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Sunday, November 3, 2013

My one year road-trip

Last year, I felt like I was in that scene from the intro of Mad Men - free falling out of a building. I had $0 in my bank account and unemployed, no plan, had moved back in with my parents, was obese, had diabetes, pre-cancer and depression. I was convinced that I had nothing of value to the world, helpless, a complete failure and thought there was only one plausible ending to the free fall.

It wasn't my time to go though - exactly a year ago, two old friends (I call them Team Doprah - Deepak and Oprah) ended up returning to live in Toronto (one from Mexico and one from Pakistan) and reconnected with me. They showed nothing but love, compassion, imparting wisdom and support through the year. At the same time, I landed a job in which my (seemingly random) experiences are valuable and I get to keep learning and being creative.

I'm unbelievably fortunate for these two lifelines that were given to me last November. They were the pillars that not only let me live through the past 12 months but become the person I am today. And the timing of it all feels like I was thrown a parachute to put on and coached through to landing safely.

So what happened in the past year? There were unfortunate and scary emotions dealing with a near death experience, fears of cancer and implications of not having biological children, went through PTSD and dug through childhood issues, watched with horror at myself burn bridges, repeat cycles and hurt people to make me feel better. But, it wasn't all bad - I was able to spend quality time with friends, learn lots and meet new people. Most importantly, I spent time with myself and became more self aware.

Now - my bank account is no longer at zero, I've got a great career, my own place, overcame diabetes and depression, my health hasn't gotten worse and I've never been happier and at peace. The future still isn't clear, but it definitely looks a few shades brighter. I landed from my free fall on two feet and am now experiencing daily life like everyone else in a metropolitan city.

All I can say is that it's been a really tough yet probably the most fulfilling year in my life. I can't really say I have more control over my health, relationships, career or life. I can't say I've figured out how to resolve all my problems. I can't say I have anything wise to tell you that you don't already know. 

So maybe I'll talk about cars.

Life is like a road trip. You never know who you're sharing the road with and can't control when you get stuck in traffic, when you get pulled over and when exactly you'll arrive. Accidents happen, construction, detours and roadblocks happen. Sometimes traffic jams will happen, and you can either be the jerk that honks uncontrollably or you can take a deep breath and be patient. Sometimes people will cut you off, and you also have the free will to choose how you want to react. The key is that, we aren't ever on the road alone, you have to share the road with others - your actions do affect others around you.

You can't be so focused on the end destination that you forget to enjoy the ride, the rest stops and the loved ones in your car. Right now, what I'm learning is that taking risks to speed and not maintain your car only costs you a lot in gas, fines and more emergency repairs. Sometimes obeying the law and properly pacing yourself on this ride of your life and taking your time to have a comfortable ride may be a better strategy. It also helps to do a bit of planning ahead so that you have a rough idea and budget of what to expect. And when there's a poor car stuck in the middle of the road, pull over and lend a helping hand or give someone a lift - traffic will flow better and you never know how a single act of kindness will affect that person's life

Let me end this by saying thank you - for being part of my road trip and especially for the kindness, patience and support over the past year. I've been driving an old beater car with the check engine light always on and overdue on an emissions test. I've broken down many times, asked you for a lift at inconvenient times, or let me crash for the evening and borrow your car. Then I  honked at you or tried to run you off the road sometimes. And if you were in my car, the music was probably on too loud where I tuned you out instead of listening to your advice. I'm very sorry for my actions. Thanks for not giving up on me.

I also probably ate a ton of McDonalds Big Macs at the rest stops on this road trip rather than salads but that probably just affects me and horrifies my doc ;)

This year has definitely been a memorable ride. I was able to make the money to afford all repairs and tune-ups needed. I cleaned out the trunk and threw away as much junk and garbage I could find. I've even got everything I need in the car to make it a comfortable ride.

So let's see what happens this year on this epic road trip and what we end up doing!

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