Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Pangs of Doubt

In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the single worst possible torture ever invented was the Total Perspective Vortex. Even worse than being tied down to a chair and forced to listen to abysally hideous Vogon poetry, this evil device can shred a man's very soul and destroy him from the inside.

Anyone strapped inside this nefarious device would see the universe in its infinite totality... all possible creatures, worlds, technologies, stretching out from galaxy to galaxy, from the start of time itself to the end of the world as we know it.

And then focus on him: a infinitely miniscule dot.

As to what would happen, the observer would realize his absolute insignificance in the world. No matter how great he was, no matter how large his contributions were for the world, Whether he stood up for what he believed in or stood idly by and whether he lived or died... he is but a small atom in the vastness of the galaxy.

Whatever his contributions, someone else can do later on. Whatever his legacy, no one will really miss. Whoever he is, as far as the galaxy is concerned, he is nothing worth caring about.

And thus, he will doubt whatever he believed in. He will lose his will to live, and he will be broken.

Absolutely cruel and soulless. And downright scary.

Thats how i feel now. Small, powerless and hopelessly insignificant. Fighting for even the recognition of my existence in an uncaring world, living life one day at a time, struggling to reach the dawn each time. And doubting if im even doing the right thing.


Almost five years ago i laid out my plans for the life i wanted: By twenty-five i'd have an MBA, by twenty eight id have my first porsche, by thirty id be the most eligible bachelor in manila and by thirty eight the fastest rising political star in the philippines. And i would lead this country back to its glory.

Well, im a few months away from turning a quarter of a decade old, and i am a far cry from what i want to be. I've had a lot of reasons -- Bouts of asthma hit me the past few years, political crises and various economic reasons forced me to delay my MBA plans and there were a number of potentially jeopardizing streaks of bad luck. Not much went my way the past few years.

But life doesnt listen to excuses. Its either you make it or you dont. You win or you lose. You're a hero or a zero.

And right now im a zero. I have failed in my commitments to myself.

I've felt so burnt out the past few weeks. The stress, the physical drain, the sacrifices i made, was it all worth it? Almost absolutely nothing was going right for me.

The answers came to me as i was cleaning my room the other day. I stumbled upon a number of draft articles i made back in college. Feeling nostalgic, i read and re-read each one.

It brought me back in that point back in my senior year where i was getting so frustratedly bored with my course. I had also just realized my passion for writing and applied as editor for the features section of the school paper where i was currently a writer.

At that time, i was so obsessed with writing, and was starting to seriously hate computer related coding. I swore to myself to shift courses if i became the editor, and if i liked it, even delay a bit so i would be editor in chief. And so i entered the editorial race with gusto, knowing full well my writing experience was less than a year but fully prepared to take on the consequences.

Well, i lost the race. As a double whammy, my arch nemesis in writing became the editor. Even worse, he made life miserable for me in the school paper, seriously stunting my growth as a writer. It was a traumatic experience for me, the first time i truly felt failure.

I quit the paper then and there, dedicating myself instead to my thesis. I hit my highest GPA that year and finished the thesis way ahead of schedule. I still didnt like programming though.

Just before i graduated i ran into another series of bad turns yet again. First, i got a major sprain which had me on crutches for almost two months. This was a major blow to someone as proud, independent and active as i was. I was reduced to depending on everyone for support and suffered a really bad hit on my ego. It was two months of pure torture for me.

Of course, it was also during these crucial two months that everyone was hiring the grads like crazy. I missed out on a large number of potential employees and offers.

When i finally recovered from the sprain, I was able to secure an interview with Accenture, one of the top firms in the country. I did well in the interview, but when the interviewer realized i was connected to DOST*, he dropped me like a hot potato. I went home dejected yet again.

(*DOST requires a bond whenever a company sends their graduates abroad and they had bad experiences with DOST scholars going TNT when they send them to the states)

The next week, by some streak of luck, another top IT firm was looking for fresh grads to join a very seldom offered training program. Since i was available at that time, i took the test, the interview and passed. The offer was significantly higher than Accenture's and as an added bonus, they saw my potential not in the technical side of life, but rather in marketing and sales.

Ive been working there ever since.


And I realized it then.

These things, would never have happened if everything were smooth sailing. If i became editor, i probably wouldnt have finished my thesis on time or would have shifted courses. If i hadnt failed in the first interview, or if i didnt sprain myself, i would never have gotten the opportunity to join my current company.

I shouldnt look at everything in as much totality as the galaxy. My life, and the lives of those around it should be enough. Whatever crisis im having right now, i would just remember nostalgically in a few years. Whatever mishaps i get into now, i would only laugh at later on. As long as im alive, i could just take life's beatings and grin. And that knowledge gives me strength.

Life will keep throwing curveballs at me. I will win some, and i will lose some. I may be down now, but not forever. Did I fail? Yes, probably. But am i out of the game? Definitely not.

1 comment:

mads said...

yup, things do happen for a reason :) hope you'll get your mba soon and then everything else will follow.