Love That Journey for You

By Candice Fong

A former colleague wrote the title of this post to me when I updated her on my life since I left my previous workplace. If you read my earlier previous post, you will know that I took time off from “work” to take a break from the daily grind of corporate life. It was more of a push out the door, but I didn’t jump right back in. At that point, I had spent the past 18 years working pretty much non-stop while in school and in-between my degrees. I needed time to catch my breath. 

Flowers blowing in her garden.
View of my garden

When I first moved to Toronto in 2010, I walked into a pottery shop on a whim and found a new hobby. I loved pottery but gave it up when I could no longer hunch over the wheel while pregnant with my first child. I remember telling my teacher not to worry and that I would see her in a year or so. She gave me a “yeah, right,” which I found odd but prophetic. Fast forward six years later, a second child, and a lightened workload, I rekindled my love of pottery. Making pottery can mean so many things to so many people. For me, pottery was a way for me to release my anxieties, to let go of perfectionism, and to finally give priority to my artistic, creative side. Pottery wasn’t about consistency but about experimentation.

Realizing I wanted to do something that was complimentary to pottery, I naturally thought about flowers. Gardening was something I had done lots of growing up in Alberta where land was cheap and plenty. However as I grew older and kept moving around, it faded from my life. I poured over the internet looking for places where I could learn floral design and stumbled upon a college where I could get a diploma in under a month. I signed up immediately. 

Teapot she made recently with ornaments.
Teapot I made recently

With a diploma in my hand, I began cold calling local florists. One florist who happened to also be an urban flower farmer took me on. I went from working in fancy blazers and leather soled shoes to being knee deep in dirt in my Blunnies. It was hard. It was hard physical labour but it was liberating. Not only did I get to see the flowers grow but I got to see the florist’s business grow as well. We were a team of two working out of her tiny apartment when I first joined. Andby the time I left, she had a storefront in a bustling area of town with a staff of six.

Floral arrangement using mostly locally grown flowers

You might be asking yourself, why did I leave? Why did I return to the legal profession? It really is a simple answer – people. I had a list of people in this profession that I wanted to work with given the chance. I also knew that I wanted to work more on the knowledge management (KM)-side. A KM opportunity came up to work with someone I have long respected from afar. So here I am. 

I haven’t given up on pottery or floristry though. I still do pottery once a week and I work for the florist periodically as a freelancer. I also have a wonderful urban garden that is still a work-in-progress. That’s the thing I learned along my journey; I don’t need to give up things I love if it fulfills my life. I can be fluid. I can accept myself and give myself permission. I can ask for and expect flexibility. What fuels me is curiosity and copious amounts of optimism and I think those things will serve me well along my journey.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram @_artful_life


Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.