When I found out that I would be moving from Vancouver to Penticton, I drafted a breakup letter. The tone was salty, bitter, and let’s just say I didn’t pull any punches. I won’t get into the weeds, but it wasn’t the kind of breakup letter that leaves room for friendship afterwards.
However, after a solid week in my new home, instead of spitting venom, I would like to express gratitude. Not that kind of gratitude that reeks of those cheese-ball memes where you are told to appreciate every mosquito-bite as a gift from God, but the gratitude that comes from personal growth elicited by struggle. Vancouver is a basic bitch, but while she may not be wife material, she is the girlfriend that you learn from, about what you truly want in life.
In the 9 years that I was a Vancouverite, I learned to be friendly to everyone but to trust no one. In the end humans are not a selfless creature. The end-game is always self-gratitude, in one form or another, and the only one looking out for you is you. That said, shutting yourself off from meaningful relationships is a sure path to depressive tendencies and self-destruction. While the human animal is self-centred, we are also pack animals, and the part of us that needs social interaction is as much to be fed as the part of us that seeks safety and security.
I learned that all the world is a stage. Government, perceived wealth and happiness, even reputation, is all for show, and is mostly a farce. The surface hardly reflects the turbulence underneath, and everyone wears a mask. Did you know that in spite of the parade of Ferraris, the Gucci handbags, and regular booze-soaked nights out in Yaletown, the average Vancouverite is $42,000 in debt? It’s all bullshit; all of it. In the words of my favourite rap group of all time, don’t believe the hype.
And I learned that in a sea of shit, one can still find a rose…or two. I’m so thankful for the real friends that I have made (you know who you are), and of course for the woman whom I never would have met had it not been for this city. Despite the fact that we are now a 4 hours drive from the downtown core, I know that we will stay in touch with our true friends and that they will stay in touch with us, those that are not will fall by the wayside. You stay
in touch with those you care about, if they do not reciprocate, then you know where you stand. This is not a sad occurrence, but a happy one. How many chances in life do you have the opportunity for such a distinct line to be drawn in the sand?
I’m in my 30’s now, and life may have found a way to teach me these lessons in any other city, if I’m being honest. But perhaps not with as much grace and beauty, and certainly not with as much taxes (I had to take one last cheap-shot before closing the book ;). And so with that, I thank you, Vancouver, for being the one that let me get away, and for being the final stepping stone which allowed me to spread my wings.