A few days ago, I received an email from a reader who is seeking for an advice from me. I thought that I should also share it here on my blog because I actually get a lot of messages with the same concerns about life / dreams / "how do I get out of this, I'm feeling unmotivated"...
I'm not sure if I'm the best person to answer this because I have to be honest, I'm still in the "struggling but be positive" phase. But of course, I'll give it a try to give some helpful advice and tips! : )
Before we delve into that, let me share my favorite sakura photo. I'm not sure if these are cherry blossoms though, hehe! Still.. flowers.
Okay let's start with her question!
(PS: I changed the real name of the person to Kawaii Girl hehe) ^^
My nickname is Kawaii Girl and like you, I'm also a Filipina who is into kawaii and colorful stuff. I've been following (or stalking? xD) your wonderful blog for a while now and I saw a new light in Kawaii culture because of you. You see what I like reading about your blog most is the inspiring stories and empowering thoughts that you share with us readers. I feel encouraged to follow my dreams whenever I see you fulfil your goals one by one but the thing is.. for me right now.. I'm still not really sure what I really want to do with my life. I just quit a job that I never liked and I've been jobless for months now. Whenever I ask myself what is it that I wanted to do? I always become like this . . . I'm stuck. I'm a bit knowledgeable about image editing, and basic graphic creation stuff (I learned them coz I wanted to make anime wallpapers when I was younger) but not enough to pursue a career related to that. I know my interests lie in kawaii, anime, manga, games and other japanese-culture related stuff but I don't know what is it that I can do now.. I'm grateful to have very supportive parents but being an only child, I can't help but feel really guilty for not being able to give back to them.. :/ I'm turning 24 soon and I think I'm already having this quarter-life crisis. I believe I'm also undergoing depression for 3 years now (ever since I graduated) because I'm feeling so hopeless about my future.. If possible, could you give me and other people like me some advice about this kind of situation? I would really appreciate it even if you just create a blog post about this and even if you won't directly answer to this email.. I hope you can spare some of your time to read this... I'll be forever grateful if you do.. T^T
Thank you so much, and I will always support you and your future endeavours ^_^
- Kawaii Girl
Hello Kawaii Girl!
First of all, thank you for reading my blog! Readers like you inspire me more to continue sharing about my own learnings. ^^
If there is one quote that I would always tell myself during my "I can't do this / I feel so hopeless" days.. it would be this:
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.
- Michael Jordan
If this would be comforting to know.. I just want to let you know that I have been in that position. And sometimes, I do feel like- "I'm stuck.". For me, you don't have to "figure everything out" by age of 24. It's not a matter of age, but a matter of having the right perspective and acknowledging your own strengths (which can be honed) and weaknesses (which can be converted into a strength too!).
I am glad to hear that you have very supportive parents who are there to help you and guide you as you become independent in the future. If I were in your position, I would make the most out of their "support" (and not feel guilty about it) and multiply their support by producing results that would be beneficial in the future (both yours and the family's). If I feel that I need to be more skilled in my craft so that I would have that "competitive edge" when it comes to applying for jobs, I would enroll myself in advanced graphic design classes, illustration, webdesign, photography and the like. When you are too busy learning and discovering new things, negative thoughts will leave your mind. Invest in experiences. I want to build my own cafe in the future, so I took barista lessons. I felt that I had to learn advanced video editing, so I had a workshop. Don't just stay in your room forever. I am an introvert but even if I am naturally shy or quite aloof at times, I know that I have to do something about it. ^^
When I was feeling depressed, I wasn't doing anything. I had no drive and I felt pressured because I also saw my peers / friends reaching for their goals. What I've realized is that my mind was too busy to be hard on myself, too busy to compare my situation (own blessings and problems) with others, and too busy to actually get things done. So I busied myself to be productive (with less complaining).
One day, I woke up and I felt that I had to change my life. If you want a positive life, you have to have positive thoughts. Thoughts -> Actions -> Life
Here's a list of things that I did & questions I asked myself so I could get out of my "comfort zone" (a place where we can also feel hopeless):
- "What do I really want to do in my life?" and "How do I get myself from point A to B?"
- I read more motivational books / watched motivational talks / visited the bookstore (yay free reading because I was saving up)
- I visualized my life and drew / doodled everything.
- Be more appreciative of the little things / little steps / little achievements
- "It's tough but I have to move on from this shit, and keep on doing & trying things."
- "So what if I fail?"
- I cannot stress this out so much but I feel that many of us are afraid of failures. Truth is, we're going to experience a whole lot of crap in our life but that does not mean that whenever we fail, we would just stop and blame ourselves or blame the world. Because when we fail and we don't learn from it, that's how we really fail. But when you fail, you learn, you get back up, fail better, try again, learn.. that's how you win. We deserve to be winners in our own game even if there are battle scars. : )
- Try being active in communities (it can be Kawaii PH, hehe!) and have a strong support group. I felt the most "successful" when I was able to share whatever I had through community service (Kawaii PH). It could not even top my past recognitions and achievements.
- Surround yourself with POSITIVE people. People who will not raise their eyebrows when you speak of your dreams. However, please don't develop a habit of only telling people about your dreams. Aim for the day when you will be able to tell your realized dreams. ^^ If you are unlucky (which has nothing to do with you actually) and you are around a negative environment, please build the courage to find your inner strength within (the positive & optimistic self even with all the negativity around you).
- Before, my family had a lot of problems and it was just so tough to be focused to finish college in such place. That's why when I got the opportunity and luck when I could live on my own for a few years while in school (I rented a condo unit near school), I grabbed it instantly. It was for my future and my sanity. Multiply your lucks and blessings by using them. The fact that you have supportive parents = you're very lucky! : ) Don't spoil the luck.
- Remember: Best effort > Perfection
- Don't wait for the perfect timing, situation, and the like. It will not arrive. Even with your 5% knowledge but 95% optimism, you can do things! : )
- "It's going to be difficult but I will enjoy this crazy ride."
It's okay to be not okay sometimes. We all have those moments. And it's okay to quit at something you don't like. At least, you are aware that you're not meant to be in that industry / field... meaning, you have realized what you really wanted to do based on your skill (basic creation graphic design stuff which you want to do). Why not turn this "basic" to "advanced"? : )
Then try applying in another company that you really like where you can contribute your mad skills and for the aim to gain experience. Then if you feel that you're not fit in that company again, you can quit and try again. Later on, it would all make sense.
"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
To give you an example.. I never thought that I would blog or write about motivational things (exposing my vulnerable self to the world and admitting my own mistakes). I even joked around my friends that.. "Maybe I should become a life coach someday lololol". And honestly, right now, I am considering that (but I still feel that to be one, I need to learn more, haha). Also, I didn't expect that I would be interested in doing business and I would mentor interns / my juniors. One failure, one attempt (I need more hands to count all my failures in life haha).. these led me to where I am right now. And I feel very excited for you because you know what, when I was in my rock bottom phase in my life (so far).. a miracle happened just when I was about to give up. So don't, okay? ^^ Something great will happen to you, you just have to do the "doing" part.
I hope that through sharing my own experiences, you've learned something from these.
Gambatte, Kawaii Girl!
(Also, just wanna share this meaningful kawaii art by ChiChi. I love her write-up / explanation about her artwork!)
Sometimes in life we find ourselves in difficult situations, sometimes we get stuck in an unfamiliar environment that we are not much comfortable with. Because of this, we get the urge to just get up and leave! >3< But what if, for some important reason/s, we can’t leave?
Because in life, I’ve learned that yes, sometimes, we do get “stuck”. I’ve refused to believe this too before, but it turns out that it really does happen.There are certain situations that just cannot be avoided, certain sticky places that just have no “other way around”..Certain challenges that demand to be faced (especially if it’s something we encounter on the way to our dreams!)´･ᴗ･`
What do we do when faced with situations like this? We “bloom” of course! ✿ Wait what on earth do I mean, you say? :)) Yeah it might sound a little bit too annoyingly optimistic, but for one it sure beats whining and complaining, which doesn’t really get anything done, hahaha (゜▽゜;) And by “blooming”, I mean getting through with these certain consequences by being ourselves and by doing it in our own way. Like in the drawing, being surrounded by prickly and thorny cacti doesn’t mean you have to grow thorns too. (Does that even make sense? I don’t know but I sure hope it does for you hahaha)
Sometimes we adapt too much when faced with a problem that we lose sight of what we really are. Sometimes we lose too much of ourselves when trying to solve things! >A< I think we really have to be careful with that~ :3
Just sharing sakura photos ...