Marie-Christine Amyot was once a high-heel wearing city slicker with a too-packed schedule. Until she was forced to wake up to her true passion: surfing 

We say things happen for a reason.
Usually when someone is having a hard time in their life.
My life is falling apart and you’re telling me “Everything happens for a reason”?! F*ck you… Seriously!
Because, do you know what? Some things happen for absolutely no reason. Cancer, for example, is totally useless, especially when it happens to kids.
But mostly, I am that person who tells people that things do happen for a reason. I am the kind of person who likes to trust destiny. Truly, I do think the hard times of our lives are actually there to make us move forward, because I have lived it.

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Seven years ago I was a kind of wannabe-trendy-city-girl, trying to walk in high heels (I still can’t). I wore branded clothes, had a face full of makeup and a purse full of useless shit. Although I was studying, working two jobs at the same time I made sure showed up to all those happy hours, social events and parties. Because I loved partying… so much. I was the one waiting impatiently for Friday to get totally wasted.

“I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life – so why did I feel like none of it resembled me?” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Then, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease called Ulceritis Colitis. Nothing that bad, but nothing pleasurable… at all! While some doctors told me it was genetic, others told me it had something to do with stress. Well, surprise! I mean what kind of disease doesn’t have something to do with stress?!
Seven years later I actually believe the illness happened for a reason as it forced me to make some radical changes in my life. And when I say radical changes, I’m not exaggerating.

Those who knew the Marie before and after the illness would confirm that I am definitely not the same person. I was working, studying and partying myself into the ground. But I was in my early twenties… So it was seen as “normal”. To myself, and to others. But then I started to realise I was living an escapist life. I was stuck in this hurly-burly. I thought I was building this life that I wanted when really I was just building the life society wanted me to build.

I was working, studying and partying myself into the ground. But I was in my early twenties… So it was seen as “normal”. To myself, and to others. But then I started to realise I was living an escapist life. I was stuck in this hurly-burly. I thought I was building this life that I wanted when really I was just building the life society wanted me to build.” – Marie-Christine 

Getting my degree.
Finding a nine-to-five office job.
Spending all my money on clothes and drinks.
Of course I had no idea what was happening at the time, because all my life I’d be raised to think this was the only way to be.

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So this is when I got sick. This is when I took a break from EVERYTHING. I couldn’t do anything beside lay in my bed, so I had lots of time to think… to write… to read. Things I had never done before. I mean, I was way too busy being everywhere to have time to really think about what I wanted in life, never mind having the time to actually write it down. My body was so tired, exhausted from me not listening to it…
And when I finally had no choice BUT to listen to it, it told me everything I thought I wanted I actually didn’t want at all.
From there, lying in bed, I was forced to reconnect with my dreams, all those dreams I had forgotten all about while being stuck on the endless process of “making a life.”

I started being more conscious of what I truly wanted, and what I definitely didn’t. I realized I wasn’t invincible and that life was way too short to not be doing something that excites me everyday. I didn’t want to wake up years down the track not having done the things that I wanted the most because I was too busy trying to be someone that i’m definitely not.

I have always dreamed of living by the sea and learning how to surf. I had put that dream away for a long time, probably because I’ve had always been told that it was it; A DREAM, not reality.
“Marie, in life you need to work! You need to make money if you want to afford spending your two-week vacation at the beach!”
Yeah, right.

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“Do not choose the lesser life.
do you hear me.
do you hear me.
choose the life that is yours.
the life that is seducing your lungs.
that is dripping down your chin.”
― Nayyirah Waheed, Nejma

I started to realise: how could I expect someone to believe in my dream if I didn’t believe it myself?

Reality isn’t the same for everyone and it’s up to us to make our own reality.
As my health got better, I gained confidence and I chose to listen to that little voice inside. I let go of all those superficial things that didn’t mean anything to me. The city life wasn’t for me and the moment I admitted that to myself I felt so much better.

I applied for overseas jobs and started to knock at doors and look for opportunities that would help me get one step closer to my dreams. I worked for Transat in Mexico. I backpacked through Central and South America. In between trips, I went back to Montreal and worked as a waitress in a pub, before setting off again, travelling around and learning how to surf. I wrote for blogs and online magazines. And then, I became a guide for Barefoot Surf Travel and met a whole bunch of people that inspired me. Without even noticing it, they helped me believe in myself and push forward with pursuing my dreams.

At this point of my life, I can say that I basically surf all year long and now, with Salty Souls, I am my own boss. Every day I work with amazing people and meet vibrant and ambitious girls throughout every Experience.

I haven’t really being sick for almost three years now (knock on wood) and I could probably forget that I have that disease if it wasn’t for that stupid yellow pill that I need to take everyday. Sure, I know I should find a way to not have to take it, but I don’t. Because nobody’s perfect, because I’d rather take it than risk being sick again.

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Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I feel terrible and that I just want to tell that disease to f*ck off… But at the end,  the only choice I’ve got is to either feel miserable and be sorry for myself, or to look to the bright side and see that illness has a positive impact in my life. It reminds me not to take anything for granted and to embrace life by doing what makes me feel the most alive !

I chose the second option. I chose to believe that this needed to happen so I could realise that I wasn’t going in the direction my body and soul wanted to.

Health and our loved ones is the only thing we truly need. After that, it is up to us to decide which path allows us to cultivate happiness!