Yesterday I woke up, my first day of “retirement”, a word I hate as I don’t feel like I am ready for that word, not yet anyway. So lets start again. Yesterday I woke up, the first day of a new beginning. I enjoyed my coffee, dealt with emails and headed out for a chilly mountain bike ride. As I peddled up hill, I felt a little off balance, this was my first day of freedom and it just felt like any other day. The last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions, so perhaps it is understandable when you hand in your key and walk out the door to a different life, it feels a little anti-climactic.
As I rode, I let my thoughts drift over the last 20 years, thinking about the life we built in this little mountain town. Since arriving in Rossland, in 1997, the community has mostly known us as “the vets”, rather than Rob and Elaine. For many people, living in a small community takes some getting used to, especially if you are a professional and in the public eye. You quickly realize that everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, everyone is related, people talk behind your back and not everyone wants what you have to offer. You grow thicker skin and remind yourself to focus on the positive. After all, “haters gonna hate”. As I rode along in the beautiful fall weather I was reminded again about all those positives of small town life and realized that what I am feeling as I move on to this new beginning is gratitude.
Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money but has huge benefits. So here is my list of all the great things about living in Rossland, the most amazing small town in Canada. The place that we will picture when we hear the word “home”, as we head out on this new beginning.
- Everyone knows your business: Yes, it is often annoying as hell to live life with no anonymity but it also means you have a whole community that has your back and is helping raise your children (I usually knew the trouble my kids were in before they arrived home from school, thanks to the local gossips!).
- The amazing outdoors: How cool is it to live on the side of a mountain where I can ride my bike in any direction and within 10 minutes be in the woods! Enough said.
- Kids can be kids: My kids could walk to school alone every day, which is pretty cool. Even cooler though is that the biggest concern was wildlife. End of day announcements at our school were often a wildlife update ” On your way home, today be alert, there is a mother bear and cubs hanging out on the corner of Cooke Ave. and Nevada Street kids”. Where else can your kids grow up and not need to carry a key, because most of us don’t lock our doors. So awesome!
- Buying groceries is a social event: You pop out to pick up a jug of milk and return home 2 hours later because you saw everyone you know at the local grocery store and got to catch up with all your friends!
- A community that cares: Losing a school due to declining enrolment and lack of government funding? No problem, Rosslanders fought hard to save their high school and when they lost the battle, they picked themselves up and started an independent high school. Need a skate park? Rossland to the rescue and a group of committed community members made it happen (slowly to be sure, but the cement was poured this fall along with a new Youth Center). Love riding or hiking our amazing network of trails? Thank Friends of the Rossland Range. Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out the amazing programming available from the Rossland Arts Council. Rosslanders not only know the meaning of community, they live it. In fact, many people in this community inspire me to be a better person and to get involved.
To our home town as well as the amazing communities of Trail, Fruitvale, and the surrounding areas, thank you. It has been an honour and privilege to be part of this community as your veterinarians. Now, as we start this new chapter, we look forward to getting to know you as Rob and Elaine. See you on the trails!