Tonight marks my official last night as a resident of Steel City. These past fourteen months have been an experience. This may have been the hardest year of my life, but isn’t growing up always tough?
It started with me graduating from Queen’s and being totally lost. I had no idea what to do with my life and no money. I wanted to move out on my own in my hometown, but when I wound up broke and sleeping in my car I decided it was time to swallow my pride and move in with my mom. She generously let me live rent-free so it was my best option, but it meant moving to Hamilton. Hamilton was a couple of hours away and completely foreign to me besides the stories I’d heard of how dirty and scary it could be. Because bad things always happen in threes, I also wound up unemployed and single for the first time in three years within my first week in Hamilton. Times were tough but I was excited for a fresh start. Reality hit when I was working the shittiest serving job and making about $120/week. This was about the time I rediscovered my love of music.
Music helped me find the person I lost when I started dating my ex and allowed myself to become wrapped up in my relationship. Even though I was struggling to get by from day to day, music made all of it better. I was in a strange city with no friends, yet most of the time I didn’t feel lonely. Music made me want to get off my butt and start enjoying life on my own. I found a much better job, became a gym rat, and slowly things improved. I can say with certainty that I have had some of the best times of my life in the past six months. I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone to avoid missing out on the things I enjoy most. I go to shows solo and it doesn’t bug me. I’ve become much closer with my family. Most importantly, I decided to pursue a long-time goal of mine and move to Toronto. This brings me closer to friends, family, and my passion for live music.
So, here’s to Hamilton! This place is straight out of the twilight zone. I can’t say I love it, but it has taught me so much, forced me to become more independent and actually put effort in to providing an exciting future for myself. I will miss the friends I’ve made, Augusta Street (i.e. The Ship, The Pheasant Plucker and Gallagher’s), and I will miss the music scene. I’ve never experienced a place quite like this. If you want to get a sense of what I mean, just listen to any album by the Arkells. They are quintessential Hamilton; fun, talented, insanely entertaining and proud. They even have an album titled Jackson Square. I chose Heart of the City because it seemed like an obvious choice. I hope you enjoy the best Hamilton has to offer.