Photo: Tony Wan

Parallels

This time two months ago I was living in a different universe. Indebted to my job, I was beginning my property search, flirting with the idea of renewing my passport, and had just filed a provisional patent application. I started to notice improvements to my endurance every time I jumped in the pool and swam laps upon laps upon laps. I had almost entirely curbed my sugar addiction. My tolerance to caffeine was increasing. Work was difficult, but I enjoyed it in some sadistic way. I finally felt like things were moving in the right direction.

A few years ago, my best friend and I were sitting in my car after a night in Windsor, chatting about how life is like a movie. She said life would be classified as a thriller, because you never know what is going to happen next. And so I found myself in the hospital emergency department on a Sunday afternoon, twiddling my thumbs, frustrated by the lack of phone reception. That evening, the horror movie began. The next day, it continued. And the next. And the next. The bad news continued to pile up until I was just another redundant, sunken-faced twentysomething sitting in a hospital room day-in, day-out, going home long after visiting hours ended, trying to force some carbs down the hatch in an effort to keep my brain functioning. The terminal nature of life smacked me straight in the face, constantly replaying the line my pension age high school business teacher used to feed us - “Girls, the only thing certain in life is death”.

There is something transformative about these events. I have always had faith in the power of resilience, the ability to derive good from bad, the silver linings that exist in the toughest situations we find ourselves in. That faith never waned, but it was hard to work through the fear of death and loss. My mind kept coming back to the same thing: I’m 22. This is not supposed to happen now. Maybe in 20 years, but not now! But here is the flip side. As I reflect on recent events - the frequent hospital and doctor visits, a frantic ambulance call, the endless cooking and cleaning and washing, the emotional labour and support - I can only think that this is exactly what life is for. Doing, enduring, persisting, crumbling, learning. Rinse and repeat. This is living.