Endings and Beginnings

Endings are never easy.  Not even the ones that you fervently hoped for to end: a toxic relationship, a difficult mountain hike, a senseless war.  Everything must surmount some sort of obstacle in order to get where you want to: the end of it.  Deciding to end my job as a banker was easy.  It was the actual doing it that took 10 years.  In those 10 years that I have been working, I always knew that banking was not for me and that eventually, I would have to resign.  But things got comfortable and ironically, that made it more difficult to leave.  When people ask me why I resigned, I tell them precisely that.  The ending that was 10 years in the making, as I would like to call it.

Perhaps the challenging part of the road to ‘the end’ is that it always takes a piece of you and more so, it leaves an imprint in you, no matter if it is welcome or not.  In my case, those years working at the bank seemed desultory and yet, I cannot deny that all of those experiences are part of who I am now. I have met interesting people, formed lasting friendships, learned about the industry and got promoted to a junior managerial position.  I didn’t know then how that promotion will change my life and not just because it will look good on my CV but because it will serve as the catalyst for my moment of clarity.  In the normal climb to that proverbial success ladder, it is a no-brainer to accept an offer of promotion.  Except, I do not want to be on top of that ladder and yet, well, I appreciate being given given that option.  The choice seemed obvious to me that time, but in the road to the end, I for sure like to take the long, scenic route.  So naturally, I accepted the offer and was tied to the company for another 2 years.  Was it a bad decision? Sure. But was it necessary? Absolutely. It was the undercurrent that was needed to rock my anchored boat and eventually a signal for me to to set out the bowlines and sail to unchartered waters.   From the outside looking in, it would be easy to say that I resigned because I cannot handle the added responsibilities and while it was true that work became more difficult, it also helped me realise that working hard for something you do not want to become is not the way to live. Really, what is the point?  I am also single, with no children or family to take care of yet, and my choice will only affect me.  Isn’t that a freeing albeit terrifying thought?  To know that your own decisions can change your own life alone?  I understand not everyone gets to have that luxury and so it was obvious to me when the time came to finally end it.  Now or never, I told myself.

Years ago, while I was still working in the bank, I started getting into deep in travelling.  Cheap flights were all the rage and visas have been easier to get since I was working so I took advantage of it.  To document my travels and since I have always enjoyed writing, I started a blog called The quarter-life travels (it is still up!). In it, I relive my numbered days on a foreign land as what you will find in the usual travel blog.  It was fun but also in hindsight, I felt it lacked authenticity.  I realise I created that blog as a distraction, the traveling itself an escape from my unwanted reality and it showed in my writing, all of them just half-hearted paragraphs and mediocre pieces of advice.  When I finally quit my job, I knew then that I will have more space in my life for doing the things I love: photography, writing and of course, traveling.  And traveling more– not in terms of quantity, but with more quality: present in my experience, enjoying the whole journey and not just the destination itself.

Endings are never easy.  Beginnings, perhaps even more so, but only because there’s that element of uncertainty to it.  We always think things are difficult if we are not sure it is otherwise– which seems logical but it also this simplistic thought that often discourages us to push further.  Trust me.  I, the girl who took 10 years to take action, have been there.  Sometimes, we just have to stop being realistic to broaden our horizons, to see the vastness of possibilities ahead of us.  In a life of endings and beginnings, easy is good though it can be boring,  but difficult, while not ideal, is what makes it exciting.


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