It was a breakup that shook me.

Have you ever felt like you were falling?

I let his garden die and raked it up in the hot sun; I lost 10 pounds due to a destructive diet of red wine and DuMaurier Kings; I spontaneously started crying while attempting to tackle mundane tasks. Washing dishes and crying. Taking out the garbage and crying. Eating a burger at a crowded eatery and crying. I would be laughing and crying at the same time, fully aware of how ridiculous it was. But I dove right in and let myself bathe in every terrible cliche of how a 30-year-old woman deals with a broken heart.

We can indulge, for sure, but we can’t go completely off the rails. I needed a new job, so I got one. I needed a new roommate, so I got one. I needed a new red lipstick, so I got one of those, too. As my spirits lifted, I swore to wear heels every day and write, and write, and write. I think both were unexpected remedies for my raw little heart.

As time passed, I got further from my heartache. Those months had offered a fair share of challenges, but they had brought a fair share of wicked laughs as well. I took a scriptwriting class, screamed and sang from the nosebleeds at the Bruce Springsteen show and celebrated a dear friend’s wedding by hiring the worst stripper for the best bachelorette party ever. But I was still not sorted. Still not right. And it wasn’t about him. Not anymore… it was all about me.

The disruption of the picture had forced me to see the cracks in the frame. What do I really want? From this day? From this year? From this life? We get lost. We lose our purpose, our path. We tilt our compass. It happens to everyone at some point and it happens so slowly we don’t even notice.

When the smoke cleared, I was left to wonder: What am I going to do with my life? Should I go back to school? Am I wasting my talent? Can I mentally survive the struggle of being a bartender/actor/standardized patient? Am I going to wake up one day and just start running, screaming and barefoot, westward to escape Toronto? Do I belong in this city? Do I want to belong in this city?

Am I going crazy?

I laid awake one night, unable to sleep, contemplating how many days I could dare to request off for my Christmas holiday. My new boss was a great friend who saved me by getting me in at the hotel bar she manages. And I like the hotel bar. I polished glasses and poured scotch. I had a cocktail dress uniform and wore sensible shoes. My friend boss knew how much I missed my family and promised me some time off to visit them at Christmas. I laid there, unable to imagine how I could possibly recoup from this year just in 10 days at home. Or 12 days. Or even 20.

The next day, I was on the streetcar. I was on my way to see the new James Bond movie. I went to the hotel and quit my job instead.

It’s time to face the truth and take the hamster off the wheel:  Sometimes, we just need a break. Your heart needs a break. My feet hurt. Have you ever just run away? Even when it wasn’t practical… when it made so little sense that it seemed like the easiest and hardest thing do?

I am going to go to Newfoundland for a month. Let’s shake things up a little! I am going to read to my nephews. I am going to see my best friend for the first time in three years and meet her new baby daughter. I am going to climb Signal Hill, and go Mummering, and play darts at The Inn of Olde, and find a cabin in the woods, and write a novel. Or a short story. Or just go for a walk.

I am going to go get my groove back. And I want to take you with me.

Newfoundland is a truly magical place, and St. John’s is a gem of a city filled with music, art, laughter, and gregarious personality. I love Toronto, don’t get me wrong, but I need to go away so that I can come back. And St. John’s is where my heart is.

Check in each week to see what I’ve been up to, and check out my blog,, for extra stories and photos.

Sometimes to figure out where you’re going, you have to go back to where you started.

~ Dana Puddicombe