Let me tell you a story: They all say I did things way too early.
The first concert I ever attended was Paramore, way back in 2009. I was 14, and I didn’t even know how the hell I was able to go to Mall of Asia Arena without any companion, except me and my bestfriend at that time.
When I was 18, I was able to fly out of the country to be a short-time exchange student at Beijing. That was the very first time I was allowed to fly without my parents. I am an only child, so you know it’s an achievement.
I graduated and first got employed full-time at 19. Some may say that’s an achievement. Other may even comment how “smart” apparently I am, for skipping a year when I was in pre-school. I descended the stage grinning and thinking about how awesome it sounded – I was the youngest one in the class to graduate!
Well, it didn’t take too long until I considered this awesome achievement as a curse, because I got my first job rejection at 19, too. I applied at a broadcasting network to become an editorial assistant. They rejected my application because apparently, I was too young.
The second and third rejections were just like the first one. They all think I’m underage for the job. That’s absurd, I thought. In a few months, I’d be turning 20 yet they can’t accept me. It was such a bullshit reason to fail applications, believe me.
These rejections led me to try an industry that I was hesitating to get into: BPO. Frankly, they didn’t look at my age. They looked at how I was able to speak over the phone. The next thing I knew, I was taking calls for 8 months – until I got sick of saying, “This is Fiona, how can I help you?”
You might think I gave up on that industry after those toxic months. Well, I tried. I was jobless at 20 for several months and it made me more depressed, because during those times, I tried applying for the same job and same company. They didn’t reject me – but they ignored my application. I was waiting for a yes that never came.
I told myself, I needed to get a job before I turn 21. So yes, I did consider going back to a BPO company, but this time, not over the phone. Thank heavens, I got the job on the first day of my birthday month – and I was employed when I turned 21. It was such a blessing.
Chatting was fun. To be honest, it was a whole lot more fun than taking calls – at least I can still have a life (and curse. Haha!) while assisting a client. The environment was also better than my first BPO, and I didn’t think I would resign…
…until the love of writing calls me back.
I decided to take a job offer from a non-profit organization as a reporting officer. That means I have to write a whole bunch of reports. The surprise? It is a Christian organization – one that shares my same belief, same principle and same values. No matter how far its office is from my home, I signed the contract.
By signing the contract, I have also made the decision to move out from the north, and to live by myself in the city – at 21.
At 22, I can’t say I’m fully independent now. I still go back to the north from time to time, so my Mom can always braid my hair and cook for me, and my Dad can still bully and boss me around. But the life in this city is a whole lot different.
And adulting is complicated and difficult! I needed to learn how to budget my salary, for I will now shoulder my own bills. Rent is on me. Water is on me. My phone bill is on me. What I will eat for the week is on me. Everytime I go to the grocery store, I now double check prices, and see what the cheaper items are. Apart from that, of course you need to have savings. Goodness. If you guys only know how hard it was during the first month. Haha!
But I’m glad it was hard at first, because on the next months, you’ll just become so used to it that you won’t complain about it anymore. Besides, that’s how it should be for a single young professional, right? You build your own empire. Start small, then gradually build up your own castle.
Right. But it’s scary.
There are times that I think I’m too young to be like this. There are mornings that I’d rather just sleep off than go to work. (Morning traffic is sooooo stressful!) There are times that I feel scared, especially when I’m about to book a flight, sign up for a subscription, make online transactions and whatsoever.
But then, if it’s not hard at first, how would you know it will be easy eventually?
So my dear millennial, if you are scared right now, thinking that you might be going too slow, or too fast, you’re not. Just go with the flow. If adulting makes you scared, don’t worry, we all are scared. Even those people older than us are scared. Life is scary, but all of us are meant to be overcomers.
Overcome your fears. Always find reasons to wake up every morning. Smile at people. Widen your connections. Appreciate your city. Let your voice be heard. Do work excellently. Be tired, and then get some rest, too.
No one can tell you that you’re going too slow or too fast. Just make sure that you’re moving. Life is not meant to be spent stuck at one place.
Don’t be too scared to be scared.