I have been talking myself through writing this piece. I do not know why I am afraid of letting my heart be shown. I am the kind of person who usually wears her heart on her sleeve but I am finding it difficult to open up fully. What I am writing about is not necessarily bad. It is actually so good that I do not want to relive it. Here is my story – my leap year.
The middle of 2019 was a surprise turn for me. I took a rest from my job at my own family business. I stayed at home to reflect what I wanted to do with my life. I felt helpless and hopeless. Around July 2019, there was one night I could not sleep. I kept scrolling through my phone and saw something online that sparked my inspiration and creativity. The next thing I knew, I already started planning and decided I want to start my own t-shirt business. I have had this idea back in 2011 when I was in college but did not push through with it because I want to concentrate on my studies with my degree of Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship.
Originally, my plan was to look for a job so I can financially support myself for the capital I needed to jumpstart my own business. I did not want to ask my own parents for money because I want to be independent. I want to know how they felt when they started their own business that is still running for more than thirty strong years. That is exactly what I did but little did I know that what was coming will positively affect me in ways I have never imagined.
On September 4th, I almost woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I did not feel going through my third interview in a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company. As I was in the building, my referral wished me good luck and asked me to keep her tabs once I get in. There were so many people applying for the opening slots but I felt like I was the only one in the room while I was waiting for the results as I got through the initial interview and two examinations. I was sitting on one of the couches and it was most likely my third cup of Milo during the day. Most people get déjà vu’s. I had my very first precognition that I will be hired. I will get in. It may sound odd or crazy but if you watched That’s So Raven from Disney Channel, you will get gist of what I am trying to say. Do not get me wrong because I doubted that vision. What if it was just my imagination playing with my own head? If I had it, did it mean I was meant to be there? I took that precognition as a sign and whispered my prayer of thanksgiving even if the results were unsure. Around eight in the evening, the talent acquisition congratulated me for getting the job. I was excited to tell the news to everyone.
Working at a BPO industry was not included in one of my life plans but being there has shaped me into the person that I am today. You would think having a career in a call center is just about maintaining the metrics. Get a lower average handle time and more net promoter scores each month. Although that is partly true, being where I am definitely contributed to something bigger by listening through a piece of headset. I was helping people lead better lives through health insurance. I was elated to help people even though my patience gets tested most of the time. It felt great to listen because that is what I naturally love to do. I get glimpses of each person’s story on a daily basis just by asking them how their day is even if it is mundane or ordinary. That is where magic for me begins. Striking a conversation with someone you do not know let alone see eye to eye and touching a person’s life at the very tip of my fingers and by using my voice.
I would like to think being in the industry taught me to be more confident and to be a stronger person. The opportunities for improvement were endless and the hard realities of life confronted my fears. It was as if life has given me a surprise quiz if I can honestly live out the personal values I believe in and preach. I fail most of the time but the gift of another day and the people who surrounded me encouraged me to be a better version of myself. It was a short-lived five months but I discovered and found authentic pieces of myself. I felt a thousand capacities spring up in me. It shined through the things I shared generously and achieved without expecting anything in return. I would go home with the sun already striking hot up in the sky, exhausted from extended hours of overtime on a night shift, and sometimes nothing but challenging calls, yet I still found a reason to smile at the end of the day. This made me feel alive, wholehearted, and unconditional.
That is why I was heartbroken when I had to make the choice to resign for personal reasons. I had already planned that my next step was to become a trainer once I get regularized but then I had to break up with my job. I had to leave the people whom I already created strong bonds and friendships with. I never thought this is how it feels when you have to let go of something you have learned to love. It hurts. It cuts deep. But I am grateful this is one of those things for me. It is rare to have something like that in your life. So when you find it, I hope you do not take it for granted. I hope you make the best of it.
I still remember my last day. I was sitting on my chair, eyes welled-up, during February 29th. Leap Day. It was already four o’clock in the morning on my computer screen. My team leader sat beside me to take in calls. It was at that moment that I felt for the very first time in five months, I remembered the value of service, what it means to be in service, and that I will always have a heart for service. This is what I have been missing all along. It is the fulfillment from serving altogether for one purpose.
Not all endings are bad. I am a firm believer that nothing in our lives is an accident. The path you choose. The decisions you make. The lessons you learn. The people you meet. The person you fall in-love with. It’s part of what the universe has carved out for you way before you were even made. These things are what shape us to be the person we are meant to be and that maybe, even if we do not see or understand it, we are exactly where we need to be.
Sometimes life is not all about getting what you want and doing what’s best for you. Sometimes it involves letting go of something you love. Coincidentally, on a leap day, I was brave enough to take a leap of faith with no regrets, a heart full of gratitude, and hope for the things that cannot be seen.
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