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Most of the people in my age group are trying to figure out whether it’s the right time to travel or is it time to settle down. I, on the other hand, ask myself whether it’s the right time to decide my fate.

I studied Electronics Engineering. I’m a licensed Electronics Engineer but I work as a Software Engineer. The gap between studying/creating electronic circuits to creating software solutions for big institutions is great. It’s so great that I will have to admit it’s completely unrelated.

I’ve misaligned my education to my job. Although programming microcontrollers or electronics devices or programming in its general sense is an essential skill for an Electronics Engineer, creating business programs is a different thing.

My time in college was mostly spent trying to find what I really wanted to do when I head on to the ‘real world’. I wanted to be a college professor, a journalist, a photographer, a literati, even a TV personality though I’ve only dreamed about performing for live television and all of these together with my studies.

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Throughout the course of my college life, I was trying to find what I wanted to be; what I wanted to do; what I’d do till I grow tired of living. In the end, I graduated and received my license partly because I wanted to grant my family’s expectations from me and partly because I didn’t know what I was doing.

Two years after I got my license, I still don’t know what I’m doing or what I’m trying to do with my life. I want to blog, I want to teach, I want to be something I made up: a professional nerd, I still dream of performing on stage. I am also serious about being a professional nerd – learning things from science, to religion, to culture, to leading a team, to whatever the world has to offer.

I make programs for digital solutions that our clients need. It’s a different song I’m singing than what I sung when I was still going through my low grades in college. Even though I’m over chasing grades, this stage I am on, I’m still figuring it out… still.

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Confusing and nerve-wrecking. What if I figure it out but it’s already too late? What if I’m already on the right track but I just can’t see it because I’m young and naive? What if I don’t find it in the end?

There’s no way of telling either. The reason being I’m happy with what I have right now. My work is tiring but it’s fulfilling for the reason that I learn something new almost everyday but I am not sure whether it’s what I really want.

Is it out there trying to find its way to me? Am I heading towards it or am I making a wrong turn? Will it appear when I’ve already embraced my fate decided by society?

The possibilities are endless but that’s not comforting or decisive either way.

It might take a lifetime to figure it out but I will see it through.

I hope.

21 thoughts on “Quarter Life Existentialism[Essay]”

  1. You will, eventually. A lot of successful people realize their worth and what they really want to do during the latest stages of their lives. As they say, life begins at 40 (although maybe not applicable to everyone and at all situations). I took Communication Arts because I’m into speech, media, and writing but I wasn’t even sure back then if I could get a decent job out of it. I DID!

    I’ve worked my butt off in the corporate world for 7 years and even though I felt like it wasn’t really what I wanted to do, it did put food on my table which was my main priority. Then one day I just took the risk of leaving my job during a time when my husband also didn’t have a job. I had it all planned out though. So I guess the bottomline is that it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves because we think we might have taken the wrong turn in our lives but in truth, 95% of the time YOU WILL BE JUST FINE. Haha caps lock para intense. ๐Ÿ™‚ You will find what you want soon and even then, it might still not be enough. Because, such is life. We learn along the way and change our mind again and again.

    1. Coming from you, it’s really reassuring. I hope sometime before I turn 30, I would find what I really have to do and want to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I haven’t finished my college degree and it’s something that always hinders me to go after what I really want in life. I desire to go back to school and prove to myself that I can be like other people who owned their degree. There are eventually point in my life that I envy my classmates who have gained their degree and they even had their masters and doctorate degree. Sometimes, I always try to evade from entertaining my cynical thoughts, from thinking that I’m too far from my classmates, but at the conclusion of the day, I realized that the life I am having and enjoying right now, some people are dreaming to become me. Fundamentally, I want to become a Doctor and a lawyer before, but I end up didn’t even finish anything at all. I’m yet in point of life that I don’t know what kind of future lies ahead of me. The lone thing that keeps me moving now is the chance to own the words I write, a chance to flair beyond limits, a chance to motivate and inspire others that beyond my little achievements in life I can still enjoy and be thankful to whatever God is giving to me.

    1. The thing about society is that it expects you to be like everybody else and achieve like everybody else. That’s what we were all taught since we were born. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think time will come that you can realize and ponder to settle down the path you will choose. You have dreams and goals and you think you want to achieve them, why not search for something relating to it so that you will be personally fullfilled. But be careful, decisions might be tough and life changing. But if you’re happy with your current career path, continue and progress. Else, give yourself time to sort things out and start searching for what you need. Nothing beats personal satisfaction than the society being satisfied but you’re not. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I worked for three years as a Software Engineer (graduated Computer Engineering) but I decided to follow my dreams of writing full time. It was also because I wanted to work from home and be with my kid and I obviously could not work as a web dev since I had no experience. I could still follow that path if I choose to but I decided not to…for now.

    Even though I’ve been here for a year already, I still think I can do much better. So I’m looking for better opportunities and I’ve also decided that I don’t want to be stuck in the corporate ladder. I’d much rather start my own business than work for someone else (I may be about half-and-half right now as a freelancer).

    Who knows what lies ahead of us, really. The recent death of my aunt got me thinking that people can die anytime so we really just have to follow what our hearts tell us because life is short and fleeting.

  5. Storytelling ta ani? Hahaha. I graduated BS Computer Science but I’m in no way programmer. I’m working on a digital marketing field but to keep myself updated I join a developer’s group and share to them what I can do. This world is about finding your spot and diversity holds the key. The passion is something we need to figure out in life. Yey!

  6. I guess I’m having the same thoughts as well. Being a licensed nurse but only worked in a clinical workplace for about a year. I think Im totally fine with what I do now regardless if they would always say that I’m leaving a great potential by staying as a QA analyst. I always stick to my mantra wherein I stay where I am happy. I work hard like everybody else, my job may not be related to nursing by as long as I am happy and I can still deliver, then I guess I am fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. It’s okay, JD. I don’t have any idea what to do with my life, too. All I know is that I do not want to conform to the pattern of this world. That’s why when I reached 18, I stopped going to school and decided to work instead to become financially independent and try out different things. I didn’t want my trust fund to go to waste just so I can get a degree. I promised my family that I will only go back to school once I am sure what to study. Hahaha.

    I’m now 23 and I’ve done a lot of things since then. I’ve tried the 9-5 rat race for four years and now I’m doing freelance work and some travel stuff, but I’m not sure yet what I really want. The important thing is we do our best to improve ourselves every single day. That way, we leave this world happy and fulfilled. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. It’s okay JD, you’re still young and still figuring it out what path you want to settle. As for me, my parents wanted me to become an educator but I really wanted to pursue Engineering and made them a promised that I won’t really go to school if they’ll force me to take up education. I graduated BS in Computer Engg and been into Software , hardware and back to software field, For software side, I tried to be a programmer but later on, I quit and do Quality Assurance and Software Analysis coz that’s what I want. The changes in my career had caused a drastic effect but thanked God, I was just fine. This clearly showed that it’s okay to change our minds every now and then when deemed necessary and if it is for the better. Point being, despite what people told me to do but I don’t feel like doing it, I won’t really do it. There’s no sense doing what others want you to do for yourself, instead, we should do something for ourselves and not for other people’s planned for us. Most of the time, I’ll do what I believe I can do my very best despite other people ‘disapproval. I’m the type of person that would not do anything because most of the people are doing it. I’ll do things and make a difference.
    Same goes with life’s decision, where we want to take our life from where we are now. Whether to follow the norms set by the mostly biased society or do what we think is right for us wherein we can have self-satisfaction and happy. At the end of the day, no one runs our life but ourselves. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I am a registered Medtech. The plan was to graduate, pass the board and go abroad. But I am uncertain on what I really want. When I got my license, I there were a lot of opportunities for me but I told my mother that I want to go back to school again. I want to take Medicine. Becoming a doctor wasn’t the main reason, I was still figuring out what I really want to do with life. And becoming a student will only hold the responsibilities of passing and being a good one. But now that I am on my third year, it was more than I expected, It was late I realized that I will be saving lives. Gosh, I am trapped. But you see, I look for another way to know what I really want to do with my life. I can save lives even if I am a Pathologist and that requires working in the laboratory with microscope and stained smear. At the same time, I can continue my passion in writing and other creative works.

    Always, follow your heart and what you really love because it will lead you to happiness!

  10. You are not alone Totem. I’m having a quarter life crisis myself but really don’t dwell on it for too long. Imagine, we’re only a year apart, but you’ve started working. And me? I’m still in college. T_T and I don’t even know if the course I’m in is what I’m passionate about. Well, it used to. But now, I just don’t see myself as an architect anymore. Misery loves company, and sad to say, we’re both on the same boat. T_T

  11. We are confused because we have been programmed with the wrong stuff since childhood. That’s why we feel empty. We have programmed to get academic and professional education. Not financial and spiritual education, which matters more.

  12. I FEEL YOU TOTEM. I think we all feel each other here. Me? I’m a software developer, but this isn’t my dream at all. I even enrolled in this course that I graduated from for the sole reason that my highschool classmate (nga kadungan nako ug enroll) was also getting the same (IT). It was indeed an impulsive decision, and I didn’t even know anything about programming at all. Now, I graduated, yes, but I am not happy at all. I may have enjoyed doing it sometimes but I’m not genuinly happy with it. Now, I’m confused (af) about leaving this job and focus on what I think I love the most…style blogging. But how do I sustain my outfit needs if I don’t have money to buy for my clothes? I also love designing blogs and even planned (like sauna pajud ni, 2013 pa) to sell my own customized designs online and earn from them. I also love film/video making. And a few others pa jud. Gosh, daghan jud mao makaingon jud ko nga quarter life crisis pod gyud akong peg karun! But just like you said sa last part…”The possibilities are endless but thatโ€™s not comforting or decisive either way. It might take a lifetime to figure it out but I will see it through.” I hope so too.

  13. As Nike said…. Just Effin Do It! hahaha. A lot of Millenials are confronted with that problem. You have so many choices now. There are jobs now that did not exist before like bloggers, YouTubers, and even social media managers. Because of seemingly endless possibilities, you get confused. Go back to the question of happiness and most likely you will know the answer. Just do the tings that makes you happy and I am sure you would not be asking questions anymore.

  14. Problem: You’re Totem and you overthink life.

    1. Watch Louis CK video that I often go back to when I’m hit with The Absurd, where he’s like “People overthink this life shit. Life is simple. You just shove food into mouth. If people stop you, you kill them”, which can be depressing if read by the mentally imbalanced who are triggered to depression by harsh words, but can be reassuring comedy to some, like me.

    2. Read more on Life by Louis CK because I do:

    “Youโ€™ll be fine. Youโ€™re 25. Feeling unsure and lost is part of your path. Donโ€™t avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a breath. Youโ€™ll be okay. Even if you donโ€™t feel okay all the time.”

    3. Watch Woody Allen films and read Nassim Taleb because I did and again will.

  15. I also have been in that kind of situation in which I could not appreciate my job before so I left that job since I know that is not good for me and for my career and also I wanted to improved my skillset as an Engineer. So, I went to the Northern part of our country for the adventure of a lifetime. I applied for a job for almost 3 months and nothing happened. I always failed in the exams and interviews for the company then I went to the South of Luzon hoping to land a job that is related to Engineering but I ended up as a Technician with a title of Engineer in which I did some graveyard shifts like almost 16hrs in the production line standing whole day! So,I still look for a job that is suitable for me and still applied Online for the sake that I could get out of this manufacturing company. Until One day, a top company called me when I was sleeping so I woke up immediately and answered the phone call. To make the story short, I passed the exam and the interview so I accepted the job that I know that it could boosts my career

    Just never give up my friend someday you will find your purpose too.

    1. Thanks for the enlightenment, EJ!

      I am currently trying out UX. I have so much to learn yet before actually trying to pursue it since it’s such a vast field of profession. Someday, I’ll figure it out. For now, I just have to keep it going for the bills and all that. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Just do your best in whatever situation maybe it could guide you to your destiny. Sometimes you just have to accept the negativity so that it will make you a better person because just think that it is only a training ground for something better.

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