This past week I turned 35.
That may seem young to some of you, and old to others. To me it still feels young, but in the last few weeks I’ve definitely felt myself ease into a new zone, recognizing that I have experienced a long life so far with many twists and turns. Evidently, though, I look exactly the same…
In all seriousness, over the past couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time in my head, thinking about who I am, what I want out of life, and where I want to focus my time. I’ve had a-ha moments, epiphanies, and stumpers. Yes, I’m still stuck on some things, though I suppose that never really disappears. I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I ended up where I am, which I’d like to share with you today. Life can be hard and frustrating, especially when you can’t see the forest for the trees. I’d like you to know that I’m there with you in the struggle, and no matter the stage you’re at you deserve to be heard and understood. This is my attempt at explaining who I am at this time in my life. First, I have to back up a bit…
I’ve mentioned it before, but last year was a hard one for me, which grew more difficult by moving back to Ontario. This was a challenge I wasn’t as ready for as I’d thought, but I’m so glad I endured it nonetheless. I was on a mission to set myself on a course in life and now I’m starting to see all my efforts fall neatly into place.
It never ceases to amaze me that there’s an invisible gap between really hard times and really good ones, where life just gets better somehow.
So, here I am on the other side of the crapper, still not in a secure place, but much more aligned with my purpose in life than ever before. I’m seeing all the efforts I’ve made over the past 18 months gradually take hold. I started this business out of a frustration that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do (even though I wasn’t 100% sure of what that was) and that there wasn’t enough change in the world around me that I wanted to see effected. It’s funny that what led me to change my life’s path in the first place is the same thing I keep coming back to in business: a desire to change and save the environment, shift the habits and beliefs around food and food systems our society lives on, and share knowledge of good nutritious food and sustainable practices.
I love this planet. I love finding beauty in the small things. I love being out in nature, connected to the plants and beings that we’ve come from, but that we’re also destroying. It pains me to watch not only our physical world, but also our social world crumble at our hand. There are times I feel extremely helpless, becoming an emotional mess under the weight of the world’s problems. Then there are times I feel so faithful in the effort that’s being made around the world to effect change in the right direction. That’s how I ended up here.
Somewhere along the way I was shown a new direction my life could take. Signs were being posted and nuances were being whispered throughout my adult life, but it was around the time I was working a corporate job at which I didn’t have a strong connection to my work, when I made space to see life differently. At that time I was living much more frivolously, spending my income on material things, daily coffees, lunches and dinners out, not caring or recognizing that my life’s direction and efforts weren’t getting me to a place where I would feel fulfilled. I was just going through the motions, doing things the same way as others around me with little regard for the planet, even though I had a supreme love for it. I knew there were people out there working to save it, I just didn’t care enough to be one of them. Then a light went on.
When I realized my body was becoming as much of a wasteland as the planet I lived on and that I could do something about it, I took notice, got mad, and jumped at the chance to make change happen.
I felt like I’d been tricked my whole life up until then. It was as if I’d been blind to the facts, hidden from the truth, not allowed to feel good, safe, or valued. Well, dammit if I wasn’t completely off. My truth was out there, I just hadn’t had the opportunity or clarity to see it until then. And let me tell you, coming to find my truth and live in it has been my biggest life challenge to date.
For anyone out there going through something similar, I commend you for sticking to it. The in between is a really hard place to be. First, you feel lost. Hence, my feeling duped by life. Then, you’re led in a new direction where every step is foreign and you need to find a foothold. This is where things start to get shaky. Your relationships change, your focus shifts, and you get really, really passionate about what you’re discovering along the way. Staying true to your new beliefs can be the hardest part. You feel like a failure if you slip out of line after claiming so much praise for your new way of living. The shift is a back and forth mess, it’s yours to create and no one’s to judge. Little do you know, too, that as you learn, grow, and travel toward your new self, nothing’s static.
One day you’ll think you’ve figured out your life, and then something changes, shifting everything you thought you were working toward, only to lead you exactly where you needed to be right now. And that, too, will constantly change.
Honestly, it will. When I first started my shift almost five years ago, I was sure nutrition was it for me. Now, I’m finding a groove with farming and sustainability. I still LOVE cooking and talking food, but instead of going down a rabbit hole every day, making myself furious and panicked over making sure I’m eating the “right” things, I’m confident in my knowledge to live a balanced life while doing something that fulfills me and leaves me feeling more whole. I’m enjoying less complication and more simplicity while making a difference in other ways.
In the beginning, I was getting lost in wanting to perfect my life and the lives of those around me. Instead, I’ve come to recognize that it’s impossible to have a perfect game in health and life itself. (The fact that everyone’s life has a different path and requirements not withstanding). If you get lost in the minutiae you’ll never live. I’ve seen myself do this a lot lately. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, getting lost in my head, and not as much living and enjoying being present. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also loving expressing my frustrations about the world. They’re what help fuel my work, including:
the way our society places monetary importance on certain professions over others and how money (and subsequently power) dictate what’s important in our world
the state of our food systems and how food (and the earth it comes from) seems to be an afterthought for most everyone, especially those with a more disposable income
that the focus of today seems to be a negative one, forcing us to live in a fear-based world with ‘no way out’
the state of our food systems and food accessibility across the globe
the vast amount of waste that’s still constantly being created, even though we’re well aware of the implications
The work I choose to do now puts me one foot in and one foot out of solving the world’s problems, and I’m okay with that. It’s not that I don’t 100% care about everything that’s imbalanced in the world today, I’ve just picked my battles and choose to live a more positive life while making change. I want to care while still enjoying myself, but there’s a great difference between how I used to enjoy life and how I do now. Heck, there are so many awesome things about the world that I can’t not focus on, like:
how beautiful and creatively designed nature is, and that everything has a place, even as it evolves around us
how the world is as small as it is large, so much that coincidences cease to exist and the right people, opportunities, and support show up when you need them most
the things we all share that make us complete: music, laughter, smiles, and hugs
After 35 years, I’m finally feeling aligned and on my way. I’m sticking true to the things I’ve been preaching that I want to see and do in my life and they’re starting to show up for me. It’s taken a lot of patience and repeat frustration, no doubt. Sometimes it’s been hard to accept that I’ve chosen a path that isn’t as fortuitous as others (right now), but I’d rather be struggling doing something I love and that breeds necessary change than anything else.
I don’t need to and certainly can’t do everything. No one can.
I’m finally learning to accept that. Life is there to enjoy and though there is a lot to complain about, I’m instead going to live in a way that serves my beliefs and values while staying positive, letting my path be a guide for others. I’m not pushy about it, just loving living in a way that satisfies me in hopes that others will find help in what I share.