The construction wakes me at 8 am on a Saturday morning. The tequila in my system from the night before doesn’t agree with the noise one bit. The dreadful sounds of the trucks reversing, the drills boring, the water pressure machines pressurizing, it’s all so foul and toxic to the calm rituals of my weekend mornings. Somewhere in the distance I can hear birds chirping, but their natural bird sounds are completely drowned out by this awful trio of manmade noise pollution. Can you tell that I know nothing technical about construction?
And so I decide to rise early since they won’t let me sleep. Living in downtown Toronto is starting to take its toll on me. The first few years here were new and exciting, and I could deal with the sounds of the endless construction since I was in close proximity to everything I could ask for. A movie theatre, bookstore, grocery store, drug store, and endless food options all within a 5-minute walk. The only thing I could ask for more of was a park nearby that wasn’t full of vagrants and nearly naked bodies strung out in the middle of the grass. But this is the tradeoff in living downtown.
I’m approaching 4 years in Toronto this September 1st, and suddenly that marker terrifies me. It represents a time of my life where I was becoming more confident and sure of myself, yet where still I find myself trapped in old habits that I can’t break. Truth be told (yet unsurprising to anyone who knows me at all), the job has been the biggest drain of them all. I wonder if it soured my experience of the city entirely. The winters have been particularly rough too, so as summer approaches in the city I find myself being optimistic that my mood will bounce back to happiness, but I fear my stress these days is far more deeply rooted than with the change of seasons.
I’m looking to leave Toronto. Whether briefly or long-term, I just know I need a change. My intuition has served me well this past year. And so I begin to realize that as I suppress it and only listen to others around me (and often with a negative reaction to travel), I lose touch with my real identity.
I’m sitting in Hart House right now, a beautiful heritage building belonging to the University of Toronto. Sitting in a quiet common room, the sun shines through the massive window and small leaves fly in and land on the table in front of me. Its raining, but the sun is shining brightly, its light forming a checkered pattern on the table in front of me. The birds can be heard vividly in the trees just outside, and in the distance down the corridors of Hart House I hear the beautiful echoes of a student practicing the piano.
I’ll miss Toronto for its practicality, its diversity, and its general all-encompassing politeness. But I’m looking forward to throwing myself into a culture that will take getting used to. A culture that will challenge my negative thought patterns and expand what I think to be possible.
Last month in Berlin over an Easter Monday brunch, an old Czech friend of mine told me some advice that I need to take to heart. I told him I was afraid to make a choice for which way my life ought to go since I didn’t know what option would lead to success, and which one to failure. He asked me how I could possibly fail if I made any of these choices. At the time I rambled a few things about going broke, going into debt, or becoming homeless. I now realize exactly the message he was telling me. The only failure is the pain I’m experiencing now- the pain of inaction. Any other choice will lead to lessons learned and more clarification of my personal journey.
It’s time to go. I’ve given my 2 months notice to my landlord. I’m leaving in September.
Has your intuition served you well in life? Where has it taken you?