How My Twenties Groomed Me To Be “A Strong, Independent Woman”

I love my twenties. I don’t think I could put it any other way. I think they are the best years of my life, not just my adult life, to be honest. Oh, the vigor and the strength and the silliness and tears of growing up and taking on the line “I am a strong, independent woman” to heart..

Here are some of the things that transpired in my (early) twenties that paved the way of me becoming a full-fledged strong and independent woman. 😉

Getting hired

I’ve waited five months after college graduation to finally get my license and finally apply for a nursing job. I’ve never imagined myself working in the communities. If you’re a nursing graduate, you’d know that community nursing isn’t exactly the most popular area of nursing nurses would choose. Almost everyone want to work in the hospitals. Me included. But during that time, Philippine nursing was at its lowest, I would say. I don’t remember knowing any hospitals hiring at the time. Most hospitals were doing the “volunteer system”. And as I’ve said in my previous posts, I was too proud to be a “volunteer”. (Hands down to those who did and are now working overseas and reaping the fruits of their labor. You guys deserve it.) DOH was hiring community nurses at the time to be assigned in the uplands. The job comes with a monthly stipend – which was a very unusual thing to hear related to a nursing job opening. So I grabbed it in spite of my reservations about the community nursing field.

Earning my first paycheck

Oh, no matter how little that stipend was from my first ever job, I’ll never forget how much that made me feel like an adult – finally. Especially that my first job (I worked as a rural health nurse) did not only require me to be theoretically competent but also physically and more so emotionally strong.

Spending my first paycheck

In my case, I didn’t exactly buy something special to commemorate my first paycheck because like I told you, the amount just wasn’t significant. It was just enough to get my needs covered through a whole month of working in the rural areas (a.k.a. mountains) while we wait for the next stipend. But even if I spent that money mostly on groceries on toiletries, it still felt so emancipating to finally spend your own cash for your own needs. I felt super.

The first resignation

No matter how fulfilling my community nursing job felt, I knew it was not enough. I knew that’s not supposed to be everything I can get out of being employed. I knew I had to be well-compensated because I knew that I am a hard worker. I knew I deserve more and that there’s a larger world out there, no matter how depressing nursing was at the time. So I submitted my resignation and mentally prepared myself for a new chapter that was going to unfold by going back to the city.

Stepping on foreign ground

I joined the BPO industry. It was a tough decision to make – to bring myself to apply, that is. What made it easier was that I was accepted on my first try. So I accepted what was happening and what I believed life was throwing at me. It was an intimidating environment especially for someone like me who always strives to be the best. Imagine having to speak English every second you are in the office. It would be violated every now and then during breaks but I honestly felt like someone was always listening and waiting to catch me like in high school where our school nuns enforced EOP (English Only Policy). It was an adjustment. Not entirely because of the English language having to be spoken at all time but it was a drastic change of environment for me. From the mountains to the sophisticated buildings of Quezon City and a workplace where everyone spoke English and a lot of them seemed to purposely but effortlessly looked conyo for it.

Questioning my career choices

A year into my stay in the call center industry where I’ve made some friends whose friendships are still important to me and where recognition and opportunities abound, I have started missing my nursing career. I started questioning my decision to be in this industry. I looked for options and applied in some hospitals even if Philippine nursing has not really made improvements. No matter how much appreciation I was presented with the promotions that were down the line, I knew I had enough. No matter how grateful I was of the opportunities given me, I knew in my bones I wanted out.

Taking my chances

I applied in the airline industry as a cabin crew. The second airline that I tried applying for accepted me and I was ready to be shipped off to Malaysia to realize another dream and that is to work abroad.

Unemployment

The waiting time for the “shipping off” part stretched from a month to four months. I could be the most impatient person in the world. The waiting time was hell.

Stepping on yet, another foreign ground

Finally, those four long months have passed and I found myself being whisked away to Kuala Lumpur – excited, nervous and motivated. This time it was a whole different world. It was a world where looks, poise and aviation smarts were expected of you every time you’re on duty that it should have become your second nature if you wanted to truly thrive in the industry. Having to learn manuals by heart was not really much of a challenge for me, to be honest. I guess nursing prepared me so well for that. Our safety and emergency procedures manuals were nothing compared to Marieb, Saunders, Perry & Potter, etc. The challenge for me was the grooming part. I’d say I was in the bottom third of my class when it came to makeup skills. It was not my thing. I wasn’t blessed with the gift. But every preparation for flight was a chance for learning and though I can’t really say that I have improved so much, I could still say I’ve improved.

Getting engaged

Having my boyfriend of eight years (ten years now) to pop the question and put a ring on it is of course one of the defining moments of our long-term relationship. It was the start of a new chapter in our lives where we had to both step up in envisioning and preparing for our future – not just his, not just mine, but this time, ours.

Seeing the world.. and still learning

Now on my fourth flying year and my second airline, I’m still blessed with the opportunity to see and experience different parts of the world and learn from it. Although honestly, I guess I have reached a point in my flying career where sleep is just so much more important than sightseeing, I still get excited particularly about places that I’m visiting for the first time. While my earned experiences through travelling have taught me and opened my eyes to so many realities, there’s still so much to see, so much to do and so much to explore.

Making friends who have become family

It is in my twenties that I have identified the best people in my life. I know just who will stick with me and ride with me until the end. The craziness of my twenties have filtered these people. And they’re here to stay, I am confident to say.

Cutting people off

Toxicity is toxicity – regardless of its form – be it a relative, a colleague or a friend.

Making nemeses

No matter how saint-like you live your life, you can never please everybody. Enter Taylor Swift who once said “There are going to be people along the way who, will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you will know it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”

Ticking off my goals

Professionally and personally, slowly but surely, my goals are being met one by one.

Me doing me

— whether that is writing or making a series of funny IG stories or making Youtube videos or cooking or being an insurance pro or creating a wow feed or being a proud full-time housewife and mom or watching TED Talks for pastime or buying makeup that you don’t use or collecting Pandora charms. I unapologetically do me. Just like Sarah Knight said, I do “whatever sizzles my bacon.”

Now who’s ready for the dirty thirty? ;p #

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