It has been exactly three weeks since I left my job (of almost four years) at a whim without any concrete plans whatsoever about my future. When I decided to stop working, even I myself was quite skeptical about my reasons for doing so. I don’t know, it felt like it was something that has to be done and just be done with it. To sound more convincing, I had written in my resignation letter these exact words; “I had the opportunity to develop professionally under your support and guidance and I thank you for that. However, I believe that my career has taken a different direction and I feel it is time to move forward to new opportunities and challenges.” It was partly true that I wanted to take my career path at a new direction. But it was not entirely because of that; mostly it was because I felt that I outgrew it. To put it simply, I was not happy with what I was doing. Everything got too routine up until the point that things became predictable. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I know exactly how my day would go and how it will end. It felt like I was living the same day over and over and over again; like in that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day and the sad part is I was the only one aware of it. My day would be like I wake up, go to work, come home, sleep and repeat. Somewhere in between that routine are a few ice breakers and laugh-out-loud moments but when it wears off I return back to feeling a little miserable. I tried to endure it for months telling myself that it is just a phase and one day things will eventually change. I took on vacations and tried to find more meaning and more fun but coming back, I still felt the same. So being a firm believer of the aphorism that “I am the catalyst of my own happiness”; I took things on my own hands and decided that I could not wait any longer for change to arrive, instead I should be the one to make it happen. So I quit my day job not having the security of finding another one. After handing in my resignation letter, I can feel that some things are beginning to change. That somehow my universe had shifted. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I have exactly a month to plan out my next move. It was only a day after my last day at work when I figured that for the next two months, I am giving myself a break. I am doing nothing, so to speak. Or as the Italians would say, “Il dolce far niente” which translates to “the pleasure of doing nothing”. I think I deserved the time off to rest and restore my energy because I felt like my job sucked the life right out of me. Also, when I see my reflection at the mirror I do not recognize the person staring back at me. I would often ask myself who is this person? I don’t quite know how to answer the question and in order for me to be able to do so, I had come up with the idea that the best way to find that answer is to rekindle with my “old self” to become a my “new self”. And with this realization, I had come up with the plan of reinventing myself. So how do I start the process and what exactly is my plan? Simple. I will try each and every day to become a better version of myself. I will break my bad habits and create good one’s until ultimately I will become the best version of myself.
I had been planning in doing this little project at the beginning of this year,but I did not know how to do it. Quitting my job had opened the opportunity to finally launch my “Self Reinventing Project”. Reinvention entails making major changes and improvements; and for starters, I wanted to see a more tangible change in me. So earlier this year, I had cut my hair dramatically short. For some reasons people liked my new do and I would often get complimented for it. I’m not always good at taking compliments especially when it comes to my physical appearance but the response of the people are so overwhelming. People seemed to loved it but the most important thing is I loved it, too! I am beginning to feel better about myself. I guess this was a validation that I am in the right track in achieving the best version of myself. I worked my way towards change from the outside to the inside. Normally, people will tend to do it the other way around, from the inside going outside but I guess I’m not like most people so I do it the way that works for me. In the light of focusing on physical changes my next step was to lose the weight I have gained throughout the years. My plan was to be more physically active to stay healthy and fit. With this decision comes the resolution that I should start exercising and eating healthy. As part of this project I started “The Walk of Life”. I vowed that everyday I should take the time to go out and take a morning walk. One particular morning, I asked my sister to accompany me to take the walk. We opted to take the rough road trail because I liked the scenery at this side and it is a lot quieter. At the end of the trail, I felt renewed. It felt like I am starting over again with a clean slate. I am starting to see things like I have never seen them before. It was a spiritually uplifting experience that i almost shouted at the top of my lungs but I got ahold of myself before I could further embarrass myself. So instead I looked up the sky and whispered, “Thank you, God.” What exactly I was thankful for? I don’t know, I just suddenly feel the need to gratify the Lord. When we got home, I took the time to write down in my journal the experience I just had because I want to be able to remember that transcendental feeling. As I was writing this journal entry, an idea came into my mind. I wanted to keep a record of every feeling and experience I get every time I take my morning walk. And so “The Walk of Life” was born; a little book where I keep a record of how I felt and what I saw in that particular day. I was astounded with the number of small things I get to notice everyday; things that I would normally take for granted. I never realized how big the impact it could have given to my life only if I had appreciated them sooner. And who would have thought that knowledge does not only comes from books, most of the time nuggets of wisdom can also be picked up just by walking down the road. This whole experience is like hitting two birds with one stone. I get to exercise and achieve my goal of losing weight while at the same time I come home bringing with me new found learnings about myself, about others and about life. This actually helps me in becoming a better version of myself.
Before all of this happened, I see myself as egocentrical. I never denied the fact that, sometimes, I can be self-centered. I mean, I do care about people, I sympathize and empathize about them and their feelings. Only I just don’t see the need of having them around all the time. Sure I know that “no man is an island”, but I think I’m better off without them. I love my family and I have great friends but sometimes having them around is suffocating. I am not anti-social and in as much as I enjoy having company I’d rather spent an afternoon or a friday night by myself. This, being one of my biggest flaw as a human being, is rooted in the fact that I have trust issues. I’ve always kept my walls too high and I never let my guard down because I fear pain; the pain of rejection. As a defense mechanism I have the tendency to push people away and chose to be alone instead because in that way I know I wont be hurt. So in the spirit of reinventing myself and becoming a better person, I wanted to break this bad habit. I’m more than okay with doing things on my own and I sure do enjoy the company of my own self but sometimes I could not help but wonder if I’d actually become a better person if I have people around. I am not good at dealing with people because I am socially awkward and I can not stand small talks so the closest thing to having an actual interaction with another living being is to get a pet. I love dogs, so I got myself one. I named him Sherlock (after one of my favorite fictional character Sherlock Holmes). I thought that taking care of a dog is just an easy peasy thing to do; you feed them, you play with them, you bathe them and then everybody is happy. But, of course, I was completely wrong. It is very demanding and time-consuming. It takes a great deal of patience and understanding and loadful of love; which are not really my strong suit. Sherlock’s a well-behaved dog, at least that’s how I gathered, but there would come days that he can be really playful and naughty. Having him around is oddly comforting because at the end of the day you know you have a fluffy loyal friend. On the other hand, the cynic side of me would tell me that he is still a dog and though he can be loyal he can also change and might bite me in my arse. I just shrugged that feeling away, telling myself that if I love him enough he would never do that. This is also why I don’t trust people so much, because I am afraid that if I do so I am giving them the power to hurt me. I am not a cold-blooded heartless robot; I can tell you with all honesty that I am a highly emotional person and that is why I put on the strong act of not caring when in fact I care so much because I don’t want to end up picking up the broken pieces of my sensitive fragile heart. But in a way, having Sherlock makes me open up a little to the possibility of trusting people again. I am starting to realize that I should not fear pain, because it is necessarily important to have pain once in a while and its healthy even. My walls are still high and I have no plans whatsoever of breaking it down but I might start building a gate through it so I could let people in. In this way, I could strengthen my existing relationships with my family and friends and hopefully to build new ones. I still like having alone-time but having company is not a bad idea at all.
Reinventing oneself does not happen overnight; it is a long and arduous process. These are only the first baby steps I took to get closer to being the best version of myself. There are a thousand steps or even more between the current version of myself and the best version of myself but I have a willing heart to take on that journey towards self discovery. To most people they might seem easy, pointless even. But for me, it took me to muster all my courage in order to achieve this because I am not big on changes. I am the kind of person who is comfortable with the familiar and the known. Uncertainties scare the shit out of me. But for some reasons, I felt the need to change the course of my life and taking that turn was probably the best decision I had made so far. After all, in this borrowed time, change is the only constant thing so we either adapt to change or we get left behind.