The leaves are gradually turning in colour; change is coming.
My brother recently told me he thought I would have moved from Fort McMurray a long time ago. Now that he’s made the decision to pack up his family and move on, I find myself thinking about what he said more and more. It’s no secret, I’ve had my share of ups and downs since having moved here nearly ten years ago – and it’s certainly easy to focus on the downs.
I have started and abruptly ended a career. I have seen my world ravaged by fires and floods. I have loved and lost. I have had friends come and go. I have struggled to make ends meet. I have been yelled at, called names, and insulted. I’ve been put down. I have been all alone in a crowd. I have suffered and I have questioned everything.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe I should have left a long time ago.
But…I’m still here.
There is no easy answer to that question. If I was wiser and smarter, then maybe I would have indeed left a long time ago. But instead, I stay.
I stay because this place challenges me.
All of the bad has absolutely sucked. It has hurt. It’s been a struggle. But through all of it, I’ve come out the other side still standing on my own two feet wondering “what’s next?”
In the past ten years, I have made new friends, learned how to paint, started writing, and been involved with theatre. I have survived the fires and helped my neighbours during the floods. I’ve found work that means the world to me. I’ve learned to love again and I’ve found companionship. I’ve been nominated for awards. I’m an uncle three times over. I am lucky.
I have done a lot of growing in Fort McMurray and I believe that I still have more to do.
But every person is responsible for their own journey. While mine keeps me here, my brother’s is leading him elsewhere. I consider myself lucky to have had the privilege to watch him grow over the last few years; grow as a good friend, grow as a caring husband, and grow as a devoted father. I will miss him, but I also wish him well on the next leg of adventure through life. I’m proud of all that you have accomplished and proud of the person you have become.
There are good things ahead.
Happy birthday little bro and bon voyage!
Photo Credit: Tohad