How does one account for lost sentiments?

How does one account for the words that were never spoken?
For the long-envisioned goals that were never achieved?
For the things we say we would do, but never did, and for the people we set out to be, but never became?

During my gap year, I set out on a journey of self-fulfillment. I planned to explore my ancestral and cultural roots while travelling in China with family, to become a professional pianist, to discover my true calling in life, and to dive into the metaphorical pool of ‘self’ and understand the inner workings that make up the composite of what was the 18 year old me, all within a time limit of 365 days.

I had big plans.

What was there to fear? Up until this point, I had never experienced anything other than reward and success.

Instead, I ended up directionless and lost. Instead of harmonizing my Canadian identity with the richness of my Chinese heritage,I ended up fearing for the harmony of my own family, which was built upon the precarious foundation set by the societal instabilities during the period of the Cultural Revolution. I had no career goal in mind. I did not become a professional pianist, neither did I take a dip into the pool of my so-called identity.

By the end of the year, I was fragile and fearful, instead of optimistic and inspired. How could I make up for the time I wasted and the opportunities I had lost during the year? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The time I had given myself to grow and develop had stalled me instead. My mind was haunted by the regrets of the past and littered with worry about the future.

I wish I could say that with time, the insecurities faded, and that as I settled into the vibrant groove of university life, I was, at the same time, ever so slowly inching closer to what was the slightest semblance of a “sense of direction”.

As I begin my second year of university, I can say with full confidence, that all this is at least half true.

There are countless times when I receive a bad test score and feel an overwhelming sense of grief and defeat. There are times when I receive an A on a paper and still wonder if this was the product of my own abilities, or just luck. But I have learned to be okay with these feelings. Uncertainty will either sink you, or push you to kick harder and raise your head high above water. I still say things such as: “I wish I had,” or “I regret not doing,” and “It’s too late now”. I still trick myself into thinking that all is lost.

But I know now. Those once envisioned, golden sentiments are not “lost”. Goals and dreams, potential and ability, communication and inspiration, they’re all waiting in the wings. They are simply waiting to be found.

“I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be, to inspire me and not terrify me.”

― Tracee Ellis Ross 

– sunny w.