“So, gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time, every new beginning
Comes from some other beginning’s end, yeah”
The lyrics to this song by Semisonic always come to mind when my life is about to change drastically:
I thought of them when I decided to leave the business I built in Brazil, when I emigrated to Canada with two bags and lots of hope, and when my oldest son was born and I knew immediately that life would never be the same. Now, once again, it’s closing time and I’m thinking about new beginnings and beginnings’ ends as, after almost seven years in British Columbia, I’m getting ready to move across the country and start over one more time.
I never thought I’d ever move to Montreal — just like I never thought I’d move to Canada until the day I had a life-changing realization that it was time for a change. This time, I was listening to a podcast about Quebec and the glaringly low cost of living compared to Vancouver. I playfully suggested to my partner that we move there, and to my surprise, he immediately agreed.
Within five days we sold our condo and weeks later here we are: With plane tickets booked and a new job lined up, sorting out all the details that come with upending our family’s life.
Some beginnings’ ends were long overdue, like the end of our time in B.C. It was fun at first, but I just cannot stand Vancouver anymore. Not just because of the gloomy constant rain — no sun to be seen for weeks on end — or the pretentiousness of a city that overpromises and underdelivers, but mostly because of the outrageous cost of living, which makes it impossible to live comfortably without constantly worrying about money unless you are rich.
I was tired of spending literally my entire paycheck on childcare every month. I was tired of having no perspective that things would ever get better — hoping that we could save up when the kids went to school, that we’d get raises so we could afford leisure, that we could miraculously one day be able to buy a bigger place in this (sur)real estate market. Vancouver is not worth it to us anymore.
Other beginnings, however, are ending much sooner than I wanted, like my job as a communications specialist for Western Canada at Ecojustice. I knew I would not be able to keep the job if I lived out east, but I had hoped to work remotely in another position. It turns out, though, that Ecojustice cannot employ people in provinces where it doesn’t have an office, so Friday, December 10 will be my last day.
It was a painful decision to quit my job. I felt so welcome at Ecojustice, and have never had a job that was so aligned with my values and beliefs and where I felt like I was doing something meaningful to create a better world. It was wonderful to be inspired every day by my coworkers and to be part of an incredibly talented, passionate, and fun group dedicated to protecting the environment — the kind of people I identify with and want to be surrounded by. I’ll miss them and my work dearly, but as my mom says, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
This ending at Ecojustice is also a new beginning in my career. Not just because I’ll be working somewhere else, but mostly because I have realized that I need more than money to be happy at work, and therefore happy in life. Working just for a paycheck has never made sense to me, and my time at Ecojustice has shown me how to use my skills, experience, and talent to advance the causes I believe in. This is just a small break in the new career path I’ll now focus on.
In other times, I’d freak out about leaving a job without a new one in sight, but I’m so sure that this is the right move for our family and the life I want to lead that I’m not even worried — I know everything will work out at the right time. Of course, the fact that my partner got a great job to support us also helps a lot, because after all, someone has to feed the fam, right?
I’m looking forward to using this little sabbatical to improve my French, study, and finally work on the permaculture book I’ve been dreaming about and planning for years. Oh, and sleep. Sleep a lot, sleep as much as I can while the kids are in daycare, because the last two years have been incredibly exhausting for us and my batteries need recharging.
So I guess that’s it for now. Only five days until my last day at Ecojustice and eight days until we leave for Quebec — my heart feels tight, but also so alive when I think about it. New year, new province, new house, new life — here’s to beginnings’ ends and new beginnings!