Journey To Health: 6 Years To Find Myself

My birthday is coming up in exactly 40 days, not like I’m counting or anything.

I’m turning the big 25 [it’s big to me] and I couldn’t be more excited, scared, mortified, or anxious.

Since I was little, I’ve treated my birthday as others treat the New Year. I set goals for the upcoming year, reflected on accomplishments, and thank myself for continuing on my journey.

As a prelude to year 25, I thought it’d be fun to look back over the last 6 years and giggle at myself, bring back great memories, see what I’ve accomplished.


Age: 19

I was living in a sketchy apartment building downtown that I’d moved into at the ripe age of 18.

Getting my first electricity bill was scary.

My car got broken into at least once a month.

But the place was awesome, cheap, and close to all of the best bars in town.

[Bars? Wow… I don’t think I’ve been to a bar in over 2 years]

I remember eating a lot of mac n’ cheese [vegan style], thai takeout and potatoes.

What better way to start off than with this picture?

If you don’t already know, I’m a total freak when it comes to making the most ridiculous faces.

I had my left eyebrow pierced twice. I still have the scar.

First time – my mom made me take it out because she said it made me look scary [or something].

I’m a cowgirl at heart.


When I found out that a friend of mine made these amazing dreads, I knew I just needed to have them.

Unfortunately I had no idea that they were going to weigh a TON.

I took them out after 3 months and had the strongest neck afterward.

This was the second time I’d had extensions.


Age: 20

I was tired of having my car broken into so we moved to a house just outside of downtown.

It was a quieter and safer neighborhood.

I could actually walk alone at night! Bonus!

I went through a crazy piercing phase.

Ugh, 3 piercings in my nose? Ah, the choices we make.

This is me on my 21st birthday.

Yes, that is a cigarette in my hand.

I was a smoker off and on for 8 years and quit for good when I was 22.

This is me, camping!

I’m not sure if I was in pain, or what was happening in this picture.

Maybe a little tipsy?

These yearly camping trips with 100 of our closest pals were fantastic.

September was when I was introduced to Mac makeup. I would spend at least 30 minutes applying my makeup everyday.

Now? 5 minutes if I’m lucky.

This was the first time I cut off all my hair, unfortunately it wouldn’t be the last.

I’ve made a promise to myself: no more short hair ever for now.


Age: 21

This was a tough year.

I was battling with my health, relationships, goals… everything.

I started lifting weights in July ’07 but stopped when my boyfriend [at the time] said it was making me manly.

Weight lifting introduced me to the concept of nutrition, something I knew little about.

As a way to figure out how to improve my health, I started studying nutrition at CSNN in September.

But I didn’t stop the late nights out!

Sisterly love is the best.

I have 1 younger sister, Christina. She’s the bomb!


Age: 22

Things were starting to come together for me.

I fell in love with eating right, started understanding the concept of self love, and quickly realized that I wasn’t happy with my life.

I left my boyfriend of 5 years, bought my own house, finished school, and started over in the biggest way possible.

I went on a 7 day cruise in March.

It was my first time being out of Canada and I loved every minute of it.

This is a girl who knows what she wants.

I was starting to get to know myself, understand myself, and make tough choices.

I headed off to Vancouver for my 22nd birthday to clear my head and realize my dreams.

There is no better city than Vancouver to find yourself. Gosh, I love that city!

I started tanning in a big way.

I knew how bad it was for my health but I needed a confidence booster.

I was about to make a HUGE change in my life and I needed all the confidence I could get.


Age: 23

Kevin and I met in late 2008. He moved in, we got a dog [Lexy], and we went on trips here and there.

For the first time in my life I actually started to feel comfortable but knew I still had a long way to go.

I made falling asleep at third beach in Vancouver a regular occurrence.

I went dancing in the river and got my toes wet.

Why a bunny tattoo? My Dad’s nickname for me is ‘bunny’ and I love my Dad to pieces, so it only made sense.

My other foot has a cow on it that’s equally as adorable.

I headed to Portugal on a business trip in November.

It was the first time I’d traveled by myself.

I spent most of the trip crying because I missed home so badly and was scared to death of being alone.

The love I had for myself was growing, but I hadn’t yet learned the concept of building my happiness from within.

Our connection continued to grow and we decided to move out of my condo and into our own home outside the city.


Age: 24

I found meditation, began actively practicing nutrition, learned how to love me, find happiness from within, and love life.

We moved into our new home, adapted a quieter home life, and spent many nights just sitting and chatting for hours.

We celebrated my 24th birthday in Banff and rode around on horses and in canoes all weekend.

There was also a lot of eating. They have the best food in Banff!

We went to Jamaica in August where I went diving for the first, second, and third time.

I learned that my meditation practice was perfectly fit for keeping my cool while diving. I must have said my mantra a billion times while I was 80 ft. below.

I got to pet a sea cucumber. Coolest thing ever.

I proved to myself that no matter how scared I am of something, I can do it, I just have to believe in myself.

I found my light, my love, my soul and my strength, all in just 6 years.

Goodness, when I look at it that way… bring on the next 6, I’m ready for it!

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  1. I find it interesting how different your face looks in comparison to the last 6 years. Of course maturing has a bit to do with it and you have less piercings. But what I see is a totally different person in those pictures. I think when you really find “you” the external begins to change a bit, wouldn’t you say? It was as if I was waiting for someone to unravel the barriers in the pictures starting at age 18…and then…there *YOU* were, at age 24.

    I really enjoyed this post, albeit a bit late in my catching up :)

    • The dreads I had were extensions off of my own hair. My friend “dreaded” the extensions and then braided it into my hair. I honestly have no idea how she did it so perfectly!

  2. Such a sweet post – as a regular follower of your blog it’s nice to know a little bit about the woman behind it. Just a quick question; other than just not lighting a cigarette how did you manage to give up? I run 20 miles a week and train for various strength competitions and I’m ridiculously picky about eating only whole and nutritious food – and yet I still can’t kick my weekend smoking habit after a glass or two of wine. Any hints or tips?

    • Hi Kate, I’m glad you liked my post :) I’ve gone through a lot of addictions with things and I guess once I decided to do something, I just do it. I have a strong determination to change things that bother me. Don’t get me wrong, I still have cravings here and there and it was challenging. I just kept reminding myself why I was quitting: I wanted to have strong lungs, live longer, didn’t want to smell like smoke anymore, save money, feel healthy, love my body more…
      As with anything, when I set my sights on something I look at it as an opportunity to show myself that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. So, when I decided to give up smoking whenever I’d get a craving I’d tell myself it wasn’t worth it, that I believed I could do it, and how good it would feel when I got through the craving. Then, 5 minutes later when the craving past, I’d feel SO proud of myself. It’s totally worth it if you go into it for JUST you.

  3. Hey!

    I just found your blog through one of my favourites, Oh She Glows. I like your style, and thanks for the recap of the inspiring changes you’ve made over the years. Looking forward to following up by reading more posts :D

    *Check out my Lululemon giveaway :)

    • Hey Sam, thanks for your kind words! Oh She Glows is one of my favorites too. She has some pretty amazing recipes on there! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Your giveaway is AWESOME!