What started with a silly office conversation…

“Meryll, bakit ka nag-CommArts kung Masci ka? Bakit hindi ka nag-science course?”

I would always answer that question with, “Kasi mas gusto kong kumanta’t umarte kesa mag-basa ng mga medical books or laws.”  And last night, I added another response, “Marami kasing matalino sa Masci. If we’re all in the same field, mahirap makipag-kumpitensya.”

And I’d go all defensive by saying, “Bakit si Michael V., o si Tuesday Vargas, o si Alvin Patrimonio? Masci sila pero they’re making it big in the entertainment biz.

But honestly, I still ask myself that question sometimes.

Why didn’t I pursue a non-liberal arts course?  Why didn’t I pursue my childhood dreams of being a doctor?… or why didn’t I pursue engineering or law?… fields that have been lingering — almost spoonfed to me during my high school years.

Perhaps I wanted to stand out.  But in my experience in the field of Advertising or Creative Writing or Theater… I don’t consider myself a cut above the rest.  Even in this field, “Mahirap makipag-kumpitensya.”

So yesterday, when my colleague stopped me on my tracks with that question, I couldn’t mention the above answers with convincing conviction.  I lingered with, “Eh…” 
Not missing the chance, he blurted out, “Hindi mo alam gusto mo, noh?”

A pause in the room.
A quickening of my heartbeat.
A fake laugh trying to conceal the battle between my eyeducts and that tear quickly trying to leak.

My only refuge: Prayer. But the silence is deafening.
So, my secondary refuge: Twitter. 140 characters of my inner struggle that I cannot express vocally in my workplace.

I placed a hashtag on my tweet #quarterlife.

Because that’s what it felt like.  “I’m 24 and I somehow don’t know what I want.  It’s been four years since my college graduation and I’ve had four jobs — the longest of which was two years in an advertising agency — which in my opinion, also had no direction in its life.  I just recently left that agency and moved to a supply chain and logistics management company — an industry I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT, a workplace filled with engineers and accountants — void of any hint of a person in the liberal arts whatsoever.  I’m here and I don’t know why.  All of a sudden, I’m back in my university where my fellow CommArts students’ and my mere existence is bombarded with criticism for having no bearing in a strongly scientific academic environment.

I am lost.

I’ve never felt this lost since that day I rode a bus to Buendia and ended up in Alabang.

I am clueless.

But at the back of my head, there is this voice that tells me I shouldn’t be.  I’m a Christian.  God promised me a future! 

But at this point, I’m like, “Lord. Where is it?  Why can’t I see it?”

And I feel like I’m in no position to pray or meditate because my emotions and my self-judgment is crowding my senses.  My heart is heavy.

I read an article linked to me by a friend who saw my tweet.

It pretty much says this: “The twentysomethings of this generation experience a common struggle: lack of direction in life.  It seems that way because contrary to the struggles of our parents when they were twentysomething, our generation lives in a world where making a name for yourself is not boxed into the corporate setting.  Everyone can be anything. And therein lies the struggle.  There’s too much space to grow.  There are too many options.  And we all feel like we can be all of them.  But the pressure to choose which path to pursue is at its peak when you’re twentysomething because if you decide and not make it big, time will be lost, youth will be lost, the learning curve lengthens.  And a society that hasn’t really embraced the idea of the latebloomers adds to the pressure.  This is what is referred to as the Quarterlife Crisis.”

The solution: well, the article gave lots of opinions on that, too. But at the end of the day, it’s really just a decision to grow up.

And there begins a mean cycle of personal internal debate. To grow up mean to decide.  But at the end of every decision is the second thought.  Only those who stick with it are the real decision makers.

Having read that article, I began to process and find a commonality with my dilemma.  I’m like, “Yeah, I feel that way. I feel like I can be anything. In fact, anything I do, I do good at it. (Not to toot my horn or anything but that’s how I feel — and that’s the general feedback from my peers and superiors.) 

But being a jack of all trades and master of none is not my dilemma.  My dilemma is I CAN BE ANYTHING, YES.  But I can’t afford to. 

If I truly honestly answered the question, “What do you really  want to be?”
I would say, “I want to be on Broadway.”

FAR OUT! IMPOSSIBLE!

And I can’t afford it.  I live in a Third-World country where a house is home to not just the immediate family but relatives to the second degree who do not work at all.  Where a paycheck creates an illusion of wealth when in reality, it slips through your hands because of high cost of living — bills, food, gas, transportation… voiding you sometimes of space for middle-class entertainment in whichever form.

I am sad.

Because this whole thought process makes me feel so boxed.  I’m not usually like this.  I believe in a big, alive and VERY REAL God who never fails to supply my needs — and gives dreams and hopes..

But I honestly feel void of hope and energy to exert effort into outthinking this.  My lazy ass is saying, “just go with the flow. Put food on the table.  That’s easier.”

But then at the end of the day, Time is fleeting.  And there begins the idea of a regret.

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