My Journey to Today

Contributed by Veronika Georgeff [Co-Founder Lift to Eat TO]

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The universe doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. We are only made stronger and hopefully wiser by the experiences we have on this earth. Reflecting on 2018, I could say that I had the worst and hardest year of my life, or, I can be grateful for the many lessons learned through the unique and trying experiences.  

To summarize; my parents finalized their divorce – this left my already complicated relationship with my mother to be further strained, my grandfather passed, I broke up with my boyfriend of 7-years and I was diagnosed with a grade I brain tumour in the final semester of my undergrad at U of T. Despite having my world seemingly turned upside down, I made the executive decision to not be overcome completely by any of this negativity, rather, I made it my mission to be happy or at least try.

Despite the fact that I have my health, I am young and fit and I have a positive prognosis from my neurologist, I still spent most of 2018 struggling with accepting my mortality. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep, wondering what being sick might look like and how that would impact the people around me. It also forced me to ask myself some very challenging questions. If I needed to be cared for by my boyfriend and he isn’t ‘my person’, is it fair to stay with him through this challenging time? I had close friends back-away after hearing my health news, as they weren’t in a place where they felt strong enough to be there for me. Their fear of saying the wrong thing left a void in our friendship, which at the time was difficult to understand but with the help of others I came to realize that this was less a reflection on their love for me but rather issues they, themselves were dealing with. I put off looking for career related work or applying to grad school, because I figured if there was a possibility of being in the hospital in December and recovering from surgery, that I owed it to myself to make the most of my summer doing the things that bring me the most joy.

Having said all this, the universe has a funny way of balancing things out… Having the opportunity now to reflect on the year through a more positive lens, 2018 was a year of INCREDIBLE personal growth. As a result of opening up to some of my friends our relationships were strengthened, I connected with people in ways I didn’t know were possible. I let people into a very intimate part of my life and felt an overwhelming sense of love and genuine human compassion, which kept me going on days when life felt especially heavy. My health ‘status’ also sparked a restoration of family relationships – I grew up in a very close and loving family, but as we all grew up and went to school we lost touch of those connections and I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend more quality time with my loved ones. I also stopped saying; “one-day I’ll travel”, I grabbed my passport and started to see more of the world. I spent time traveling in the US, South America and Canada, and let me tell you - nothing is more freeing.

In the moment all of these events didn’t even feel like decisions at the time, but looking back I am so proud of myself for having the courage to take control over my life and they have brought me to where I am now, healthy, happy and following my dreams.

I had a friend recently say ‘certain things happen in our lives and immediately we tend to think why is this happening TO me... I've learned to shift that to say that this is happening FOR me’. This is the tone I want to convey when sharing my story with others. Which also brings me to @lifttoeatTO, our page is a place where we hope to inspire and support individuals to acknowledge the fact that ‘everyday is an opportunity to create a better you’. No matter what life has in store for you don’t ever be overcome by emotions positive or negative, know that there are people in your life that love you and support you, learn from your mistakes and watch your life flourish as you take control of your fate!