29th April 2009.

This day ten years ago was my graduation day. I finished my degree in Psychology from one of the premier state universities in the Philippines, the UP Cebu. Back then, I was so sure of what I’ll do in my future. I was so eager to start kicking ass in the corporate world, I was so focused on my goal of being successful. Ten years later, I am writing this line in Dubai, very uncertain of what’s to come. I have just quit my corporate job & seriously I don’t f*cking know what I’ll do in the next few months.

I liked school because there is a structure, you know exactly what you’ll do next. In my time, school was divided into 3 parts where you will do 6 years in grade school, 4 years in high school then another 4 years in the university. I remember back in grade school, moving-up ceremony every end of the school year was always special. I was an achiever; I was always on stage consistently receiving the highest honors. Those were the golden days. Then there’s high school, it was very different. I was the odd girl in the block, being a transferee in the school and without many friends. But I liked high school nonetheless because I didn’t struggle & I got okay grades without trying so hard. And then, university. UP was said to have the most difficult admission exam in the country because only few passes. Well, I passed, and the next 4 years was a total confusion. I didn’t understand how I was pressured to study, how I still fail in exams & how I see my classmates excelling in every exam even if I don’t see them break a sweat. But luckily after some time I was able to understand that I don’t need to compete with every Einstein in my class or else my college life will be f*cked. That mentality apparently worked, I enjoyed school even if my grades were barely surviving. I could say I enjoyed college so much, I had a life & I was in control. I have figured out the school-life balance where I can party & pass an exam, get a 3.0 grade. I mean who needs a grade above 3.0? Well, probably the rest of my class. But I actively participated on the life of being a student because I was so sure that my hardships & the training will prepare me for the real world. And truly, it did. I mean, I’m a product of UP! That means I could either be genius smart or just smart enough to develop the ability to survive & adapt in any situations with grace. So, on my graduation day, I had this burning fire in me—I was f*cking sure about my 10 year- game plan & how I’ll exactly do it.

My plan was straightforward. Climb the corporate ladder, be the lady boss, head my own HR team— this, in 10 years’ time. Well, this proved to be easier than I imagined when you don’t choose job assignments, when you don’t complain doing the small, tedious, dirty tasks that no one will do, when you’re not a power-hungry, entitled as*hole who imposes your opinions to everyone & when you have developed an impeccable work ethics that your boss loves very much. See, I got it figured out— I was running the HR department in my 6th year. In my timeline, I am successful. But then again, I forgot to input the happiness factor or if I have it all under control or if other areas of my life aren’t failing.

No, I am not saying I hate working in the corporate. I love it because I am good at it, I am capable doing it & my ego gets the right stroke of recognition & affirmation when I need it. But it isn’t everything. People say I should find my passion & just do it. Easy to say if your passion can feed you & pay the bills. For years I have been scared to even think of quitting my job because of these reasons. Well, I guess the time has come to be brave again & to trust that I’ve always been a survivor & that I should be okay. For the months to come, my rough plan is to dedicate it to start developing healthy lifestyle, spend more time with family & try to find my passions. This is the time to step back & see what is not working & start fixing it.

Seems like I’d be on a holiday! Maybe, yes. And maybe this time, I’ll truly find the right balance where I won’t forget to factor in happiness in whatever I do. Or maybe I’ll come running back to corporate or maybe I’ll be a unicorn— whatever floats my boat.

How about you? Have you found your passion? Are you one of the lucky ones who get to work what they love doing?