On February 17, 2017, I learned that I would be leaving Sri Lanka, two months early and against my will.
Another way to say that would be: On February 17, 2017, my dreams broke down and I had to give up on the only thing I wanted for as long as I can remember.
What followed my homecoming was a massive existential crisis, the likes of which I never thought I’d experience, and months and months of self-doubt and self-pity. It felt like I had to relearn everything, starting with who I was as a person. It was really, really hard. It was messy. Starting over always is.
And now, on February 17, 2018, I finally feel like I’m back. I am happy and successful and surrounded by people who make me laugh all the time and make me better. I am finishing grad school, I have a job that I love and excellent prospects for my dream career. My social circle has my dog in the middle and is growing all the time, and I’m learning not to take myself so seriously all the time which makes general existence a lot easier.
As of February 17, 2018, I am a server/bartender at a historic hotel in Paris, where I get to practice my skills of carrying heavy trays and talking to people. I’m a full-time public relations student at Mohawk, and I also work as a public relations intern with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. They like me there, and I think they’re pretty great too. I’ve been connected with the HPO in some way since 2009 and coming into this internship is like coming home. I do a lot of community relations work for them and I’m excited to keep that going. It mostly involves talking to people, which is my key interest. It’s good for me.
In a year, I’ll be most of the way through the first year of my career with a non-profit. I will live in an apartment somewhere in Hamilton and if I’m lucky I’ll have a cat and everything else will be the same. In five years, I’m going to be working to make my city even better and people will stop laughing at me when I say how much I love everything about it. In ten years, debt free. People keep asking me what my plans are, but I don’t have any. I’m back to my old self, but I’m not, at the same time. I’ve made plans before, and when they fell through I was devastated. I’m hopeful and optimistic but I’m not making plans.
One, five, or ten years from now, I will be happy. I’ll be working hard and hanging out with my pets and human friends and I’ll probably be a regular at some cool bar downtown. And I’ll be okay, and it won’t matter that my childhood dreams fell apart on February 17, 2017.