Turning 25 and Saying Bye to QLC

Hong Kong, 28 Feb 2021 While wishing me a happy birthday, some people did ask me if i’m scared or excited towards turning 25. Thankfully, my answer this year would be yay, I’m excited to embrace the journey of adulting and see what’s more to come. This wouldn’t be me a year ago because I was too stressed thinking about what’s next or what’s my ‘passion’. I thought I have to figure out my life now, or else it’d be too late. Was this a quarter life crisis? Maybe.

Back in the school and university days, our paths and goals were mainly defined. I didn’t remember worrying so much and, most of the time, I got the things I want. Working life is different. Now, we become the sole author of our own story. We get to decide our next chapter, role, and even plot twist. After almost two years of working, I started to question how do I want to narrate my story — what do I want to do next, what is my passion, how long should I stay in Hong Kong and blablabla.. All these questions sound like I have to finish all the chapters of the book at this point in time. I forgot that life is a forever work in progress, so does my story.

Throughout the process, I did a lot of research and reflections until I got clarity (not answers) for those questions above. Some of the things below are probably basic, but I’m going to share my thought process and how I see them differently now. 

It’s okay to not knowing our passion yet

We live in a society where social media is full of young successful people who seem to know what they are passionate about, and that if we’re not working on our passion, we’re wasting our time. The truth is that’s not entirely true. Until today, I don’t know what I am passionate about yet, and I can assure you that a lot of people are on the same boat with me (based on my research on my managers, friends, seniors!) Sometimes, there are other things to consider, such as values, working environment, financial goals, or opportunities.

Some episodes of my favourite podcast (Thirty Days of Lunch) talked about switching careers at different time. Ep. 16 (S2) with Regina talked about starting her pilot school in her late 20s. Also, there is one sentence in Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life book that sums it well, “my mission is to find my ikigai”

Do something about it

While it’s okay to not knowing our passion, it is not okay to just sit around and wish we will suddenly find our passion. Go out and try new things. Don’t be afraid to try something that we don’t end up liking because at least we learn new things about ourself. If you listen to the podcast episodes I shared in this post, the common thing these people have is they find their passion when they are exploring new things.

Ep. 27 (S2) with Ika Natassa talked about finding something we love is just the beginning, being good at it is way more important. For Ika, the reward is in the process, and in her case is writing her best-selling books. The first chapter of Critical Eleven was written for a charity purpose which she didn’t receive any royalties. However, it triggered Ika’s creativity that became a best-selling book and movie

One of the tips I can share is to try something that we know it will upskill us in some ways or we’re deeply interested in. Let’s be realistic, we’re all drowning in our 9-6 jobs, hence we want to do something that is beneficial to us in some ways. In my case, I started MTR Talks podcast to meet inspiring people and learn to be a great moderator, as well as an online gift shop @gift.byseason to learn about marketing and entrepreneurship.

Our goals are evolving 

Having something to look forward to makes a huge different. It gives us a reason to wake up every morning. We’ve heard about setting 3-5-10 years goals, but they forgot to remind us that our goals are evolving as we’re learning new things and growing everyday. We may dream about having cars and houses now, but five years from now, they might be no longer relevant.

Ep. 20 (S2) with Dian Sastro, one of my women crush, talked about her soul-searching journey even until she becomes a mom of two. Dian went through being a model, actress, consultant, producer, with Bachelor of Humanities and Master of Management degrees. She didn’t plan all of these. She figured her next move one step at a time until everything makes sense in her 40s. The podcast host, Ruby, breaks down passion to simpler concepts coupled with reality in his social media. His experiences exploring more than 5 jobs in his 20s made his explanations more relatable for us. You may check him out here

Breakdown goals into smaller actionable items

Again, this sounds simple but often overlooked. When goals seem to be too unattainable, we tend to be discouraged. Ep. 4 (S2) with Yasa Singgih talked about his new year resolution is to instil habits that will bring him closer to the goals. This is why every vision needs missions, every strategy needs tactics, and none of them should stand alone. I personally have been doing this for a few years now, I can say it’s proven to be more effective. 

A quick tip from me, if the vision+mission or strategy+tactic are too complicated for you, try to always have the WHAT, WHY, and HOW to give you the whole picture. Let’s take the most classic goal I have every year as an example, “I want to maintain my weight to be healthy and happier about myself by exercising 3x a week.” (not by skipping meals because it doesn’t make me healthier and happier). 

Everything takes time and investments

The last one is about instant culture we have nowadays. The fact that social media and technology have made things easier in certain ways has indirectly shaped an instant culture in the society. We tend to think everything has a shortcut but the truth is no, everything takes time. Whatever we see in social media is always one side of the story, mostly the happy ones. Most of the time, people don’t highlight the struggles or amount of efforts we put behind. 

If we want smooth skin like beauty influencers, invest in good skincare products. If we want a botty and toned body, train yourself 4-5x a week. If we want to climb the career ladder fast, put in extra hours to work on extra projects. (All of this is indeed a reminder to myself. I complaint about my pores but always choose the cheapest skincare product, I hate my fatty belly but always make excuses for skipping exercise, and I envy my colleagues who got promoted but always give my bare minimum at work.)

I’m reminded once again, nothing’s worth having comes easy.

If you’re reading this far, I hope my story resonates to you in one way or another. To sum up, I still don’t know what my passion is but I’m happier with my job now as I have a purpose now. I’m working on my community, podcast, and online shop to develop myself and others.  I have goals that I want to achieve in the next few years, covering my financial, health (both physically and mentally), careers, and self growth aspects. What’s after that? I don’t know, let’s figure out along the way.

Me on my 25th Birthday,

Personal note:
Besides listening to podcast, I also talked to inspiring people from different background (this is the real reason behind @MTR Talks), read books, observed my surroundings, and did a lot of reflections myself. But you may have noticed, one podcast that I’ve quoted a lot is Thirty Days of Lunch hosted by @fellexandro and @sheggario. It’s in Bahasa Indonesia and easy listening, discussing day to day pain points of millennials, from careers, personal finance, businesses, and lifestyle. What I like the most is they always have actionable takeaways in each episode. I’m glad I found 30DOL amid my “QLC”. I’d recommend you to give it a listen as there are more interesting episodes besides those I mentioned above.

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