I was walking along the pathway at Kits Beach today, a blustery cool cloudy November afternoon. There weren’t many people around, leaving me free with my own thoughts. I realize it’s all stolen Musqueam land, but I truly love this city. I have very fond memories from the short time I lived here, when I was in my 20s.
Today I was remembering all the other times I’d walked or cycled along that very path, wondering why I ever left my little apartment at 3rd and Burrard. For three years I worked and played in that very neighbourhood. Sometimes I’d cycle over the bridge and loop around Stanley Park, or wander over to Granville Island. These were my old stomping grounds and it occurred to me that you can leave a place and time, but you just can’t leave the love.
It got me wondering what my life would have been like if I’d stayed in Kitsilano, bought a condo, continued on a high tech career path. What would be the likelihood that I would be in that exact place, on this exact day? Certainly I would be feeling or thinking something different … or would I? Perhaps I’d have driven into town from my house in the suburbs, just for a walk along that beach. Maybe I’d have taken a break from visiting grandchildren to enjoy a few moments alone there. It’s unlikely, but I suppose it’s possible.
I don’t feel like I’m having any kind of mid-life crisis, I feel very content with my life, but I’m definitely experience mid-life. Often, lately, I find myself remembering the good old days (which, of course, always look better from a distance) and wondering where I’d be if I’d gone a different route.
Today I decided that, although there’s a slim chance I might have ended up on that same physical pathway (it being one of my favourite places in this city), chances are slim that my emotional and psychological state would be the same. It’s possible that I wouldn’t see so clearly the imbalances, the cruelty caused by capitalism and the greed it nurtures and promotes. Perhaps I wouldn’t understand the role that imperialism plays in shaping foreign and domestic policies, that war is all about land and resources, and that there’s an entire business community depending on it. There’s a chance I wouldn’t be an activist, wouldn’t understand what all those people are so upset about, might be one of those who believe that if only they’d pull up their bootstraps they could live a life just like me.
My head would likely be in a different place, if I’d walked a different life path. But my heart …. it would still be right there, loving the opportunity to commune with such wild nature from within such a vibrant, urban city.