Pocket-sized hope | Inquirer Opinion

Pocket-sized hope

About two years ago, I received one of the greatest gifts any student could present to their parents: to graduate college with Latin honors. It felt like an answered prayer because, finally, all my efforts and perseverance to study well paid off. It seemed that the brighter future my parents envisioned for me was just steps away and the life I always wanted as a child was already in my hands.

But I was wrong.

No one told me how harsh it would be like taking your first steps as a new adult. No one told me how stressful it is to put yourself out there and how hard it is to believe in yourself and in the process. No one told me how disappointing it is to deal with countless rejections and e-mails saying that you were not good enough even for an entry job.

Just when you thought you already knew about yourself and the world, the world pulls a prank to remind you that you know absolutely nothing. This didn’t sit right with me at all during that time because I always knew what I wanted, but somehow, I felt that all the forces in the universe were conspiring to push me back and leave me wondering about my next move.


All imaginable chaos happened after I graduated. I did not get the job offer that I had been eyeing for the longest time. I did not land a job that was within my expertise and educational background. I was not able to secure a job that paid a salary big enough to drastically improve our family’s living.

I identified myself as a failure.

But I was wrong.

I am not the only one feeling this way and most of us, if not all of us, are equally lost and desperately needing clarity about how to live, why we live, and which life to live. The struggle is always there, but as we go on with our lives, we become better at hiding it. Because in reality, we are all winging life and living with tiny hopes that everything will turn out okay.


It slowly dawned on me that not everything has to make sense right now. That the uncertainty I avoided for so long is actually the very essence of why I am still pushing and continuing despite it all. My own life is not set, and I have always been writing every chapter of it with the power to edit the next parts and, ultimately, the ending.

Plans do change. Priorities do change. Motivations do change. Dreams change. We change. Circumstances push us into these transformations and abrupt detours, so we end up where we truly should be. The reasons and answers to our existential questions may never be clear and ideal, but I have a gut feeling that someday we will all understand how things have fallen into their places.


So I always choose to believe and cling to the only thing that is certain in my life: hope.

Hope got me out of places and encouraged me to try and try and try again. Hope is my only assurance that I’m going to figure out all of these crazy life complexities again and again at times I feel like giving up. Hope taught me that I should dream bigger than myself because I knew that if I manifested and worked hard for something, I would get it.

Right now, I feel a little lighter when thinking and talking about what’s next for me. I still have set plans and timelines, but I don’t let them occupy a big part of my mind and heart so that when any of them don’t come true, I won’t curse the universe for not achieving what I wanted.

I recognize now that life is always unpredictable and that I don’t have the power to change the course of things. I just need to trust the universe and accept all the things it will throw at me: both good and bad. Because what should happen will happen—whether it is in my favor or against my will.

I am just human after all.

So to anyone who’s feeling the same way as I did, fret not. As much as you think the universe is shutting down all the doors to the things you always wanted, what actually happens is that the universe is helping you find the right doors that were meant for you in the first place.

What’s yours will always be yours and will never pass you.

Feeling lost is inevitable and there’s no way around it. But let me tell you—the bad thing is that you are lost, but the good thing also is that you are lost, and you have all the resources to seek the path that’s truly for you and even explore some of the maps that you initially thought were never destined for you.

So go out, put that tiny hope in your pocket, and always have a brave heart because you are not as lost as you think you are.

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Aivan Jomar Gualberto, 23, is a biology graduate from Agoo, La Union. He would like everyone to know that he is constantly trying.


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