The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.


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2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
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The Sense of Achievement and Whatnot

The Sense of Achievement and Whatnot - The Single Millennial Podcast

[Start of Transcript]

Sometimes, I stay awake late at night thinking about what I have achieved in my life. If there's anything I've achieved at all. It's a disturbing thought and it makes me think that I am not doing enough because I can't seem to make a list of things that I can be proud of. At least not things that would quote-unquote “count”.

Hello everyone, Alexis here speaking and this is The Single Millennial Podcast. Here's a new episode that I thought I would like to speak about. Sit back, relax, and let's chat!’;

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I was one of the alumnae interviewed last week for Brokenshire’s Accreditation, my high school institution, and one of the questions that were asked was “What are your achievements in life?” Although I’ve managed to answer the question, it still stuck with me and I can’t help but look back through my life.

I turned 28 this year. I graduated from college almost 8 years ago and I have been a working girl since 2016. I worked in the field I graduated in for a year and in that year, I had discovered and realized a huge thing about myself. The degree I studied for 5 and a half years was not the profession I really wanted to keep doing. I felt like I wasn't made for that field and I wasn't meant to be in that industry. My heart had another calling and so for months, I deliberated with myself and created a plan b. Where would I go next when I leave my job, what I would be doing, saving up enough just to keep me afloat as I look for another way to generate income. It was then that I started having anxiety. Taking the leap was scary as fuck. Not knowing if what I wanted to pursue was going to work was a gamble I do not want to lose to.

You see, my family wasn't well-off. We were struggling to make ends meet. I grew up only having enough and I didn't have the luxury to be jobless. When I graduated from college, I vowed to myself that I would get a job and be fully independent so that I wouldn't have to ask for money from my parents anymore. And I did just that. There were a few hiccups along the way but when I decided to leave my field of study, I kind of successfully supported myself to pursue what I really wanted to do.

And now, I'm happy that I'm earning my keep and I get to have some extras for savings but then I look over the things I did in my past years and I couldn't say that I've achieved something to be proud of. At least not something that other people would deem as an "achievement". I am a 28-year-old single woman who still lives with her parents, who does not have any investments to her name, who is crazy over people who do not even know she exists, who still watches animated films and cries over the silliest things. When I look at how my life goes by these days, I can't really say that this is something I imagined I would be doing at 28 years old when I was still in college. It's a far cry from what I envisioned myself to be. But life isn't predictable and shit happens all the time.

The insecurity always creeps up whenever I go to social media and see peers my age who have already done so much, and this is the very reason why I seldom use Facebook. Adulting is difficult, no? All those years we spent studying and getting ready in school, never really prepared us for all that's to come when we face the real world. At least not for me. Adulting was a whole new realm, it turned my world upside down and it slapped me hard on the face. School blanketed us so much from all the anomalies that are present in the world and when it's time for us to get out from our cocoons, we have no choice but to tackle the challenges head-on, not even remotely prepared for them.

I talked to my best friend about this not having a sense of achievement in my life and she had a different perspective that made me rethink everything all over again.

We all have different timelines. This is a cliché that I've read so many times on the internet but it never made sense to me until some time ago. It made me rethink all the things I did in the past and maybe I did some things worthy to be called as achievements that I was just too distracted by other people's opinions to ever acknowledge them as the great things that they are.

Even though I didn't continue on with the field that I graduated in, I finished college and passed the board exam on my first take. Engineering is hard and that is really something to be proud of even though I chose to traverse another path. I pursued writing and blogging and content creating and I made all of them a source of living. Someone told me that not everyone has the guts to make the leap that I did and in that sense, I realized that what I did was another thing to be proud of.

I ventured and walked out of my safe space when I went abroad and that’s another thing to be proud of. Because not everyone can just pack up and leave everything behind to start a new life. That experience did so much to me and my view of the world. It shaped me into who I am now and it gave me a new perspective. Having the experience of being an OFW opened my eyes to how much bigger the world is and how things work on a bigger scale.

Sometimes, it’s the least expected things that will really make a big (if not the biggest) impact on our lives. And I am telling you, my dear listeners, that if you feel that the things you’ve done so far in your life are worthless, think again. Don’t be too negative like me.

Achievements—in all its sense is just like success. It’s something that will mean differently to each person. And it’s fine if what I’ve achieved may not be an “achievement” to someone else. The important thing is that this achievement was meaningful to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s not as significant to other people because at the end of the day when I lay down on my bed, it’s me who will feel the satisfaction and the happiness correlated to that certain achievement and not those other people.

An achievement is something to be proud of and if as simple as successfully creating candles from scratch is something that has made you feel proud of yourself, it’s an achievement. Whether it’s something big like getting that promotion you’ve been aiming to have for years or as simple as finishing that book you’ve been reading for a month, if that something has made you feel happy and proud of yourself, that’s already an achievement in itself. Whether big or small, its scale does not matter. If it’s something that you’ve put an effort into and turned into something that you are proud of to have done, that’s already an achievement no matter how big or small it is. Again, the scale does not matter.

We go forward through life thinking that we have to make something big, that we have to be something big to be someone worthy. But life does not work out like that. Though yes, while some people set out to do great things that are bigger and flashier than yours, it doesn’t mean that the small achievements you made silently in your life are not worthy.

Don’t go around seeking validation from other people when you seek for that sense of achievement. Because for so long, that’s what I have been doing, and it has led me to so many sad outbursts and self-doubt and anxiety attacks. It’s not pretty, especially when you come to the point of wallowing in self-pity.

I have long since learned that all of us have our own timelines and that all of us have a unique life story. There is no specific mold to fit into. There’s no one-size-fits-all in this marathon called life. There is not one specific criterion that we all must adhere to to gain those achievements because we all run different kinds of stories. We all have different kinds of struggles and we all come from different kinds of backgrounds. The important thing here is the way we handle the challenges that are thrown into our path.

We make different life choices according to the privilege that we were given and it’s up to us to make do with what we have and make the best out of the consequences we get from those decisions.

Anyway ... I’ve babbled on for so long now regarding this matter and the message that I just really want to get across is that no matter the size, whether it’s as mundane as getting to do yoga in the morning or as big a deal as successfully building your own business at 25, an achievement is an achievement. You get to be proud of yourself, other people’s opinion does not matter. What you make of your life, of your time, that’s what matters.

Again, this podcast is an advocate of happiness and self-love, so no matter where you are in life, know that your struggles are valid and that there’s someone here who understands you.

Thank you for listening to The Single Millennial Podcast, once again, Alexis here. I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I hope I’ll see you again in my next episode. Stay healthy, wealthy, and happy. Get vaccinated. or get boosters, if you can. Byeee~

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