January 3rd marks my 2 year Canniversary (Canadian Anniversary). In 2018, I took my boys, packed our lives in 6 suitcases and headed to distant shores. I guess culturally this is typical for a Jamaican searching for fresh opportunities but no less intimidating.
For me, a fresh start was a need. Jamaica carries bitter sweet memories. I love my country and my culture but violence had me restless and honestly fearful. I also didn’t want to keep being the lady who people, having heard my story, did that pitiful head tilt to when they saw me. I didn’t want to be the lady who’s work and input was being measured by what she was going through rather than the work itself. I also did not want the boys to grow up in an environment where this horrible thing that happened to them always overshadowed.
Anyway, since it’s been two years I’ll share 2 major lessons I’ve learned.
The first is that seasons are a real thing. I know what you are thinking. As children, along with ABC’s and counting to 10, we learned the days of the week, seasons and months of the year. But when you grow up on an island where the coldest recorded temperature in the capital in history was 18°c, the word season becomes a foreign concept that you understand in theory but not so much in reality. Yes, there was a dry season and a rainy season. However, Jamaica’s weather is really an endless summer by Canadian standards.
More important than the fact that there are four seasons is how much those impact culture, moods and perspectives. Short of a proper storm, Canadians are not defeated by weather phenomena. They dress for it and move on. Oh I long for the days when a light shower of rain was a perfectly normal reason to not show up for an event. Canadians have found ways to celebrate every season. When it’s summer, everyone from the young to the old, makes the most of every minute of sunshine. Outdoor play, barbecues, beach, water parks, hiking you name it. As winter draws nigh, winter sports and family get togethers become the norm. Your neighbours disappear into their homes and indoor playgrounds become the place to take your children.
The real lesson though is that just as seasons in nature change, they do in your life too. No circumstance is permanent. In fact change is inevitable and stagnation is unnatural. Every other occupant of earth, even rocks, embrace change. As humans why don’t we? I feel like God has been orchestrating a major life lesson in change management since 2015. Let me summarize; in 5 years I have changed 3 jobs, been married, widowed, single mom, dating and married again. I have lived in 5 homes and 2 countries. I became a certified project manager as well as certified insurance broker and now I’m returning to my first love of writing.
How do I remain sane, focused and relenting? I have to anchor to something, rather someone who is constant, always present and never changing. “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6. To keep thriving I am learning to be pliable. I try to find something to enjoy in each season and if I can’t find the joy I try to at least be grateful for something. Rest assured, wintry seasons turn to spring, spring turns to summer and summer to fall. The good news is that no matter how dark and cold the winter, spring is coming.
The second is the importance of community and networking. I suppose I took this concept for granted because my core support network was always with me. Jamaica being the way it is, someone knows someone who knows you and vice versa. When I came to Canada I learned quickly that it’s almost impossible to live isolated lives and survive here. I need my family they need me in a real sense. I needed to connect with organizations that offered help with settling and employment. My Jamaican community in person and social media groups all helped to soften the blow of homesickness. My new church family means so much to me. I’m honored to walk with them as we discover God’s purpose for our lives. The scripture says it this way Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 10 “Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if they fall.either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up.” Get connected my lovies!
Thanks for joining me in 2020.
Write Fully Yours