Musings on the Road: Seek What Makes You Alive
“So,” she suddenly says, holding her glass of cold water, “what can you advise?”
This question feels like she has been keeping this on to herself and waited for the right time to spill it.
“Advise what?” I ask her. Wrinkling my forehead as if she’s asking an absurd question.
I and my former colleague are enjoying our weekend in Baler. Part of it was a celebration of her birthday and as a fulfillment of our plan of going out of town after resigning from work.
We are at Charlie Does, a cute cafe we hunted after checking out recommendations online. It’s just a walking distance from where we were checked in at Circle Hostel.
I ordered pasta and a cup of coffee. She chooses water. I guess this girl’s really not into eating out. But I am. I’m hungry. I need my snack.
We were working for a publishing company. I joined two years ahead of her. She might consider me as superior or what but I am more like an annoying officemate—sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, but weird most of the time.
“You know,” she finally answers. “For someone like me.”
“You mean a little lost in life?” I asked back.
No. Of course, I didn’t tell her that.
But I know what she’s talking about. I’ve gone through the same.
Three years ago I was the same girl who does not know what to do after realizing that her first job did not work for her.
I want to do many things yet I don’t know where to start. I want to be this. I want to do that. In my mind I am juggling a lot of tasks and I am good at it. I have lots on my plate. In reality, I am stuck. And I find a lot of excuses in the process.
This can be traced back when I was in college. I was that aggressive, active student journalist. I thought I was in my primes. I was so passionate about campus journalism, even setting aside my academics as a priority. I cut class. I seldom sleep. I give more time to joining student activism. I have had that attitude from that four years and it made me who I am today. It molded me. It shaped me.
But somewhere along my journey outside the walls of my university, I stumbled and I felt lost.
“Just do what you want to do.” I finally said. I know. This isn’t a very enlightening statement. I myself have gone through that stage where I was trying to know what I wanted to do. But even as I am listing down everything, it’s either I get distracted or just another item keeps on adding up not know when and how will I start each of them.
“I guess, stop saying yes to everything.”
I hope that probably made sense this time.
And when I said that, I mean you need to learn to say no. No to things you are not comfortable with. No to things you do not want.
After almost six years of working, there was a time that I had to slow down, re-evaluate myself and get to know what my heart desires.
There are two sides of being a Yes person–the good and the bad.
We see a Yes person in a positive way when she is a go-getter. She responds to everything optimistically. Meaning, whether it is a challenge, a trial or something that goes by her side, she says yes go for it.
If it makes you alive, sure as hell you are on the right path.
But no, you can’t be the “yes” person all the freakin’ time.
We’ve heard it all. From different people, from different circumstances.
“I want you to do this.”
“I want you to do that.”
“Stop doing things I don’t want you to do.”
Blah blah blah.
When you feel you are doing something which makes you doze off to dreamland and think of your escape plan, then you are probably not in the right place.
Say no when your heart is no longer in it.
Saying no feels better than saying yes to everything. We are not born to nod. We are born to be inquisitive. To yearn more and learn from it. To meet people who empower you. Choose the right ones you can hang out with, and probably shy away from those which just makes your life miserable.
And if one day, amidst the chasing what makes your heart beats, you’ll find yourself in another chapter of breaking down, pause and evaluate. You can always get up, choose your battle, or start anew. Life is filled with phases. But if you are deeply anchored, you can rock it.
We parted ways a day after, knowing this girl whom I met right after getting her college diploma, will surely rock it on this roller coaster ride called life.