Intuition: The Road to … Hamilton?

Hamilton, Ontario; blog article about the power of intuition

Hamilton, Ontario in the 1960s

When I was 22, I was still a confused and directionless kid when I plucked myself out of my comfort zone and moved from Hamilton to Montreal, to begin school at Concordia University as a mature student. I attended classes on a part-time basis because I wasn’t yet accepted for full-time studies. There were so many reasons that I shouldn’t have gone – it’s far away from home, it’s expensive, I wouldn’t be studying full-time right away, I might get lonely and homesick, I don’t know what the hell I’m getting into – but I went anyway. Looking back – years after graduating with my degree in Political Science, which preceded my career in digital journalism – I can think of only one reason why I made the leap of faith: my intuition led me to it.

I’ve been guided by my intuition many times since, and almost every time I’ve given in to the inner voice that instructs me to take a certain road even though another road might be easier and may bring results sooner. Often I don’t understand my intuition but I’ve gotten so used to deferring to it, unquestioned. I sometimes believe there’s no longer much point of giving in to my oft-ignored rational thoughts, even in light of repeated upheaval in my professional life.

A Landmark Anniversary

Recently, I’ve been reminded about the power of intuition in a way that’s helped me re-accept my intuitive decisions. This year marks my parents’ 50th anniversary, which is a remarkable occasion in so many ways. To celebrate, my mom and dad are hosting an anniversary luncheon and several relatives are coming from mom and dad’s hometown of Winnipeg to share their joy. Mom asked me to say a few words at the luncheon. As I interviewed her and dad to gain insight about their young years together, they talked about leaving Winnipeg in 1966 – with me already on the way – to start a new life. They had initially settled on Windsor, Ontario as a destination but when they arrived the weather wasn’t favourable. It was cold and therefore it reminded dad too much of the Winnipeg that he wanted to leave behind. They continued east on the highway to London for the night, and the weather wasn’t much better there. At that point, dad told mom that he’d been to Hamilton once and why don’t they go there. So, that’s where they went. There weather was nicer there so that’s where they stayed.

It’s notable that Hamilton, back then, had a somewhat deserved reputation as a city that was easy to say ’no’ to, especially if you’re a young married woman looking for a place to start a family. Although beautiful because of much greenery, waterfalls, and an incomparable escarpment, it was a steel-making city and much of the day-to-day activity centred around the production of steel and the influx of workers to the mills. My mother would have been in her right mind to say ’nix that idea. What else you got?’

After they told the story, I reminded them that weather changes often and Windsor actually has a higher average annual temperature than Hamilton, while London is a very nice city with a climate not much different from Hamilton. My dad just shrugged and said that when they got to Hamilton, they met some nice people and it seemed like the right place to stay. He soon got a factory job at Westinghouse, the very job that would buy a house and a car and pay the bills for years to come. And, they were happy even though they missed their family in Winnipeg. My brother Rob and I were certainly happy there too, though admittedly we didn’t know any different.

To me, their decision was based on intuition, and with this story I learned where I got mine: it’s in the genes. My brother has it too: he lives in Vancouver because when he visited there years ago, intuition told him it felt right to stay. It’s where he eventually met his wife and now they’re raising their kids by the ocean and mountains.

In the same way, intuition told me shortly after we got married that I should follow my wife to Cambridge and London (both in Ontario) for her work there. Then we were led back to Burlington – right next to Hamilton – where she’d lived previously. Here we set down roots and have raised our daughter. We’ve been happy and content.

As I see it, when we follow our intuition we don’t always know what we’re going to get. But if we at least get happiness and peace of mind, who’s to say we’re wrong. That’s the thing about intuition: it’s not ’wrong;’ there is trust that what you are doing and where you are going must be right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *