Do not follow your passion

Do not follow your passion

As I’m writing this, I have a bajillion of stuff to do which are mostly due in a few hours. But I feel like I need to get this off my chest so I can move on with my work. I have been a freelancer for more than seven months. I wish I could tell you that it has been easy for me to follow my passion and work for myself. However, it’s just the beginning of this journey.

We often hear this advice a lot: follow your passion. Another is: if you do what you love, you won’t work a single day. It’s so easy to fall for the idea that once you do what you love, everything’s easier from there. Maybe to a point, it is, but that’s not the entire picture.

You need to work

When you start following your passion, you realize that there’s more work to be done. You will spend long hours getting tasks done. You realize that there are a lot of things to learn and that there are people who are way better at you. When you follow your passion, you cannot sit on your laurels. You have to put in time and effort to be good at what you do. Talent is not an excuse to take it easy. There are others who put in much more because they don’t have the talent. But, these people tend to succeed because they put in the work.

Passion will die

Take note that passion’s fire will eventually die out. At first, it is will be fiery. The excitement will consume you and you will come home inspired every night. However, there will be days when you’ll feel awful and you have zero inspiration for work. There will be feelings of highs and lows. It won’t be all highs until forever. Wouldn’t life be easier that way? Then again, you need to deliver and do your part. More often than not, you need to push hard even when the flame is barely burning bright.

Deal with shit

If you want to follow your passion, find the shit that you want to deal with. Make sure you tread a path wherein you’re willing to go through the detours, the bumpy roads, and the humps. When you follow your passion, there will be a lot of crossroads. Often, it’s easier to fall back into your old comfortable life especially when you’re facing problems. Doing what you love doesn’t mean there’s absence of difficulties. Doing what you love means to “drudge through the drudgery.”

You do not follow your passion to have an easy life. You follow it, so you can live a life that’s entirely your own. It is rarely a walk in the park. Often, it is a slow jog uphill where the roads are unpaved and grassy or even shitty. You just have to stick with it and believe that better things are coming. You have to trust that in the end, it’s going to be worth it. If you are not willing to go through all those, then you’re not ready for anything.

Catching Up

Catching Up

2017 is coming to an end soon and with that, I’d like to wrap up the year that was. I know I haven’t been up in this part of the internet that much. Busy is such an over-used excuse, but it was what I’ve been the entire year. This is my version of catching up on things that I haven’t updated you on.

This year culminated a grueling quarter-life crisis that I had. It was tough, I tell you (and details to come in another post). 2016 wasn’t pretty and all the garbage spilled over the start of 2017. I felt worse than ever. My self-esteem took a huge plummet and I was in a more confused state. But we learn to rise from the ashes, don’t we?

Despite all the sadness at the start of the year, I’d like to say that 2017 was a good and definitely one for the books. I finally was able to quit my corporate job and become a freelancer full-time. It was a hasty decision since my health was failing at that time. I knew I had to do it. Although there are things that I could have done before jumping out to the open sea without any plan, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

2017 was a year of realizations for me. It was in 2016 that my life started to shift 360. This year, everything came in full circle. I became pescatarian for health, animal welfare, and environmental reasons.  I grew disenchanted with the city life and the daily traffic. Then, I started to purge my belongings and realized I owned too much. I decided to give up my online store, Stills Analog, to focus on the bigger things in my life. I discovered that happiness cannot be achieved in a how-to guide prescribed by society. Happiness comes in various shapes and sizes. This year, I learned that some things had to happen no matter how painful or traumatizing they are. Lastly, I realized that it’s okay to be different. Just because you’re on a different path than the rest doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

This 2018, catching up will be a priority. As a freelancer, it can be easy to let time slip in front of you. It is way too easy to get side swept by the little things. You can easily forget to focus on the bigger things. I have to constantly remind myself that my hobbies and passion projects are important, too. Often, we need to carve in time for the people who matter and put in the time for catching up. Lastly, I need to realize that I’m important too. Burnout is real for freelancers as much as slacking off. Self-care should always be on top of the list no matter what.

I’m pretty excited about what’s to come this 2018. Mostly, it’s going to be about #adulting and getting things right. However, it’s also about riding the waves and cashing the horizons. You’ll definitely see me often in this part of the internet as I revamp and start coming up with ideas for my little internet home. What are you excited about for the new year?

Accept Where You Are

Accept Where You Are

Once you open any of your social media accounts, it is easy to fall into a rabbit hole. You start scrolling down your newsfeed looking at the latest travel photos from friends. You start liking photos of their pets or of their newest gadgets. Their selfies look amazing, too! Although there is nothing inherently wrong with social media, you start comparing your uneventful life to theirs. It is easy to fall into this loop. It can somehow feel like a trap.

Though it’s natural to compare yourself to your friends, you know it’s doing harm than good. Before you start diving into these thoughts, just stop! It might be difficult, but accept where you are. Your own journey is unique and cannot be compared to others’.

Life is a journey and not a destination. It is fine to want a certain degree of happiness, success, and material possessions, but don’t derail yourself from the real essence of living. Life is all about growth, experience, and contribution. We all have different experiences that all add up to who we are and who we become. Each has his own path to take. At the end of it all, in life, it’s the trek that matters.

Like most journeys, each one is unique. Some get the direct trips, others have pitstops, but most get detours. A friend might be currently living a carefree life globe-trotting for years while another might be trying to settle down with a good career and a new house. Each has his own unique journey and you have yours, too. It can be easy to feel envious, but you don’t have to if you know the path where you’re going. If you are aware of the direction you’re heading, then there’s no need to be jealous.

You might be struggling right now, looking for the answers. But, we’re not in a time-bound contest. It’s always okay to start all over. It’s always okay to be struggling, as long as you’re progressing in some way. Accept where you are and accept your struggles. These are the things that make your own journey unique.

It might not be easy, but respect yourself enough to accept your journey. Be busy looking at the road while you’re driving. You don’t have the luxury to check other people’s roads. Your life needs to be lived and experienced. It’s yours and yours alone.

Success: Make it your own

Success: Make it your own

Success is mandatory. Or, is it? We all hear and read about how to be successful before you turn a specific age. We’re bombarded by articles, books, and podcasts on how to be successful. It’s the same story in a different format all the time.

We all get swallowed by societal expectations. Sometimes, we lose ourselves in the process. Our own personal world gets muddled up with the ones around us. The Minimalists’ essay, Successfool,  gives great insight that the cushy paycheck or nice car does not define success.

Ask yourself the hard questions. What is it that gives your life meaning? Is it working that 9-to-5 and bringing home the bacon to your family? Is it climbing up the corporate ladder and being a C-level executive by the time you hit 40? If it is, then it’s well and good. Just don’t confuse what you want with what the world expects of you.

However, don’t be afraid to want what you want. Do you want more dogs to make you happy? Then, go for it! Do you want more time with your family and kids? Surely, you have to make some adjustments. Do you want to become a hermit and start your own bee farm? Then, start inching your way towards that journey. Just because something different from what society tells you, doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

But, knowing what you want is one thing. The doing process is another. Once you’ve identified what success means to you, then do something about it. You don’t have to make drastic changes. A little goes a long way. Sometimes, a little pivot allows you to grow exponentially.

Dare to define your own success. Find a version that sets you free. You don’t have to fit in a mold just like everyone else. Later on, you’ll just find yourself miserable. What’s important is finding joy and meaning in your life. That is what’s life about, isn’t it? And, you do have to accept that this can be different than most people’s.

I guess this is me talking to myself in a way that I should’ve years ago. As my birthday draws nearer, I am quite at peace now than I was last year or the year before that. Previously, every birthday was a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I was always depressive, contemplating how I don’t measure up with my peers or with my own expectations. But, I didn’t realize those measurements were non-existent. I can choose whatever measurement that I want. I didn’t realize that until I quit corporate.

My success now means being able to focus on my health. I thrive in the flexibility that my projects afford me. I can easily leave the city for some nights out-of-town. Today, I can accompany my mom to her doctor’s appointments. I am able to find time for the things that really matter to me. Unfortunately, this is a more difficult road. However, I am not in any way regretting the path I took. I know I am truly living the life that I want.

The bottom line is find what feels right. Find what it is that resonates best with you. Make success your own, not someone else’s. It may not be easy, but at least it yours.

I Just Quit

I Just Quit

I am writing this at my favorite co-working place in Ramos sipping my coffee and waiting for the long weekend to come. I have just rendered my last days at the office and starting tomorrow, I will be working for myself. Yes, I’ve quit.

For those who know me and who have seen me switch companies and careers over the last three years, this might come as a shocker. Yes, I’ve met a few former co-workers who have expressed disbelief when I told them I have talked to my boss and given my resignation letter. I am expecting others to be shocked with this decision. Even my own family has stopped talking me out of my decision to quit. Somehow, I am even appalled with my own decisiveness. The me last year would’ve been horrified and would’ve talked myself out. But, the decision has been made and I’m embracing the risks involved.

I have quit. But, not like the usual quit-then-move-on-to-the-next-company kind of thing. I have quit corporate life. It seems so unlike me to do this. Last year, I have set up some goals for myself: be a manager (ticked off), take MBA, and so on. My crisis last year has led me to focus on my career and in climbing the corporate ladder. As I slowly ticked off my list, I started to become emptier. I felt that the more time I spent at the office, the unhappier I became. I looked forward to weekends where I can write and do something more creative. My health was also affected. I was sick more often and my voice was hoarse longer than expected. My unhappiness and my degrading health were not the things I aspired for. I wanted to be happy. That’s all.

And as I started some side projects and met with other people, I realized I have abandoned the dreams that I have dreamt years ago for myself. I forgot that my main goal for this year was to have time for the side projects that fueled me and kept me going. What is life when you’re perpetually unhappy? And so, I took the plunge. Here I am now, scared with the unclear plans I have for myself but I’m just winging it.

Who am I pleasing by reaching my goals? Are those the secret to happiness? Are those really what I want? Is it what society is expecting of me? Will that give meaning to my long sleepless nights? Those questions keep running in my head. I have now decided to live life on my terms. I am now in charge of my life and of where I am heading.

I remember the moment my mother gave up on talking me out of my decision, she said: “Do what you want, as long as you can sustain yourself.” I think that was all I needed to hear. As long as I am happy and sailing myself to the life that I want, I guess it’ll all work out. If it doesn’t, then I can just adjust my sails and keep on trying.

On a blank slate

On a blank slate

When all of the pieces have shattered, I guess there’s no way around it but be naked. You are too broken to be fixed, what’s there to be fearful of?
There’s always room for redemption, no matter what the situation is. Every day is an opportunity for a beginning. Every moment is a chance to get up and do it all over again. You can always find a blank slate and start doodling. Find as many slates as you need. There’s no prescribed magic number.
No matter what people say, tread your own path. Start the journey. They are not living your life, so what right do they have to tell you how to live? They do not experience your pains, what right do they have to tell you what’s right and wrong? At the end of it all, the rightness or wrongness of things is purely subjective. It’s all up to you.
Once you get on the road, once you start baring it all, owe up to every turn and detour. Take the more difficult path and accept responsibility for your actions. Be the bold one and live a life that’s yours.
This is my blank slate. It’s just the beginning.