Starting Over at 29
How do you measure a year in the life?
Mine would be in ups, downs and reflections, I guess. Last year, I celebrated my birthday by leaving/losing my job mostly because I hated it. The reason why I left my previous advertising job for the one I had also just left was because I was entering my late 20s and I needed to explore what else was out there. I did not want to be trapped with no more options left for me. Plus: I thought I needed a job that would help me mature as a professional and offered me benefits and security. I thought a BPO was gonna give that to me.
The thing is: I was already trapped. I really had nothing else to show of my professional life but my advertising career. Mostly because I spent much of my mid-20s thinking about doing stuff but never got around to doing them. Then I remembered why. Sometime after turning 24 when nothing was working out, I stopped planning my life and just went with the flow.
The thing is when I stopped planning, I also stopped having goals. In college, I was a superstar because I knew who I wanted to be when I graduated. In the real world, I was a smoking, scattered brain mess!
When I realized this, I promised myself that the moment I get a steady income going, I was gonna start doing everything that I've always wanted to do:
1. Quit smoking so I can sing and dance again.
2. Learn to play the piano.
3. Draw again.
4. Write stories again.
5. Practice ice skating.
6. Swim more.
7. Learn to ride a bike.
8. Play billiards more.
9. Take up photography again.
10. Learn videography.
Then it hit me that I also wanted to do some of these things when I was much younger and that I lost a lot of my teenage years because I was angry, depressed and in limbo when I could've been more productive. I imagine if I had just focused back then, I would be in theater right now - one of the passions I left behind as I entered my 20s.
Fortunately, I was given a third chance this year. It may be too late to make a career out of them, but that doesn't matter now. With me back in advertising, I realized that maybe being a better professional does not mean working for a big corporation where the standard and therefore the challenge and subsequent reward are all really high. Maybe it's about being the best at what you do wherever you are. There is so much more in advertising that I have yet to explore and I do believe I'm on the right track at being the best if I just applied myself. I imagine that as soon as I can play keyboard better, I can compose my own jingle and sing it! As soon as I can draw better, I can provide artwork. Maybe shoot the photos and videos or maybe even choreograph! I just get excited thinking about the possibilities!
I don't know if I should regret that these realizations came to me at the tail-end of my 20s, but I guess it just means that there would be something more for me to look forward to. I mean, if I had everything, what else would be out there?
So I'm picking up the pieces and starting over. I have a lot of time to make up for and part of that is also catching up on games, movies, books and comics that I missed growing up, as well as taking better care of myself. Not only have I accomplished those in the last few months but I have also gotten started on a lot of items on the list (including quitting smoking). Now I can look forward to getting frustrated and angry, as well as appreciating the little victories along the way.
I'm in a much better place this year than where I was last year and even the years before not just because of my new job but because of my new "lease on life". Now I have something to live for and work on. Goals.
Right now, I'm working on figuring out if confidence and certainty leads to cynicism. I find that the more I know myself and assert my place in the world, the more I become impatient and judgmental with other people. I guess I've become more protective of my interests now.
No, I have an entire year to figure that matter out. For now, I just want to appreciate what I have.