About Jay

Hi. I’m Jay Gerbrandt. Maybe you know me as Gary.

This is my story. I turn 32 in 2024. Throughout my life, I have navigated a series of escalating physical and mental health challenges. 3 years ago, while living in Vancouver, I found myself grappling with sudden, confusing, multi-system, intensifying symptoms; to this day, my health is declining.

Despite all this, I thrive.

For a while, I struggled to juggle my work, social, and relationship commitments. Unfortunately, my condition has reached the point where those once-commitments are no longer in my life. Since the spring of 2023, I have been on a stop-and-go healing journey, trying to find internal balance.

As I write this, I float on a sea of question marks. My health has improved somewhat from its nadir earlier this year, but is by no means back where it was in my mid-twenties. I have good days, and bad days, as anyone with chronic health issues can understand. Mostly, I have learned to let go, for once.

I have been incredibly fortunate to be cared for by my loving 60-something parents in Ontario during this slow convalescence, and have come a long way from the day I arrived home, swollen and unstable, my gums and jaws burning from the inside. Better still, I have found my way back to happiness.

When I was turning 30, friends who had already crossed that threshold offered me a preview: a decade in which things fell into place; a decade in which one becomes attuned to self; a decade in which mortality rears its ugly head and forces perspective on you. (So far, their latter two predictions have come true.)

I’ve done the jetset-money-maker thing, the marrying-someone-avoidant thing, the risky-self-destruction thing, the high-pressure-comparing thing, and you know what I’ve realized? Fuck those things. If I’m going to find happiness, I need to live in alignment with my passions and values.

This has been clear to me for a long time; I spent most of that time unhappy, misaligned, at the whims of others. My time bedridden was, ironically, a grand era of self-discovery: an opportunity for me to reset the stakes. My energy is finite, and I’ve wasted too much proving things to myself and those around me.