Tuesday, January 20, 2015

how i manage my own quarter life crisis

* a forward entry inspired by roundtable challenge's resurrection

several months before graduating, i remember sitting beside a good friend on an abandoned pavement. arms wrapped around my worn out sweats, chest touching my knees while we were sharing warmth from a single cigarette stick.

we still cannot believe that several months from that time, we have to leave the ups and downs of college and start another chapter of our lives. although its not goodbye, we knew that everything will change and somehow our tears were the indicators that we refused to be ready for it.

the first few years were nothing near what we have expected. there were always those murmurs at the back of our heads which keep on reminding us of our frustrations. we always thought coming from a reputable university with good grades, being student leaders and having outstanding extra-curricular achievements would give us better advantage in landing the goals we aimed for. but it didn't. for the companies we applied and worked with, we were nothing but redundant and dispensable gears just to secure the operation is working. but what i hated the most was how we were treated based on our lack of relevant work experience. but i just couldn't blame them.

every time we meet, we were always almost penniless, working and jumping to one job to another which to begin with, we did not even like and we even agreed not to talk about our lovelives. but what were worst was the fact that these were not even the highlights of our quarter life crises.

looking back at it now, so many things have changed. the murmurs gradually became silent. we eventually landed on the path we wanted. she went back to the university to teach while i took the corporate life.

we don't see each other as often as before. we hardly keep in touch and deciding a meeting date or place usually take weeks to do. although we both have these challenges, we still both know that we have each others' backs.

so how did i make it? through several realizations:

first, always have dream. a practical and manageable dream. but make sure you are ready to fail and that you are willing to invest a lot of time and patience in it. dreams are never achieved over night, not even months or years. surprisingly, i have realized mine were usually found in places where i didnt expect them to be - most of the time among hard, difficult and similarly stagnant places.

second, always think that there is no such thing as a "deadlock" job. although something has to pay the rent, people should stay and work for the knowledge and experience and not simply for the money and benefits. despite how stagnant or slow moving a job may be, as long as you are learning and gaining experience- stay; stay like a growing tree. whenever you are thinking of leaving, always ask yourself if you are willing to go back at step 1 in exchange of an additional grand.

third, build a career. build a career not defined by movies and TV series which are usually based on high salary, benefits, nice clothes, cars or fame. build yours based on  your own sense of fulfillment and success.

fourth, never go where the money is going; rather follow where your career goes. at the end, you will realize that money and fulfillment go to whoever follow their career.

fifth, learn to appreciate. although there are people who were born with a lot of goodluck genes, most people were just born. for most people, they achieved there dreams without even realizing it because an actualized dream may happen to be different from how we imagine it. hence, many tend to overlook it and less appreciative of what they have.

in writing this, it doesn't mean that i have already reached my goals. in fact, i am still working on an 8 to infinity shift, with OTTY (Over Time, Thank You) while stealing some time writing this entry. i have no car and i am still renting an apartment with a couple of friends who i need to share the expenses. but i am contended.

i like the feeling that despite the stress and work problems, i can still smile and feel a certain level of fulfillment whenever i go out of work. then i am greeted by a warm embrace when i arrive home.

i like the feeling that time flies because somehow i like what i am doing. and most specially, i know that the knowledge and experience i am gaining will eventually carry me to my next dream. so for those, experiencing this, just stay put and be a tree; patient but growing. its just a phase.