Revisiting Grande Prairie

I just got back from Grande Prairie, and I can’t tell you how freaking excited I was to be there! Is Grande Prairie a metropolitan oasis? Nope. Is it full of cool tourist attractions? Nah, not really. To be honest with you, upon first glance it doesn’t have anything particularly exceptional about it. 

So why was I so excited to be in this otherwise nondescript Northern Alberta city? For starters, Bowda has an incredible client out here – we’ve been working with them in some capacity or another since 2016. Although I’ve had a longstanding relationship with this amazing client, we’ve never actually met in person! Ah, the beauty of the internet.  I’ve been on various work trips before, but this one was particularly near and dear to my heart as they flew both me and Bowda’s graphic designer out for their gala, and I was so excited to finally get facetime with the people I’ve been emailing with for years. I was also excited to revisit a city I have a brief history with. 

Let’s rewind a little, shall we? Funny enough, this wasn’t my first trip to Grande Prairie. I actually lived there, albeit only for a few days. We moved there when I was in grade 8, but It’s not something I talk much about. At the time, my mom was married to a man who couldn’t keep a job. He decided we were going to move to Grande Prairie, and much to our dismay – we packed up our home and lives, and headed west during our reading week at school. Well, upon arriving in Grande Prairie, registering for school and attending the first couple days, turns out it was time for reading week there. With a week off school (again), it was decided we would be going on a “trip” to BC. Well, that trip involved bringing the U Haul and was actually yet another move. We only got to call GP home for a few short days/ weeks, and although I don’t remember much about the city itself – I do remember how he made me feel. He constantly told me I would never amount to anything in life, how I would end up pregnant at 16 and working at McDonald’s for the rest of my life. Hearing this so much at a young age caused a myriad of insecurities that I still battle today. Ironically enough, I even went to McDonald’s to apply for a job during the short stint we were there. 

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and I’m back in GP – for work this time (and no, not at McDonald’s although there would be nothing wrong with that if that was my dream!). I run my own business that I am lucky enough to do full time, and our client flew us out here to attend their gala. Never in a million years would I have thought this would be my life.

So, why share this? Well I think there is so much power in sharing your story – especially the hardships. If I went through this, maybe someone else did too, and will find the strength to share their experience as well. The path to success is very rarely linear, and your past by no means determines your future. Life will always throw hardships our way, and as humans we can find solace in knowing that we aren’t alone on this journey. 

Being a perfectionist, I also tend to always focus on how much further I still have to go with things – life, work, business, everything really.  It’s really humbling to take a moment to appreciate where I am right now, and recognize how far I have already come. Although I’m still that insecure girl that constantly doubts herself, I am now that insecure girl who recognizes her struggles, has her very own business, life partner, loving home, fur babies, and part time career in the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Thank you for the perspective, Grande Prairie. You’re a gem of a town and I can’t wait to see what other lessons you have for me the next time we meet. Let’s not make it 20 years again this time though, k?