That Quarter Life Crisis

I have been meaning to write about what’s been happening to me in the past weeks.  I have been gathering the courage to face, let alone, resolve my issues as I’m getting into a more serious stage of my adult life. I’ve started to ask questions – questions after questions. I think I’m already experiencing it. And it really is quite a while already.  Western literature would usually term it as a quarter life crisis. It is usually characterized by asking to one’s self where life is heading and if one can do something about it. I realized that I had started experiencing it when I was staring at my savings account; seeing myself in the mirror, eyes a bit hallow, tired from a 12-hour work from the office; aware that I was 25 then; realized that I’m still living with my parents; closing to concluding an important chapter of my life; weighing if I just wasted my money on travels, gadgets and running; and wondering what my relationship would be in the coming years.  Questions that if I’m still making the right decisions. Questions that if I’m really happy.

To be honest, no matter how many times I told myself that I’ve overcome it, I’m very much positive that I haven’t.  And in those days that I had the chance to be myself confirmed that I’m really having a hard time in this stage of my life.

I’ve disclosed this concern to the most trusted people in my life. Others were even half older than me.  One said that she has already experienced it and knows exactly how I feel. Though they were still gathering a more constructive thought on my situation.  Point after point I said that I’ve realized I deserve better in what I think, feel, earn, acknowledge, judge right now.

I made a promise to myself that I should stop worrying on things – that I should let things go and refraining on surrounding myself with negative people.  I’m a planner, a development worker, a woman, and being one really made it difficult for me.

As a planner, I love envisioning what would I be like in the coming days, weeks, months, years.  I dream both the possible and maybe the impossible.  I am not yet close to a visionary, but in dreaming, it helps me see the light against some shades of gray at the present.  It takes away my fears, my worries, and my woes.  The truth is, no matter I focus on “the now”, sometimes, the horizon was just limited and I had to shape that dream into faith that things would be better.  Years back, I was a couch potato; I didn’t mind with my looks; I make my parents’ litigating tendencies as an excuse not to participate on other activities outside the home; I didn’t even know how to properly take a picture or manipulate an SLR.  But I dreamed of those athletes in the Runners’ Magazine; I talk to myself in the mirror that I can change how I look and feel about myself; I experienced sleeping outside our gate and wait until my mother open them because I chose to enjoy the night with my friends rather than go straight home at 6:00PM; I took classes in photography and managed to cover 3 weddings because they like how I did – the reason I began doing travel and events photography.

It’s hard though when people you trust and love the most tell you otherwise no matter how beautiful they packaged it into kind words. It’s like claiming something that is not meant to be.

And it hurts. It really hurts.

As a development worker, I’m into thinking into multiple layers at the same time.  I can relate different components and construct it into a single perspective.  I also have high tolerance to very stressful situations.  Since I’m dealing with other people’s problems (and that’s poverty, hunger, discrimination, deprivation, abuse, resettlement, and the like), I need to be more resilient in responding to them.  I need to make a way to translate the response into my reports, analysis, and recommendations.  Though at the same time, to be needs and context-based on such responses, I was groomed to be emphatic on the past, present, and future situations undergoing such hardship.  Yes, in return, I tend to being more affected that people should be sometimes.  As this position is prescribed to different problems however, it sometimes misses the point of making it bearable to development workers ourselves.  Sometimes, I too, become a victim of other people’s problems.

And don’t just turn a blind eye to what is wrong.  I can’t just watch TV series or movies without being concerned to what is being reported at the news channel.  As such, it no longer interests me to ‘enjoy’ what is fictional but to face the pragmatical, structural, and systematical.

As a woman, I myself know the problem how being a woman contributes to my crisis.  My situation puts me into a double-bladed standard that I should be prudent, calculative, practical, and familial in my choices and actions, and yet I should not exactly affirm what I wanted else to do in my life.  Expectations to women sometimes include fulfilling the parents’ wishes and aspirations and getting a man better than you.  Really, is this a competition?  And yes, I am being judged because I can’t invest first because I am a woman.  Let alone, if I am to be married anyway, it is not me to determine what my life would be or my house would be like or where.

To add to that, being a woman also deters you to hope for a long lasting love.  It also undermines even the possibility to dream what love would be like.  It’s like, let’s love while it lasts.  So is it “best before: dd-mm-yyyy”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m working my ass off to make it last, but if I’m not on the same page with that person, I really better put that on my life crisis checklist to resolve. I’m taking yoga, belly-dancing, boxing, cooking, and personality development classes to boost my personality.  Just to subtract my seemingly boring self.

Relationships don’t last long but dreams do.  But if dreams were the ones trampled, now that’s a huge trouble.

Yep, it does hurt, again.

As I was waiting for the results of my comprehensive exams and went on remembering what I wrote, I realized that I was really passionate on my chosen field.  I never felt more fortunate of choosing to study Masters in Community Development.  I did not just want to pass the exams.  I was hoping that my perspective, my drive, my attention, would somehow help other people.  I saw myself finally nailing that project proposal or managing a humanitarian team to rehabilitate a community.  I dreamed of working in a coastal area and talking about what the upcoming community agenda be.  I saw myself playing with the kids who just came from school and seeing them smiling while carrying their slip-ons as they run across the shore on the way home.  I was cooking lunch with the mothers of the community and just didn’t mind the fumes, traffic, and calculations back in the city.  I saw myself – way apart from who and where I am today.

Should I get the job offers I’ve been seeing for days now?  It’s high-paying, definitely farther from home, yet I can be maximized. However it is contract and project-based and not termed as a regular job.

My work has been like this for almost 6 years already. Can I move on now?

I was even thinking of taking a job so far from home that I am forced to live away from my parents and just mind on continuously finding myself.  Maybe work as a foreign contingent or take a diploma scholarship in Japan, Australia, or Singapore.

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23 Photo Picks of 2013

Photos that I’ve taken that left a memorable moment of my 2013.  Some marked ‘first-times’, adventure, love, and even social relevance.

Photo pick #1: Good morning, sun, road, and dear! (March 2013) – on my way to work, I decided to take a photo of one of the blossoms that I managed to preserve from my first Valentine’s day bouquet from my dear.

3rd monthsary greeting

Photo pick #2: Summer is for everyone! (March 2013) – lying by the beach of Bantayan Island, Cebu wishing time would just stop even for a little while. Everything so clear, blue, warm, and summer!

Basking under the sky

Photo pick #3:  Highschool is a lifetime (April 2013) – even as the host, me and my highschool friends ‘crashed’ a party with cakes, chips, pasta, and lots of drinks and singing!

Together

Photo pick #4: Ready, set, hit! (April 2013) – covered my grandson’s birthday at the time. There is so much joy when you watch kids play.  No doubts, no setbacks, just YOLO (you only live once) moments. Here they are about to play “Basagang Palayok”. Funny how I realized that the kid in front still smiled even with a blindfold on.

Basagang Palayok

Photo pick  #5: Tourist (May 2015) – While walking around the shores of Boracay Island, I noticed the lady tourist with a local helping her to take her photos. She got the apparel, the looks, and the background. Solo traveling for her seemed ideal.

Tourist

Photo pick #6:  Fire dance (May 2015) Now a typical evening tourist attraction in Boracay island. Just imagine how fast these youngsters turn the fireball chains. It’s risky but that’s what made it a hit.

Fire dance

Photo pick #7:  The local (May 2015) – Behind the night lights, buffets, souvenir shops, white sand, and fire dances in Boracay, there are the locals who have the meager means to make a living. The man has amputated legs, while the child appears to have inherited the same impoverished state as his parents.They both ask alms especially in the evenings, garnering sympathy and apathy among tourists and locals at the same time.

The actual attraction

Photo pick #8: Goods (March 2013) – My Tabo-an Market experience in Cebu City.  It was not as crowded as it used to be that time. Almost all types of driend seafood products can be found here.  Smelling something fishy means something sumptuous.  And yes, the danggit is my favorite! But take note, if you are looking for affordable souvenirs, this is the best (and really bargain-best) place to be. I was able to find quality and affordable chicharon Carcar and dried mangoes IN BULK.

Market

Photo pick #9: Bride and Bloom (June 2013) – A momentous wedding event of a friend I managed to cover. Of course, shooting moments with the bride is my favorite.

Bride and Bloom

Photo pick #10: Jogyesa Temple (February 2013) – This is my first time to enter a Buddhist temple and what more, it was during my tour in Seoul, South Korea with my family.

Spiritual

Photo pick #11: Seoul eats (February 2013) My family and I fought the winter cold with tteokbokki and soondae and good old fish stock.

The real food

Photo pick #12:  Korean food hangover (March 2013) Just weeks after our Korean trip, my brother and I headed to Don-Day Korean Restaurant in Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village in Quezon City (the other one is in Timog) for a samgyupsal (grilled pork) fix.

hangover

Photo pick #13: Dinners and conversations (March 2013)  It really feels great when you manage to catch-up with your friends you haven’t seen for quite a while.  My friend here treated me for a Japanese food dinner.

dinner with friends

Photo pick #14: Best buds (December 2013) I like to share how my best buds (featured here is Bambi, an Aspin) make me come home everyday, smiling. Unlike you, for them, you are their world.

Loyal friends

Photo pick #15: First finisher’s medal (February 2013) This will forever remind me that to do the impossible is also starting small. And from then on, running changed my life forever.  I began running for 10K’s and vied for a 15K where thankfully, I managed to get my first medal.  Whenever I look at this, I just can remember the struggles I had with my legs and feet and how God guided and protected me in every step of the way. Just thankful!

1st finisher's medal

Photo pick #16: 27 years (December 2013). Our family celebrated my parent’s 27th wedding anniversary.

27 years

Photo pick #17: Best tourist attraction (July 2013) That moment when your tour guide just told you jump and you just followed. That moment, however felt crazy, just felt great.  Me, my friends, and my dear, made goofy expressions as we stole Mt. Mayon’s moment in the background.

Jump

Photo pic #18: Kaedee smiling (December 2013) This sweet child just made everyone smile when she joined our office Christmas party.

Kaedee smiling

Photo pick #19: In the moment, in style (December 2013).  This is just me and my office friends tag along the Winter Sonata Christmas theme. It’s just a beautiful sight when we see each other pouring those efforts in and making the most out of it.

Winter Sonata Christmas party

Photo pick #20: The arrival of the Nifty Fifty (November 2013). And my dream of capturing those moments full of color, expression, and story came to life when I was able to buy my dainty 50mm prime lens.  Just loved playing with it.

IMG_0153

Photo pick #21: Romance captured (December 2013). Think of my lens still open, and my eyes roaming around the crowd. There, captured!

hands

Photo pick #22: Siblings (November 2013). Left alone with our parents on official travel, my brother and I celebrated his birthday over his favorite pizza, fried chicken, and cookies and cream icecream. And thank you, tripod!

Siblings

Photo picks #23: Maayo (July 2013) My favorite shot as it was my first travel with Dear and my first time to see the beauty of the famous Mt. Mayon. Truly, maayo!

The couple

Just like a debut of memories, the 23 photo picks marked new beginnings and realizations in life.  With that, I am more eager to experience 2014 as it continues to unravel another set of memories.