It was late May 2018 when I boarded a plane with Brad to leave the west coast behind.
We’d had our fun there. We’d had crushing sadness there too. Coming back to Halifax been something we’d been planning since November the year previous. We’d had enough of Vancouver and we didn’t have another move into the unknown in us. It felt like admitting defeat, coming back to Halifax, but it also felt like something we needed to do.
I was optimistic, but I wasn’t entirely happy. Halifax and I didn’t seem to fit together anymore. It had felt like that any time I’d been in town for a visit since moving to Victoria, and subsequently Vancouver. But we were tired and we needed to come home, even if it was only for a little while. We needed something familiar.
“It doesn’t have to be forever,” I remember saying to Brad. “If we realize that Halifax isn’t for us we can leave.”
We haven’t left. And we don’t have any plans to.
It took some adjusting. Though we arrived on the last day of May it wasn’t until October that I began to wake up without being in the midst of a panic attack. For a long time it felt that we had made a mistake. Halifax might’ve been where I was born and raised, but it might as well have been a completely new city. I felt like I was an impostor, a failure. I couldn’t cut it somewhere else and had to come home, forgetting that coming home had been a choice.
Brad and I both found work that we enjoy (some days more than others), we began to see friends after a whirlwind summer, the seasons changed, we developed routines. Most Saturday mornings I wander down to the farmer’s market, on Wednesdays I get sushi with two of my dear friends, and there’s a beer bar literally within stumbling distance from mine and Brad’s apartment that we often find ourselves at, either with friends or on a little date night. We see our families basically whenever we want to as opposed to once a year. My shoulders aren’t up by my ears anymore from the stress of simply trying to live in Vancouver.
Vancouver really is a lovely city. It’s got it’s problems, but I liked the physical city itself. It just wasn’t for us. I’d love to go back and visit some day. I do miss all of the bands that rolled through town, all of the shows we had the option of attending. Although we missed out on a lot that we would’ve liked to go to. Depression has a way of making you not want to leave the safety and comfort of your home - even if it’s a band you really want to see, even if you absolutely hate the place where you’re living.
There are still some bad days. There are always going to be bad days. But their frequency has decreased so much that they’re barely a blip on my radar. This week in particular I’m battling some rather relentless brain weasels, but it’s nothing I can’t overcome. I did a lot of housework today, treated myself to some yummy treats from the cafe in the ground level of the building we live in. Now I’m listening to music and enjoying some cider from a local cidery. The windows are open, the sun is shining, and I feel pretty damn good.
I started collecting records - an extremely fun, expensive, and so utterly hipster hobby. I love finding the variants the are coloured, have splatter patterns, that sort of thing. I also just love the idea of throwing a record on. Though the double LPs with only two songs a side are trying my patience.
I’m trying to get back into painting. I’m dabbling with watercolours here and there once in a while. My free time used to be filled with sketching and painting, and it hasn’t been since I was a teenager. I feel like I’ve lost my ability to do that. But it’ll come back to me, I’m sure of it.
One year later … and I’m happy.