I reconnected recently with a acquaintance from a few years back. As we shared what had become of our lives, she was in awe at where I was in life. In her words my “life is discernally different than what [she] assumed it would be”. I usually don’t bother myself too much with people’s opinions (those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter) but this person is someone I shared with, once upon a time, deep thoughts and secrets about my dreams, ambitions and goals, etc. So her words rang true and deep within my heart and shook me up on many levels.
I’m 24 years old. Twelve years ago, as a bright 12-year-old, a snot-nose, goody-two-shoes, overly-sheltered kid, my father, my hero and mentor, talked about the city of Ottawa. Ottawa, the capital of our country and the centre of government, could be our future home. I was going through difficult times at home with a sick mother and wanted to escape to this beautiful multi-cultural haven my dad spoke about with bright, dream-filled eyes. I finally had the chance to visit Ottawa in 2002, I was 14-years-old. I was in love. Ottawa was everything I had dreamed about and more. People of colour (a rarity in my small town of New Brunswick), people wearing different clothing, speaking different languages… all were Canadians, all belonged to my country, our country(!) and all were going about their day as if there was nothing miraculous about this!
I speak of Ottawa in this manner because nothing in my life ever seemed as concrete as the dream of moving here. I wanted something and I was going to do everything in my power to achieve it. Believe it or not, 14-years-old me did not know a word of English (okay, maybe a few words but none appropriate for daily use). So I learned English, I went to university, somehow found a university in Ottawa which offered a degree of interest, and moved. On May 3rd, 2008, at the tender age of 20 years old, I moved to Ottawa.
Whenever I dreamt of Ottawa, I saw myself living my life here. I was never clear on what I was doing in Ottawa; I just knew I “should” be in Ottawa. So in many ways, my life is exactly as I always thought it “should” be! I have no idea what lies ahead or where I will be, or what I will be doing, but here’s my question: is life ever as it “should” be?