“How are you?” “Hey, I have been seeing a lot of your posts lately…are you ok?” “We miss you, why don’t you show up more?” “What have you been up to these days?” “Something bothering you these days?”
I smile. Throw a laugh, or perhaps a chuckle.
“Well. I don’t know. I think I’m going through quarter-life crisis [again]“
I was in EDSA Beverage Design Studio the other weekend, and I had one of those “conversations with myself” as I wrote on my journal, and drank ginger beer. Yes, ginger beer, because I were to hear Mass later that afternoon, and I didn’t want to be tipsy while in the house of God. And while scribbling thoughts, and letting go of bottled feelings, and just letting my MUJI pen bleed all over my Moleskine, something struck me.
I am restless because I am unhappy, yet at peace.
In January 2013, I set goals for myself. A complete 5-year timeline on where I should be on a specific month, what I should be doing by a certain year, what I should have accomplished by what age. In a way, I am thankful that I have misplaced it. But, everything is still fresh in my mind. I am halfway-through that timeline, unfortunately, I missed more than a couple of goals.
Teach Marketing in my alma mater by the age of 24. Be at least intermediate in French language by 2015. Travel to 6 new countries before you reach 23. Get rid of your habit to go out alone before 2016. Hold a mid-senior position in a company before hitting the age of 25.
These were just some of the ideas I had as a naïve University senior, preparing to conquer the world. And interestingly, I graduated around this time 3 years ago. I thought I would be able to do all of those if I were focused enough, if I my heart was truly set on those. People know me as a go-getter…Someone who values results more than anything else, even if it meant crossing certain lines. Everyone could attest to that. Friends and colleagues could attest that I would do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Do I have to get out of the pick-up truck, and notify a traffic enforcer to let us go through so we could have our program run smoothly? Do you want me to draft contracts even if the only background I had was a 3-unit course in Law, back in 2010? She wants California Maki without the…rice? Done. All of it. Done.
However despite this penchant for getting things done, for accomplishing absurd tasks that would yield success, for making things happen, and making clients happy in the end, a part of me felt like betraying myself. A part of me felt lost in all of it. I lost myself in all of it. In the everyday of pushing the needle to elevate others, fractions of me were lost in the process. I was slowly fading away.
I was devoting so much time for my job that I forgot to think my long-term career. I followed some ill advice of relishing today to build my future. I allowed myself to let some dreams slip away. And all of these made me unhappy. Broken. Lost. Speechless. Demotivated. I am unhappy.
My brother opened up an opportunity for me. He still does to this very day. Until now, I do not know why I am not going for it. Perhaps, it’s the pride. Maybe it’s the part of me afraid taking risks that come to the surface more. A part of me also feels like I just want to do things my way, and I’m too ashamed to get any help. And I hate it. I hate all of it. You see, I’m the type who, as much as possible, doesn’t want to receive any assistance. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be a charity case. I’m too proud for that. But today, I’m just filled with regrets. I should have taken up that offer. I bet I would be living the life I drafted 3 years ago, today.
But in between frustrations and temporary blisses, of hot chocolate and tons of coffee, of endless writing and book reading, I found myself. More mature. Enlightened. Driven than ever. More self-aware. And more, “I know your BS, and I’m taking none of it.”
The past few months I have been reading books–self-help–been writing more, listening to Spotify playlists ranging from “Classical Romance” to “Relax Meditate Sleep“,
doing attempting Yoga, taking longer morning and noon walks as I just find the silence and to declutter. The result? Coming into terms that my life is just going downhill.
There is a certain sense of peace acknowledging that your life, as you know it, might be in shambles. The recognition of the instability is ironically calming. There is peace in realizing that it is you who allowed these detours to happen. Because you come into terms that even if there are many external factors hindering you from achieving the milestones you have set for yourself, you are still the one with the hands on the wheel. Not your boss, not your client, not your friends nor family, not even any circumstance nor fate. You. You’re holding on to it, so you better damn steer it back to course.
“But, quarter-life crisis. I don’t know where to go anymore. I don’t know who I am.”
Cliché, straight-from-a-Thought-Catalog article written by a Millennial, or even a sappy self-help book, or one of those emotion-driven Graduation speeches addressed to students graduating from University…but, you make yourself. You create the person you want to be. Luckily, for me, I have seized enough chances to know what I do not want, who I will never choose to be, who I no longer want to associate myself with…so I am set. Almost. It’s just a matter of timing. Of allowing this peace to settle in, and for me to have the guts to just close my eyes, and make the dive. To trust myself, to trust the Universe.
I am turning 25 in a matter of months, and life scares me. Why? Because I am afraid that even if there is this peace, and this reinvigorated soul within me to slowly make things right, and make things happen for me, I might fail. And wonder to myself, “When will this quarter-life crisis end?” I am terrified. I am so close to the edge and breaking free from all inhibitions, but I am still tempted to retreat. To play it safe. To take calculated risks.
But things are not okay, and I know in my heart that if I stay, then this whole feeling of “quarter-life crisis” has been invalidated. If I do not move, if I do not go, then I have betrayed myself once again. But I am over that. From this point on, I know what I want. I have a crystal clear vision for myself. I am certain to be who I want to be in the coming months/years. And nothing is going to hold me back.
I’m doing me this time around.