focused on. Not what I am losing but what I stand to gain. I was nervous about going to university, going for a big job, hell I was nervous to move the dusty storage bin that had been in the corner of my room for 10 years, but I did those things, and now my life has the potential to be better than I ever could have imagined. As the plane takes off, and I look out the window at the city skyline, I feel a wave of content coming over me. My Vancouver journey is done, but if I embrace change and positivity, my Winnipeg journey will be even better.