Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads

Whether you find yourself inside a mall somewhere in Monumento, malapit sa bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio, or sa dulo ng EDSA Extension, at the end of the day, you’ll need to go home. But after going to a mall to buy something o tumambay lang, did you have that feeling that you wasted a few hours of your life? And that those hours should have been spent doing something better?

At some point in your journey, mapapaisip ka if you’re in the right road, or kung tama ba yung destination na pinili mo. Being in the crossroads could catch up with you in different stages of life. Minsan tinatawag itong “quarterlife crisis” para sa mga young adults in their twenties.

Image credit: Travis Cruise
Image credit: Travis Cruise via Flickr

Looking back, nagkaroon na pala ako ng tatlong major crossroads: the first one when I decided to go back to Manila even though I intended to work in our province for good. The second one was when I resigned from a well-paying job so I could serve as the National President of our church youth organization. Lastly, the most recent, is when my family and I decided to move to the United States para sa isang mas malaking ministry service opportunity.

Crossroads: From Bad to an Improved Situation

Making a decision in my first crossroads was easy. My mother made me realize that the place I was in—being unemployed and waiting for opportunities that might never come—was unsustainable. Since wala akong work sa province noon, the solution was easy—shift to a different path where I can get a decent job, but it required moving back to Metro Manila. If you’re in a situation like this—madali mag-decide. It’s from a bad situation to an improved one.

Crossroads: From Good to an Uncertain Situation

Mas mahirap mag-decide sa second crossroads ko. I enjoyed a well-paying job at a BPO company. Nasa track din ako for eventual promotion. Kaya lang, I became the National President of our church youth organization. At dahil gusto ko gawin ang ministry na iyon, it didn’t matter kung walang suweldo, I really felt that I could pursue it. At dahil wala naman akong major major responsibilities sa buhay, I decided to go for it, kahit na alam kong puno ito ng uncertainty.

Image credit: unlawyer via Flickr
Image credit: unlawyer via Flickr

It’s not easy to make decisions in a crossroad like this—when you’re in a comfortable position, and you’re being called to make some sacrifices sa career at sa buhay mo. Of course, kung may asawa at anak ako when this particular crossroad happened to me, it would have been a much tougher choice.

And if you are faced with this kind of crossroad, you will need a strong conviction that God is calling you to this particular path—you’ll need that conviction when the doubts come knocking. Make no mistake, those doubts will come, and unless you believe in your direction strongly enough, madali kang mawala sa path mo.

Crossroads: From Good to a Better Situation

Making decisions in my most recent crossroad isn’t as tough as the previous one. May nag-open na ministry opportunity for me sa United States, I applied for it, got accepted and the job was offered to me. Siempre, kasama sa mga decision factors ang financial considerations, ang status ng aming maliit, pero growing na pamilya, ang difficulties ng pagiging OFWs at marami pang iba. Going to the US also meant saying goodbye, albeit temporarily, sa aking fledgling na author career, sa podcast at blog na inumpisahan ko, sa hosting gig sa DZAS Family Matters, at iba pang mga pinagkakaabalahan.

May mga trade-offs ang mga crossroads. You can’t have everything. You neeed to make a choice. Aling option ang naka-align sa mga values at principles mo? What’s the use of succeedinig if you end up losing your soul?

It’s Okay to Step Back

Puwedeng super-urgent ang crossroad na hinaharap mo, but most of the time, you can take a few days or a few weeks para mag-isip-isip and make a decisions.

Don’t make decisions when emotions are running high. The decisions you make are important, but HOW you make decisions is equally important.

In the same way, your goals, your destinations matter, but the journey you take is equally important. So if you change your direction or destination, it’s okay to step back, to assess yourself, to do some “soul searching”, and it’s okay to feel lost. Lahat naman tayo, nararamdaman yan at some point in our lives.

Noong first year College ako na bagong salta sa Metro Manila, binigyan ako ng travel tip ng nanay ko. Sa experience niya, kung maliligaw siya sa Manila, basta mapunta siya sa Quiapo, she’ll be fine—makikita na niya ang mga jeep at bus papunta sa iba’t ibang dako ng Manila.

Para sa marami sa atin, ang point of reference ay Pasay Rotonda. Malapit doon ang airport, maraming bus terminals papuntang Northern at Southern Philippines, maraming jeep terminals, mga city buses, at nandoon din ang MRT-3 at LRT-1 stations.

Hindi lang monetary success, materialism, at commercialism ang purpose ng buhay natin. At kahit na malaking-malaking globo ng mundo ang nakikita natin sa dulo ng EDSA, hindi talaga ito ang ating destinasyon. Sometimes, we need to step back para bumalik sa crossroads: sa Pasay Rotonda ng ating buhay.

Maraming puwedeng destinasyon. Kagaya ng alin mang paglalakbay, laging may pamasaheng kailangang bayaran—there’s always a price to be paid. Ano man ang status mo ngayon sa work, sa buhay, may you find the path that’s right for you.

Sabi sa Jeremiah 6:16 (ESV) “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Bilang isang kabataan na kasapi ng workforce, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. May mga travelers na nauna nang naglakbay, and if you seek out the ancient paths, you will find the good way.

So if you are still in that soul-searching mode, heed the call of Jeremiah. Similarly, Jesus admonished his followers: “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29, NLT)

Nakakapagod ang always-on pressure ng materialism at consumerism sa ating panahon: It is a never-ending pressure to conform, to upgrade our lifestyle, to buy the gadgets and things that are in season. I hope it won’t come to the point where you become like the speaker in Ecclesiastes, who boldly declares that “everything is meaningless.”

Kaya ngayon pa lang, follow the path that will not lead to losing your soul. Follow the path that will give rest for your soul. Along EDSA, marami kang biyaheng puwedeng gawin. May your destination and journey be full of adventure, grace, and peace.

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