Lost, Not Yet Found

There are times when I find myself crying inside my bedroom. I cry when one of my patients die. I cry when I feel alone. I cry when I think I could’ve done things better. More importantly, I cry when I realize I am lost.

I am lost in the sense that at my young age of 22, I couldn’t find that sweet sweet spot where the 4 P’s of career / professional development (and fulfillment) meet: (1) passion (something I love), (2) proficiency / skills (something I’m good at), (3) profitability (something I’m adequately paid for), and (4) Para sa Bayan (something the world badly needs). And this gets frustrating day after day.

Truth be told, one of the major reasons I pursued employment in PGH is the promise of UP Manila to employ us immediately after graduation to ‘help’ us fulfill our obligations to the University. UP Manila did not disappoint. About two months after I filed my application, I was called to report for duty in PGH.

Months passed and I got to enjoy all the good and bad of being a staff nurse in the country’s premier hospital. I have my fair share of stories about how ‘difficult’ it is to be a hospital nurse in the country most especially in the Philippine General Hospital. Maybe these same stories and realizations made thousands of Filipino nurses leave the Philippines to go abroad in search of a more comfortable life. Maybe these same stories made the remaining thousands choose to stay. But despite these awesome and awful experiences, I whole-heartedly dedicate my life to the service of the Filipino people in the Philippines. Despite these awesome and awful experiences,  I choose to marvel my way out of the corrupt and flawed system that has kept us in the down low. And despite these awesome and awful experiences, I try to find a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in everything that I do.

I am expected to finish my return service in December this year and I couldn’t help but ask, “What’s after?”. I am tied to PGH for three years and I’m expected to be ‘free’ by 2019; that’s when I could leave PGH and venture to another career if I want to. And the next questions to ask? “Where would I like to go?” and “What do I like to do?”.

I recall myself planning the next ten years of my life following college graduation. It looked like a good plan. But somehow along the way I’ve slowly drifted away from it. I have been going with the flow allowing the tides to determine my fate. What’s good with it is that I’ve been able to settle to a somewhat decent, somehow high-paying job for an average nurse. What’s bad with it is that I couldn’t picture myself working in these conditions, in this environment, in this line of work, the rest of my life. For a person who always sticks to his plans, deviating from your life plan is a nightmare.

I remember one senior nurse telling me that I won’t be able to find that ‘sweet spot’ in my lifetime. That it’s either you get (1) a job that you’ll love and don’t get paid enough, or (2) a job that offers high salary but it’s something you just can’t love. It hit me. Maybe she was right. Maybe we tend to simply settle.

Like this post, my thoughts are cluttered. I can’t seem to find a direction. And that scares me a lot. Maybe settling is good thing. Maybe, we settle for a year or two into something we can work with in the interim. We settle maybe because we can’t just find yet our purpose in life. We settle maybe because we are still in the process of building a better version of ourselves. We settle maybe because it is the best thing to do at this point in time. We settle maybe because we choose the safe side, afraid of venturing out in the open. And that, maybe, is what I’m feeling.

People change. Perspectives change. Goals change. And I can’t wait for the day that I get to finally decide which career path to take.

I choose to settle. Well, at least for now.



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