Why I’m Celebrating My 5-Year Whistlerversary

Since I no longer live in Whistler, it may not be technically correct to celebrate my Whistlerversary anymore.

Luckily, Whistlerversaries aren’t about being technically correct, so I’m going to go ahead and celebrate mine anyway.

Some people (e.g., Cedric) think celebrating the Whistlerversary is a bit lame. I respectfully disagree because for most of us, our Whistlerversary is about so much more than just moving. It’s about deliberately leaving some kind of old life behind in favour of a new one where you’re all but guaranteed to make less money, live in smaller quarters (and with more people), but have WAY MORE FUN. For many of us, our Whistlerversary represents the exact date where we bid adieu to things that were making us terribly unhappy.

whistlerversary-1

Every year on this day, Facebook reminds me that I posted this photo on January 11, 2012. Woohoo!

Five years ago, I packed my life into several boxes. I left most of these boxes in a closet in my apartment, which I sublet out to a stranger who a) I trusted enough not to steal the boxes with my life in them and b) I trusted enough not to destroy my furniture. I packed the rest of the boxes – the ones filled with the essentials – into my car and said “peace out” to city living.

(I’m not sure why I packed an umbrella – I don’t think I’ve actually used an umbrella since I left Vancouver.)

Life certainly hadn’t been terrible in Vancouver, but I’d had a major “is this it?” moment when I realized that I didn’t particularly want to be old, rich, alone, miserable at work, unfulfilled with my life, and wearing a suit every waking hour. (Truthfully, there was no guarantee that I’d even end up rich, so that was like the best worst-case scenario). I’d come to the realization that I was lucky enough to not have to live that life, seeing as I had next to nothing holding me back.

Moving to Whistler was the most liberating thing I have ever experienced. It’s hard to describe it without sounding like a new age hippy. Imagine you’ve been holding your breath for way, way, way too long – s0 long that you forget what it’s like to breathe normally. Moving to Whistler was like getting the chance to finally exhale and take a new breath. It was sooooooo good.

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The poster child for the Quarter Life Crisis, circa 2012

My Whistler metamorphoses consisted of several phases:

  • The footloose and fancy free phase, where I lived off my savings, snowboarded and yoga-ed to wonderful excess, worked purely for the social interactions, and basically found inner peace (as one does).
  • The token wanderlust phase, where I spent the rest of my savings gallivanting around Europe, first with my friend Charlotte, then solo. The last month of my trip was a very strange time. I felt very poor, very alone, and very ready to figure out the next phase of my life.
  • The rebirth phase, where I found a happy medium by establishing myself in a new career, moved into a more permanent dwelling (I had lived in 3 different places my first six months in Whistler), and switched from “spending” mode to “saving” mode.
  • The “I think I’ve got this” phase, where I created the perfect freelance job for myself, found a wonderful partner, and finally felt at one with the community.

And finally, we have the Squamish phase, where I’m at right now. I feel just as happy as I did five years ago, but in a very different way. I know I’m very lucky to have been able to drop my life with relative ease and live as a ski bum for a little while. I’m also very proud of myself for choosing to make that change half a decade ago.

Happy Whistlerversary to me!

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