The Last Five Years

Hello Stranger,

I’m taking a chance and writing you an open letter. If reading this helps you, then I feel I would have accomplished something.

I spoke to a friend recently and I realized then that I had spent so much time feeling alone in this battle. Little did I know that others were on the same boat, feeling just as I did—delayed, left behind and unaccomplished. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last five years (Yes, I just had to use that reference), it’s that things will not go as planned. And you will need to accept the occasional defeat, adapt to the winds of change and adjust your sails.

I graduated with honors in 2010. I say that not to brag but to prove a point. I am telling you now, the numbers will not add up. The grades won’t really matter. And more often than not, you will be humbled. You will question yourself. You will get crushed. You will fall and fail. But you will learn to survive.

It’s been five whole years since I graduated. And yet I have not accomplished half the goals I put under a list called “By Age 25”.


To illustrate, some of these life goals included the following:

  • A Million Pesos saved in my bank account
  • My own place
  • My own car
  • A Lead Role/Big Break in Theater
  • A Business of my own
  • An MBA
  • Married with kids (HAHAHA what was I thinking?)

It’s been five years since and it feels like I’m back to square one. My general notion of late is that people are getting ahead and I’ve fallen behind. Way behind. I never thought I’d be in this position, really. Unemployed, dazed and confused.

I guess you can say it’s my ego. My ego can’t take the fact that the type A, overachieving Sab is not where she envisioned herself to be. My life, as I know it today, is on hold. It’s on pause in many aspects.

Take for example, my career. In August 2014, I tendered my resignation and left the family business. It was both sudden and a long time coming. I won’t go into detail but I will say this—I did not leave unscathed. My work life of almost 4 years, a path I carved out for myself, all gone. It was a gutsy thing to do but in hindsight, it taught me to surrender. Then, in November 2014 (between rehearsals for Shrek and Grease), I decided I might as well take the plunge and pursue theater full time. The thing with theater though is that it’s a constant waiting game. There are weeks and months of drought. I happen to be in the middle of one right now.

To be completely blunt, I have no idea where I’m going. Where does this chapter end? And when does the next one begin? Somewhere in time, in the middle of all the mess, I stopped planning. I stopped dreaming. It sounds a tad depressing but when you’re disappointed by life time and again, it becomes difficult to dream. Almost overnight, the dreamer in you dies and you become cynical like the rest.

Let me digress a little…I don’t know if I’m alone in this but this thing called ‘The Newsfeed’ makes me feel sick in the stomach. Kind of like a jab in the gut.

I browse through my newsfeed and I feel terrible for myself. There goes another promotion, another degree, another city or country, another dream conquered, another accomplishment, another engagement, another wedding, or Heaven help me, another baby.

These are just some of the many milestones you find in the process of scrolling. It’s complete torture for people going through a crisis, but it’s out there for you to see. And so you look and you just feel absolutely sad for yourself. Pathetic, I know. But this is me being honest.

Another thing I’ve learned is that being honest with yourself puts you at peace. It relieves you of the pressure of being perfect, of the niceties and bullshit. So you’re fucking furious, go ahead and be furious. Admit to the frustration. Be bitter. Succumb to the sadness. Whatever the emotion, it needs to be acknowledged. Let it burn itself out. As in all things, it will pass.

Going back to my friend… Talking to her made me realize that it wasn’t just me. It didn’t have to be. I guess I romanticized the pain and liked to think I was carrying the cross on my own, when it was a burden meant to be shared.

So, my life is on hold. So, I feel left behind. So be it.

It is not a race. It never was. People may be ahead, and it sure feels like I’m left behind, but the journey is far from over. Also, I never was a quitter.

What matters to me now is that I find the dreamer in me again. I’m leaving for the States in a few days and I intend to get my life back on track. It’s crossed my mind that maybe I should see what’s out there. If it means starting from scratch and leaving everything behind, then that should be one grand adventure. If it means going back home and soldiering through it (whatever IT means), then that’s fine too. All that matters now is that I learn to accept, adapt and adjust my sails, that I redirect my life where the sun might just shine.

So to you, dear stranger:

I guess what I’m trying to say is that whatever it is you’re going through, whatever the obstacle, whatever the setback, it’s only temporary. You’d be surprised how resilient you can be. These roadblocks may derail for the moment but they will take you further and farther than you can ever imagine. In sum,

  1. Go through the (e)motions. Feel what you have to feel. It’s okay.
  2. Remind yourself that you are never alone. Surround yourself with the right people.
  3. Have Faith and do not lose heart. Things will fall into place.

After all, there is a God above, a God who sees and knows better. The time will come when you and I will see what this was all about. I guess we’ll come to understand the wisdom behind every obstacle, the purpose trumping all our plans, and the great blueprint linking everything together.

As I’ve learned in the last five years, the harder the obstacle, the stronger you become. The lower you go, the higher you can bounce. The longer the wait, the sweeter the victory. 


3 thoughts on “The Last Five Years

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