Navigate back to the homepage

In Search of Magic

David Li
October 7th, 2017 · 5 min read

It’s been five months in Toronto, and five months since I last wrote. I think, that looking back, I feel that many of the struggles were worthwhile.

For me, the city has felt amazing. It’s so nice seeing so many people out and about, being walking (or at least biking) distance from everything interesting, and being in a vibrant, exciting location.

I’ve been so busy with work and getting settled in. Part of it is startup life, part of it might be due to my own… inferior time management skills. But hey, my apartments basically furnished, I have what I need, and so on. Time to restart my life (like, this time, actually) again in Toronto.

I think I genuinely love what I do, but I still have that seed of doubt that I’m not (or that I won’t be) good enough, that it’s not for me, or that it won’t be a long term thing.

But hey, it works for now. And I think I’m happy. Or happier.

Plus life itself is still waiting.


Being in a larger city has definitely exposed me much more to the potential in life - at least career wise. There are so many hardworking, brilliant, and talented people out there. Maybe enough to tamper down the cockiness (unlikely), but definitely enough to inspire me to do more. There’s so many different people in this city, with such interesting backgrounds, and diverse futures. It’s been a pleasure to meet so many of them, and to hear their stories and dreams. So many are inspirations.

It feels good to be doing something that I really enjoy. I’ve had some pretty busy (and pretty stressful) weeks at work, but it’s still fun. I feel like I’m learning a ton, and there’s always more to improve in. Tech seems to be a wonderful community, full of welcoming people dreaming to make the world a better place.

However, I worry a bit about goals. I feel like in many ways, I feel less of a sense of higher purpose. I worry that if anything, despite loving the daily process, the work, and the learning, I feel money is becoming a primary concern. I notice in my conversations too. And in this, I can’t blame anyone but me. Maybe it’s prudence - that as independent adults we must care about our financial habits and think about our future. I think there’s a bit of that. I think there’s a bit of greed too. There’s so many shiny toys. A brand new laptop. The latest Pixel or iPhone. New, flashy clothing to try and fit in (or try and stand out) in a different environment.

I don’t know. Sometimes I go to these networking events - and I meet really interesting people, with which we can just debate passions - say Angular vs. React, or the impact of AI on the future. Other times, I really feel that many people (and often myself included) are just there to hopefully meet someone to give them a better opportunity, flirting from conversation to conversation as a serial network, looking for the next more important person.

I think I still care. I think I really do want to make a difference in the world. But I also want to be comfortable, do fun things, and so on.

I love what I do, I really do. And I do want to be the best (or the best I can be - aka #1) at it.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Switching lives has not been a cure for every problem. I know that somewhere in the past year(s), I’ve lost a lot of friends and many hobbies. I know I don’t practice piano as much as I used to. I know I don’t take as much time to cook. I don’t read much, I don’t explore as much. I don’t have as many people over for dinners or drinks.

Part of it is some fairly drastic life changes. Jumping three cities, three career fields. New city, new me. I’ve spent a lot of time recently working, from self-studying coding while working a full-time job, to drastically trying to catch up in performance and be the best I can be. Part of it is adjusting, becoming comfortable again. Part of it is losing a razor-sharp focus on the immediate next thing I need to do and to do now, and becoming

It’s still something I’m chasing though. I’ve had some great moments recently, and I’m trying to find more (as a side note, this was a really great read -unfortunately paywalled). But hey, life is full of the search.

Objectively, life seems good - and is getting better.

I do reminisce though. I think I’m still missing some things. A true feeling of warmth and belonging. A close circle of nearby friends. Many enjoyable moments.

Part of it almost feels like an inability to connect, perhaps an fear of being open and true with myself. And then fighting for attention in groups, trying to be the same center of attention as always. Maybe I’m not as funny as I was (psh), but maybe too that I’m trying to fill emptiness with braggery and bravado - and letting things like kindness and real friendship slip by the wayside.

Right now - I think in some ways I need to take a step back. Stop trying to force things. Stop trying to impress, to shock, to elicit response for the sake of response. Be genuine, etc. And maybe accept that some things are unlikely to ever work out - even as friends some people just aren’t compatible.

In other ways, it’s to start using time for others again. Not just accepting invites and being passive, but being proactive in bringing people together. To make memories, and to make memories that are just as bright and genuinely great as the old ones.

I think I do need to take more time for myself. More time to pursue those random whims and random interests, to chase dreams of a different kind. But as all things, they’re getting better. I hope to restart dinner clubs very, very soon.

In Search of Magic

No, this was not planned as a rant against my dating life.

No, this won’t turn into one.

One thing that I am strongly searching for - is the magic.

I’ve had good moments recently, great moments even. But still, I’m searching for those sparks, those perfect moments, those moments of magic.

I worry that I’m having trouble forming deep, meaningful connections with new people. I’m interesting, nice and can hold a decent conversation (I think). I’ve had some great experiences, fun times with dates (and/or friends) and nothing talks.

But thus far, nothing clicks.

I wonder if it’s something to do with the setting - an overreliance on internet devices and perhaps skewed expectations. There’s such low investment into each meeting, with the expectation that even if thing’s were to go wrong, there’s still someone waiting out there. Maybe this percieved abundance devalues each interaction, or devalues each individual - because there could always be something or someone more perfect.

Maybe it’s a loss of hobbies, as I settle far too much into work. Maybe I’m less interesting.

Maybe it’s routines, as doing the same experience dozens of times allows it to become a habit - comfortable, but boring. Getting a coffee or drink can only be unique and memorable so many times, and a conversation without the comfort to really dig at the personal, moving topics can only be so deep.

Maybe I just need some time.

This is my goal for the next months - to find magic.

Not just in dating, but in life. In inspiration. To find more meaningful moments, beautiful moments, where everything comes together for even that one second of bliss.

To ignore all the shitty, scary, uncomfortable times when things aren’t calibrated yet, and when things fall apart.

And if I can’t find magic - I’ll create it.

Once again, I’ve been letting this sit way too empty. I think I’m getting a bit disconnected.

Life is actually good though - there’s very little to complain about. It’s more about being hungry for more, and trying to design/create something better.

I think sometimes that I judge these posts too hard, that I wait for something perfect befor posting it. But hopefully I’ll write more. I’m currently in Boston, having gone through New York City - and I do have some inspirations.

Although… there’s something cool I want to do with cinemagraphs and GIFs first. And there’s always something interesting to build.

But hey, I’m hoping for some magical moments to write about.

With love.

More articles from David Li

Next Steps

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

May 20th, 2017 · 2 min read

Spring 2017

6 months in - a complete revamp and a status update on life.

March 20th, 2017 · 5 min read
© 2016 David Li
Link to $ to $ to $