Of careers and uncertainties

It’s no secret that I’ve always struggled internally with career issues. The kind of job I’m in demands a lot, and I believe I’m able to deliver the minimum requirements. I’m not the type who wants to climb the corporate ladder, at least not in this job. While others clamor for a promotion, I prefer to be in the sidelines, working quietly. But life being life, nothing stays the same for long and I have eventually been given bigger and heavier responsibilities. Sure, it might serve as a validation that maybe I am doing something right, and I am grateful (and slightly flattered) with the trust they put in me, but it does not necessarily mean I am happy about it. Every day I am anxious and unsettled, and every Sunday I cry a little bit inside knowing that it is going to be another crazy week. Yes, work has its rewards, its perks, its little breakthrough moments that help in the journey that is self-discovery, yet I still question whether this is all there is to career life.

For the longest time, I’ve resisted accepting where I am and what I have because I have somehow equated acceptance with resignation – resignation to the fact that I will always feel there is something more, there is something better out there for me. I would like to put it out there that I do not neglect work. At the end of the day, though, I always feel like I can do better but do not have enough motivation to act on it.

A large part of it stems from the fact that I am still unclear as to what I want to do with my life. There are options, of course, like my current job, as well as helping with the family business. For a while I toyed with the idea of working and/or studying abroad, but financial constraints have made them a bit more difficult to carry out (not impossible, just not as feasible as the others). The fact remains that I have to keep on trying and putting myself out there in the hopes of finding what it is I am meant to do. People tell me to stick to where I am because it pays well or it is prestigious or it fits my level of education. Is it worth it, though, knowing that I will never be truly happy in the status quo?

My perception of success and fulfillment are not the same as theirs, which is where all the judgment comes in. Over the years, I have learned to care less about what other people think, and while I still struggle with it sometimes, it is much easier now than a few years ago. I know this is not where I want to be 2 years from now. I have an idea of where I want to be, but I am not 100% sure about it. Then again, the only way you will ever find out if something works for you is if you try it. I have tried this, and I do not think this is the best thing for me to do, so I will move on to the next, still hoping it will finally be the one. What is life without uncertainties, right?

A few of my favorite songs

They say what you do on New Year will be like a prevailing theme of sorts for the rest of your year. It’s nearly 22 hours into the 1st of January, and so far I’ve spent it eating, napping and sharing stories with my family. Not a bad start, I’d say. I was tempted to work, but I’ve never been one to put work above family (or holidays). I would rather cram than give up family time to check my emails, so I decided to blog instead.

I’ve been thinking of posting something like this a few days ago when I heard the line “but with you, I feel again” from Feel Again by OneRepublic. I was suddenly overcome with warmth and fuzzies (is that even a word?), which is not unusual when I hear one of my favorite songs come up. This got me thinking about the songs that give me the same or similar feeling, hence the list below. More often than not, the songs have certain lines that really left a mark on me. Some I’ve associated with a significant time in my life, and never fail to induce nostalgia when I hear them. At one point, I could listen to nothing but one of these songs.

So, I now bring you 12 of my favorite songs as of 2012 (because let’s face it, the list is bound to change).

1. Only One by Yellowcard – I first heard this nearly 8 years ago and it still gives me the same feeling when I hear it now. That mixture of longing and frustration tugs at my heart when I hear this song, and I love to belt this out when I feel the same way.

2. Tadhana by Up Dharma DownTadhana is Tagalog for destiny or fate. Attempting to translate the lyrics will lose its impact, so you will have to take my word for it when I say this is one of those hits-you-hard-in-the-gut type of songs. All the unsaid feelings, the uncertainties and (again) frustrations are captured so aptly in this song. I’m listening to it right now, and it took me a while to type this out because I had to stop and sing along.

3. Burnout by Sugarfree – While the title is English, the song is Tagalog. My favorite line here is “O, kay tagal din kitang minahal” which roughly translates to “Oh, I’ve loved you for so long now”, and my heart just jumps a little when I hear it. It’s the giddy/heartbreaking type of feels, and if there’s that one person who you’ve loved for so long but you’re kinda feeling the I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-myself-anymore thing for him/her, you’d want them to hear this song. On full blast. On repeat.

4. Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band – One of the sexiest songs around, in my opinion, not just in terms of lyrics, but also in the way it was sung. It just keeps getting sexier and sexier the more I listen to it.

5. White Blank Page by Mumford & Sons – “Tell me now where was my fault in loving you with my whole heart?” and “Lead me to the truth and I will follow you with my whole life”. Do I even need to explain myself further? (Though I feel the need to point out the way the instruments swell towards the chorus, and the way Marcus Mumford sings “A white blank page, and swelling rage” really makes you feel the rage, you know?)

6. Torete by Moonstar88 – “Akala ko nung una may bukas ang ganito. Mabuti pang umiwas, pero salamat na rin ta nagtagpo“. Again, quite a lot has been lost in translation, but it somehow means: I thought what we had was going somewhere. It’s better to to stay away, but I’m still thankful we met. I don’t know how many times I’ve felt this (HAHA), but there’s also something with the way she sang it, like an innocent girl who’s had her heart broken for the first time, that makes me cry a little bit inside.

7. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers – Just pure good vibes, this song. I first found out about it on a forum, and it took me a while to warm up to it. The lyrics are sweet bordering on silly, and repetitive for the most part, but it never fails to put a smile on my face when I’ve had a bad day.

8. Fix You by Coldplay – One of their best songs hands down. It just gets to me on all levels – from the mundane losses to the life-altering ones, every word and every note of every instrument just came together to create something so moving. Indeed, it makes tears stream down my face.

9. Read My Mind by The Killers – “I don’t mind if you don’t mind, ’cause I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” It’s quirky and bittersweet, and it’s the song that started my love affair with the band. My other favorite is All These Things That I’ve Done (“I got soul but I’m not a soldier!”).

10. Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes – I like to write fiction from time to time, and I draw some of my inspiration from music. There has never been any other song that has compelled me to write a character based on it than this song. Not that I’ve done it. There have been attempts, yes, but none have been successful. Every time I hear this, though, she resurfaces, and I itch to open a blank document to finally write her out. I don’t know if I’ll ever see her through, but I’ll keep on trying.

11. Feel Again by OneRepublic – Like I said up there, “but with you, I feel again” is the line that really struck me. It’s not necessarily because I can relate (God, I feel so many things all the time!), it’s because I find the line beautiful – imagine having someone make you feel something again after a long time of being so guarded. I think it’s romantic. Also, I heard Terry McDermott from The Voice season 3 sing this and fell in love with it even more.

12. All This And Heaven Too by Florence and the Machine – This basically sums up how I feel about my heart (or my emotions, on a less sentimental note). In all its ups and downs, you wish for nothing more than a moment of clarity to stop the onslaught of feelings and breathe for even just a second.

Well, that turned out longer than expected. There are more songs, of course, but then the list will be unreasonably long. In retrospect, it seems like the running theme is frustration. While it’s a bit embarrassing, is not entirely unexpected because I turn to music when there are things I cannot express. I’m not the type to unload on or vent to just anyone, so when those close to me are busy, or I don’t feel like bothering them, I listen to music instead. Thank God or I would have exploded.