Living My Life In Gastown (West Coast Girl, Pt 21)

Vancouver 2021

I dated a few people this year, but nothing ever really took off beyond a few weeks. The spark needs to be felt on both ends or it’s not going to work. There’s always so much talk about “worth” and “value”, but everyone inherently is valuable and worthwhile because they are human – what it all comes down to is meeting the right person at the right time. Especially when you’ve been single for as long as I have, you want the next relationship to have that head over heels kind of love where they add to your life – not take away from it. When you’re with the wrong person, you really feel it. Maybe that’s the benefit of having time to yourself – you’re not willing to settle for something mediocre (or heaven forbid bad) just to be with someone. The spark is either there or it isn’t.

I saw Alexei again in the summer of 2021. He messaged me around the same time that things ended with another guy. We met at English Bay and watched the sunset together. Sitting in the sand, we cuddled and kissed one another like old times. It was so nice seeing him after a year had passed – we’d both grown since then.

After I’d gone on a hike in Lynn Valley a week later, he texted me to meet up again in his neck of the woods. I met him by Ambleside Beach – our place – and we watched the sunset. Even though we were exes, it felt nice being there with him again. I knew then that I would always love him, even if it wasn’t meant for us to be together for the long term.

We made out under the stars that warm evening and lay quietly together until well after midnight. It was familiar and beautiful to be back in his arms. He paid for my Uber ride home since it was well past the time that the buses would be running. As the driver picked me up, Alexei waved good-bye. A freight train had passed through the area and stopped. Alexei hopped over one of the flatbed trailers and disappeared into the darkness.

Alexei, I saw you hop the train! Please be careful. I texted.

Haha it’s all good. The train was stopped anyway.

Thank you for sending me an Uber to get home. 🙂 It was so nice to see you.

It was amazing seeing you, too. And no problem. I want you to get home safe.

I still smile at the memory of him hopping the train – even though it was stopped on the tracks. He was always such a risk taker. You don’t always know when your final moment with someone will be. I didn’t know that would be the last time I saw him. It’s almost poetic how he appeared in my life in the middle of the night and faded from my life in the middle of the night.

In the job, fitness, and writing spheres, I was doing great. I was working from home, writing and publishing away, and living in a part of the city I loved. I remember reading about Gastown while I was still in Banff and it always felt like the right vibe for me – a little hipster, lots of cafes, lovely buildings with character, delicious local restaurants, and the quirky steam clock. Plus it’s steps away from the waterfront walk. I was close to Lynn Valley and Stanley Park – I would often walk to Stanley Park before work in the rain and it was so invigorating. I continued to work out at home. I’m a fairly motivated person when it comes to fitness. While I do like the gym atmosphere, it was easier and cheaper to workout from home.

Another guy, Gabe, who was working on the construction crew of my apartment said he wanted a relationship with me after I hung out with him a few times, but he wasn’t able to carry on a conversation. He couldn’t be with me for more than a few minutes without trying to take my clothes off. I ended up having to leave early every time I’d come over and I finally had to break it off. He’d apologize, but wouldn’t improve his behaviour. I was trying not to be too picky, but I wanted to be with someone who cared enough about me to get to know me. What sense was there in being with a guy who didn’t care about what was on my mind? For me, the attraction builds the more you get to know someone. He was gorgeous, but I need more than that to fall for a guy. If he would have tried to make an effort to have a conversation, I would have given him a chance.

While my dates never amounted to anything long term, I really enjoyed my time in Gastown. I had some fun first dates that were a great opportunity to go out, share some things, and eat good food. Just because there isn’t a spark with someone, it doesn’t mean the time was wasted. Every new date or relationship that doesn’t work out brings you closer to the one who’s meant for you. When I wasn’t seeing someone, I enjoyed plenty of things that Gastown had to offer on my own, too. While I had room to add someone into my life, I was fairly content on my own. My life had the pacing I wanted and I was close to so many amazing things – both nature trails and city amenities.

One day at work in the summer, a story idea hit me that was so amazing. Chills rushed over me at this epic idea that would later turn into a story called Inspiration. “Bridged By A Lightwave” by Deadmau5 was a song that fuelled this whole story. I imagined how wonderful it would be if a girl inherited the ability to have any magical power she wanted – and she chose the ability to heal. It would be a wonderful final story, I thought.

I continued the lovely slow morning routines in Gastown and my life was peaceful. I’d wake up in the morning feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. This chapter of my life was reminiscent of my time at the apartment on Main Street. I was busy writing a new novel, Shepherd Girl. It was originally going to be a reincarnation fantasy saga, but I decided to make it just one book set during a historical period. When that story was published, I began to work on a new novella about a selfish young prince who learns what it really means to be rich – The Peasant Woman. After not publishing anything earlier in 2021, the later part of the year was quite productive.

A guy I dated at the end of 2021 finally drove home the big lesson I needed to learn: You must get to know someone before trusting what they say. Grand promises and affirmations are wonderful to hear, but they mean very little from a total stranger. Many of the things guys say to women they just started dating should be said months and years down the road – not mere days after meeting them. I think I needed to date someone who would go far enough to say that he would read all my books so I’d never stop writing. In the beginning, it felt like he came into my life to right every wrong the past guys did. As someone who knew her time to write was coming to a close, hearing that someone would stay in my life and help me keep writing was like a soothing balm to a bruised heart. Sadly, his promises were just empty words and the balm turned out to be corrosive.

It took me so long to wrap my head around the fact that some guys will promise you the very thing your heart desires just to break it. I didn’t understand it, because I would never do something like that to someone else. If I’m not interested in someone, I’m pretty clear about that so I don’t waste their time. If I am interested in someone, I prioritize them. I don’t have the time of day to mess with people, but some guys make playing a second career. Some men are narcissistic/sociopathic so they jump from one woman to another without much thought for the feelings of those they leave behind. I had a background in psychology – I just needed to let some of those lessons sink in and apply them to the people I knew in the real life. I’m not a game to be played or an object to be used. The great news is that you can’t un-see that kind of pattern once you learn to recognize it. I won’t fall prey to those early promises anymore.

I was already working on the new fantasy story before new year’s eve, so I’d have something fresh for the new year. In my heart I knew it was going to be my final fictional story for awhile. It’s not that I was burnt out or that I ran out of ideas. I was just starting to lose my love of the process. When you put your heart and soul into something, it makes it a lot easier to move on once it’s time to end. Writing was never meant to be a little hobby on the side that I dabbled with once in a while. I’m so glad that I prioritized it for long enough to write all the stories I wanted to write. This memoir wouldn’t have happened had I not made this necessary and amazing journey. I have myself to thank for that.

I wondered – what would happen if I inherited the ability to manifest magical powers in a fantasy realm? How would I approach Sven and the others who chose to exploit my trust? I’d been on quite an epic journey – why not make my final novel in the fantasy genre? It might not make sense to some, but I would genuinely do what Fleur did if I possessed that kind of power. I didn’t become some “bad ass” dark empath (God I hate that trope) who seeks to punish and get even with all who harmed me (or tried to). I have remained true to myself, because I didn’t let their dark nature overpower my own. This is what my story is really about – choosing love and peace over hate and retaliation. I’m proud that this story is my final fictional work. Let me tell you, I was so done with writing by the time I finished writing it, but I stuck with it because I knew the story deserved to be read. Now that it’s done, that part of me can rest.

With air travel being allowed for vaccinated people, I was able to fly home to visit my family. It had been nearly two years since I’d seen them in person. On new year’s day in 2022, I flew back to Ontario for a week. It felt wonderful to spend some time with my sister and parents. As always, we visited our favourite great lake and toured around the area when we felt like getting out.

I couldn’t wait to see what 2022 would bring. I remember taking stock of all the things I accomplished health-wise, writing-wise, and work-wise in 2021. I had my own place in Gastown, a great job, several books published, and another story on the way. I was going on regular nature walks and keeping up a good self-care routine. It was a successful year by any standard.



  1. Hi, I really like your blog post, especially the way you described your life experience with words.

    And I’m with you; I don’t think you’re picky; you just haven’t met the right person yet. Even though there are 8 billion people on this planet, it is really hard to meet someone who really cares about our true selves. I’m in the same situation as you; I haven’t dated for a long time, but I haven’t found anyone who is really meant for me; they’re just looking for sex. I’ve felt tired and disappointed, but luckily I’ve learned how to be happy in my alone time.

    Anyway, I really like your blog post; you’re so talented, and I think I can learn how to write better from your post 😊

    • I’m glad you can relate. Its amazing how many guys don’t try to get to know the woman they’re dating and just want to get physical. I totally get wanting that after some dates and getting to know each other, but yikes.
      Yes being happy alone will make you a great person for yourself and for another when they arrive.
      We’ll meet the right one someday, and if we met the right person at the wrong time, they’ll be back. ❤️

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