My 20-Something Life: Knowing My True Identity in a Time of Transition


Bye-bye, Dawson Creek. Hello, new adventures!

By Natasha Files | Twitter: @natashafiles


It feels like yesterday that I packed my things, hopped on an over-priced flight and moved to Dawson Creek, BC. Somehow the time has flown by and amongst my whining about -40° weather and small town drama, I have grown and transitioned into someone who feels ready to embrace my next season of adventures.

This week I am relocating to a new province and city, with a new job, school and program and no expectations, except to excel in school. Anything can happen! Instead of fear, I feel anticipation for the many crazy moments that are to come. I was blessed to land a job as house mother for nine teenage ballerinas (aged 12-18), so I am expecting surprises–as well as excitement about discovering who I am amongst the layers of transition.

The word to define my current emotional state is: “complete.” Amongst the rawness of saying goodbye to a town I love and the eagerness of moments to come, I am resting in the present rather than trying to jump ahead. My last day of work was emotional as I wished clients and colleagues well, then packed up my office. But as I organized my files, I was reminded of the many lessons I have learned over the past few months.

Most importantly, I have learned to mindfully engage with the moment in which I find myself: no matter how uncomfortable or emotionally overwhelming. I have learned to acknowledge my state and respond accordingly. As a girl who historically has taken some drastic measures to avoid emotions, I am pretty stoked to be walking (and loving) this middle path.

My first Masters level class starts in less than a week and I have already received assignments and been asked to read the whole textbook. Eeek! I have never been the girl who loves doing assigned readings and this time is no different (I have had to bribe myself just to make it past page three). That said, the first four pages of my social policy textbook are filled with gems of information.


The first chapter emphasizes that our identity does not come from age, race, culture, language, economic and job status, sex, religion, citizen/immigrant status or health. I was very impressed to read a Canadian social policy textbook that made such a bold statement about identity. I know in my heart that my identity is more than the above list, but I often find myself striving to accomplish another goal before fully loving who I am or where I am. It comes back to embracing the present moment and accepting myself exactly where I am, without pulling in identifying stereotypes.

These past few months of northern seclusion have helped solidify the relationship I have with myself, but now I want to allow that insight to be communicated consistently. Yes, I am moving to a new city and can easily be identified by my job, schooling, religion and economic status, but I am choosing to break the confines of that comfortable box and challenge myself (and others) to notice me for who I am when all of those factors are stripped away. For example:

  • What is my character and how do I present when no one else is around?
  • What makes my heart beat and what kind of friend am I?
  • What am I passionate about and how far am I willing to go in order to accomplish my dreams?


So, my SheLoves sisters, I am curious to know:

1)   What have you learned from your current season?

2)   Where does your identity come from?

3)   (This last question is a bit of a selfish one): What advice would you give to someone who is about to become a “mother” to a handful of teenage girls?

About Natasha:
Natasha Files is Case Manager with a Mental Health and Addictions Team. She has experience working with youth and adults struggling with a variety of life-controlling issues and she specializes in eating disorders. Natasha’s passion for mental wellness began when she personally experienced the impact of a genuinely caring professional. That passion is paired with a love of espresso, only to be overshadowed by her desire to see women set free from life-controlling issues.

Natasha Files

Natasha Files

Natasha is a Youth Worker and Mental Health Advocate specializing in the area of eating disorders. Her passion for mental wellness is paired with a love of espresso, only to be overshadowed by her desire to see women set free from life-controlling issues.
Natasha Files


  1. I’m really excited for you in a deeply satisfied way… This will be a great time in your life.

    As for the teen-aged girls– only one significant item of advice – order more facial tissue than you think you could possibly EVER need.


  2. Kelley Johnson Nikondeha says:

    Natasha – another transition! Wow! I have no words of wisdom about a bouquet of fluffy pink ballerinas… so I will stop there,

    About school – yeah! I got through my masters with space and snacks. So find your space(s) that allow you settle in and work well. Could be coffee show with the right amount of white noise and black coffee, or the best chair in the house with the perfect reading light. (Don’t strain your eyes – they will tire faster! So if you need to go get a few reading lights for your home, consider it a good investment for your study habits!) Figure out what your study soundtrack is. Mine was Ottmar Leibert’s Nouveau Flamenco, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Strauss waltzes and polkas (seriously, they are happy, up-beat and worked when I was in the flow of writing papers!). When the music was on at home – it set the mood for study. Then there are snacks… salty / sweet was my winning combo. But something that does not get your hands sticky – because that will impede page-turning and pen-holding!

    Set your study rhythm early… so you are on top of it and set for some great learning! Oh – and get lots of colored post its and highlighters and pens for note taking, organizing and such. Colors just make it all more fun!!!

    Blessings as you move into this new season, Natasha!

  3. Jacquie says:

    Wow! Beautifully written. I always smile when people comment about becoming ‘mature’. For me I recognise that my ‘maturity’ came when I realised that ‘I am okay’ beyond all the labels, and that wasn’t until I was nearly 30 when that year a new label of ‘Mother’ was attached. Be yourself, honest, kind, smile lots with the girls. Best wishes for this new path.

  4. Yay, Natasha. I am completely blessed and inspired by your words. SO incredibly proud of you too.

    I want to echo your words…’engage the moment you are in when you are in it.’ I am still always learning, and relearning this truth and I think I will for the rest of my life. Every season has such powerful lessons to learn whether we are actually enjoying them or not.

    I love you, celebrate you and am cheering you on!

    Helen xo

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