Whew, 25 felt like a long, long journey.
Now that I’m taking the time to sit down and look back on everything that happened in the past year, I almost feel like a different person from the person that I was on the first day of my 25th year.
Maybe it’s because of the quarter-life crisis. Going through all the changes that I was thrust into after two years in a different world required me to devote this entire year for, first and foremost, myself.
Yeah, yeah, I hear you. Focusing so much on oneself can sound negative at first, especially in a culture where you’re supposed to be all about social and family relations, in a culture where you have to look after others first. But I felt like it was necessary for me to consciously direct (and re-direct) my attention to myself in order for me to know what I can still do to grow and improve. That meant re-evaluating what it means to be me, and confronting all the good, the bad, and the ugly things that came with it.
It wasn’t easy. At times, it wasn’t pretty. Let’s just say that I had to challenge so many beliefs that I lived with throughout the years. I had to deal with emotions that I never expressed or issues about myself that I never addressed because it wasn’t “proper” to do so. There were also times when I had to do things differently. I had to take on challenges that scared me even though I was certain that there was no way I could survive them.
But you know what? All of that quarter-life reflection + dealing with all of those personal issues paid off. All of that time spent on myself helped me accept and embrace my life’s imperfections. I realized the things and the people that were truly important to me. When I started to work on being grateful for what I had instead of dwelling on what I did not have, wonderful things happened.
1. Started a new career
This is probably the biggest highlight of my 25th year, and the single thing I’m most grateful for.
As you know, I started on this new job on the very first working day of 2019, and I felt like it was a sign that this was going to be a big year for me. I wasn’t wrong. I’ve only been in this company for less than a year but I already feel like I’ve grown so much since my first day at work. I am learning so much about my field every day, and being around my teammates and colleagues makes me want to aspire to reach greater heights so I can someday be as good as them. I’m really fortunate to have knowledgeable and supportive teammates behind me who are genuinely interested in my development.
2. “Decluttered” my life
I initially took on the decluttering challenge as a way to cut back on my possessions, but in the process, I also got to apply it to other areas of my life.
Re-adjusting to the hectic lifestyle in Metro Manila forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and the things I spend my time and energy on. I eventually decided to let go of things that were weighing me down. At first, I worked on the little habits that I wanted to stop1, then it gradually progressed to bigger and bigger things. The most drastic thing I’ve ever done in this decluttering project was deleting my Facebook account and spending less time on social media. Social media is such a big thing nowadays, especially in my country, but I think that’s an even better reason to cut back on it. I don’t want numbers to determine my worth. I don’t want to hide behind a screen. I don’t want to base my social life on how many friends or followers I have. I want to have more meaningful interactions with the people around me.
But like all other lifestyle changes, this is an ongoing project. I’ve been contemplating cutting back on more stuff from my life to make room for more important things that I want to focus on.
3. Became more organized
Before, I thought that decluttering = organizing. But then, as I progressed through my decluttering journey, I learned that letting go of clutter was just the first step. Keeping things in order was another thing.
Well, I don’t claim to be the neatest person on earth, but I can say that I’ve finally found a system that works for me. Everything now has a proper place. I now know exactly where to find something if I ever needed it, unlike before when I used to scour the whole house just to find what I needed. I also devote 10 minutes at night to put things back in their proper places so that I could sleep without worrying that I might have missed or forgotten something2.
And now, I’m not just applying it to material things, but also in the way I work. I clear my workspace at the end of each workday, knowing that I can start anew tomorrow. I feel happier and more productive knowing where all of my files are and what each one contains. It’s just so satisfying! XD
4. Started to conquer my fears
I have lots of fears and things I would rather not do, but for this particular instance, fears = driving.
I was very anxious about moving back to Metro Manila partly because I knew I would be forced to drive sooner or later. I mean, I knew how to drive, but the mere thought of driving scared me because of my bad experiences in driving school. Before I even got behind the wheel, I could already imagine so many horrible scenarios that could happen on the road. So, for many years, I avoided driving as much as possible. I went out only if someone was available to drive me around, but that was severely limiting.
I realized that I had to finally start driving all by myself for two primary reasons: 1) I wanted to go to more events, meet more people, and do more things during my free time, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I only depended on other people’s availability to drive me around; and 2) I wanted to give my parents (who aren’t getting any younger) more time for themselves by saving them the hassle of driving me to work every morning.
After several months of driving all by myself, I can say that I’m now comfortable driving to work. I still get nervous when trying to find my way around unfamiliar routes, but I guess time and experience will give me more confidence.
5. Explored new places
During my 25th year, I was very lucky to have been able to travel to the places that I’ve always wanted to visit.
First, I got to experience London in its full glory – and it was my first time to travel to Europe all by myself too! Yeah, I know, I went to London last year, but it all felt different this year because I was travelling solo. I loved that I had complete control over my time and that I had the freedom to choose which places I wanted to go to. I actually became more self-confident after that trip. I never expected that I would be able to survive solo travel in another continent (lol), but hey, the trip went without a hitch!
I’m also very, very thankful that I got to visit Corregidor and Batanes, two local destinations that I’ve always dreamed of visiting ❤️ Special mention to my friends who made the Batanes trip happen… and made my 26th birthday extra-special!
But of course, this doesn’t mean that I’m stopping there. I can always improve on other aspects of my life. Here are some of the things I would like to focus on for Year 26:
Things I can improve on
1. Health/Body image
I’m not really liking the way I look and the state of my body, and looks like my body is feeling it and it’s letting me know just what it feels about that sentiment. I’ve been getting sick quite frequently and a lot of problems are showing up, problems that weren’t there before. I think a lot of it is stress-induced.
This year, I really should work on my health and body image. By this, I don’t necessarily mean going back to my skinny figure (although it would be a bonus if that happened). As of now, I just want to embrace my body for what it is and what it is capable of doing for me. Overworking myself for the majority of the year has made me realize just how much work my body is doing to sustain me, and in return, I should be taking care of it.
2. Social life
Since I focused more on myself last year, I didn’t spend a lot of time on social interactions. I met up with friends once in a while, but that was it. This year, I’m ready to devote more time to my friends and family. I want to strengthen my current relationships!
I’m also looking into spending more time with my colleagues. I adore them, but due to the nature of our work, we don’t really talk much in the office. One of my goals for this year is to spend my lunch breaks3 with my colleagues, because that’s the only time people ever talk to each other! XD
I’ve been putting off my hobbies for the majority of the year, thinking that work is more important. But that’s not true! My hobbies add extra color to life and help me prevent burnout, so I should be spending time on them too!
I don’t really have much to say about this, except that I wasn’t able to save as much as I originally planned. Got to get back on track!
I really want to be more comfortable with blogging again. 15 blog posts so far in 2019 is a feat compared to previous years, but I want to do more.
And also, I’m starting to realize that WordPress is really too overwhelming for me. I’m not a developer, I just want to write. I just want a platform that’s conducive for writing. I’m looking for alternatives as of the moment but until I find something, I’ll make do with what I have. 😜
25 was quite a ride! I can’t wait for what my 26th has in store for me! ❤️
- I find that it’s easier for me to stop a bad habit than start a good one, so I’m working on that first. ↩
- Clutter is a huge contributor to my stress levels, so now I try to minimize clutter in my bedroom. I don’t sleep without putting everything back to their proper places. ↩
- I seldom eat lunch with others. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with people, it’s just that I consider meal time as part of my me time where I can catch up on my reading or my video game backlog. ↩