I was asked by a friend sometime at the end of last year, during a very quick, but in-depth conversation regarding our lives : “Is this it for you? Wala ka nang goals?”, I kind of wondered what it meant exactly, it wasn’t demeaning (her tone definitely wasn’t), and it took me awhile to actually figure out the answer.
We’re raised in a society where you’re expected to get your shit together after high school. Thankfully, my parents were never the type to pressure me into becoming whatever they wanted to (and weren’t able to) be when they were my age. I was given the freedom to choose my own path — it’s got Pros and Cons, but mostly Pros, in my opinion. I just always went with the flow.
I didn’t know what course I wanted to take in College, so I took up AB Political Science. I was in my second year when I decided to shift to Broadcast Journalism. Obviously, it wasn’t the career I went with. I loved my course, but I just winged my way through 4.5 years of college. When I graduated, my parents wanted me back in Jeddah to start working. I didn’t mind then, although I was very much enjoying being a bum and doing part-time modeling. Looking back now, I sort of wish it was something I pursued, not as a career, but because I loved (I still do) modeling so much, it would have been nice to have been in that industry longer. But alas, I flew back to Saudi Arabia, and sometime in 2007, I got my first job as a Receptionist at the nearby clinic (it was a 5-minute walk from our Flat), where I got paid … SAR 500? 1000? a month.
Funny. I didn’t really set any goal for myself, career-wise. I didn’t tell myself I should be a Manager, or a C.E.O., or an Entrepreneur at a certain age. I didn’t want to be known amongst my peers as this, or that. I was, and am… still very chill. When I ended up getting my current job, I considered it one of God’s greatest and best blessings in life (still is, still do). My Boss is the best (God bless him). I never thought of my job as “just” a Secretary. I take much pride in what I do, mostly because I’m surrounded by some of the best people (not only as professionals, but as Human Beings. They make work not feel like work at all), and I have so much faith in the company I work for, to a point that I feel pretty smug most of the time (to me, we’re basically part of Dubai’s History and Future. God bless it!!!).
When my friend asked me that question, I didn’t think it’s something I should be sad about, if the answer was “Yeah, I’m happy with this, with what I have now“. God has blessed me with a comfortable life. I have food to eat, a bed to sleep on, I get to start seeing the World. What’s so wrong with that?
During reunions or catch-up sessions with friends, we end up talking about each other’s lives and current careers, and though I am very happy for the things they have accomplished and still will, I’ve never felt threatened or invalidated by their successes (maybe I was blocking that feeling during my younger years). I mean, why should I, right? My path is different from theirs, and I am very much at peace with that. I mean, at least I am now.
There is so much life outside our careers.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s my answer. I’m not exactly a career-woman. I used to think something was wrong with me for not having “aspirations” (although at one point in my childhood I did want to be a Veterinarian, a Scientist, a Doctor, that was before I saw my Lolo bleed so much from a nail wound, hehe no thanks po). Most of my depression stemmed from the pressure of wanting to find definition in my life (which started in College, if I’m being honest). Why am I here, what is this great thing I’m destined to do that most of my friends seem to have figured out? Why hasn’t it dawned on me yet? Fast forward to my late twenties and I start asking myself why can’t I afford a Benz or have one, two, three Chanel bags like some people? Why don’t I make that much money to have that kind of lifestyle?
When I started living alone in Dubai, all the time I had to and by myself gave me the opportunity to nurture parts of me, my true self, that used to want to mirror the lives my friends lead. Little by little, I had a sense of contentment … because I was comfortable. And … I was okay with that. It took me awhile to embrace the fact that there wasn’t anything wrong with me (this is a sentence you’ll read a lot in this post, eh?).
It all goes down to your perception of things. At the end of the day, the only opinion of your life that matters, are yours. Forget about society, its standards, your family’s expectations, your friends’ accomplishments.
Comfortable is not settling. Settling isn’t bad either. What is YOUR definition of Comfortable? Of Settling? My god, life is too short to not enjoy it the way you’re meant to, the way you want to. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have big dreams or goals for yourself. Good if you do. But not everyone is like that, and all I’m saying is, there’s nothing wrong if you’re okay with this. Whatever “this” means to you. If it puts a smile on your face and makes you exhale the peace you feel within, then you’re good, Kid. If it doesn’t, then … let’s get to work. But also, no pressure! You’ll figure it out eventually. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make wrong decisions, you’re going to want to make a u-turn, a detour … that’s fine. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP FOR THAT. It is part of the process. We weren’t born with a life plan implanted in our brains and a manual to tell you how to get there. Not everyone is blessed with “maparaan” genes, and just cos you aren’t doesn’t make you dumb.
Drew is an Engineering graduate (Double Degree major, may I add). It took so much of him to admit that it is NOT THE PATH HE WANTS FOR HIMSELF. He went home, took up Culinary Arts, and at 30, is now building his life the way he’s always wanted to. I AM SO FUCKING PROUD OF THAT MAN. I told him that if he one day wakes up and figures out he wants to do something else, I WILL SUPPORT HIM 100%. It is HIS life. I just want him to live it the best way, in his standards.
Set yourself free from Society. Choose yourself always. It’s one of the best things I did for myself. Drew and I both.
Right now, all I want to do is to keep doing what I’m doing, travel the world (this is my top 1 goal), and maybe finally learn to save money (lel) so that Drew and I could one day retire most likely by the Beach, or have a farm of our own where we’d live with our rescued Animals.
I am just so very grateful with this life and how I’m living it. I am happy.
I choose that over any “Title”.