It is difficult to explain to anyone on the outside the appeal of living on a place like PEI year round. Yes, it is beautiful in the summer, with it’s red sand, ocean views and beaches, and slow pace of life. It is, to many immersed in city or suburban rat race, a nice place to vacation and get away for a week or two, or maybe even an entire summer.
But live here, unless you’ve grown up here and have deep roots connecting you to the rust-coloured soil?
Some of us choose to. Some days we miss the life, the culture we left behind. Even if we weren’t directly involved in it (we were in the hills of Potton, QC for a couple of years before moving out here), it was a short car ride away. Sherbrooke, less than 1 hour. Montreal, a little over 1 hour. Ottawa, a little under 4 hours… It was there.
So were expectations.
Expectations for what one does with their life, their talents, their mind, their education.
Expectations regarding what makes one a success, what should make one feel content, and so on and so forth.
I have still struggled with these things at times (ESPECIALLY after visits “back home”), but less and less as I feel a deeper contentment with the life choices I have made. Sometimes the contentment sits at the same place for weeks, and then suddenly something happens—one particular day with family, or a run taken down the road where I can see for miles all around me, right into Nova Scotia—and it’s roots go deeper.
It is a life-changing moment when those roots of contentment surpass the size of the tree above the surface—when there is more underneath making it’s way in than what you see above the ground. There is no turning back after that. You have deep sense of simply being where you should be, and being happy with your life.
It is the little things that make it so. The bald eagle that flies overhead as you drive past the buffalo park into town. The neighbours who wave as you walk along the road to your destination. The friends you bump into while running errands.
Yes, the summers are beautiful here. Nothing can beat being a hop, skip and jump away from the beach with children on a hot day.
But it is the other things as well. Like not having to force yourself to run around like a chicken with your head cut off to support a lifestyle that you are “supposed” to have but that you’ve never really had enough time away from to question whether or not you really want it. The peace on a cold sunny morning as what small clouds there are slowly move across the sky over the fields of snow and the trees.
Ask me what I want to do from this point on and this is what I will tell you:
Savour each day.
Read with my children.
Go outside. A lot.
Connect with my community.
Keep growing my herbs, and add some veggies this year, and more next year, and even more the year after that.
(finally) Have the older gentleman down the road who lives alone over for dinner. Because he is kind. Because we can.
Paint. If I feel like it. And give it away if I want to.
Listen to the quiet. Hear the wind. Watch the birds.
I am where I want to be.
And it is a lovely, peaceful feeling.