Leah’s Goodbye.

Walterdale Bridge Run CollectiveI don’t believe that anything happens by accident. I don’t think I really believe in divine energy or fate or anything like that, either, I just think that generally you end up where you need to be. Somehow.

When I was twenty-two I didn’t get a job that I was convinced I was perfect for. I still maintain I was perfect for it (of course I do), but not getting that job made it so when HIV Edmonton came knocking, I could say “yes”. By saying “yes” I opened myself up to be changed in the most wonderful and challenging ways, and I only got there because someone else told me “no”.

Another example we could talk about is how breaking your leg is generally viewed as a pretty crap life experience, but had I not done just that last summer I don’t know if I would have ever gone to Blitz. At Blitz I set goals and crushed them, then set new ones, and crushed those too. More importantly, I met some of the most fantastic people and have forged some incredible friendships – the likes of which I’m convinced can only be created getting lost for hours on trails in the river valley.

Chris Leah Heather

The cool thing about both of these situations – not getting a job I wanted and breaking a limb – is that not only did those unfortunate experiences bring me exactly where I needed to be, so to speak, but those organizations were exactly what I needed them to be at the time: challenging, a little intimidating, but oh so supportive. They welcomed me in to their community, and were in as many ways ready for me as I was ready for them. The desire for change and to help each other be better was mutual, I suppose.

I live in Edinburgh now and, because I’m only going on my third day of residence in this ancient and beautiful city, those words still feel foreign in my mouth. I’ve always lived in Edmonton, and it is almost a tragedy that I’m missing the river valley leaves changing this fall. Almost…

One thing I’ve learned in my few short days as an interloping Edinburger (seriously, that’s what they call themselves) however, is that I’ve left zero percent of my community behind. Here’s a big dose of corn-ball for your morning enjoyment: those communities have made me who I am so I can no more separate myself from them than I can separate myself from my not-broken-anymore ankle. They travel with me, and if the most obvious example of that is Chris and I still taking the piss out of one another with an ocean and seven hours time difference between us, I’m super okay with that.

HIV Edmonton

Anyway, the one thing I can’t do on account of the ocean and seven hours time difference and all, is attend the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life. It’d be cool if you did though! It’s on September 19, 2015 at 5:00PM at McIntyre Park (the one where the Fringe always is, beside the farmer’s market) and all the money raised on behalf of HIV Edmonton stays right here in Edmonton, working hard to make our communities better. If you can’t make it out but still want to help make Edmonton a little sunnier for some folks as we head in to the winter months, you can donate here.

Thanks so much, team, miss you all!

About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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