A crisis with no name: Not quarter-life crisis, not yet mid-life either

“What is this I’m feelin’
I just can’t explain
When you’re near
I’m just not the same.”
–Jamie Rivera, I’ve Fallen For You

No, Tita Jamie, this isn’t just love. At the risk of downplaying that many-splendored thing, this one’s a lot harder to explain. The most precise description you’ll get from its “victims”—usually in their late 20’s to early 30’s—is already “yung may kulang talaga, may hinahanap ka, perohindi mo alam kung ano, kung saan mahahanap, basta”, and they used  to be so eloquent at that. It can strike anywhere without warning—while in your office pantry at 3 p.m. or while staring at your ceiling at 2 a.m. Yeah, it sounds a lot like love, but this one unfortunately doesn’t make the world go round. In fact, it shatters theirs. So what is this? They say: sirit.

It’s not mid-life crisis—they’re too young for that. They refuse to believe they’re already halfway through their dying age—I can’t be dying at 60 or 65, they’ll say—while their one hand is flicking a yosi. It’s not quarter-life crisis either. They’ve already gone through that disillusioned and whining stage some five or seven years ago, and they’ve never looked back since. Now they’re called sir’s and ma’am’s, and they roll their eyes at fresh grads who think they’re too smart to just be making coffee for the boss. They’ve long accepted life’s realities like losing the promotion to devious workmates who kiss ass to get on top—and that tweeting about it won’t really make much a difference. Paying the bills is still a bitch, but they’ve managed quite well, thank you very much. In fact, if what they’re feeling is the kind of restlessness that makes people go soul-searching in India for, they can very well save up for it. They used to laugh at those who actually need to travel over seas just to “find themselves”, but now they know how it feels to be the punchline themselves. Hindi nakakatawa.

It’s being neither at the start of the race nor near the finish line. It’s being somewhere in the middle but with a comfortable lead. In fact, they can already see the finish line from where they are. They don’t know exactly how far it is, but at least they know they’ve come this far—and yeah, they realize they’ve been running for quite a while. And for the first time, they feel really, really tired and they just want to stop—but they can’t. They actually can, but they won’t. Ang layo na ng tinakbo ko, ngayon pa ba ‘ko titigil? they’ll say. The finish line doesn’t look as enticing as it used to be, and they’re surprised to know they’re not thinking too much about finishing at all—not on this race, at least. They’d like to make a detour or take an off-beaten track—finally start their own business, get an MBA, or “pursue their true passion”, for lack of a less icky term—but they’re afraid. “What if I’m wrong? What if I fail? Will I ever get back on this race?” they’ll ask. Nobody knows for sure. What’s clear though: they’re afraid of it more than they want it. For now.

Maybe that’s why we don’t have a name for this. They’re aware that it sounds more like being ungrateful for being blessed than an actual crisis, so they don’t talk openly about it. They just deal with it alone or with others who are also in this crisis with no name. Make no mistake about it: they know they’re blessed and they’re grateful for it really, it’s just that they feel they want something more, there’s more to making money than this, they feel… Basta. From an outsider’s
point of view, it’s just another case of pag-iinarte—on a more mature and privileged level. “You have a great job, you don’t live paycheck to paycheck, you can go shopping anytime you want to… So ano’ng problema mo?Basta, hindi ko alam.

Ay, patay tayo dyan.

In reality, no, they’re not dead—far from it. That feeling of still being unsettled despite winning so far? It doesn’t always mean being ungrateful. It just means that they know they can do so much better. It’s much like ranting about mediocrity and kissing ass even after seven years of working. That sounds a little juvenile, yes, but somehow it’s great to know they haven’t lost all the idealism in them after all their years in the corporate world. Hey, you want to slow down, you
want to rest, you want to breathe. Guess what? You can. Because you deserve it.

Finally, something to call this crisis with no name:

Bumubwelo lang.

This could be the start of bigger things to come—whether in this race or in another. Of course, this could be potentially heartbreaking too, but you couldn’t have possibly gone this far without having a resilient heart and amazing talent. You have to be braver than you’ve ever been. Trust your self. He’s been the running the race with you since the starting pistol, ngayon ka pa ba niya ipapahiya? And what makes him so sure of you and so sure that you’re still not dead? Your self replies something so obscure yet oh so familiar: Basta.

You understand that, don’t you?#

13 Comments Add yours

    1. ilayaonline says:

      Chino! Korek korek hehehe. Naghihirap na ako e.

  1. pat says:

    Thank you for this! I love your blog, your tweets and your one and only film (that I know of). I’m 28 and feeling so heavily these feelings that I can’t put a name on.

    1. ilayaonline says:

      Wow this made my day.🙂 Makes me want to write and make films more. And tweet too. Hehe.

  2. Michiko says:

    I’ve recently been stalking you. Ganyan mag-intro. Hahaha Well it started end of last year when I learned about your movie that was going to be rereleased this year. Then i proceeded stalking you more and ended up watching another movie you made, “beauty in a bottle.” I remember our professor saying that you’ve elevated your viewing habits when you begin watching movies cause of the writer and director and not its actors. Well so far i’ve been stalking your work. Watching them i mean. Buti na lang medyo saktong dami pa lang. hahaha although admittedly i’m a huge fan of angelica. Factor sya sa panonood ko ng tadhana sa totoo lang. Pero mas malamang ung dahil sinulat mo. Mga 39.9% more. Medyo kayong dalawa ang common factor sa choices ko obviously. Her natural talent and your honest writing are the perfect pair. There you go, you get me all blabbering. From fb to ig to your blog. Sarap basahin ng mga sinusulat mo. Pati ung planner mo binili na din namin para sa kaibigan namin na nakakarelate. Pero di ko pa alam noon na likha mo din pala yun. Siguro nga masyado talaga akong nahihiwagaan sa talento mo na lahat ng gawa mo naappreciate ko. Mahusay ka talagang magsulat. Tinuruan mo akong mahalin ang mga pelikulang pilipino na hindi nagpapadeep. Hindi nga ako fan ni paulo coelho. Ayaw ko ng mga nagpapakaprofound. Complicated na nga ang buhay e. Pati ba naman pelikula. Kung baga walang mabigat na tema pero malaman ang atake. Patuloy kong babasahin ang mga likha mo. Wag ka sanang mapagod magsulat dahil wala na kong babasahin. Meron namang dyaryo o kaya kung may ilalabas uli si tina fey at mindy kaling. pero siyempre iba paggawa mo. Ang galing mo. Di ka lang marunong. Magaling ka.🙂

    1. ilayaonline says:

      Ayjusko, salamat naman dito. made my day.🙂

  3. Kizzel Mina says:

    Wow! I’m happy I’ve found this blog! Publish ka na ng book with all of these direk! Please!

  4. Everest says:

    Pakahusay direk!😉 napakatotoo ng mga nilalaman.. Kaya naman nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa taong nagshare sa facebook ng “An Open Letter to the Twenty-Something…” at dahil dun ay napunta ako rito at nahanap ko ito.. Tadhana nga naman.. Nakakaiyak, nakakatuwa at nakakagaan ng pakiramdam ang pagbabasa nito dahil pinatuyan nito na normal ako at hindi ako nag-iisa.. Isang linggo na akong di mapakali sa kung ano bang gusto kong mangyari sa buhay ko ngayon, ang hirap matulog kakaisip ng di alam ang iisipin.. Humingi ako ng tulong sa aking ina pero ang sabi nya “lagpas ka na ‘nak sa quarter-life crisis at napakaaga mo naman sa mid-life.. Trenta ka pa lang at ganyan na ang nararamdaman mo, ano na ba?”.. Well, at least ngayon alam ko na.. “Bumubwelo lang, Ma” pero kapag di pa rin nya gets, “ah Basta!”.. Yun na..

    1. Everest says:

      Mukang kailangan ko lang talaga huminga, at napagod pansamantala sa karera.. Thank you for this direk ha, sana huwag kang magsawa at magpatuloy kang gumawa ng mga ganitong obra.. Ito ang tadhana mo, magpangiti, magbigay inspirasyon, pag-asa at saya sa mga tao.. God bless!!🙂

  5. Tin says:

    Nasa zone po ako ng crisis na to’
    Thank you for reminding me na makikita din ang liwanag. (deep)
    Basta! Malapit na..Bumubwelo lang 👩

  6. Kristyl says:

    Eto talaga yun eh! The exact thing crisis with no name. Nganga! Thanks for pointing this out direk! Ang dami sa sinabi mo totoong totoo sa buhay ko ngayon. Nobody understands and basta. Ang hirap din explain eh. Gusto ko lang magsulat and mag drawing ng drawing book ngayon yung maraming kulay para makadagdag sa black and white na buhay ko ngayon. Ang daming kulang! Pero salamat direk! Ang sarap isipin na after all at the end of the day, it will make sense. 🙌🏼✏️

  7. Nova Escuadro says:

    I finally know what my SO’s been feeling lately. He’s approaching 30 too.

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