Senior Copy Editor - Overseas Publications
The first thing that strikes you about Krystal Chong is her spontaneous laughter, not that she is treating life as a joke, but her attitude is to take everything in stride and with a sense of humour, rather than be bogged down by life.
A Jamaican-born woman, one day she just happened to pack her bags and caught a flight to be in the ‘Big Apple’.
Chong admits that it was a decision, which might be deemed ‘crazy’, given the traditional insular growth trajectory of life.
After all, she had decided to move out of her comfort zone and a high flying corporate life.
“The one crazy thing I would have done was to resign from my family’s publicly listed company, when I was Chief Marketing Officer and move to New York with no job, no visa and not knowing how I would get either,” she said.
Chong’s family owns the Honey Bun bakery, and life for her, by any means was on an overdrive on the superhighway.
But, this wanderer was in search of purpose and meaning in life beyond simply working for money.
“His (moving to New York) has been the most rewarding thing I have ever, ever done! gosh! golly oh gosh!,” Chong said, exclamations coming as seamlessly as the verbs and adjectives in the sentences.
“It was meant to be,” she said. “It is the concept, when you’re ‘in flow’. time feels like 5 minutes and 5 years all at the very same time.
“Looking back, it’s been almost 4 years, but it somehow feels like a life time ago, and like it was literally just yesterday at the very same time,” she said, emphasizing that ‘time’ is the repetitive and constant.
Wandering is not the only thing that Chong does, armed with an MBA in International Business from ISM, Paris, France and BSc Major in Science Psychology and a Minor in Business from McGill University, Montreal Canada, she has positioned herself as a coach and is a published author.
LAUNCHED HER BOOK
She recently launched her book What the hell am I supposed to do with my life?!
“The book,” she said. “Doesn’t tell people what the hell they should do with their lives!.”
It is, in her words, a journey of figuring out “what the hell I should do with my life”, and the lessons that she learned along the way to help and guide others who are on a similar journey!
Not that she is proposing everyone who reads the book to quit their jobs, strap on on their backpacks and go out into the journey of the unknown. It is to find peace in their fast paced and high pressure lives.
“They don’t have to reinvent the wheel of the search for a more purpose-filled life,” Chong said.
The book has primarily been inspired by her move to New York, which she said, was a mix of revelation, and a shock at the same time.
“It’s so different trying to make a life in Jamaica versus trying to make one away,” Chong said. “There was the ‘big fish in a small pond, to little fish in a big pond’ syndrome, which I had to get over.”
She had to get used to the pace, the competition, which, she said, is so insanely on point.
“It’s so challenging, but it offers so so so many opportunities for growth (professionally and personally),” she said. “I particularly enjoy the diversity of New York City; I find that I learn a lot from the differences of the people there.”
Change said that living in New York has been more rewarding than it has been challenging.
“What I loved the most was the non-judgmental atmosphere,” she said. “It allowed me to learn to be and discover my true self, without the ever-present judgement.”
Being judgmental, she said, is one of the things that needs to be addressed in Jamaica.
New York, she says, though being a conundrum, is a hub of ideas collaborating with the other.
“They don’t spend time criticizing or telling you why they can’t work,” Chong said. “They spend time brainstorming ways in which it can. It fuels creativity and really allows you to dream, and no matter how crazy it is.”
Such interactions, she said, helps people to think what they are doing possible – helps one to believe, and critically forge partnerships and support.
“Things happen on such a large level in New York, you just feel exhilarated about the possibilities,” she said. “On the other hand it’s exhausting. It’s like running on a never ending treadmill.”
As she was running on the treadmill of life, Chong met her fiancé Lasse, a Norwegian, who she describes as an opposite to her.
“Lasse and I come from possibly the two most opposite cultures in the entire world,” she said. “Norwegians never speak about their emotions, Jamaicans don’t know how to appropriately regulate when they should/should not speak about their emotions!”
She lists a number of dissimilarities, from the culture to the way they view life. But, she says, their differences give them balance and that makes the relationship so healthy and fulfilling.
Chong calls herself as a “Jamasian” a mix of ethnicities, and now to add the Norwegian genes to her family tree. A mix, that could be parallel to New York, which is diverse, contradictory, overwhelming, yet it works.
“I would love to write more books, produce movies that are entertaining and healing, maybe have a talk show, create other entertaining and educational tools like daily meditations, maybe do a children’s book,” she said.
“I have a million ideas right now,” Chong said. “Right now I’m focused on getting this book into as many hands of those who need it, and then we shall see – Universe – your cue!”