Often you have a plan, but life will disregard it and have a plan of its own. While I was a Faculty Peer Mentor in school, we were taught about resilience during one of our training sessions, to help our younger year mentees cope with the aftermath of our university’s three-month strike. It was quite an anxious and uncertain period for the students, but as a coincidence, I was diagnosed with mono and bed ridden during that time. In some ways I was considered lucky that I only had the infection while classes were stopped and this did not disrupt my final year of study. Although the strike taught us many lessons about resilience, I have found recently with a series of events that progressed rapidly, that it is not so easy to be resilient with personal challenges.
I am learning not to question why and how things happen, because sometimes even if I could have prevented it, or seen it coming… the point is that I didn’t. I used to think I was in full control of life, and that I can make conscious decisions to create my own opportunities. But not everything in life is like school, where hard work is rewarded and being passionate about what you do is enough. 2010 has already delivered many surprises that are out of my control and expectations, requiring a great amount of resilience. Just when I decided to seek a restaurant job, I instantly received four interviews that week for art director and designer positions. While they were promising, a lot of personal things did not align and resulted in a decision to go home to be with my family. Therefore in a few days, I will be on a 15-hour flight back to Hong Kong with no return ticket. I did not see this happening even a week ago, but I have to accept and tackle everything one at a time now. Packing away my life is an extremely sentimental process but perhaps this departure will put a lot of things in perspective. I won’t lie–I have never been so afraid of the challenges that lie ahead, but while I am not a believer of fate, I am gradually beginning to see that certain incidents happen for a reason.
Toronto will always be my birthplace, and the city where I found independence, creativity and love. When I left Hong Kong four years ago, I sought to find myself as an adult and my own individual person. I can say with confidence that my time here taught me valuable lessons and I am now returning with an open mind towards possibilities. I will miss parts of Toronto, and know that something will definitely bring me back here again in the near future. The world is much smaller than we think, and luckily, friends apart become close at heart. So goodbye, Toronto… and thank you.