CROSSROADS

In life, there is always a point where something comes up and throws you off guard, like a speeding bullet that you did not see coming until it hits you right between your eyes. Then you were left wondering how the hell it happened so swift and so unexpected. That’s how it feels for me when I’m met with something way out of my comfort zone.  I’m left to make a choice- whether to take the leap or stand back and stick with the familiar. It’s not that hard to do, really. Haven’t I been through that before?

Four years ago, I entered UP, a university known for honing brilliant products and requiring nothing short of excellence from its students. I was neither brilliant nor excellent. If anything else, I was mediocre. My life was too mundane. I haven’t got a clue as to what I’m doing in a university buried in a far town south of Iloilo province, away from the familiar faces of family and friends and a good three hours of jeepney ride from the comforting sight of home. I was lost, walking aimlessly in a terrifyingly unfamiliar territory. It was way out of my comfort zone.

But that was where I found myself. I realized I wasn’t completely hopeless, that I was strong enough to survive in a place where there was no nanay to nag and worry about me, no sister to pester and annoy just to chase away boredom, no tatay to make sure you eat lutong bahay foods and no friends to turn to in times when you badly needed someone to talk to. I learned to be fiercely independent. I was pushed to the limit. And I value societal awareness as much as intellectual excellence. I learned to value the lessons outside the classrooms and know that what matters in life comes in simple things. Everything I had been through there molds me into who I am now-a little older, a little wiser and a better person than I was five years ago.

Two months after graduation, I faced another transition. I got myself a job that has got nothing to do with my course, except that you get to use the core value of communication. It was actually a spur of the moment decision. You see, I wasn’t so big with plans. Looking far beyond what is now gives me the goose bumps. It’s so tiring to rigorously plan the future, not counting the fact that it causes worry and pressures you to meet with your very own expectations. And with expectations comes disappointments. I don’t know if it makes sense to anybody else, but it certainly does to me. I went along with my high school friend, who’s planning to apply in one of the call centers in Iloilo. I was supposed to go to Miagao and process my transcript. It was really easy, even effortless to apply for a call center job. All you need to do is to speak up and say all the right things, the things that they want to hear. I don’t know what made me accept the job. Maybe it was the constant nagging of my mother, or simply my impulsive choice to take the plunge with my eyes closed. I’m really good at that, simply entering something without second thoughts or careful preparation. Third week at training made me think of resigning. I rant and raved and complained every day, and thanks to the willing ears of my good friends and family, I get to let out all of my frustrations. I actually lasted for three months, and would have finished the six-months contract had another transition did not come my way.

I got a second job even before I reached my twenty-first birthday. But this time, this is not a spur of the moment decision. I applied for the job because I was genuinely interested in it. It’s not really my dream job, but it’s close. I will get to do the things I love the most-read books and write a copy to promote them. And this one did not come easy. I actually have to take several exams and be profiled to several positions before I finally nailed the right one. I took the interviews over the phone. And the last exam I took is so damn hard. I was clueless because I don’t have that much background in advertising. And the writing stuffs we learned from school is mostly constricted to TV scripts which I find a lot uncomplicated to do. I did not even get  to review the things I wrote before I submitted it.

When the girl from HR broke the news to me, I was expecting to hear the opposite, and I’ve braced myself with dawning disappointment. I was agonizing for nothing. I actually got the job.

The thought of doing something close to my heart give me that heady feeling, almost the same as unexpectedly talking to that guy I like. It was terrifyingly exhilarating. There are too many things to consider, most of them are for practicality. Can I live in a new place, far from home with no family and friends to turn to? Can I make it on my own?

But the most nagging question is this- am I up for the job? I’m scared to think that I might be biting more than I can chew. What if I messed up? What if I was not fit enough to actually make it in that industry?

Then I stopped on my tracks and laughed out loud. I was actually thinking far ahead than what is now. It’s so not me.

At times, I’m pretty convinced I wade through life with a nudge of luck. And that luck seems to have its odd moment, showing up when I least expect it to and scampering away when I need it the most. But I really thank God for giving me the little surprises at the right time, even if I don’t always know it.

I will just stick to my old principle in life. Live life as it comes. Savor the moment. Let the curtain fall down between today and tomorrow. Don’t expect too much and concentrate on what is now. I will have to take one step at a time.

And I always have Harry, so I guess I will be okay.

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