Monday, 20 August 2012

Looking Back: 10 Years

Last week, I celebrated a very special anniversary. Ten years ago, last Wednesday, my entire life changed.

I made a huge decision to leave home and move to Ottawa, a city that I fell in love with when I was just 13 years old.

Leaving home at the age of 18 can be really scary. I was terrified. Although I wanted to live in Ottawa more than anything else, I was leaving everyone and everything I knew. Two months earlier, I had found out that my grandmother had ovarian cancer. My grandmother was the most important person in my entire life. This piece of news was quite upsetting. Although I was excited to move, I did not want to leave my grandmother behind, knowing she was sick.

I knew staying behind wouldn't help my grandmother get better. So there I was, in my aunt's car, driving to Ottawa on the morning of August 15, 2002. While driving out of my small town in NB, our car passed my grandparents' car, who were driving to the hospital for my grandmother's first chemotherapy treatment.

Although leaving NB wasn't easy, once I got to Ottawa, I knew I had made the right decision. My life has changed so much since moving here and I am definitely not the same girl I was back in NB.

10 highlights of the last 10 years:

10. Graduating university. Going to university was a big deal to me. I found the experience eye-opening and quite challenging. Therefore, graduating was a big deal, especially after a rough first year. Although I might not exactly follow the same path if I had to do things over, I am happy with my experience because I learned a lot about myself.

9. Volunteering. Since moving here, I've had the opportunity to volunteer with some amazing organizations and for some amazing events. It's taught me so much and I've met some amazing and inspiring people. 

Backstage at Ottawa Fashion Week.
Image courtesy of Miss-SLY!
8. Finding my passion. Volunteering for so many events opened my eyes and allowed me to discover my passion for event planning. After graduating university, I kept thinking of going back to school and trying event planning. Although many people were telling me to go back to school and get my Masters' degree, I decided to go to college and try event planning. I don't regret my decision for one second.

7. Amazing people. Through school and through work, I have met some pretty amazing people. Some of these people are still in my life, some are not. However, I am thankful for their role in my life and I've learned a lot from these people. 

6. Music! Being in a big city has allowed me to discover new music and see more live shows than I ever dreamed of. After my first live show (Matthew Good's Avalanche tour), I was hooked. Since then, I've seen some amazing shows.

5. Pretty cool jobs. My career has always been very important to me. Since moving to Ottawa, I've worked everywhere from Parliament Hill to a museum, from non-profit organizations to the Juno Awards. Now, I work as a magazine editor and trying to make it as a freelance writer. Not too shabby, if you ask me...

Me, my dad and my three brothers
4. Family. Although I moved away from my family 10 years ago, I've never felt closer to them. Being away from the people you love definitely put things in perspective and I am actually thankful that I moved for this exact reason. I appreciate them so much more now than I ever did before.

3. Great friends. I've met incredible people and made some amazing friends while I've lived in Ottawa. I've also managed to maintain many friendships that I established back in high school. I am lucky to have some amazing people to call friends.

The day I married my best friend.

2. Did I mention all the live shows?!? :)

... and finally

1. Falling in love. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes... lots of live shows and lots of fun!

I feel like I've accomplished quite a bit in the last ten years. Regardless, I'm lucky enough to have found a place to call home, and I couldn't be happier.

Ottawa, here's to a great decade, and here's to many more!

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