A new year should be a fresh start. A start to try something new, redo failed attempts, and live life to the fullest.
Unfortunately, 2018 did not start particularly well for me.
Over the past three months, I experienced the most stressful quarter of my life as far as I can remember. That is including my college years and the time when I was reviewing for the board exam.
I’ve been working for 3 years now, and never did I experience such stress.
I used to tell myself and others that most of the things that stress us out today will be irrelevant one year later. This may be true, but as more troubles are placed upon my shoulders, doubt starts to creep in.
My college years and working years may have been both stressful at times, but there is one significant difference… the end goal.
When I was studying, I had a concrete goal of graduating on time, taking and passing the engineering board exam, and then working.
But after accomplishing those things, I realized that my personal goal is no longer aligned with my current work.
I just work to earn a living, be a responsible adult, and save a little. I stopped the dream of climbing up the corporate ladder and build a ‘career.’
The goal that I have now is to start a business in my home province, teach on the side, go back to school to take up a master’s or a law degree, and be a professional marathoner.
As more days and weeks passed, the stress that I was feeling started to manifest in my physical health and body. I became sickly and white hairs began showing.
One day, I met with my sister to talk. We had conversations about different topics, but the main point was always about work.
I started to go on and on, ranting about how miserable my work life turned out. And how I wanted to find another job.
I mentioned how difficult it is to learn a new skill while being pressured to complete it before the due date. How my foreign team leader keeps on micromanaging me, and how being alone in a project with no one to share my agony with makes my job harder.
While I was talking, I remembered that she had also undergone the same amount of stress, if not more, from her job, not just a year ago. She was also on the verge of quitting.
I recalled her stories about waking up in the morning and just looking up on the ceiling, asking herself if she took the right path.
But she just told me that she never wanted to look back and see herself as a quitter.
Then she told a story about her colleague and mentioned two things that I think changed my outlook a little. First is to take your stress into perspective, and the second is to never underestimate the burden of others.
Taking stress into perspective is looking into the bigger picture. We can never compare the world’s suffering relative to our own. Because if we do, we will see just how insignificant it is.
But there is a catch, looking at the large scale, our stresses will appear minuscule in comparison. But if two people are experiencing the same stimuli, the resulting stress may not be the same.
Different people have different ways of coping with stress, resulting in different outcomes. Meaning, our problems may be the same, but our stress may not be.
So we cannot just compare and disregard what seems to be an easy situation that another person is experiencing, just because we are not experiencing the same stress.
All of us have problems, and all of us can have a reason to be stressed. But we must always keep in mind that it will be over soon.
Always put in mind that God will never place us in a situation that we cannot handle.
We need to have faith.