Vantage Point@25

A week ago, my Born-Again cousin was one of the inspirational speakers during a large youth conference held in Manila. She spent her first two years of work in Dubai but she suddenly went back to the University of the Philippines, her mother school in the province. Later I learned that she became a ministry pastor for the Born-Again youth organization in her university. She seems passionate of her vocation: she even skips family gatherings to teach and preach in other places. And before age 25 she delivered her speech to thousands of young people; she radiated happiness and inspiration. No wonder many were moved by her. She strives on the spotlight, not in some reception or office desk in a faraway desert emirate.

I remembered my coaches in our quiz team as intelligent men. One of them, thin, tall and slightly on the feminine side, he was the gentler, permissive foil to our other coach, who was dominant and brimming with confidence. He gave us his insights about Psychology and encourages us with his trust while the other effectively motivated us with his high expectations and precise tips and techniques. When I inherited their place as quiz team captain, I brought the team to its record-breaking one-mistake win.

And these two, they moved on to greater things. One of them quit his job as recruiter and earned his Master’s degree in record time at a reputable institution while teaching in another university. It was nerve-racking: taking Master’s almost like a full-timer while teaching. Now he teaches where he took his Master’s degree shortly after earning it. The other one, even with a promising potential, started as a call center agent, and became manager before reaching 25. Now he studies abroad, care of his company.

The second eldest cousin is the first in our batch to go abroad. He was an Engineering graduate who went to USA initially with incomplete files. He, a thin, rich boy in the Philippines, waited on tables, provided change behind the cash register, and cleaned sinks. He also bulked his slight frame and he was almost unrecognizable due to his bigger body build. He eventually got his green card and got enlisted in the US Navy. Now the Navy is financing his further studies.

My college classmate and fellow Psychology lover started as a back office service provider in a call center. After a year he was able to save up and be knowledgeable enough to avail a Master’s degree education from the most expensive and recognized school in the Philippines. At a young age of 23 he is already assistant manager in an HR department.

As I read success stories of people in my life, I cannot help but feel a pang of jealousy. How could this be? Why are they able to be where they want to be in such a short time, while I dawled in idleness and normalcy? I imagined myself two years ago, freshly graduated and dreaming of finding a job, saving up, taking a master’s degree and teaching in college. Fast forward to the present, and I find myself in a rut. The past two years was a waste of time, energy, and money. I put up with an unstable company, with contract employment, with brain-dumbing menial jobs, and crab mentality. All because I need to earn. But with the stress and lack of inner discipline, I ran out of luck and money.

After four jobs, everyone is questioning my competence, my attitude, my loyalty. After 2 years I saved nothing, spent on things to quell the feelings of having no purpose and no direction. I am just going in circles, a dog foolishly chasing its own short tail. And I have to sink further by flying abroad and doing stuffs further than what I learned and worked before. But this is the change I need to rebuild myself. Others did it. So can I.  I have to start again. I am 23 already. I am starting again. Hopefully on the right foot. It’s not too late for me.

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