This is going to be a long and rambling post. But it’s something that I need to put out there.
The last four years have taken me on an amazing journey. It started with me arriving in a foreign place, completely naive and not knowing what to expect. I wonder now if I was crazy, stupid or brave. I think I’m the sort of person who, when faced with two paths, always picks the lesser-known one. Even when I know it’ll bring more work, hardship and tears. I’ve noticed this strange streak in myself, maybe an attitude of slight rebelliousness.
It’s this streak that compelled me recently to pack my bags and move to New York, in less than three weeks. By doing so I left behind, once again, the feeling of security (to some degree) and companionship that I’d established. On the ride to the airport, with the lights of LA growing dim outside my window, I felt a strong sense that I was hurtling into the unknown. Moving forward and not looking back, leaving a familiar part of myself behind.
Beyond superficial college education, I’ve learnt some things that are important to me. To have no regrets or ‘what-if’s, to do what I’m passionate about and not waste time on something else. Though money is a concern right now (living expenses in NY are exorbitantly high), I simply can’t be anything but true to myself. Money is valuable, but time is priceless. Time can’t be bought; it can’t be reclaimed once it’s passed. Do I want to while my time away, or spend it on something meaningful? That’s the hard question to ask.
The wonderful thing about New York is that, surprisingly, you don’t have to be rich or even pay anything to enjoy what it has to offer. Sure, if you want to do tourist-y things like going to the top of the Empire State Building. But sitting in one of the city’s many gardens and enjoying the sunshine, or strolling along the river with the breeze in your hair, are experiences that cost nothing. I don’t want to trivialize the suffering of the lower-class, not when I do have parents who are so supportive (thank you, Dad and Mum). However, being cash-strapped does make me value everything even more. The experience of hunting for cheap but delicious food in Chinatown, or thrift shopping, are things that I will look back on fondly.
Financial considerations aside, I’ve never felt so much freedom in my life. I’m immensely grateful to have had my best friend- my sis- with me when I moved. It’s a wonderful feeling to discover and fall in love with a new place together. I said to her, “We will never be like this again, in this time and place.” We will never be as young as we are now. That is what makes a moment precious- the fact that it is unique and cannot be replicated. Memories were made that would last a lifetime, I’m sure. The night she left, as I made my way home from the airport, it started raining. I felt a sense of melancholy, but also of hope. The rain had a purifying effect; it cleansed me of the past and filled me with peacefulness.
If one word could define my whole experience, it would be Faith. Faith that the right people would come into my life. Faith that everything would work out, despite how hopeless the situation seemed. I’ve been through the most intense emotions and experiences of my life- mind-numbing fear, anxiety, disappointment- but through it all, what sustained me was faith that everything was leading me in the right direction. Looking back now, I understand why things turned out the way they did. Though I can’t foresee what the future will bring, I have faith.