Career Switch

Since I was young, I was drawn to the creative arts. I loved to draw, paint and create things. When I was 10 years old, I told my dad that I wanted to be writer. Being brought up in an Asian background, it was not music to his ears. He gave me a lesson on what ‘practical careers’ are: a doctor, teacher, accountant or engineer, guaranteed a constant pay check.

During high school, I joined the drama and art club. It fuelled additional interest in the creative arts and my yearning for the arts was strong. I befriended my art teacher and told him that I loved the creative arts and was thinking of being a fashion designer. My art teacher encouraged me to pursue this career but warned me that it would not be easy.

My parents were surprisingly supportive of me choosing a less than ordinary career. For 3 years, I delved deep into fine art, sculpture, media and fashion. However, my health took a huge toll. I was not eating properly, projects were extremely stressful with tight deadlines. I found myself fatigued, tired, constipated and unhappy. It was as if my body was protesting to the abuse I was giving it, spending those late nights at college completing that final garment for the show.

Then came my awakening. It was few months before the graduation show and I realised I had no friends or support. I was extremely depressed in the competitive environment I had chosen and the constant negative comments from fellow graduates and lecturers on my final collection. It felt like my soul was broken into half by these malicious people who did not care for my feelings.

On the day of my graduation show at the disco, I woke up in extreme pain. I never had such painful menstrual cramps and I had to take a taxi to the venue. Unfortunately, I was 3 hours late for the rehearsal and got into trouble for that. It was like my body was refusing my choices in being there, I felt even more disillusioned after graduating from fashion.

I asked myself ‘Why did I do this to myself?’ ‘What am I going to do?” I spent the next 2 weeks crying in bed, refusing to accept that I have chosen a career that I did not enjoy. I blamed myself for being so short-sighted and why I didn’t see this coming. One night while I was crying, I felt this warm presence in the darkness of the night. It had looked like a golden orb and it wrapped my soul with so much peace and love. I no longer felt depressed.

The next morning, I took in the morning paper and there was an article on Naturopathy. I wanted to flip the page but the same presence came and held my arms to that page. I took it as a sign. Coincidentally, I met and engaged with individuals passionate on Naturopathy who fixed my health and inspired me to pursue that as a career. 6 years later, I have never been happier. Work involves giving creative cooking tips and options to my patients. In a way, the change was necessary for me to live my life in a slower pace and honour my soul purpose to help others.

My guardian angel/guide was always there for me, looking after me. The universe conspires to create what you wish for yourself.

And now I am writing this…which fulfils my childhood dream to be a writer of my very own story.

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About the author

Sylvia Ong