Leap Year contemplations

Leap Year contemplations

I wrote this on the 29th of February, just before midnight. I noticed February was about to end and, since it’s also a leap year and leap years mean strange and new things, I challenged myself to write something about the start of my 2016 in under an hour. I won’t edit it, because I feel it’ll take away from the authenticity of what I was feeling at that moment.

To put it succinctly, the start of my 2016 was terrible. I have literally never had a worse start to a year than this. Retrospectively, I know that I’ll forever be grateful for such a shit-tastic beginning because it’s taught me a lot. But it doesn’t change the fact that, basically, January and February sucked comically huge donkey balls.

The first semester of my second year, I started questioning law school, because of which my grades started dipping. Hard to keep up with something you’re not so sure of anymore, y’know? Then I learned that my mom was having some financial issues – nothing too significant, but enough to make paying for my horrendous tuition fee more than a little difficult. I couldn’t justify her spending such a significant amount of money on something I was no longer sure of, so I forewent enrolling for the upcoming semester. And although I left of my own volition, it still hurt to see all my friends getting back to the daily grind, complaining about terror profs, and looking for law firms to intern at.

I started looking for work and found myself a job with a marketing agency, but the relief of having something to do everyday rather than bum around the house quickly gave way to the horrifying realization that my job and my skills and interests did not mesh. At all. Lesson numero uno for any job-hunters out there: unless you’re supporting a family or otherwise really need the moolah, don’t take a job you know you’ll hate. The minute I started the interview process at that agency, I knew I wasn’t gonna like it. But when they made an offer and I hadn’t gotten responses from other companies yet, I bit the bullet and signed up.

And I proceeded to regret it for the three short weeks I was there. Which isn’t to say that the agency itself was terrible, or that the people were shitty. My co-workers and supervisors were all really nice people, and they’re probably the only reason I didn’t walk out on my first day. This is a classic ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ case. I just wasn’t interested in the work; nor was it something that I felt I would be good at doing.

So my misery at not being in law school with all my friends was compounded by the misery I felt at having a job I hated. Every day of those three weeks was like something out of my worst nightmare. I felt like a failure, a disgrace, a dropout working a job I hated just to have money.

I also felt guilty for being so miserable, because loads of other law dropouts had it worse. At least I left of my own volition, rather than getting kicked out. Not to mention I found a job pretty quickly, while others were still unable to get up and even start the process of looking because they were still reeling from the tragic turn their lives had taken.

I don’t even want to revisit the pages of my journal I’d written in during this period. I’m sure all the entries would be darker than my emo eyeliner from high school, filled with angsty thoughts of failure and being a loser. Every lunch period I’d leave the office to go to a nearby coffeehouse, write in said journal, and try not to cry. I’d bolt from my desk as soon as it was quitting time. Every morning that I woke up and had to go to work I cursed the sunrise and dragged my feet, hoping to delay the start of the day just a little bit more.

Needless to say, January and February were not happy months for me.

But then the clouds parted and lightning struck, and one of the companies I’d applied to finally got back to me. As I mentioned in this blog’s very first post, I was appointed to a position in the Department of Foreign Affairs, which was where I’d originally wanted to work when I graduated from university back in 2013. The foreign service greatly interested me, then and now – so much so that my grades in classes geared towards that discipline, such as the courses I took on international relations and global politics, were the highest I’d ever had, responsible for drastically pulling up my average-but-respectable GPA. It felt nothing short of serendipitous, because I’d actually applied for this position when I was a fresh grad, but unfortunately didn’t even get short-listed for an interview. Of course, not getting this job then led me to clerking for a law firm and then eventually going to law school.

I don’t believe in fate or destiny, but maybe, just maybe, this is the universe trying to tell my that my original path was the one I was meant to be on? Maybe two years of law school was a detour for me to gain valuable insight into the legal world, to make new friends and gain new experiences? Whatever it is, I’m so happy right now, I can almost believe in it.

Even the sheer amount of paperwork to be accomplished can’t dampen my spirits. And you’d think today would have really done that, considering I just came back from the Civil Service Commission Head Office in Quezon City to get some documents for my personnel records. That’s an almost two hour drive traversing the highway to hell, a.k.a. Commonwealth Avenue. I’m tired, I’m hungry (no one was awake when I got home, and I’m too lazy to cook), I forgot to pick up moisturizer even though there was a highlighted note in my planner reminding me to do so in all-caps, and I’m still happy.

What am I trying to get at here? Basically, I just really want to say that the old cliché is true. When you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. And maybe people will say that what happened to me at the beginning of the year wasn’t really ‘rock bottom’ in the strictest sense of the word. I didn’t die, or get seriously injured. Even though my mom’s having money troubles, it’s not so dire a situation that we’d be out on the streets or my younger siblings would have to stop schooling altogether. But ‘rock bottom’ depends on each person’s situation, I guess, and for someone like me, for whom failure is the worst thing that can happen, something like dropping out of law school definitely counts.

January and February 2016 were, undoubtedly, some of the worst months of my life. I was despondent, angry, upset, lonely, heartbroken, and a myriad other adjectives that will never do justice to just how hopeless I felt. My life, I thought, was at the very edge of a precipice, the tip of a downward spiral, and I didn’t know how to pull back. I realize I was lucky that the hand that reached out to yank me to safety came from the job offer of my dreams, and from there, it was easy to pick up the pieces and rebuild. I can’t and won’t begin to try and imagine the circumstances of other people who’ve had things go belly-up, God knows as huge as my ego is it’s not that big that I imagine my problems are unique or the worst thing to happen to anyone ever, but my point is this.

Happy endings are out there. You can make them yourself, or you get someone else to give it to you. You go looking for it, or it finds you. Either way, if you’re not happy, it’s not yet the end.

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