Self-Advice on Quarter Life Crisis

While your peers are making life changes in career, relationships, business, tax, status, and location, you are contemplating on what else life has to offer. Some have changed. Some people have the same things since the beginning, but they are practically satisfied. You cannot simply understand why you can’t feel ‘settled.’

It’s always tempting to think that the grass is greener on the other side when all you see is news feeds. But you don’t know people on deeper levels (even your friends). We only know people by what they want us to know. Who are we to say that we don’t deserve the life we have? Who are we to say that they have a better life? We don’t know what they go through at night? As what I said, “The greatest battles in the world do not happen in the streets. They happen in our heads.Hence, evaluate your life, not others.’

On the other hand, the fear of mediocrity is a product of OCD (Obsessive Comparison Disorder). Do not be complacent but remember, brilliance is seasonal. Let go and let God decide when.

Stop using phrases “My life could have been better if, “ “If only I have, “If I were”. There are no specific traits or steps that are key to success or happiness. Life is not tailored for you. You learn to fit in what God has given you. You have to figure out life on your own. As you go along, you learn what works for you and what does not. Do not dwell on weaknesses but concentrate on the things you have control.

happiest moments

The most popular advice on quarter life crisis is to travel the world but traveling alone does not solve anything. It only gives you room for thinking but it does not fill in whatever insufficiency you have in life. It does not heal wounded souls nor it does not help you find the answers. But travel still. It might work.

travel

While it’s true that we should find our purpose in life, take note that not everybody can be Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela. Not everybody will win a Nobel prize, Grammy, or Magsaysay Award.

Our favorite book character, August Waters, shared the same sentiments. He feared oblivion. He wanted to be heroic. But his life was cut short for him to do something monumental. Even if all he achieved was a teenage life of cancer, did we not fall in love with him? For those who know the story of Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster, can we not say he lived a well-lived life?

Source: http://www.hypable.com/2014/01/29/fault-in-our-stars-book-vs-film-trailer-comparisons/
Source: http://www.hypable.com/2014/01/29/fault-in-our-stars-book-vs-film-trailer-comparisons/

My friend once dreamed that she died and she panicked in her dream not because she had not taken MA yet or became a doctor. She said: “I want to be loved.” Isn’t that all we need on our deathbed?

While reading an article in Huffington Post, there was one comment from the reader that struck me most: “It’s funny that people will work so hard in business to keep their clients, their business, their money, but don’t do the same in their personal lives…”

Your fancy titles, impressive resume, and attractive Facebook profile only matter to you. It is quite meaningless to be obsessed of what people think about you when in truth, they don’t care about you. They are not interested to know what you do in life, what are your activities, what are your hobbies, what is your passion. Casual conversations made me realize this. Hence, prioritize your interests and your dreams. Make yourself interesting for your own sake.

Life can be simplified. If you have a quiet life, find noise. If you have a busy life, pause. There should be balance of things for life to be appreciated. If you are bored, find other things to do. If you are still bored, find more things to do. Never rest. If you are burned-out, take a break. If you are still burned-out, take a longer break. Continue to vandalize your calendar with vacation and bucket list until negative feelings like these subside.

I think the best way to overcome quarter life crisis is to learn life like a dance lesson. (got this thought from Lourde de Veyra’s graduation speech.) A quote from Kurt Vonnegut: “Unannounced changes in life’s itinerary are like dancing lessons from God.” The only way to learn how to dance is to follow your instructor. We don’t go against the current but we go with the flow. We don’t fight against unexpected and unwanted life events but we join with the tides of life. If someone leaves you with a car alarm heart, you learn to sing along (Sarah Kay). We do not question the absence of some things in our life but we focus on what we already have.

It’s depressing to not know what you want to happen in your life but while the opportunity is not there, live life to the fullest and make the most of what you have.

You’re not missing anything in life. You are just processing but for an optimist, you are just enjoying. It’s like having a special meal on a restaurant. You are savoring every ingredient just to know how good it is. You are like a food critic but take your sister’s advice: “Do not over analyze life.”

You are made of pieces forming and falling. Compose yourself.

belo titanic

Pilgrim

I don’t have a good sense of direction. I cannot give clear instructions to a cab driver. When I was a kid, it took me a while to know where’s my left and my right. But in spite of not having a good sense of direction, I’m proud to say that I manage to visit a lot of places without a map.

People often describe me as “lost.” I am lost in every sense of the word. Lost in geography. Lost in thoughts. Lost of words. Lost…. My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations ( John Green, The Fault in Our Stars). Sometimes I cannot chase my own thoughts. I have to write them in my notebook because my mind skips from one idea to another. I think big. I like to keep my ideas vague and I always leave a grey area.

My sister tells me I am floater. I wander and wonder. I am a dreamer, one who spends a large portion of his/her life exploring and experimenting.  I spend a lot of my time in wonderland compared to my real world.  I dream a lot but I have no real goals.

I think  I surpass the three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I feel so lonely that I have no one to console me for my lack of ambition. I have no ambition to be rich. Of course, I want to have enough money to travel, to buy new clothes, to satisfy my appetites. But money itself is not my motivational force. When I think about security like most adults worry most, I  just have faith that God will provide. As written in Matthew 6: 25-34:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

This is not to say that we should not work and wait manna from heaven. But I don’t treat my life like a survival race.  We will survive no matter how much we are earning, how matter how big our family, no matter how limited are resources. If you think about animals, they don’t have money system of barter and trade. The birds just fly. The ants just crawl. And the street cats who have no pet owners have nine lives.

I don’t think that attaining the highest position in a multinational corporation can be one’s greatest achievement.  I do not envy those who have fancy business cards. I’m wondering how much time they devote in their corporate jobs, how much time they spend for hobbies, for culture, and for spirituality.

I once wrote an advice to my friend: to find a cause, to fall in love, to write a book. This is probably what I want to do or what I want to believe in. I interpret John Carter’s advice with metamorphic lenses. As what I said, I like to keep my ideas vague. That’s why I like metaphors. Finding a cause does not necessarily mean to stop global warming, to campaign against greedy politicians but to preach a principle that has life value. Falling in love for me does not have to be involved with a male figure. I want to fall in love with ideas. When an idea pops in my head, I want to nurture it and never leave it until it becomes a finished product. I might not publish a book at ll. All I want is to write my life and make it a masterpiece. I invent it and I make myself a heroic protagonist.

But for now, I’ll just dedicate my time to arts and humanity. Be a fan of artists. Seek and taste cuisines from different islands. Learn from people who excelled in their craft. Listen to different national anthems. Sing a new song with a different language. Travel and preserve memories in photographs and memoirs. Expand my reading list to reference books and niche magazines. Acquire a new set of skills. Discover hidden talents. Write a lot of letters and stories. Find romance and poetry in life. Love more people. Admire more people. Accept people as they are. Help people to be happier. Share what I already have. Glorify God. Claim that I am more than a statistic figure of human population. Take advantage of boredom because boredom calls a higher need.

“The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.”
Susan Sontag

It’s funny and superficial to say that this is my purpose in life but it can be profound at times.  There are many people who left earth without spending a single moment to question what is their purpose in life.

When you choose the road less traveled, you will get lost. There is no map for a road less known to others. But just like every destination, I manage to get there without a map.

Gotta go on my way *emote

Top Complaints of Twenty-Something

When you are in your twenties, you feel like you are rushing towards the age of thirty. You think something must happen. You want to see changes. You are eager to see improvement in your life. With all these thoughts running in your head, comes your favorite hobby, complaining. I complain a lot. When I talk to my friends, I realize we are complaining over the same things. Here are some of common complaints I hear from my age group.

“Life is not fair.”
You look around your peers. You wonder why other people get things so easy. You tell yourself life is not fair because others have achieved more than you do. Others get what they want on first try while you on the other hand are stuck with your no-success life. But before you conclude life is not fair, think about how many injustices are happening in the world. There are many forced disappearances, lost families, and lost lives. As long as you are not a victim of crime or any natural calamity, you have no right to complain life is not fair.

“I have a boring life.”
Boredom is a good or bad sign of a healthy life. If you have a boring life, it might mean absence of major problems in your life or it might also mean you are not taking risk to reach greater heights. Think about it. My five-year old niece complains to her mom, “I’m so very bored.” My sister then replies, “You have to be bored. It’s normal to be bored.”

“I don’t have a high paying job.”
When I hear people complaining about salary wages, I like to be preachy. I want to tell them: “Think about the factory workers, the fishermen, the farmers. They sweat like hell yet they earn less than you do. While you on the other hand, spend eight hours chilling in an air-conditioned room and the only busy part of your body are your fingers. What you only have is a college diploma that makes you different form the rest. You have to know what “high paying” means.

“I don’t have my dream job.”
What is exactly your dream job? To be a movie star? A novelist? A film maker? CEO? An astronaut? If your dream job sounds like one of these, you need not to complain. Seriously, how many people in the world are employed with these kinds of jobs?

“I don’t have a love life.”
My friend tells me, “ I wish I have a boyfriend. I wish I have a love life.” Deep inside, I want to tell her, ”If you only knew the pain of loving, you would not have wished for it.” I keep this to myself because I do not want to sound pathetic in front of my friend. Logically speaking, are you ready to get married? Do you want to have kids? Okay, the chances may be slim of having a husband in your pursuit of having a boyfriend. But what if you fall in love with the man of your dreams, and then he suddenly asks you if you want to marry him? Will you say, “Yes”? If any of your answers is “No”, then be careful what you wish for.

“Nobody loves me.”
Love is not measured by the number of fans or friends in Facebook. You’ll meet a lot of people but most of them will only be acquaintances. Some will be your friends for special occasions. Some will be friends for business. But a small group of friends is definitely okay. In fact, if there is only one person in this world who loves you, you have enough reason to survive.

Okay I know I am complaining about these complaints. I just want to tell you that: If you have the same sentiments as those listed above, then you are not the most miserable human being in the world. You are not a product of unfortunate events. Therefore, you can conclude you are absolutely normal. This means anything you complain is not worth complaining.