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A New Beginning

David Li
September 20th, 2016 · 5 min read

So, this marks the first post on this blog.

This is a goodbye, but also a new start (cliché). I’ve been in Montreal for three years, three of the best (and worst) and most impactful years of my life, and I am definitely sad to leave it behind.

I am currently back in Cambridge, Ontario. It kinda sucks here, and it’s kinda lonely. I don’t think small towns are my favorite, and I definitely feel the lack of things to do. But maybe this is good: a new start, where I can focus on myself and really figure out what I want to do with life. But first things first. This blog.

This will be the story of my life (as challenged by Jonathan Leung). I hope it’s a collection of small stories, life reflections, wisdom, success, failures, and general things. I hope it’s something that can both record my thoughts, and offer it to others. And I sincerely hope that you can find some wisdom, some advice, some learning, and some emotion from reading these. If not, I hope at least that at least it’s entertaining.

As to this first post?

Well, the classic “This Is Who I Am” probably applies. My past, my future, my current thoughts about life. Y’know, a self-summary of sorts, to set things on the right path.

Montreal from Mont Royal

This post marks my 21st birthday. A bigger day in some countries, but nonetheless a big day. It also marks the first birthday that I’m celebrating outside of school. It also marks about a quarter of life… and a quarter-life existential crisis.

I have been thinking a lot recently.

Sure, I - we - have been through a lot. But there is so much more to come.

Sometimes I feel really old - that my “potential” has been wasted, and that there’s not much more to come. I feel like I’ve failed so much, and left so much behind, that it’s become a heavy weight dragging on me as I move forward. It’s so easy to look at other people’s success with a bit of jealousy and envy, and wish that that was me.

And I think it hurts especially knowing that - I could have done it. “Potential” remains a specter, haunting over my own seemingly mediocre achievements, knowing (or believing) that I could’ve been something more. And it’s so easy to hate, to believe that I am my own worst enemy. That all I ever wanted could have happened - if I wasn’t me.

I know that in many ways, I’m scared. I’ve been scared of so many things, of failure, of trying new things, of talking to new people, etc. Sometimes it’s so limiting: pushing the things I’m scared of away, leaving them to the last minute, never trying - and never failing. But ultimately, roads slowly begin to close, and I feel more trapped than ever in this bubble of safety, though that safety was only ever an illusion. And eventually, things seem impossible.

I think it doesn’t have to be this way.

On another note; McGill has contained some of the best times of my life.

I don’t think I’ll ever have quite as many friends, or go out quite as much, or try so many new things, or truly feel free in the same way.

I definitely know, however, that I would’ve never made it through without all of you <3. Seriously. Thank you, sincerely. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. From dank memes, to late night conversations, to tearful confessions, to random moments of fun.

Some of the times at McGill have been absolutely terrible, and I know that it would’ve been all too easy to waver and give up. I’m so glad that you’ve all seen and helped me grow, and I do think that your support, your wisdom, and your company have been invaluable. I know this sounds so vague and unspecific, but please, believe, you matter. I’m going to refrain from calling people out, but I have treasured even the smallest gestures.

I’ve learned so much from each of you, and these experiences have opened my eyes. I’d love to think I’m a better and stronger person now.

This is also me saying sorry. I know it probably won’t be read (especially if I have wronged you, aka the target of this message), but I’m sorry to all those I’ve let down. You know who you are, and I do too. I’d love to use the excuse of stress and uncertainty, but that’d be extremely disrespectful to you. In many ways, I just wasn’t enough. I want to promise that I will never let you down again, but that’d be a promise that I can’t uphold. But regardless, I hope for forgiveness, perhaps one day.

In terms of hard decisions, one of the hardest I’ve made is this: I am (indefinitely) delaying medical school.

Right now, quite frankly, I’m not ready. I sometimes wish I could say I was, and I sometimes just want to leave sciences forever and never look back. I think I would enjoy so many aspects of the job, the care for people, the making lives better, the value given to the community and the world. But I’m afraid of so much, the pressure, the stress, the anxiety, and the unshakable feeling that it’s a commitment for life. Even these application processes make me feel paralyzed.

Now, I have nothing against pre-meds. Throughout my time, I’ve met some of the most passionate and amazing people striving to be a doctor. I wish all of you well. I admire your hard work, your dedication to success, and your willingness to see this through. That’s something I could never do. And believe me, I’ve tried, so, so many times, to work as hard as you can. You deserve this, much more than I do.

I really wish I could’ve tried harder. Believe me, I tried so many times, but each time I failed. Maybe it means I’m not mature enough, or maybe not passionate enough. That, I will hopefully see (and hopefully change) throughout these next years. But that’s in the past. Even making this decision feels like a huge weight off my chest (though please don’t tell my parents yet). I know that taking time to really think things though and find out what I really love will be for the better.

So yeah. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m currently picking up coding, trying to reorient myself and figure out for sure what I truly want. I know some of the things that make me feel alive. Talking and hanging out with some of you, for example. Seeing the world. Watching my creations come to life. Solving tough problems.

There’s a ton of things I want to try. Visiting (and living) so many cities, talking to interesting strangers and seeing their stories, improving the lives of those around me, creating fun and/or vibrant memories, and so on. I want to go to EDM festivals in the US and Europe. I want to meet a cute girl in Paris or Vienna and have a tragically romantic evening. I want to climb the Andes and see ancient ruins. I want to create something, and leave something behind that’s worthwhile.

I hope that many of these small things work. Working out well again, eating well, sleeping well. Making sure that I can study well each day, add to my portfolio or skills. Talk to someone new, maybe start something interesting. And most of all, when I recognize opportunity, to have the courage to take it.

This is my promise to be better.

I have high hopes for this year (yeah, right after this depressing and depressingly-long read). I know that a ton of obstacles await me, but I believe that I’ll be able to overcome them. If I fail, I hope that you’ll be there waiting, to talk to me and to bring me back up. And I hope to do the same for you, to hear your own triumphs and failures, and do whatever I can.

When I see you again, I know we’ll have many stories to share, but many, many more to live.

With Love.

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New year, new me.

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November 22nd, 2018 · 4 min read
© 2016 David Li
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