I used to think during my early 20’s that I’d have everything together by the time I reached 29. Guess what? I am 29 years old now, and I was wrong.

People say life is not a race and each of us has our own timeline, but I would be a hypocrite if I say I don’t envy friends and other people who seem to have everything at this age or even at a younger age — stable careers, fast promotions, post-graduate degrees, cars and houses, travels abroad. And some have their own families now.

 At 29, I still haven’t achieved any of those. I have never been as envious of others as I am now.

I used to be an achiever in my early 20s, but because of some twist of fate in my mid-20s, I ended up somehow a failure now that I am close to 30.  Yes, I have a job, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve been left behind by friends and former colleagues.

I have asked myself many times where I went wrong. Maybe it was because I was bad at making choices in life. Maybe I was too complacent. Maybe I lacked the courage to go for what I wanted and where I really wanted to be. Maybe I was too ambitious, and I was chasing things that were not really meant for me. I even thought that maybe I was cursed. I remember being told by some people that I would not succeed for some reasons, and thinking that such words were powerful curses.

The countless rejections from my dream companies have taken a toll on my self-esteem and made me think there’s really bad luck lurking around me, that’s why I can’t get the job and the life I want. All these maybe’s, and even that absurd idea of being cursed has haunted me every single day for three years now.

I have even questioned, doubted, and blamed God. Since He was not answering any of my prayers, I couldn’t help but doubt His love for me. I thought that He’d been playing favorites and that I was not on His favorite list. Maybe He was punishing me for being selfish and for not being compassionate to the needy. .

I keep on telling myself that I deserve better and that I should also be as successful as other people, but it seems I always fall short whenever I try to rise and be successful again. The pressure has gotten worse now that I am close to 30, an age when society expects one to have a stable career, income, and own family. As a result, even before the start of the pandemic, I had become socially distant. I seldom went out with friends or attended reunions because I felt ashamed that I wasn’t as successful as the rest of them were. I didn’t want to talk to or reconnect with old acquaintances because I was afraid they might just mock me. I was ashamed to face and talk to my former teachers, because they might compare me to my more successful batchmates. I even felt sorry for my parents. They always had high hopes for me ever since I was a young, but I had failed to meet their expectations. They might not say it, but I could feel they’ve been quite disappointed.  

My life has gone awry, and where I am now is far from what I had imagined and dreamed of when I was younger. I still do not know the reasons why I have to go through all these failures. I must admit that it is really tempting to give up, stop chasing my dreams, and just live a miserable life. But despite the sadness, envy, and frustrations, I know I must remain hopeful. I have no choice but to accept and make the most out of this waiting season. Good thing that this season has helped me learn new skills and explore other possibilities. I am also taking this time to slowly heal from previous traumas at work and relationships with people.

I don’t know how long this waiting season will last.  Maybe I will have to endure more time seeing most of my friends and former colleagues achieve more and go farther than I have so far, and I must learn to be happy for them.

I am hopeful that this year and the coming years will give me more opportunities for healing and resurgence. I need to strengthen my faith in God, so I can be assured of success no matter how long it might take. This waiting season must be teaching me to focus on strengthening my faith and improving my character and skills first. I should not be in a hurry and should not be too harsh on myself. For the meantime, I should be more patient and learn to appreciate what I have now, as I continue to move forward and wait — work — for my turn to succeed.

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