Thursday, June 11, 2009

IN OR OUT: WARDING OFF QUARTER LIFE CRISIS

As a bubbly child, I dreamed of becoming an accountant. Although I knew I was not gifted on working with numbers and formulas, the office set-up and illusion of earning big time attracted me the most to be a CPA someday. So, when I had the chance to choose my degree in college, I picked accountancy. Surprisingly, after indulging myself on a series of college entrance tests, I landed in the “glamorous,” fun, loud and exciting world of Mass Communication. I also ventured into creative writing which ignited my passion for literary compositions and what nots. Additionally, I also realized my passion on acting and the thespian surfaced during my college days. 

Having traveled a different path from my childhood dream, I came to ponder that perhaps I really can’t change what’s destined for me. Although I don’t go with the flow, there’s something waiting for me out there. I just have to be patient and find it.


Obviously, I didn’t become the CPA I dreamed of. I become a writer in an advertising agency here in Brunei. But I tell you, before I arrived on my current situation, I’ve been through a lot of frustrations, anxieties, headaches, and tears which led to some sort of depression.

When I graduated college, I was packed with idealism. Aside from wanting to become a successful television director and writer, all I knew then was to make a difference. I even thought of myself as a superman who can change the world. Surprisingly, that’s didn’t happen as I stepped into the “real world.” 


My high expectations were lambasted and were even diminished to its smallest. I came to realize, aside from the dilemma that I was underpaid and overworked, I despised the office politics and the deceiving glamour of the television world. 

Soon, with a bit of savings in my bank account, I packed my stuff and shelved my dream of becoming a director/writer. Just when I thought I was done with production work, to my surprise, I moved in to another television network. Sadly, I left that network soon enough before the show ended.

It was in 2006 when my mom died because of diabetes. I was at a lost in my life when she left me. Although I knew she was proud with what I achieved over the past years, in reality, she never saw my low moments because I concealed it with big smiles and a little of positivity. I just never wanted her to feel my pain. 


To me, letting my mom see the rainbow after my battles in the rain was enough to energize my decelerating spirit. Soon, sadness piled up and it consumed me. I had a panic attack the same year my mom died. The attack ensued from the feeling of hopelessness, having no direction in life, bundles of anxieties and heightened paranoia. On top of that, because I was mending my emotional baggage, I touched my savings to the point of losing every penny.

Thankfully, with the support of my family and friends, from ashes, I rose like a phoenix. As soon as I ended thriving on my past, I composed myself and confidently believed I’m all set to face my life again. 


As I saw my high school batchmates made their names on their chosen fields, I was patching the puzzles of my life and learning the basics. First, I started freelance writing to support myself. Then, I did some part-time teaching to foreigners which I enjoyed. And eventually, I took a graduate studies at UP. Although there were some recurring threats of anxieties, slowly, I focused myself on my path, count the blessings I had, stopped comparing myself to others, and entrusted myself to our dear God.

By 2008, a big surprise knocked at my door. I was offered to work in Brunei as an advertising copywriter. I was hesitant to take it, it’s a big leap. But with so much trust from God and the backing up from my family and friends, here I am, living each day, one moment at a time.

 Looking back, I can say, just like any twenty somethings, I walked the bridge struggling to fight and cure what they call Quarter life crisis. It was obvious. Although I did my best to get a cure, none was visible and effective. It was the right attitude, the mind conditioning, positivity and slowly taking things that helped me get through it. 

Now, as the wind of change blows, I’m earning enough to help my family and save without being harassed and stressed; I’m soon to take my graduate studies which may give me the ticket to go back in the Philippines and teach in college; and my talents in singing are being discovered and loved by the people. Although it's not the ideal life I have imagined, at least I find peace.

With all of these positive changes, I must admit, I am blessed. While everyone searches for their niche and their fulfillment, I am just so fortunate to have a “current” life filled with excitement and growth.

Now, let me share to you what the common cases of Quarter Life crisis and how to cope with it.

PROBLEM: Unsuitable job for academic/intellectual level


I felt this very much when I started in a television network. Imagine, I started as production assistant even I graduated with high honors at UP. But then again, I realized that the best way to succeed is to start from below. 


Although it was challenging and death-defying, in order to cope, I treated myself like a sponge and I absorbed every possible skill I can to grow my professional capabilities. Positively, by showing what I really got paired with my dedication and work ethics, from being a PA, I was soon promoted as a segment producer and writer. But what's more rewarding, currently, I'm reaping all the gains with my past pains! Believe, learn to be patient!

PROBLEM: Frustration with a Relationship
I never got into a relationship. I just don’t know why. But hearing stories from my friends give me the idea how relationships cause sweetness and mayhem on their lives. 


For a twenty something, falling in love and being in loved in return is heavenly. Sadly, some are not fortunate in that quest as their partners betray them big time. So how do you combat frustrations on relationship?

Learn the art of expressing yourself. By maintaining an open line of communication with your partner, trust is cooked well. Additionally, you can share your sentiments and goals in life with the person you know whom you’ll be with forever (hopefully). 

On one hand, if you feel being played by your partner, end the relationship. Think that there’s someone out there who deserves you better. Learn from each mistake you will encounter.

PROBLEM: Disappointment with One’s Career
So you feel stagnant in your career: you’re not getting a raise and you think you’re not growing professionally. Although you can look at office politics as a main root on this burden, better re-asses your performance. 


If you still think you’re not getting the promotion you deserve, why not talk to your boss to settle things. On one hand, in the aspect of growth, why not take up a graduate study or explore certificate/diploma courses to develop your skills.

By simply redirecting your mind on more productive adventures and stop whining on what you don’t have, you’ll see bliss in your office and personal space.

PROBLEM: Insecurity on life’s goals and present accomplishments
When we we’re young, we had a lot of dreams. We delved on that very much. Just like fairy tales, we believed in happy endings. We liked the sensation. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality in the fast-paced and unfair world.


In order to survive in the jungle, you are compelled to be strong-willed and mobile. And with the competition getting high, you started to realise you’re being left behind especially upon snooping on others’ accomplishments. And from there, different forms of insecurities surface – from looking at your physical features, office performance, ideals, values, and many more. So how do you control this? 

Highlight and look at your assets and not on your liabilities. By believing in yourself that you have what it takes, you can assure you’ll move forward. At the same time, stop comparing yourself to others. Love your uniqueness and individuality.

PROBLEM: Identity Crisis
With the boom of consumerism, almost everyone is defying time and space to achieve fame and fortune. And for a twenty something, we are finding our self in a vast world. In doing so, experimentation happens. We even re-create our identities on social networking sites by pretending to somebody. Obviously, the never ending quest of being somebody from nobody is what concoct identity crisis. Relatively, fandom and idolatry surfaces as we interact with the media. 


However, in order to identify oneself, all you need is to be true to yourself and start throwing pretentions. As long as you don’t hurt others in your journey on not conforming, the better.

PROBLEM: Financial Stress
Commercialism has changed the face of the world to the point of implanting new perceptions and realities. Aside from bringing us comforts and advancement, it also ushers us a spectrum of stresses that varies on situations. 


For a twenty something, we put a high value on saving. We know that if we save, we’ll have a better future. Sadly, no matter how hard we save, our income doesn’t cover all the expenses we need, even the basics. As a result, we end up frustrated and struggling. 

In my opinion, it’s our own lifestyle that's pulling us down and adds to our stresses. In this digital world, who would not want to be “in” or “cool” by having the trendiest and expensive mobile phone, laptop or even an iPod? Truth be told, we are being enslaved by our “wants” rather our “needs.”

So, to solve our financial stresses, it is best to be practical in our purchases. Learn to enjoy at the same time master the power of saving. Why not simply use your credit card on emergencies. And if you are a bread winner, be proud! Not everyone can handle being one!

Bottom line, no one can escape the phase called Quarter Life crisis. But as long as we keep positivity by being true to ourselves, embracing opportunities, having wise decisions in managing our finances, and believing in our strengths rather than whining on our weakness, we will get through this phase successfully. Let us not be buried on life’s dark caves, rather, let us look at the green pastures waiting to be discovered. MOVE FORWARD!

On top of that, in times of loneliness and feeling of lost, we can always talk to our family and friends. Best of all, seek for God’s enlightenment and everything shall be fine.

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