Living and Loving in 20 years

20 years ago, I visited the Ryerson University campus for an info session, walked by this very entrance to the Quad, and saw a blissed-out couple on rollerblades coast through, arm in arm, laughing away. The girl of the couple was Asian and the joy rippling across her face represented the liberal, free life that I could only dream of, especially as a child of strict, over-protective parents. It blew my mind that maybe I, too, would have the chance to not only study the program of my teenage dreams, but also live in the big city, be independent, eat breakfast for dinner if I wanted to, and — gasp — most importantly, finally go on a date, too!

Since then: I moved to the city, got my degree, then embarked on years of growing up, paying bills, slaving away, scoring fantasy gigs, pushing boundaries, loving, lusting, losing, being duped and cheated on, breaking down, getting back up, moving, wandering the globe, and returning, sprinkled with many plates of eggs and toaster strudels at dinnertime… And through these events, I’ve finally learned to respect myself and stand up to bullshit or anyone/anything that wastes my time. I am also proud that I’ve gained some dear friends who offer me the support and truth when I need it — all this, something that my younger first-year self would be very proud of.

And even though I’m not whizzing by this entrance with a man on my arm, I have experienced and witnessed enough to know that a partner is absolutely not the answer to happiness, that there’s certainly no need for settling, and that I’m pretty damn satisfied of who I’ve become, as my own woman. And I wonder as I stand here, if a current first-year kid is walking by, looking at the dumb smile on my face, and hoping for the same thing I was all those years ago.

All I can say is: Go get ‘em, kiddo.