photo of dried leaves near tree
by mali maeder on

Roots. Try as we may to hide them, we all have them.

The last few days have been a whirlwind, with our trip to Saskatchewan to see Lynn’s family. Once we got back, I was home overnight, then gone again overnight in Calgary.

In a way, I was returning to my roots on this Calgary trip. I was in Calgary attending an Alumni function of the High School I attended in British Columbia.

The school in question was Brentwood College School, a preparatory boarding school nestled in Mill Bay, BC.  Despite hating every minute of it when I was there for grades 10 to 12, I do look back on those three years with fondness.

I regret not being able to make it to my twentieth reunion, I’m aiming for twenty-five now.

At the alumni event last night, there was a wide age range of alums, with some having graduated in the 60’s and 70’s, and others in the newer generation having graduated last June. The common thread between all the era’s represented was a fondness towards the school despite maybe not enjoying it at the time, and to a person, they all credited the school for putting them on the path they currently walk on.

I can safely say the same.

I can not say that my path carried me where I thought it would, or should. The thing is, even if I didn’t end up going to university as nearly 100% of alum do, I did find a career I loved, even if it did not end in the way I anticipated.

However, my experience at Brentwood helped shape who I am today. No, I can’t say I’m happy with where my life has led, but I can at least say now that I am more content than I have been in awhile. The discipline, the forced interactions, the water-front safety program, all those things shaped my path.

Looking back, I know I had mood issues even back in high school. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I bucked the “cool” trends. I walked my own path.

The discipline I learned allows me to power through even when my mental health crashes. The same discipline allowed me to not fall into patterns of addiction even when I so easily could have. Addiction runs in both sides of my biologic family, and combined with the significant mental health issues it was definitely a slippery slope I walked.

No, my life isn’t perfect.

I struggle.

I fall.

My roots keep me anchored. They allow me to pick myself up after I struggle, and after I fall.

The more I think back on that time of my life, even with the challenges I have faced there, and since, I am grateful for the sacrifice my parents made allowing me to go there.

It was great mingling with the younger generation at the event last night. It was great seeing the changes that have been made to the campus in the over twenty years since I graduated.

That school changed me, for the good, and I am grateful to see that change in people is still occurring.

My life has had some detours, but it’s been good reconnecting with my roots.




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