Another year has rolled by and it’s time to bring in a new one! This past year has been a complete rollercoaster ride, but looking back on it, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was easy to focus on the bad luck and obstacles that often got in the way; I’m guilty of that, and I don’t doubt that I will catch myself doing it again in the very near future. But in retrospect, every shady forest along the path, by chance or by destiny, has brought me to where I am now. Every delay in my plans, every law suit-inducing development, every broken heart – is proof that I am alive. Some of the grandest (what I had then considered as) setbacks have actually been the greatest gifts from providence I’ve ever received from this journey called life (wow, that sounded corny).
Here are some the “setbacks” over the past few years that I have now come to appreciate:
1.) The unexpected move from the United States to Canada. I was never completely content as a kid in Michigan, but just as I was settling in and feeling properly American, I was torn from my friends without so much as a goodbye. I was moved across the border in a fortnight and lost touch with several friends until the rise of Facebook. This move made me quite bitter for years, but looking back on it, if I hadn’t moved to Canada and into that “yellow barn of a house”, I’d have never met my best friend. All best friends have their ups and downs, but my dear Mimi has been the closest person to me in the past ten years. I shared all my secrets and thoughts with her. Now as we embark on our own journies, I wish her all the best with her new family in the new year.
2.) That s***-hole of a high school. I hated high school. I can still say that in my 21 years, it was the worst place I’ve ever been, filled with pretentious brats who only cared about grades, grades, and oh, did I mention grades? I had no close friends, and the majority of teachers just made me hate learning. But if it weren’t for this excuse-of-a high school, I would never have made the decision to live and study abroad for a year in grade 11. That year across the Pacific Ocean allowed me to develop my potential faster than I would have at home. I made jovial islander friends, and had great professional and personal experiences that not a lot of people can say they had at the tender age of 16.
3.) The year I went to art school. Yes, I went to OCADU. I hated it, and sometimes wished I had listened to those pretentious Asians when they told me I should have gone into science or math. But that year wasn’t a year wasted. I finished 2 terms with a high degree of respect for practicing artists, and transferred to University of Toronto, with no regrets or wondering-what-ifs. I gained valuable professional working experience in marketing and finance, and am now beginning to find what I really should be practicing.
4.) The day I signed for my own condo. I tried to fulfill the American Dream by settling down early. To pay for it, I sought out a second job on the weekends. It wasn’t the greatest, but it helped to pay the bills. To my surprise, having a wealthy material life wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would make me feel. The quiet, empty rooms felt lonely at night, and I felt small and insignificant looking out into the twinkling lights from the 37th floor. But if I hadn’t signed for that condo, which is now sub-leased, I would never have realized what holds true value in my heart, or have gotten to #5…
5.) When I lost my part-time job. After becoming a workaholic, I was depressed as Grumpy Cat for the better part of a month when the cafe I worked at shut down. Even though I loved my finance/admin job at the museum, desk work can also get pretty lonely. But soon enough, I found an evening job at another cafe, where I found a second family, and even love. To this day, the Second Cup at Leslie is held dear to my heart.
6.) The day we bid farewell. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. I’d gone through breakups before, but they had always been mutual. This goodbye was particularly hard because it was only the Atlantic Ocean that tore us apart. It felt like months of being unable to focus or do well in anything, but I was able to step back and gain some perspective on my own life, and evaluate where I was and where I wanted to be. And if it weren’t for this person, I would never have considered moving my butt to another country and braving a new life. For that, no matter what happens, I will be eternally grateful!
I don’t know what other challenges 2015 will bring and where they will take me, but regardless of the outcome, life just has a way of working out. So, here’s to all the future setbacks and bad luck of 2015!
Happy New Years!