「week 20」Leaving Central

Suffering a huge hungover and a splash of self-loath, I finished my last working day with my old job. It was also my last working day in Central, after four years and four months. 

I was the last one to leave the office on my last day, waiting for my gym class at 7pm on a Friday evening. As I walked out of the office building with several bags carrying all my remained office belongings, the evening was quietly falling with an early autumn chill. I stood at one of the busiest crossing in the middle of Queen’s Road Central waiting for the light to turn green, and just at that moment, an unexplainable sense of emptiness came upon me. And I know that’s something I cannot fight against. It’s what one is supposed to feel in the situation of a substantial ending, despite of what leads to it.

I remember making the decision of coming to Central four years ago. A lot happened in 2015. I ended my 2-year relationship, quit my 4-year job at the TV station, and moved out of my 3-year apartment in Tai Wai. I’m not quite sure how my mentality exactly rolled out back then, except that I was desperate for a change, any change. It was probably for the first time, I felt the need to take back some control from life and I needed all those big gestures to make that point.

I remember telling myself, I need to find a job based in Central. And I took the first offer of a job I randomly found. It’s a really boring job, translator for an investment bank. But I didn’t care. All I needed was a job that can get me to Central, a transition in my non-existing career path. In July 2015, I started to work in The Center, just like I wished. I remember feeling odd at the beginning when I found myself blended in the central crowds, a mix of curiosity, repulsion and constant awareness of my otherness. 

I didn’t stay long on the translator job before I found another job in the same building. Dark amusingly, what motivated me to leave wasn’t the lifelessness of that job, but that I realized the medical leave benefit wasn’t good enough for me. And it wouldn’t have mattered at all if not for the illness I had to cope with at that time. As such, after 4 months of translating at machine speed but better than a machine, I moved to another job that granted me more medical leaves that I needed and a starting point in marketing, on which I spent the past 4 years at.

Thinking back, it was for pretty random and reckless causes how my whole Central chapter has happened. And it was pure damn luck that I met my previous boss (also a great mentor, role model and reliable friend), who gave me that job and enabled me to find my position in the marketing field, which I can now more or less see it as a career, instead of just a job. I really can’t take any credit but simply exclaiming at how life somehow just managed to connect the random pieces together.

From the moment I accepted the new job offer and knew that I’d be leaving Central, I’ve been in the mood of a mild grief and panic. In one way, my life sphere and activities in the past few years has been heavily based around Central. My regular gym, my boxing gym, my go-to massage parlour, my bars, my secret happy hour/people watching place, my lunch takeaway spot, my midnight snack place, my brow-trimming salon, 90% of my blind dates and 95% of my social activities… In another way, no matter how demoralising and nakedly materialistic Central is, I can’t help but feel that it did play a big part in the becoming of me. It’s an intimate witness of how I have struggled through my late-twenties crisis and landed into my thirties. It’s where it all happened. Even though I could somehow still relate to the sense of otherness that I was feeling four years ago, it doesn’t bother me anymore.

When I just started working, at the end of the first year, I wrote an essay to examine what change had working brought to me. My outcome would be utterly different if I did the same by comparing my current self to who I was pre-Central. Back then (in 2011), I was relieved I didn’t change much, while this time, I’m glad I did. I’m living a better life, not just becoz I’m making fivefold what I was making, but for that I’ve evolved from the girl who would take whatever was given solely for location’s sake, into someone strong enough to make a well-thought-out career move, even if it means leaving Central.

P.S. This piece was written in the McDonald’s at ChiangMai airport on my way to Luang Prabang. #funfact

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