It's a similar feeling touching down in Costa Rica alone to what I experienced moving to Squamish, solo, in 2010.
When I bought my house and moved to Squamish, I only knew a handful of people. Thankfully I had Dawn Marie and Mark as my go-to's, having been friends in our city days. I was still working super long days at lulu and I found it hard to meet people and build friendships in the small amount of time that I could get away from work, which was next to never. My fault for not setting boundaries and letting myself get so burnt out that it stopped me in my tracks. I found living alone in a new community very isolating and the 2 hour commute took away time that I needed. The burnout exacerbated my health issues. I mention it a lot, but truthfully there was years of compounded trauma that I also hadn't dealt with: losing my dad to cancer, multiple car accidents, snowboarding crash, etc. It all just caught up with me.
I knew the Highlands peeps from an earlier trip to Maui with Jana, but more as acquaintances. It wasn't until I stopped working and started spending comitted time in Squamish that those relationships got stronger and I started to feel like I belonged to a community. A trip to Peru, Whistler Poker tours, Thanksgivings, Christmases and Easters, and a few maternity leaves (not mine😉) later, I had a solid crew and support system and it felt good.
Things got worse for me before they started to get better. It took me two years to get my health (physical and emotional) back on track. It was a long, hard, and, at times, a dark and lonely road. I felt weary ladening down new friends with my emotional baggage. In hindsight, it was the vulnerability of that baggage that helped me to build closer relationships.
It wasn't until a Lyme disease diagnosis that my physical health actually started to improve. I'm skeptical that I actually had Lyme disease, as diagnosis in Canada is controversial. Nonetheless, going through the treatment helped. Perhaps it was psychosomatic. I paired that treatment with clean eating, no booze, a personal trainer and every other therapist under the sun. I leaned in to the hard stuff. The beautiful part of living in a tight knit community was having my practitioners work together to get me healthy. Whatever it was, it worked.
Once my health was somewhat in check, the next step I really struggled with was having the confidence to get back into the world. Cue the 99'ers. When I started on the softball team, aptly named "99 problems, but a pitch ain't one", my confidence was so bad that I got so nervous every time I played and I could hardly hit a ball. Well, it turn out a pitch was a problem, as we only won one game that year. By default. It (kinda) didn't matter because we had fun together, right Spindler?! We were all beginners again, some never having played softball before. The dugout was chaotic - filled with babies in strollers, crushed food bits, spilt beer and barking dogs - but it made for a no pressure environment. By the end of the season, my skills and confidence had significantly improved. I felt like I could get back into the working world again. I give credit Hillary for the interview and resume coaching and encouragement, the team for their support and friendship, and the peripheral friendships that came out of that team. And not to mention, super good times at Squamish Valley Music festival and having friendships where #gofuckyourself is a term of endearment.
The difference between me starting over in Squamish and starting over here in Central America now is that when I moved to Squamish, I was running away from something. I was running away from the city, partying, my job, my life...
This time I'm not running away. I'm running to something. It was really hard to leave Squamish and leave all those amazing relationships behind. I could have easily, comfortably continued my life there and been relatively happy. At the bonfire on the river the day before I left, I felt so much love in my heart. Just thinking about it makes my eyes well up. Without these relationships, I wouldn't have had the confidence to take off in the first place. Thank you to my #squammylivin families, but also thank-you to all the friends that have stuck by me throughout the years, to my high school friends that hung out with me while I packed, to my work friends that helped steer me to this decision, to my awesome roomies, to all the friends that I didn't get a chance to say good-bye to, to TL for closure, and to my family that each year grows tighter. I love you.
Ready for the cheese? I finally understand what it means to be #blessed. It also makes me puke in my mouth a little to use that hashtag, but it also makes me smile. Connection, relationship, family and love is what matters.
I sit here in Costa Rica, a beginner again, but This time I know That I am not alone. I have the love and support of those at home cheering me on. And home is only a click away. Yep, #fuckinblessed.