I got lost today.
I was sifting through an old portable hard-drive and stumbled upon writing of mine from years ago. It trapped me for a good hour, reading back through my old thoughts on life and love. I could be pretty angsty, in my teen years. And wordy. Yeesh. Pretty sure I had an opinion about everything (which would explain me getting voted “Most Opinionated” in my high school year book).
Despite certain changes in perspective, the new me still smiles and cries over reading about the old me. “It feels like a lifetime ago,” is the age-old expression. But how true the statement is, like life is divided into smaller lifetimes, connected but separate. It gave me a glimpse into a perfectly preserved state of mind, allowing me to look at it (somewhat) objectively, from the outside this time.
I think we can all learn something from our former selves–even if it’s just, “I tend to repeat my mistakes. A lot.”
We can learn what it was like to be young. What it was like to love with our whole hearts. What high expectations we had. What we thought was our lowest moment in life.
So, I thought the new me would share some of the old me, from one of the most life-altering moments of my early 20s.
Context: I had just moved to Toronto, to the Village neighbourhood (Church and Wellesley)–which I still say is one of the best in the city. I was about to start my post-grad program at Centennial College in Book and Magazine Publishing, totally convinced I was headed into the book world (hey, maybe I still will someday). Excited and nervous energy abounded.
My T-O Face
The bright lights of the city scene cascade through my window, and I sit here in wonder and amazement. I can hardly believe that I am here. Me. On the seventh floor, downtown Toronto, heart of THE Canadian Metropolis. In the great tradition of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City, I have positioned my desk to allow me to look out onto the bustle of the streets as I write. My framed view is more east than any person who wants a sense of security might venture to go, but to me it is beautiful. It is adventure.
After spending my undergrad years in the same city which contained my high school era, the journey to larger things feels like a long time coming. Four years reading book after book, but never feeling connected enough to the material—to write about books and authors, but not create or know them—has led me the world of publishing. And I feel very much at home, even though I am a tiny soul in a sea of the million faceless.
I can already tell that my classes are filled with people who are passionate about literature. People who walk into a book store and are overwhelmed by the mere sight of so many tightly bound pages. People who read not because they have to, or even want to, but devour novels and articles and poetry and words because they need to. People who believe that the written word is not dying out, but thriving among the weeds and vow to water what they can. People with ideas. People like me.
Everyone that I talk to from back home tells me that they are certain I am going to plant my roots here and never leave—perhaps that there is something about this city which connects to my own ruby red slippers and I have finally clicked hard enough to send me home. And so, I can’t help but wonder, after all my heart has been through over the years, is it possible to fall in love with a city?
Author’s note, 6 years later: It is.