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Begin Again

David Li
November 22nd, 2018 · 4 min read

And suddenly, a year has passed. Just like that. Another year older, perhaps wiser. Hopefully wiser.

I feel each year carries a heavier toll - the inevitable passage of time. At first lumbering, but gradually speeding up as the days fly past. Each year seems to go by faster.

This year leaves quite a few broken promises, friends lost, regrettable choices, and unfulfilled wishes. But it also was a year of great moments, of treasured memories, and many, many life lessons. So here’s to ruminating thoughts, to future hopes, and to promises. One of which is that I will write more - especially for myself.


// feelings of invincibility

When I was younger, I used to think that time would bring solutions and answers to the countless questions of life. Some did come, with maturity and scant wisdom. But in some ways I feel a loss of wonder and magic, as mysteries unravel. Nonetheless, I am a stronger person than I was one, three, five, ten years ago.

One wish that’s died was the hope that things could be permanent. That problems could be overcome, solved, never to arise again. I wish I was right.

I left McGill two and a half years ago - fairly social, fairly confident - yet uncertain of my place in the world. I left Waterloo a year ago - sure that this new city would change everything. I was sure of myself, confident that this was the right path, and that everything would fall into place.

Yet I think it’s a sobering realization that things left unmaintained, unpracticed do gradually fail. And sometimes without even realizing.

I was so sure that some of these problems that I had cockily considered “fixed/solved” - questions of genuineness, loyalty, kindness, personal happiness, etc., or so confident that externals would make up for everything - that I had ignored them.

Perhaps it’s time to Begin Again.

  • coincidentally one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs

// letting go & trying again

Sometimes it’s about letting go of the past, and trying again.

I know I’ve failed. I’ve failed often. And sometimes I’m way to hard on myself on these failures. I think this blog is almost a testament to that.

But it is about trying again. It’s about picking up the pieces, apologizing for mistakes, and starting again. It’s going back to humility, to self-doubt, and to openness.

I can’t say this is - or will be - easy. I’m someone with a lot of regrets, someone who overanalyzes and overthinks every little detail. I harbor grudges, dislikes, times wronged, and so on. But it is time to let go. I want to believe that attitude is a choice. I may not have control of what others do or think - but I can control what I do and think. I can forgive others - and forgive myself.


// patterns & promises

I know I’ve failed many times before. The road to self-improvement and self-actualization is a long one, it seems. Perhaps one that’s never ending, but perhaps one that’s worthwhile all the same. Maybe it is about the journey, and not the destination. It seems that the destination is always shifting. It’s always something out of grasp, but perhaps something already there at the same time.

It seems like each time, I make commitments and plans to reach whatever goals were on my mind at the time. Actionable tasks like going to the gym weekly, cooking more, and so on, to more nebulous goals like being kinder and living more in the moment. Sometimes, these goals are fulfilled, while others are simply left by the wayside.

I’ve always wanted to be better - and I always will want to. I want to believe though, that these are temporary hiccups. Sometimes things don’t work out, and there’s a reason for it. Maybe I just wasn’t the right person. Maybe I am now.

My current goal is simple - do something each day to make tomorrow better. For tomorrow me. Whether that’s studying or learning, or enshrining a beautiful moment to memory, or being healthy and eating better - it’s to take small steps forward. Of course, as always there’s so many more things I want to do. But I know for sure I can’t juggle twenty different items. I used to believe that it was all or nothing, that it was better to dive into the deep end and swim or sink trying. Maybe gradually ramping up, leaving old patterns and habits behind and adopting new ones, will help.

So this isn’t just a promise to try again. This is just what will be - what has to be. Maybe this time won’t be the last time I fail and start over, but it will be (n-1) times less.


// closing thoughts

I want to restart/start either dinner or cocktail club. The premise is fairly simple - come over for food/drinks - bring something small [if you can], but come over for company. I’ll provide food and/or drinks, as long as you’re okay with experimenting with new tastes and recipes! If you’re interested - message me - or I’ll message you eventually too.

I need to go back to doing these personal projects for myself, and having both short and long term goals. And maybe it’s just for myself - writing, hanging out meaningfully, creating something new, but that’s fine too. It’s been too easy sitting around, waiting for things to happen. But life won’t just happen. I’ll need to try for it it.

I’ve found a bit of magic, and it has brought so much happiness, joy and wonder into my life.

But now, it’s time to try. It’s time to look forward. It’s time to find meaning and dreams, or to create them. And on a Wednesday, in a cafe… I watched it Begin Again.

More articles from David Li

In Search of Magic

To dream, to love, and to wonder.

October 7th, 2017 · 5 min read

Next Steps

I am so excited to be able to start this adventure.

May 20th, 2017 · 2 min read
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