Regret is something that haunts.
Today I would like to talk about a big part of my life that I used to regret, which was giving up music and choosing to study hospitality in Switzerland.
They day I stepped onto campus, I was having a constant internal battle of whether or not I made the right choice. Up until July 2013, I hated Switzerland. I hated where I was, and more than ever, I regret not choosing to study Performance and Music Education at Ithaca College (I even paid the deposit for my admission).
I would constantly go to their website and stare longingly at what could have been- the ultimate college experience, the chance to nurture my (only) talent, receiving a double degree in 4.5 years, being in a marching band (still one of my biggest dreams), and most importantly, being around people who have the same passion. Recently I’ve realized how important it is to be surrounded by people who are vibrating on the same frequency as you, because that is one way that you thrive. I could have learned new instruments, another dream that I still have; I could have started a Clarinet quartet, I could have started teaching, I could have… I could have…
Why did I choose to study in Switzerland, then? In April of 2008 (junior year), my mum called me while I was on the subway home, and informed me of an information session that was taking place in Intercontinental Hotel in Shanghai. She convinced me to go (there was a bit of an argument), and that was the first time I ever heard about hospitality. I was intrigued, but that only lasted for about a week. As senior year rolled around, I recorded my auditions for music schools, filled out common applications, took the SATs (three freaking times) and applied to universities on UCAS. Switzerland didn’t even cross my mind until my parents reminded me about them in January, after I handed in all my applications. I didn’t really want to but still applied just in case. I went to the Selection Day at Sofitel, and that was when my parents made their case. They both studied in Europe, this is the best hospitality school in the world; it is cheaper than going to the states, and they will be able to visit me every year. I somehow convinced myself that a degree in hospitality would trump a degree in music as I would have a more stable future, and also studying in Europe would be a very different experience. So when I got accepted into Ithaca College, I was waiting for Switzerland’s answer. They got back to me on May 1st, I was accepted, and that was that.
After my first year in Switzerland, I was convinced to transfer out and follow my passion. God knows I have complained enough to my sister and my best friend. But I didn’t. I didn’t want the first year of my tuition to go to waste, and I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. During my second and third year, I would go through bouts of depression and cry my heart out because of how much I hated where I was and how much I hated myself for the decision I made. I hated my classes, I hated the city, I hated the country and I hated Europe. I would become anti-social, lock myself up in my room after class (if I went to class at all), and either watch TV shows to numb out the feelings or write a five paragraph email of complaints and send it to my sister. Sometimes I would torture myself and go onto the Facebook page of Ithaca College, class of 2013 and see what could have been. And at very rare moments, I would take out my Clarinet and play a few songs. Every couple of months, I would look at the prospect of transferring out and get excited at the feeling of finally being able to leave this hell-hole. I would research insanely on possible universities I could transfer to and calculate all the expenses. But I never went through with it. There were too many risks in transferring, and for all I know, it could open up a whole new door of regrets.
It was an extremely difficult situation to be in. The people around me didn’t understand what I was going through- they followed their hearts. Me on the other hand? I gave up my passion to be here. I had no idea how much I loved music until I gave it up, and I hated myself for giving it up. I felt like I was following a trend- throughout my high school life, I gave up tennis, softball, swimming, playing the piano, community service, and now, I gave up music altogether. Everywhere I went, a dark cloud was following me, threatening to release the hurricane of self-destruction. All I did was complain, and all anybody could do was listen grudgingly. Even I was becoming annoyed at myself, because the reasons are always the same.
So what did I do? Nothing. I continued to hate my current situation, I continued to regret my decision.
But this summer, I took a life-coaching course. I didn’t do it because I hated my university and I hated Switzerland, I did it because I needed help. My life was a big ball of mess with regrets, insecurities, shame, disease, damage, bad-habits; the bad far outweighed the good, and this was no way to live. I genuinely believed that my life and I were meant for something much better and more meaningful, so I decided to put my heart out there and take this course. At first, I didn’t believe in its powers, but little did I know that I was changing my life. At the end of the course, which was also the beginning of my life, my mindset and outlook on my life completely changed; I consciously decided to eliminate all the negative energy in my life and focus only on the positive.
When I returned to Switzerland for my last year of university in November 2013, I came back with a completely different take on my situation. Instead of dreading my return, I looked forward to every aspect of Switzerland- living back on campus with a room mate, having a kitchen, grocery shopping, exploring new restaurants, going downtown; everything that used to be a burden turned into an opportunity. Everything that I used to hate, turned into something I love. I stopped regretting my choice, and began to embrace it. When I look at it from every angle, there really is no point in regretting the choice I made. Music is something that will always be a part of me, and if I want, I can always pursue it after university. What I regret is spending all the time, energy and effort fostering the hate I had towards my situation, that I did not live in the moment. But even now, that regret has been toned down to the minimum (life cannot be lived without regret).
What changed? Everything. Instead of choosing to despise everything, I decided to look on the bright side. I stopped thinking about what could have been, and started appreciating the now. This is not as easy as it sounds, and it is something that, if you choose to do, will take a lot of time and effort. There are so many ways to improve your life and start living consciously; I strongly encourage those who need a change to take some sort of life-coaching course. They don’t come cheap, but the cost is miniscule compared to getting your life back.
So if you ever feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, just look up and set your heart to climbing out. When you take that first step, everything else will fall into place. Honestly, I always thought that people who claimed to have been “reborn” again were full of shit, but not anymore. I know how it feels like to not be living, and get my life back.
(all GIFs from whatshouldwecallmetumblr)