Meet naturopathic doctor Adrienne Wood, who lives and works in her hometown of Windsor. She left town for university and never thought she’d be back.
But, after being a world away, Wood now lives within walking distance to her medical practise. She says she likes what Windsor offers in terms of its amenities, proximity to the Valley and city and the sense of community it provides.
“I’ve lived here recently for the past three years, but I grew up here and when I was 18 I left. It was great coming back here. When I left for university, I left thinking that was it, that I’ll never come back. I was thinking I’m on a search for adventure and something more. I did my undergraduate at Carleton University and the University of Western Ontario. It was definitely a choice to come back and it was an evolving one. I thought I wanted to go see the world and see what else was out there. I travelled and have lived in lots of different places. I was in Ontario for a long time then Germany, Australia, Vancouver, New Zealand, bouncing around everywhere looking for something else. After doing the loop of the world, I realized everything I wanted was here. I was in New Zealand and my partner and I made the choice to come here. For me the sense of community, to be walking down the street and waving to people, having people know you, know your parents, know your dog, you know, I’ve never found that anywhere else. Living in a town that has all of the amenities — a fire department, a hospital, a police department — and then to have nature, a lake, walking trails, we’ve got a ski hill. There’s so much to do here. It’s really a perfect little town.”
“We don’t have any plans to leave. I’m not one to look too far in the future, but we bought a house and I’ve got my business here, so. It’s a medical practice. I’m a naturopathic doctor and we’re medically trained but naturally-focused. I have an undergrad degree in medical sciences and then naturopathic medicine is a four-year post graduate degree, so you learn your anatomy, physiology and diagnostics and the medical stuff that a regular medical student would learn, but rather than going through the drugs and the surgeries we’re learning everything else. So herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, diet, lifestyle, nutritional counselling, homeopathy. We’ve got a really big umbrella of natural tools that we use. We’re all about getting to the root cause of people’s illnesses and disease. I function like any other medical doctor would. I have appointments and patients come see me; we go through their history, put them on treatment plans. People like to say it’s alternative medicine, but I call it complimentary to traditional medicine. There’s not as much stigma about this as I thought there’d be in a small town like this. People are really open to it. I have medical doctors sending their patients to me; the hospital sends patients to me. For a small town, it’s pretty open and collaborative.”
“It was all positive growing up here. We did regular kid things, we played manhunt at Haliburton House. It was like a massive game of hide and seek at nighttime, unsupervised. We would have been anywhere from ages 12 to 15 and every night we would meet, it was on weeknights, and we’d meet up there just as dusk was coming, break up into teams and one team goes and hides on the whole grounds of Haliburton and the other team would go looking for them. We were also looking for ghosts, the white lady in the window or the piper at the pond and then, most of us had a curfew at 9 o’clock and had to be home by then. We did it a lot and, being a teenager, it was a freedom that you had outside of school seeing your friends. You’re being independent, but it’s still good clean fun. I don’t think that still happens. I know some of the kids will go up there and hang out in the orchard, climb the trees and stuff, but I don’t think to the same extent as we did. I feel like this day and age, with kids and their phones, they’re generally not playing outside as much as we did. ”
“It’s my choice not to have children, I’m focused on my career right now. My brother and his family live two doors up from us… We’re always outside with them and playing with them. I fully intend on helping him raise his children in nature and having the same experiences. Things can always change, but my mind was really made up when I lived in Germany for a year and I took care of two small children. When I arrived, there was a boy who was one and half years old and the baby was still in the mom’s tummy, so about a week after I arrived the mother gave birth and I helped this family raise these two small children. We lived in a rural village in Germany and even with me there, two parents and myself and a community, I released how much you have to give up or sacrifice to raise children. It’s a lot of work; it’s a lot of work. And you really have to be ready to devote that time and energy into raising these kids. For me I’ve got too many things on the go.”
“I think we need to be more open with each other. We live in a really constricted society. We are on our best behaviour all the time; we live in a box where society kind of dictates that you’re allowed to be happy, but not too happy, because then you look crazy. You can’t really be sad, you can’t really be too mad. We live in a really tight box, and for me, that seems really repressive. I feel that we let society dictate so much about how we live our lives and how we feel about ourselves and we’re doing so much to please other people and we forget to check in and live our authentic self. What really makes us happy? We forget to be honest with ourselves. I see people all the time, in my office every day, who are living with extreme anxiety or depression because they feel they can’t express who they are. Whether it’s to their parents, their partner, their kids — they aren’t free to be themselves and I see it all the time. I try really hard to be my authentic self and live my truth. So in that way, whatever I do, I know I can stand behind that. Even if people don’t like what I said or did, at least I know it was in line with my values and my beliefs and my truth.”