The break-up that changed my life

Writers block – it’s been at least 9 straight months. It’s killing me. So, I asked wordpress to provide some inspiration – and this is what they asked me: “What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?”

I immediately thought: ‘traveling through Europe”. But after a bit more thought, I realized that trip was actually the result of a previous experience.

A break-up.

I know, it sounds so cliché.

Before you read on, I should preface this by saying that this break-up isn’t really any different from a break-up many of us have experienced. It wasn’t overly dramatic; it wasn’t a result of cheating; and, looking back, it was probably the most civilized break-up I have ever experienced.

But it was a break-up that happened during a very tumultuous time of my life – my young-twenties.

I’m sure many people can relate to the pains of being a young twenty-something, trying to figure out “life”. We’re fresh out of school, excited to get that amazing job we’ve been dreaming about and that amazing boyfriend/girlfriend that is going to make it all come together. Honestly, I naively thought that getting the perfect boyfriend was my way to figuring the rest out: if I get the awesome guy, the rest will all fall into place.

Silly girl.

Not to inflate his ego too much, but he was awesome. GB was the perfect gentleman from the first moment I met him. Funny enough, it would be 8 months from our first meeting that we would actually begin dating. I remember our first date, he took me to get cupcakes, and then we watched a movie – nothing amazing – but after that first cupcake, I knew I was in trouble. To make a long –and sickeningly adorable — story short – I changed my plans to move back to Toronto to stay in Edmonton so I could see where it could go. It was the first time I had ever cared about someone else so much – and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world because all my friends agreed – he was a really great guy.

Well, as most young-love stories end – we broke up. Well, he broke up with me. And I was angry. No, I was devastated. No, I was confused.

I was also lost. I had put so much of my time and energy into our relationship, that I lost sight of my own goals. So when he left – I had nothing to focus my energy on.

When he first met me, I told him how I wanted to be a journalist. I told him I wanted to write for an environmental magazine. I was so passionate – I wanted to change the world.

Sadly, I lost sight of that goal. I had settled to being his girlfriend – happy to work at a restaurant and come home to him every night. Happy to save my money so we could go on a trip together. Happy to imagine a life in a province far away from my family. Happy to be content with whatever life he could provide for us.

So when GB broke up with me, I spiralled out of control. There is no need to go into too much details – but the person I became is not someone I liked very much.

But, they always say it takes rock-bottom for a person to realize that they need to make a change.

Well, I hit rock-bottom. I was spending all of my time either drinking or nursing a hang-over. I stopped writing. I stopped caring.

Then, one drunken night, it was like someone slapped me across the face and said “WAKE-UP!” – I went online, booked my one-way flight to Dublin, and made a promise to myself that in 6 months I was going to be in Europe, and I was going to do something with my life beyond waitressing. I began my blog Tay In Europe. 


It’s been two years since GB broke my heart – and I couldn’t be more thankful. If he hadn’t broken up with me – if we would have stayed together – I would be living a life for someone else, instead of for myself.

So, thank-you GB. Thank-you for helping me realize that I need to put myself first.


Write it down

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Get lost

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What would you do?

In March of 2012, I booked a one-way flight to Europe.

I didn’t have money. I didn’t have a plan. I literally had no idea how I was going to survive for 3 months in Europe, by myself.

But, I made it happen. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have I focused on what I wanted and everything worked out.

Lately, whenever I think of what it is I might want to do when my internship is over, I find myself thinking of what currently limits me from doing it.

This is something we all do. You say to yourself “I would really love to go away to Costa Rica for a few weeks” and then automatically your brain begins to list off all the reasons why you haven’t booked that flight: it will take a long time to save the money; what if you can’t get the time off work?; who would you go with? And then, a year or two goes by, and you still haven’t gone to Costa Rica, let alone gotten any closer to overcoming the factors that were limiting you before.

So, I decided to ask myself a simple question:

What would you do with your life if there were no limits?

  • Move out of my basement apartment to one above ground
  • Stop waitressing
  • Find work with a non-profit organization
  • Live in a different country
  • Live a relaxed lifestyle
  • Spend part of my life living on a beach
  • Go back to Costa Rica
  • Meet-up with Sherry while she is in South America.
  • Do Yoga daily

Some of the items on my list seem fairly attainable. For instance, I know that I want to stop waitressing, and I am currently working very hard (at an unpaid Internship) to get out of the industry.

But then when I think of other things, such as traveling to see Sherry, there is a voice in my head saying “you don’t have the money”.

It’s true. I don’t have the money, yet.

It’s a very simple formula, one which we have all read in self-help books, or learned by watching The Secret. 

The Universe is always listening. If you say “I will never be be able to save $10,000 in 6 months”, the Universe will grant that truth. But, if you say “I will save $10,000 in 6 months”, you will be 10k richer 1/2 a year from now. Call it the Universe or a self-fulfilling prophecy — call it whatever you like.

The fact is that you can achieve whatever you want! You are the only person standing in your way, imagining limitations in your mind.

So, ask yourself: What would you do with your life if there were no limits?