A Deer Caught in Headlights

For almost five years, I was a business analyst for a well-known food manufacturing company in my country. I received constant praises from my colleagues and superiors. In my five years in the company, I received five awards inluding one that merits being included in a prestigious group of achievers called the General Manager’s LEAGUE. I was great at my job. I was one of the best. I loved it, too. It was never perfect and I was happy with that. But somehow, I knew I could be happier.

Cue in the present.

I am now three months in after having quit.

I feel like a deer caught in headlights.

I have taken that big, bold step of crossing the road. I was so sure of it. I couldn’t exist in that side of the forest anymore. And there was no other way but to go to the other side no matter how dark and scary the road was in between. This was it! My one big move. THE gamechanger. My very own leap of faith.

But now, I am in the middle of the road, caught by the bright light of that approaching car, and unsure of what to do. A million thoughts are running in my head right now.

What should I do?

What have I done?

Why did I do this?

What made me think I could even do this?

Should I go back? No. I probably shouldn’t. There is no life back there for me anymore. I have nothing to go back to, not the kind of life I yearn for. I could make it work. I could always make it work. The thing is, I don’t want to. Not anymore.

Should I just stay here? No! That would be foolish. What use could it be to stay suspended, to be neither here nor there, to just stop and stay in between?

I should definitely continue moving forward.

But I’m scared. What if it isn’t what I hoped it would be? What if I fail?

And I’m exhausted. Nothing ever seems to happen. I haven’t even seem to have made a dent in what I want to accomplish.

Wait. Here I go again with all these negativity. I have to stop this.

I have been through a lot of things before. I have had challenges I thought I would never get through. I have made it through a lot worse. And here I am, much stronger and a lot wiser than before.

So, for now, I would start thinking more positively. My past have been nothing but a story of personal triumphs and valuable lessons. It has always been a reminder that there is always something good in every situation. So, what is there to be scared of?

For now, I would celebrate even the tiniest of successes. No matter how small, every action Is bringing me towards my dream. Also, with every action is a lesson: a lesson about the universe or myself. And that is not nothing.

For now, I would remind myself that it is not supposed to be easy. There would always be struggles and challenges along the way. They are there to separate the good from the great. They are there to make it all the more fulfilling in the end.

For now, I would believe in myself. I am amazing. I have been given the greatest of gifts. I am a miracle created with love, with His love. I can do anything.

For now, I would take another step. And take another after that. I would continue to charge forward. Along the way, I know there are times that I would falter and fall. But then, I would remind myself that as long as I continue moving forward, I would get to where I want to be eventually.

Whoa! I got a C!

I got a C! But it is not what you think. It is not for English or for Math or for some other subject. I took a test in Lakbayan measuring how much of my beautiful and beloved country, the Philippines, I have visited.



My Lakbayan grade is C!
How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!
Created by Eugene Villar.

C! Not bad! It may mean just the passing grade or “good” but for travel, I will take it.

My family did not really travel much when I was still a kid. Sure, I got some taste of it during field trips and a few family events. But that was about it. I stayed home while people I know explore every inch of the country. I used to think that it doesn’t matter because I do not have much of a liking for travel anyway. I would rather stay in my comfortable home. From time to time, I would go out to eat with some friends, watch some movies or simply hang out in malls. I was perfectly okay with that routine.

All that changed after my first official adventure. After saying “no” a few times, I finally said “yes’ to my cousins’ incessant begging for me to join them on a trip. What can I do? They were desperate to have me on that trip. Just kidding. They just wanted me to enjoy for once.

In that adventure, I learned what real travel meant. You get lost. You encounter uncomfortable situations. You meet difficult people. You have to be on top of things most of the time, including staying within your budget. You have to be flexible with the “how” of things as long as you achieve the “what”. You find magnificent places. You discover exquisite food. You are forced to get out of your bubble and really talk with people. You learn more about yourself. You do things you never thought you could. You enjoy things you never thought you would. You are changed.

The word, “enjoy,” cannot even suffice to describe what I experienced. I was elated! I was enthralled!

Now, I have put travel higher in my priority list. I have been to a number of places and I have enjoyed every fun and challenging minute of it. However, there are still a lot of fascinating places I have yet to see. I haven’t even been to Batanes, Palawan, Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud, Sagada, Hundred Islands, La Union, and Surigao. I would not stop exploring more and more of this paradise I call home.

Give me a few years. I would push that grade even higher.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 18: A map as your muse

Where Were You, Lord?

When my siblings and I were really young, we considered ourselves pretty well off. We had really nice clothes and we stood out among our peers. We studied in one of the best schools in the province. And it was not cheap. We had the latest toys, the best that money could buy. We could afford all these because my mom was the vice president of a huge insurance company. Then, that fateful day came when my mom lost her job. Her name was dragged into a civil case and she was accused as an accomplice in embezzlement of funds from the company. We had to use all our resources to prove my mom’s innocence. We were left with very little resources and very little faith.

Where were you, Lord?

Help came in the most unexpected places. Relatives and friends offered help in every way possible. They took care of us and our needs. Aunts helped us with our tuition. Our grandfather helped with our daily expenses. We felt important. We felt loved.  It was much more than the clothes, toys and status could ever have given.

He was there. He was teaching us lessons on humility and materialism.

~

I was fresh out of college. I graduated in one of the top universities in the country. And I graduated with honors. I felt invincible. It felt like I could do anything! I would achieve it all! But I got sick. I went to several different doctors. They could not find what was wrong with me. Eventually, they found out that I had an autoimmune disease. I was told I could never work. There were a lot of times I cried myself to sleep.

Where were you, Lord?

My mom was there with me through every checkup and every laboratory examination. Even when giving up seemed like the easiest thing in the world, she remained strong for me. My family was there to make me feel loved and cared for. Friends, even those I haven’t seen or talked to for a while, came and spent time with me. I eventually got better and was able to work. But much more than that, I learned that achieving it all was not as important as nurturing the relationships I have been blessed with.

He was there. He was telling me to not take anything for granted.

~

I landed my first job in a government office in the province. I was doing okay. The workload was a bit scarce. The boss was lenient. The people were nice. I could do more but there was nothing much to do. Why change anything? I was comfortable and the office was just nearby. Then, the head of the office was replaced. Along with him, some people’s contracts were terminated along with mine. It was so sudden. I was devastated.

Where were you, Lord?

I got another job that was beyond what I wished for. It was far away from home but I was invigorated. I looked forward to going to work. Every minute of my every day was put to good use. I became exposed to a lot of challenges. I learned more in my first month there than I had in a year’s work in my previous job. And I realized that by not using them, I have been wasting all the abilities I have been graciously blessed with.

He was there. He was pushing me to do greater and harder things.

~

He was. He is. He will always be there.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 13: Compose a series of vignettes

“I Love my Fear”

Once in a while, I come across some things that lead me to reflect upon life and its many complexities. I stumbled upon this incredible post entitled “A Quote on Fear” and it struck me well enough to squeeze a few words out of this proud introvert.

The post includes this beautiful quote:

What do I fear?
I fear stagnation and lack of progress.
I fear never reaching my potential and being average.
I fear being forgotten… The past… Yesterday’s news.
I fear giving up and being passed by, going softly into that good night.
I fear letting those I love down, letting myself down.
I fear settling, giving in to the “that’s just the way it is” mindset.
I fear dying without leaving my mark.
I fear not feeling these fears anymore and just floating along.
These fears feed me, they nourish my drive.

I love my fear.

-Unknown

As I mentioned in the comment I left, I like how genuine the passage is. The fears described are real fears people face everyday. Admittedly, those fears include some of mine. I am extremely afraid to find out later in life that my existence had no meaning at all. I cannot leave this world without my epitaph saying something like “made a difference,” “lived an extraordinary life,” and most importantly, “loved with all of her heart.”

I also like how the author, Nick Langis, described fear as a powerful motivator. I usually think of fear as an enemy, as something you fight or suppress. I never really thought of it as a friend that helps you. This made me think long and hard about the times I was confronted by my fears and how I handled them. I realized that the moments when I dismissed my fears were the ones that just lead me to continue how I was living and doing things. I went on like nothing happened and nothing ever did. On the other hand, the moments when I owned my fears and really felt them lead me to create some extraordinary changes in my life. The result of those changes includes the most astonishing things from thrilling travels to a healthier lifestyle to this crazy colorful blog.

I have now found a deeper appreciation of my fears and how I can use them constructively. I can now say as the last line of the quote says, “I love my fear.”

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 8: Expand a comment

Choose to Understand Instead

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Judging people is really easy. Some do it all the time without realizing they are doing it. Some even do it in their sleep. We cannot really blame anyone, can we? We live in a society where it is as common as the pollution around us. We know it’s there; We take it in; And sometimes, we even cause it.

You see that womanizer you know and immediately roll your eyes. You feel the hate. You feel for every woman who has fallen for and has been deceived by one. Doesn’t he have a mom or a sister? How would he feel if what he does happens to his sister? You can’t help but shake your head disapprovingly.

You overhear your annoying coworker shouting while on the phone and you think, “Oh, there he goes again!” Why is he rude all of the time? Why does he think he’s better than everybody? Hasn’t he been taught good manners? You can’t help but think that there is no hope for this guy.

Passing on judgment is our default reaction to behaviors that we believe are socially unacceptable. We can never really understand “those people.” Well, we never will unless we try to. Let us ask ourselves what would have made us act the same way. Let us try to put ourselves in their shoes.

Maybe, just maybe, that womanizer has never felt the love of a mother. His mom walked out on him when he was still young. Now, trying to get the attention and love of as many women as he can is his way of filling the void his mother left.

Maybe that annoying coworker has been bullied in school. He was called by so many foul names, he lost count of all of them. He was told that he could not amount to anything. Now, his arrogance is his shield. It is his way of ensuring that no one would consider him weak. It is his way of saying that he did amount to something great.

Maybe this act of trying to envision ourselves as inside the person’s shoes can help us show more love and compassion. We are blessed to not have experienced situations that would have brought out the worst in us. Or maybe we have, but because of the love of the people around us, we have chosen another path. Judging may be the easier route but there is a more rewarding path. Choose to understand instead.

* This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 7: Hook ’em with a quote