I was eighteen. I was three semesters away from graduating college. I just survived one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded. I had an amazing family, and I was in an awesome relationship.
The plan was to graduate college, work abroad, make a bunch of money and live my life that way.
But even with that, even with everything in front of me, I took a step back and looked at my life and asked,
“There has got to be more than this, right?”
When you’re about to die, they say that your life flashes before your eyes. And when I was swimming in the waters of Typhoon Haiyan, it wasn’t my life that was flashing before my eyes. It was the life that I could have, but I wasn’t pursuing.
It was the life beyond the boundaries that I lived in all my life. It was the life beyond getting good grades, being a good sister and daughter, and a life where I could pursue my passion and get paid for it.
It was a scary question to ask myself. Was I selfish? Why was I asking for more even when I had what I needed? What if I fail?
It took me three years to realize that this was the most important question I asked myself.
Eight months after Haiyan, I packed up my stuff (mostly my books) and left for Cebu.
It was supposed to be just for an internship, another step towards graduation.
Before I left, I searched for a job that would help me pay my expenses in Cebu. I’ve always been independent, and I didn’t want to ask my parents for money for an adventure I signed myself up for.
As I looked out the airplane window as I flew for the first time by myself to a city that always held a place in my heart, I was scared.
I started thinking about the question I asked myself if this is all that life has to offer me.
And then moving to Cebu answered that question for me.
A few months in my first job, I was soon going to quit. My internship ended, and I was moving back home to finish college.
But when you’ve spent two months being paid to do what you love, which was for me being paid to read and be a grammar nazi, it was hard to say goodbye.
So I didn’t.
I took a shot in the dark, and instead of going home for good, I went home to pack more of my stuff and officially moved to Cebu.
Everyone thought I was crazy. My parents weren’t delighted. My relationship turned into a long distance relationship. And I was quitting school.
But when you feel that something is right, when you feel that something is for you, you can’t just shake that feeling.
Fast forward to almost three years later, and I run the publishing company.
That’s right; I run the publishing company that I quit school for.
It wasn’t easy. Damn right it wasn’t.
I had to deal with people’s expectations, what they thought was right for me, people who didn’t think I should be in charge, and my own issues.
I had to push my boundaries and poured my whole self into creating a future that I didn’t know I could make.
I thought of quitting.
I thought of just going back home, going back to school and going to the original plan.
It was safe. Everyone has done it.
But the question still nagged at me: “There’s gotta be more than that, right?”
I didn’t want to be another zombie in the herd of other zombies, mindlessly going through life without a second thought.
I wanted to be a ninja. Someone who cut through the bullshit and thought of different ways to do it rather than just following what everyone else has done.
And today, I’m still in that dojo, practicing my moves and learning the ways of the successful people who have done it.
I have a long way to go, but I have better dreams now.
It’s not to graduate and work.
It’s to get paid to do what I love, and get to New York soon. And one day get featured on Forbes or TIME magazine as the Power Pygmy of Publishing.
Everyone thinks I’m crazy for dreaming that big.
That’s always a good sign that something amazing is about to happen 😉
Today I’m twenty-one. I didn’t finish college. I still have my amazing family. My relationship is about to hit the six-year mark. But my life isn’t the same. I run a crazy publishing company with the best people and the greatest authors.
All because I asked myself a question people rarely ask themselves, or too afraid to answer.