Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the past months and the life lessons I’ve learned during these trying times. This year has been…out of sorts? Chaotic? Something we never imagined?
Sharing this feels like opening old chapters of my life that I’ve already closed but I made the decision to be as transparent as I could to show anyone who has been through similar things that despite the cards you are dealing in life, you are resilient and you can always find your way through it. It’s really hard to share the setbacks we’ve experienced — more so publishing it publicly but I’m still doing it anyway.
It took me months to publish this blog. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. The most substantial reason is that I was busy at work, in my personal life, on figuring out life, and I just really need a time alone.
But I guess what was really stopping me from sharing were these existential, pandemic-fueled thoughts: Is what I’m going to write matters? How is this going to be relevant to the kind of situation we are all facing? Maybe I’ll just wait for the right time to publish this — wait for things to be back to normal.
Yet I couldn’t let go of this itch to write something, to build this blog, to share my personal story. I found myself just writing, draft after draft whenever I can on weekends or after work. The words are all in my mind, but my drafts all felt incomplete and just all over the place.
But today is finally the day that I found the courage to publish this and to share it despite the incompleteness.
My overseas employment cancelled contract
Even before this year started, I thought I was playing my cards right. I already have a solid plan what my 2020 is going to be and I was excited for what this year is supposed to bring. I was doing good at work, I already have my goals/plans laid for each month (i.e. my impacted tooth surgery, my resignation), and I was attending a Japanese class every weekend. As few of my family, relatives, and friends know, I was supposed to move to Japan last April for a new work as a software engineer. I already have passed all the requirements needed for visa and work.
But the wind flew to a whole new different direction when the pandemic happened. At first, we were informed that our flight will just be moved the next month and wait until the situation is already back in normal or wait for further announcement. Then, it’s suddenly cancelled.
When I received the email that our company in Japan is not pushing through for our employment because they have been affected by the pandemic and they have to downgrade their operations, I just take it all to myself. I just internalized everything and didn’t share it to anyone — not even my family or closed friends. The feeling is like removing a part of yourself that was once important to you. But no worries, I already moved on from that. That’s part of life and it’s one of the things that are out of my control (but hey at least, I quite learned Nihongo and made good friends).
Working at Upgradable
I would call myself lucky as I found Upgradable and I was able to work remotely there a week after I resigned to my last company and I’ve worked with amazing people who are in the other side of the world.
I’m currently working at UP as a Technical Director. Work has been my refuge during these uncertain times. It has been one of the ways I’ve been coping and keeping me sane.
I remember when I was in this another crossroad, a colleague of mine reach out and she told me, “Think of it as a puzzle that you have to solve”. And every time I get confused and stucked at life decisions, I always remember her golden advice.
I just poured myself into work and trust that God has something better for me and eventually it was.
Finding my life mentor
I believe the best life mentors can help us define and express our inner calling. Unexpectedly, I’ve found my life mentor at UP where I’m working directly with the Founder. He’s someone I considered my Jedi master and the brain that I’d like to pick up always.
He has taught me on how to think and plan strategically, how to optimize my life, to find my purpose, how to reframe my mindset, how to look into the different areas of my life through a different lens, even how to read crypto charts; and has influenced me to track my life through spreadsheets. Though I still have a lot to learn, I take every learning I have to move forward.
Building Agila Food Trading
Ever since I was a kid, I have always admired businessmen, entrepreneurs, and even more so now. We all know that building and having a business is hard but you’ll never know the degree on how hard it is if you are not in that position. Building a business is like having a baby — you pour your heart and soul into it; and you want to see it grow. You’ll discover the strengths and weakness that you didn’t know existed.
So, I just woke up and have decided to put up my dream business that I’ve been brewing in my mind from the past months. And because I am me, I have never told anyone again. Building Agila was challenging but the feeling was also rewarding. I just take it one step at a time, day by day, until I have quite completed my to-do list. But starting out, I woke up feeling so inspired to continue, then the next day, I just found myself questioning all the things that I’ve been doing – if I’m doing it right or if what I’m doing is enough. I’ve had a lot of inner negative dialogue with myself but it truly helps to remember why I started in the first place and to believe in your self. (I’ll write a separate blog post for this.)
Moving to Cavite
We just bought a house in Bacoor, Cavite. My family and I have been planning this for a long time and now we’ve already moved. It was quite nervous to commit but for all the things that we want in life, it entails sacrifices.
How the pandemic changed my life
As they say, “good things fall apart so better things can come up together”. The pandemic made me to take a pause to explore what ignites my fire, to rethink what my purpose in life really is, to take a leap of faith, and taught me how I’ll be moving forward. This is the reason why I have been in a hermit mode for the past months, especially on social media.
While it’s easy to get deeply emotional when you’re reflecting on yourself and your growth, it’s always good to carve out time to pause, block out all the noise and insanity from the outside/online world, and spend some alone time with yourself.
I hope that our stories—of successes and failures—make a difference and help guide us with our journey. Personally, I believe that in life there are only experiences. Let’s take these experiences, embrace them, accept them, and use them to keep moving forward.
Every setbacks in life can be a source of nourishment if you accept. I recognize that I am responsible for the way I am. It is possible to transform the greatest adversity into a stepping-stone for personal growth.
The conclusions you come to, ultimately reflect you, and it’s critical that it reflects you honestly.