I can’t grasp why a lot of young adults in their 20s are sad, depressed and/or full of anxieties. Is it because our generation is a byproduct of broken families? Or might it be because of the pressure to achieve something big for #feedgoals purposes, or just the fear of not being able to live our lives to the fullest?
There’s no timeline, really.
I lost both my parents at age 26; my youngest brother was just 19 then. I thought I had everything figured out before the tragedy, I loved my job and took up a master’s degree to further improve on it.
I really wanted to be a full-blown community-based disaster risk reduction management (CBDRRM) practitioner back then. I had solid support groups with me, and I was happy and contented with life.
Our family life was peaceful, too. There were no health issues, no big dramas, and we had enough food on the table. My parents separated in 2008, and from then on my mother and I worked hand in hand; I actually became her on-call personal secretary.
Being the eldest, I made sure that I helped ease her burdens by embracing the obedient daughter role. I didn’t drink or smoke. I didn’t enter into a romantic relationship, and I rarely went out overnight unless it was work- or family-related.
The bad habits I had were only related to sibling rivalry and my total immersion in volunteer life. I did skip class just to attend some events even without my mother’s permission.
Losing both my parents was a total 180-degree turn. In the past two years, I’ve been in and out of unlabeled relationships. I started drinking. I became open with my preference and orientation — I’m a girl, I do dress up like a girl and I’m into girls.
I shifted jobs because I have this stubborn personality issue. I sabotaged my career and friendships. I kept failing to ignite back the passion I’d been nurturing since college. I became the total opposite of what my 21-year-old self would have wanted me to be.
To be honest, stabbing myself and taking my own life crossed my mind. Self-pity became a comforting coping mechanism. But, instead of dwelling on it, I allowed myself to cry and cry and get drunk and wallow in sadness for a day or two, or until I could find enough courage to move again.
I did hide myself from people, but deep down I still had the consciousness that I must continue living, even if the purpose was uncertain. I knew I needed to pull myself up somehow and get back on track, even if I had to do it alone.
I feel this is a lifelong struggle. It’s been difficult to accept that my mother is gone and that I won’t have my “old” life again. I struggle to embrace the idea of spending the remaining years of my life alone, because I used to picture a life of growing old with her. I had never even bothered looking for a partner, since I was contented with her presence.
So this has been incredibly painful — my sanity wounded, my heart shattered and darkness sinking into my soul.
Still, despite the series of unfortunate events in the last two or three years, I still feel I have ended up a stronger woman, with more courage to face what lies ahead.
I was known to be an understanding friend, a level-headed, mature “ate” and a positive young woman. Bringing those qualities back is a tremendous challenge, but, slowly, I am trying. Baby steps. The process is not linear, it’s spiral, and I’m bringing a lot of lessons with me, along with true friends whose patience and tolerance have been immeasurable.
I still have depressive moods and crippling anxieties like a normal young adult. Sometimes, I allow these demons to overcome me just to get through them, but I don’t stop trying to reconnect with the world. I always try to find the means to feel connected, to exist and to belong to something greater than my sadness.
I’m turning 29 this year. The good thing is, I have allowed myself to be alive. I have this vision. The remaining years of my life must be devoted to the long-standing dream of sparking change and inspiring people to be more selfless through volunteerism.
I may not figure out how to get there yet, but at least I’m allowing myself to chase after my dreams again. I will live for the passion, and I will live up to my parents’ legacy of serving the country. My life would always be for service and for others.
There’s no timeline; I just have to live today. We all deserve to be happy and make our lives meaningful.
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Kat Mamparair, 28, is an aspiring community organizer, photographer and writer. She currently works with the Development Academy of the Philippines and was previously connected with a CBDRRM-focused NGO.
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