What's with that saying what goes around comes around? It means Karma, and refers to how it works; the law of cause and effect. The word Karma literally means "activity". It can be divided into a few simple categories -- good, bad, individual and collective. In the case of this post let's start with the idea of moving; an activity of one but connected to the collective. Specifically, my moving house and my focus of always leaving "home" better than I found it.
Moving, can be a physical and psychological ordeal, yet at the same time a liberating experience. When I recall my move to Strathcona many years ago, it was the surprising familiarity of my childhood that made me fall in love with this community. The areas just outside this neighbourhood had been given a bad wrap, labelled as scary, dangerous and full of drug addicts; not that different from today. Even I, someone who grew up in east Vancouver, was not sure it would be for me after owning and living in North Vancouver and Yaletown. I was questioning my own city and what it had become, so without fear I decided to rent first and see if it would be a fit.
On the first day of living here I ventured out of the coach house/garage rental heading off to get a coffee and walk downtown to the Vancouver Art Gallery to do a touring gig with school children. My thoughts were about life and if home ownership was worth it, so I was playing with the idea that perhaps renting was just as good. It was time to see where life would take me. As soon as I hit the sidewalk, I was greeted by a complete stranger with a friendly "Hi" and as I continued making my way through the "hood" there were "Good Mornings" and "Hi's" amply voiced. "Hmmm," I thought, "this is a real community here, it reminds me of how safe and accepted I felt growing up".
We did not have any immediate family in Vancouver, but as an immigrant family our lives were full of "tetas" and "barbas" -- basically friends who were our family. I was surprised to realize there was a place that could give me that feeling, as the association had always been, in my mind, with the people. As time went on it became clear that I'd take renting to the next level as the geographical location offered something special as did the people who were attracted to it. It didn't take too long to decide this was the neighbour hood for me and investing my future here just made sense. Eventually, I bought 584 Hawks and have lived here ever since.
I've shared many good years and times here so saying goodbye will be bitter sweet. Leaving a home better than I've found it is what I believe in and brings me joy. This month my longtime home will go on the market as I prepare for the move to 851 Union. It will be joyous as moving most assuredly gives you time to reflect on all the things you've accumulated over the years. I've been purging non-stop and re-evaluating what I really need to take, have and truly love. This is going to be an annual event, as I sure don't want to end up with all the "things" I've now released.
The "things" I won't let go of are all the amazing friends I've come to know in this neighbourhood, the creative and spontaneous celebrations, jumping into pop up art projects that just happen and all the daily joyous observations that take place: all that is coming with me! After all it's only 2 blocks away and an expansion of my already heartfelt community.