Disclaimer: An original version of this post can be seen on my Facebook page. This was my reflection when I turned 25 in 2018.
While young and naïve, I thought that by 25 I will already be successful in my chosen career, stable in terms of finances, and already settling with a long-time partner. This was a timeline my idealistic self set at 16 years old, hopeful that the future will be in my favor. I mean, who doesn’t have that kind of ambition?
But as they say, things do no always go according to plan.
I just turned 25 today and nothing close to what I have dreamt for myself at this age. All I could hope for now is a shooting star, a wishbone, or a genie in a magic lamp. Because I know what to ask for sure.
My personal expectations are high. Achieving so much early on at school, I did not want the curve of my life, having time and success as the axes, to go down but instead allow it to slope upwards. My curve peaked in high school, finishing strong in my academics, but it eventually declined while in engineering school.
Life is completely different outside of school, I can guarantee. This I can say after graduating. I am no longer following metrics, rubrics, and syllabus for me to be graded, which means that my performance does not have the same guidelines anymore and my life’s structure has already changed. And for that, I have to figure it all out on my own.
At a time where career, finances, and love life all have great bearings, it is easy for me pinpoint to others about the drastic change in my life’s curve. That my parents did not give me the right advices or my friends did not support me along the way.
But I take responsibility. My status as a man of seemingly no direction is a consequence that I have to face. Since I followed all the rules at school and lived by the manuals, it became difficult to be a young adult. A quarter-life crisis so to speak.
Realizing that I have been almost stagnant in my curve over a considerable amount of time, it made me think, “Am I not supposed to be great by now?”
This is a similar question asked by Mace to Anthony, two characters who happen to have a crisis of many sorts in the movie That Thing Called Tadhana.
When Mace, portrayed by Angelica Panganiban, threw the line to Anthony, played by JM De Guzman, it felt like I was included in the conversation. I watched the movie again just recently.
Such is an arresting thought. What happened to me? To my ambitions?
I felt like I have failed myself for not following my target timeline. More than disappointing others, I had disappointed myself.
Well, at least for a while I had that kind of thinking.
Because since then, when I was not at all moving in my curve, I gained insights about life. While I still did not go up, I had learned a lot from that position.
There is no problem in setting timelines. Actually it is a good idea to prevent from procrastinating. But when such timelines are not completed, like mine, you do not have to be frustrated about it. Well, maybe for a day but not for a long time.
While time cannot be afforded by all, there is no sense in stressing yourself about the lack of accomplishment. Just move from there. It is best to set a timeline again and do your ultimate best to achieve that. Focus and strategy are required.
That is what I did after becoming a lot more mature with what was happening to me recently. Because this time I am more of a realist rather than an idealist.
Career: I have made plans about my career in the next 5 to 10 years. I established concrete plans on what to do next.
Finances: While I do not have millions just yet, I have learned how to value, save, and invest my money. People in my generation should realize how important it is to be financially literate these days.
Love life: This is by far dull, at least romantically. But I have come to conclude that I do not have to depend my happiness on a single person. Success is not at all measured by one’s relationship status, remember that. I have supportive family and friends who are with me regardless.
What’s done is done. There is only little I can do about my past: use it for reference so the bad parts will not repeat itself. That is what our history subjects at school are for.
For now, what I could do is hope that the timelines I set will turn out as planned. And that my curve will peak again hopefully sooner if not later.
Like what Mace in That Thing Called Tadhana had said to Anthony, although with skepticism, I would like to propose a toast: to the great people we will be.