There’s a small hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, just behind The Miner’s Museum in Glace Bay. It is one of my favorite spots in the world. It’s a place to go and feel small. I makes me feel grounded. I’ve had a lot of happy moments there – everything from my first kiss, to sitting alone staring at brochures trying to decide where to move after high school. There’s been a lot of sad moments there, too. It became a spot to sit quietly after a loss – a break-up, a death, a job interview I thought I had in the bag. On that little hill, beside the roaring ocean, I knew my place. It grounded me. It gave me perspective. Through the highs and lows it reminded me that feelings are temporary, and that if you just wait a second, another wave will come along. It’s unending and always changing.
Here in Fredericton The Walking Bridge has become that special place for me. The symbolism isn’t lost on me, either. Earlier in my life I was content to sit on the sidelines, safe on shore, and let the ocean make me feel small. Now, its about a bridge. A place from A to B. I’m inbetween. I’m not where I was, yet, somehow, still not where I’m going. If that hill in Glace Bay grounded me, this bridge suspends me and reminds me there is choice. It’s not a spot for quiet acceptance and “what will be, will be,” it’s about getting from here to there. It’s about crossing that divide. It bridges the gap – and that’s what gives us hope, power, and choice.
I focus on the gap a lot. I deconstruct the divide that exists between where I am and where I want to be. I look at every situation, every relationship, every opportunity and rather than focus on what it is now, or focus on what I want it to be in the end and find motivation in that, I focus on the gap. The shortcomings. I focus I what I don’t have. I focus on what things aren’t, instead of what they are or what they could be.
I feel things deeply. I don’t dislike that. My highs are high and my lows are low and for a bunch of a reasons I generally keep that to myself. One of the things I respect the most in other people is emotional consistency and it’s what I try to bring to the world. It’s not a mask. It’s not fake. It’s just a compromise between the highs and lows. It keeps you even and lets people know what to expect. I’ve always viewed it as being emotionally responsible because I’ve felt the burden of trying to navigate life with those who take no responsibility for their emotions, or the actions they fuel.
When you take your first steps on to The Walking Bridge can’t see the other side. It’s too long. The horizon is taken over by the wooden planks in the very centre, where it rises to a small peak. You can’t see the other side. You don’t know where you’re going. In fact, you don’t even really know that the bridge is finished and actually connects on the other side.
If you only focus on where you’re going, there’s a chance you never start because you can’t be sure that’s where the bridge is taking you. You can’t see there from here. You can’t see B from A. If you’ve put in the work, and made the right choices, you have to trust the bridge you’re building will get you there.
This week I was shown that I’ve spent a lot of time and energy building a bridge that goes somewhere I didn’t expect. When I started out on one side I thought for sure I knew what was on the other. I was wrong.
Imagine you were expecting Disneyland but landed somewhere else instead. I’m not saying I won’t enjoy the trip, I’m just saying it’s not going to be the Disney adventure I’d been dreaming about.
My frist reaction? I want to go sit on the hill by the Atlantic and feel small. I want to know that another wave will come along. But I’m not safe on the shoreline anymore. This is the risk of real life and I hate how uncomfortable it makes me. Still, that knotted feeling in my stomach reminds me how far I’ve come because I never knew the risk of not getting what I wanted when I was too broken to want for much of anything at all.