What I Learned in 2017

Review of 2017 – what I’ve learned over the past year while I moved my family from Edmonton, Alberta to Courtenay, BC, on Vancouver Island.

The girls and I have spent the last couple of days in PJ’s resting, snuggling, and being in each other’s company. Taking this down time has been really strange. You’d think that we’d have cabin fever and want to explore and do ALL THE THINGS, but no. We’re exhausted.

2017 was an absolute whirlwind. From December 2016 right up until January 2018, our life was a set of doing one thing after another, rushing around, and for me, tons and tones of emotional and mental labour as I worked through safely moving my little family 1300km across provinces.

You ever put on a big event? One that takes months and hours of planning, stress, and a little luck and magic to pull it off? One that brings you snags and things you hadn’t considered, changes in the team behind you, and worries about how you are going to pull it off? Then you get to the venue the day of and you can see it all come together. You put out some “fires” around you and once the event is underway, you stand in the back of the room and really take in everything that you had put together and you’re overwhelmed with happiness and relief? These are my exact feelings right now.

I had to slow down. I had to rest and remind myself how far I’ve come. I had to take a step back and realize who I am here.

The ocean has changed me. The mountains have changed me. This community has changed me. At 40, I was evolving and doing a lot of self-work, but thought I knew everything. At 41, I am evolving so fast it feels like a tornado at and I’ve had to relearn everything with a whole new set of eyes. As uncomfortable as it is, I’m doing my best to lean into who I truly am inside and to love the little phoenix that grew from the flames of leaving my old life.

Here are some things I’ve learned this year:

Dream BiggerI set intentions for 2017 and met every single one goals and dreams. I realize now that if I have the power to pull all of these things together, (especially when they felt huge and almost impossible at the time) I also have the power to dream WAY bigger. Dream bigger, Jen.

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Our first day on the island

I CAN Do It All – I was told for years and years that I couldn’t do this alone. That I couldn’t support myself and be a solo parent to my kids. That I would be miserable all on my own. Well, I smashed this limiting belief to pieces. I’m not going to lie, there are some times when I feel like I’m going to lose my shit and get frustrated but we work it out and head to the ocean as the ocean heals everything. We’re getting through it together. In fact, the bond between us is stronger than ever and the girls are absolutely thriving.

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September Reunion Happiness

Popularity Isn’t Everything –  I’ve always been able to make friends easily and had a lot of acquaintances. I played the popularity game and placed a lot of my worth on people who loved and liked me. As I had the opportunity to start over, I turn down my need for outside approval and turned up my self-love. I wanted connections with people who were like me – driven dreamers who love their community, boost each other up, and want to change the world and I’ve found them. My core group of Edmonton and Comox Valley friends is amazing. I’m so very blessed in this life.

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Aly and I – Celebrating Moving into Matilda

Let Magic In – For 5 months, I visualized and planned out the house that I would have here in the Comox Valley. It was going to be newer, have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (with a gorgeous bathtub) and a wood burning stove or fireplace. It was going to be in a quiet neighbourhood and have a small back yard, maybe even a duplex. Alas, I feel in love with Matilda – a character home built in 1942 with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom (with a gorgeous bathtub), no wood burning stove or fireplace, on a busy street and on a huge lot. I laugh about this now, but Matilda is the perfect house for us. It’s warm, inviting. As my lovely friend Jenja says “You’ve created a cozy little hidden oasis here”.

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Matilda!

It’s Just Stuff – I started this year by giving away and selling all of the things in my 4 bedroom house. We moved with only 14 rubbermaid containers of mostly memories and some clothes. I was so worried about putting a house together from scratch when we got to the island, including having the finances to do it all. Turns out, letting go of my things was much easier than I thought it would be. There are some things that I miss from time to time but I did put together a beautiful home in Courtenay with a lot of help from the Buy Sell Trade and 24 Hour Bidding pages on Facebook. Stuff it just stuff. In the end, it’s not important.

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You’re Allowed to Walk Away – Over the past 5 years, my spiritual and intuitive gifts have gotten stronger and stronger. Doing readings, connecting with my (and others) Spirit Guides is second nature and just flows. And on top of these gifts, I recently finished NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) classes and have started formally guiding and supporting clients as a coach as well. This work is fulfilling in so many ways and I know it’s my life path, so I’m doing on less marketing for clients and more marketing for myself. Truth is, I could have jumped on doing this before but I was scared to move away from my marketing career as I’m great at it and it brings in money. Turns out, I’m allowed to walk away from things that don’t fuel my soul and so are you.

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My Newest Business

Healing Takes Time – I’ve bypassed so much trauma, pain, anger, and sadness in my life that I knew it would all come flooding in at some point. Turns out, 2017 was going to be that year. Being surrounded by nature and having life slow down dramatically (Cumberland has 4,000 people, Courtenay has 24,000, and Edmonton has a million) means that I was given a lot of time to reflect and heal. This sounds so calm and nice, but it really wasn’t. I’ve spent days and weeks in tears. I’ve screamed at the ocean (it doesn’t scream back, thankfully). I’ve been depressed, anxious, and grief stricken. I’ve been hard to be around (sorry, friends) and I’ve asked my friends for so much more support and confirmation (sorry about that too) and I know I’m not done yet. Likely not even close. But I am starting to feel lighter and more confident in who I am. I’ve build boundaries for myself and have walked away from people and situations that don’t serve me anymore. The more I heal, the lighter I feel and that’s leading me down a really cool path of truly listening to my intuition and actually following it.

The girls are healing too. They’ve been going to an amazing counsellor and we’re communicating and dealing with things as a team. They’ve both been doing really, really well here and are really thriving. From winning school awards to being invited to tons of parties and celebrations, they’re finding themselves and their footing here. Just as I am. Once again, I’m so blessed in this life.

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Christmas Morning

Thank you for reading this and for supporting me and the mermaids over the past year. Happy New Year!

Bravely Moving Forward

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