A year in the mountains: from 'what the complete F**K was I thinking' to 'maybe I'm starting to get this....kinda'.

The sunrises over the jagged Tantalus Range peaks. The pillow-topped trees after a steady two days' worth of snowfall. A real cute apartment. Views for days. 

Take a scroll through the world's most loved highlight reel sharing app and it looks like my transition to mountain life has been pretty damn good. 

And it has been. And this year has brought heaps of magic in the form of quiet mornings, slow starts to work and adventure-filled days, really amazing humans, love, and some quality time with yours truly. 

AND. Sitting here on this statue-still and library-silent afternoon—the last one of 2017—with two dogs crashed out sleep by my feet (#dreamlife) after a hefty romp through 3-ish feet of snow, I'm doing the thing perhaps many of us are doing.

No, not drinking....yet, at least. Soon.

I'm reflecting; looking at the year as it's been, trying to remember what expectations I had when I stared at the blank canvas that was 2017 around this time last year. And if I'm going to give you the real-real, I'm in a touch of a 'holy hannah' state that I'm still here.

In the mountains. 

In BC. 

In my own skin. 

Because I can't count the number of times on both my hands and feet I wanted to fly the coop, hop on a plane without plans to return, just get the HECK outta dodge.

And yet, here I sit. In my own skin. Here in the mountains. 

MARCH MADNESS

(Sorry, @NBA folk, hope you'll let me borrow this one, just this once)

I made the decision to move to the mountains in a bit of a heated moment. A heated month, actually. It was an escape tactic following a breakup that was rooted in an honest desire to get out of the big city, build some better boundaries around my time, and simply shake up what was quickly turning into a seven-year city itch.

It happened quickly, as most of my bigger life choices do. Love the leap, it turns out. I followed my gut and went for it, telling myself it would be a breeze and life wouldn't change. #dumdum.

The first ten days felt great: exciting, new, got to paint an apartment (yuck and also thank heck for those white walls and their ability to amp up the natural light of that cozy nest). 

And then it got confusing. And lonely. And really quiet. And really dark. And by March I was ready to go. I even told my pal Zach I didn't see myself there much longer than the end of 2017; that I would see my lease out then truck my butt back to the city.

In a short three months, I was emotionally disconnecting myself from the town I had just moved to, not giving myself a chance to settle in or a chance for Squamish to show me its magic.

I couldn't stand being here. 

Everything I wanted to get from moving to this sweet coastal/mountain mecca I was hating, resisting, and doing everything that I could to escape feeling so lost. 

THE FAILURE-FILLED EXPERIMENT DAYS

I tried working in the city five days a week and it was too much; I wore myself out commuting and trying to keep my city life the same. I tried working from home five days a week to get more connected to my new community, which was SO much alone time I turned into a lonely, paranoid shell of a human who was terrified I was being forgotten.

My mind couldn't find peace, my body didn't know what it needed. I stopped meditating because hearing my thoughts started to scare me more than it served. It was a bit of a hot mess. And I stopped reaching out for support from friends - embarrassed that the choice I had made wasn't working, that I was unhappy and lost and confused, and that I didn't have a plan for how to get my juju back.

There were mornings where I watched the sun come up and couldn't see the light. There were days when the silence was deafening. The peace that solace brought felt like I was in pieces. And the space I had created for myself felt like a desert island most days; disconnected, forgotten, and oh so alone.

And it was that experience—feeling nothing that I WANTED to feel—that let me feel everything I NEEDED to.

The sun came back around May. I was still navigating a lot of 'WTF-ing' around life and work and the move (etc.), but I got out of my house, said yes to some social time, and started to meet some people. And things started to shift, albeit slowly.

And now it's December 31. The end of the year. The end of what's felt like the longest and also shortest year of life. It's eye-opening to look at what I thought this year would look like (unicorns and rainbows and glitter confetti) and appreciate this move, this mountain life, this year for being mostly everything BUT that. 

LIKE A BABY DEER?

Turns out this year was all about letting things be new.

Letting myself find my legs and re-learn how to 'walk' as myself in a new town, a new identity, a new form of discomfort, a seemingly new everything.

How to maintain the parts of me that I wanted to keep alive, and how to evolve into the next version of myself; exploring the newness of stopping the things that weren't working, starting new habits and ways of doing this thing called life.

And letting love be new; trusting a'fresh, letting myself dream with Jon, allowing myself to stumble and explore and adventure.

So when I answer your question of 'Oh, Squamish! Is living up there just the best??', and crack a little smile or take a deep inhale before I answer 'YES. It's getting pretty sweet.', it's because for a split second, all the feels that have played a hand in getting to know this town wash over me.

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And in that split second, I get to remember the wild ride this year has been, and how it's set me up to fall even MORE in love with this place. 

Sending you heaps of hugs and wishes of falling in love with the process of this thing called life; the ups, the downs, highs, lows and everything infinitesimal moment in between.

HAPPY NEW YEARS - and to a full and fulfilling 2018 to come. 

xo - jess