Everything happens for a reason

Look how far we've come

Lessons learned from walking in circles

I think 2018 is the year I learn who I am. I've never dedicated so much time to reflect on myself and my goals. I've always felt a general sense of direction, but until recently I didn't take the time to plan out a road map. I thought I'll get there eventually instead of how do I start walking there now? Taking a second to look back at where I've come from helps me plan my next steps.

In reflection, I've learned a lot over the years. I know about more than I realize. I have more of the answers than I let on. It's just a matter of pulling them apart. Separating lessons from the experience as I live it. Arranging these stories neatly between lines so I can refer back to them later.

A series of events

The older I get, the more I realize the phrase "everything happens for a reason" isn't all that cliché.

A specific series of events led me to Montreal after graduating university. I moved there for a reason, even if I didn't know it at the time.

Jill Clark everything happens for a reason.jpg

I had never lived outside of Southwestern Ontario yet. I moved without a real plan. I found an apartment on the plateau with 4 other humans from all around the world. We became fast friends between our accents bonding over $5.99 6-packs of beer and a search for something more. We watched people walking below our street-facing balcony late into the night. Our front door didn't lock, but we didn't mind.

Qui je suis

A month after meeting, three of us got matching tattoos that say "qui je suis" in each other's handwriting. "Who I am." I know that's not grammatically correct in French, but it means something to me. It reminds me of where I've been and the things I've learned and the people who have helped shaped me. Who I am is the people I've loved and their thoughts and feelings that I've carried with me across the country and back again, barefoot and smiling the whole way.

When I lived in Montreal, I walked everywhere. I explored every corner of the city that I could reach by foot. Some days I would walk for hours, hopping in and out of shops. Collecting treasures from their shelves. I got caught in the rain without an umbrella a few times. I watched people move throughout their day, mine much less busy than theirs. I walked circles between the blocks. To the river, through downtown, back over to Petit Italie. I never felt lost.

There's something about those streets. It felt like home, but also a little suffocating. Too many artists in one space, all claiming they want to create, but few actually following their dreams. So because everything happens for a reason, I moved on to the next city to try my luck.

The mountains were calling, so I left.

I lived in Montreal so I could learn how to open my heart and mind to dreams bigger than my own sung in languages new to me. I learned from walking circles around the city. Everything happens for a reason. And now I know that nothing about who I am or who I am becoming is cliché.