This is for those people who are wondering why I will not be taking a flight to London on August 19th. Why they will see me on the streets of Montreal this year and why my UK number will be answered by some bloke in London who won’t have any idea who I am.
I was supposed to leave Montreal again and go back to London to do a Public International Law Masters at a fantastic university. I gave up a lot for it, and built a lot of hopes around it. I myself was looking forward to making new friends from around the world, and travel some more. Yet I was uncertain of the outcome of that LL.M. Although I loved university for the constant acquisition of knowledge, I also loved it for the security it brought me; I wouldn’t have to make life-changing choices just yet. I was safe… for now. I had thought about never leaving university. I had thought about teaching. Research.
What I liked about law was the intellectual exercise, considering an entire spectrum of possible answers to a particular problem. I enjoyed learning how societies were built, how they worked and interacted with one another. I felt it gave me access to a specialized way of thinking. I liked that international law could be understood by so many people, regardless of religions, cultures and borders. I also wanted to give meaning to my day-to-day activities. I still hope to do so.
I loved that I could turn my life around on a few days’ notice. That I’d never have to be tied to anything, that I’d always be able to escape the gilded prison that routines, obligations, safety, eternal promises, mortgages represent. To pack my bags and run for it. Being kept on a short leash meant slow death to me. I still wish I’ll be able to find freedom within smaller spaces and tighter relationships one day. One can’t keep on running, I guess.
I also wanted to travel, make a difference, and learn. Constantly. If there was one thing I had to pray for, it would be to never stop learning, exploring, pushing my limits, bit by bit.
When I came back to Montreal after being gone for a year and having lost most of my safety net in the process, I felt dizzy. Everything felt so similar, yet so different. When things got tough, I could feel solace in the fact that I had a plane ticket back to London. Then, I realized that the exact same thing would happen on tough days abroad; comfort was to be found in that tiny piece of paper, no matter where it took me. It represented fear, but also freedom.
I started gathering memories and pictures of my travels and creating this blog. Maybe all these travels meant freedom to me because of their short duration. I could see the end of each sojourn. No commitment. Is this an unhealthy way to travel? I don’t think so. We all need to breathe. Some just more than others? Vacation, traveling, trips, all are meant to escape something. Reassure ourselves that we are not stuck. That we have the choice to stay…or to come back.
I chose both. I came back…and I chose to stay. For now. Thanks to this blog, I found a job that seems to be a constant challenge for me. Where I’ll be able to write, everyday. In French and in English. Where I feel I’m stretching the limits of my imagination to impossible lengths, like an enormous elastic. I found a huge playground in an advertising agency, as a copywriter, where I feel I don’t have to hide, curb my personality or be someone else.
Some will say that advertising encourages consumerism. Yup. Not all, but some. And there are the ads that can make a positive difference in the community and make me love my new job. Maybe I’ll never get to do one. But I’ll try.
I also have more energy and passion to give back to my friends and loved ones. To find new ways to get involved. Create new projects.
Some say: “you can do anything; all doors are open. Why would you reject a good position as a lawyer if you can take it?”. To them, I say: if I’m lucky enough to have the luxury to do anything, why wouldn’t I do what I love?
If you feel I have let you down by making this decision, I’d like to say that I’m sorry. And thanks.
I liked law. But I love what I do now. Maybe I’ll change again. Maybe this won’t last. But for now, this is what I want to do, this is who I want to be. Without having to apologize for it.