exploring mai chau on my own being 32 and single
Being 32 and Single
September 22, 2018
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Dear D, Don’t Blame Yourself for Dreaming Big

DearSelf Backpackingwithabook 2

Dear D,

It’s okay. You can open your eyes now. It’s all over. You can open your eyes again. Breathe. Come out from your covers now. It’s all over. You’re not alone. It’s not over for you yet. Come out of your covers now. It’s a new day, you’re back home, and everything is going to be fine. It happens. Shit happens. It has to happen.

Don’t blame yourself for dreaming big. Dont blame yourself for being risque. Don’t beat yourself up for quitting your 5-year corporate job to chase your dream somewhere far. Your family was there for you. Nervous, unsure, hopeful but a bit doubtful; but still there, nonetheless. That desire you started having a year ago to drop everything in Davao and move to a new country, to Singapore–––the least likely place you wanted to be in–––has a purpose.

DearSelf Backpackingwithabook 1

Everything where you were was draining you. It’s sucking the life out of you, leaving your flesh and bones stuck with the grease of your current state. The office-home-church-occassional shopping in a nearby mall is not the way to live life.

When was the last time you laughed? I mean laugh heartily. Laughed so hard you cried. When was the last time you had a good appetite? Not just consume the lump of edibles in front of you, but actually crave for something delicious–––both for your tastebuds and for your soul? When was the last time you spoke to God? And not just asking Him to grant you your desires or get you out of trouble, but actually talking to Him, in a conversation, and telling Him how your day went like a daughter to her father and a friend to another friend? You were too focused on getting ahead, getting promoted, being better than everyone around you that you didnt notice life pass by you.

This isn’t the way to live your life. God knew you needed something big a reason to make you drop everything there and cleanse yourself with the toxicity you’ve been harboring through the years. You were moving too fast, you needed to slow down and look at life at a different angle. God needed you back by His side. He misses His daughter.

So you packed your stuff and headed off to Singapore. You studied the statistics of the likelihood of getting a job. You had a plan on how to hunt for a job. You have everything figured out for yourself there, but once again you forgot about God. Not surprising since you have always been self-dependent all these years. You claim to give the credit back to Him for everything that you have now, but you are still holding the trophy. You are too proud of what you think you have made for yourself at such a young age.

When someone asks you to introduce yourself, you always start with your job title. Your job has become your identity. Your earnings has become your security. And you never let anyone in your life. You’re a strong, independent woman.

You realized that it’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to fail at some things.

DearSelf Backpackingwithabook 3

But did any of those mean anything? When God placed you in Singapore on the first month, He stripped you off of your title, your money, and the entire identity that you made for yourself in the Philippines. You realized how replaceable those things are, and the things you have identified yourself with are things that came with your job. Because you were naked in the middle of nowhere, you had no one else to hold on to but to God…and your family. Despite everything, He never left your side, He was there and He provided you with everything that you need. He gave you a roof at no cost, and He showed you new people who guided you to make sense of what’s happening in your life and guided you to become closer to Him. He wasnt upset or anything. He has always been there, but sometimes we have to completely be emptied in order to be filled again.

On the weeks with no results on your job hunts, you were surprised at how positive you still were. You could have been kicking and screaming and cursing at life, but you didn’t. You didn’t because you knew that God was there. He was filling you up with newer, sweeter things. On those weeks, you found yourself talking to Him more often until it became a habit. You shared to Him everything that was happening to you and your thoughts about things. You weren’t afraid to show your vulnerability to Him or to the people around you. You didn’t have to pretend to be brave anymore. You realized that it’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to fail at some things. You learned how to accept things as they were. By the second month, everything was even quieter. You have never received so many rejections, and read and heard so many “I’m sorry…” emails at a short span of time in your life. Anxiety is creeping up on you, but the trust and comfort you have from God has been keeping these thoughts away. You were at peace. When you were on your last few dollars, you mustered your courage (and pride) to finally reach out to your parents. You learned that it’s okay to ask for help once in a while. You learned that family will always be there, and you learned what unconditional love means. After 2 months of looking for a job in Singapore, you realized that you found something even better – you found yourself and your relationship back with God. And your family.

God allowed you to serve your family upon your return–––taking care of your dad who got into an accident 2 weeks later, and your mom who got sick for a short while after that. You learned how to appreciate mornings and learned how to cook hearty meals. You found joy in watching people enjoy what you made, and you found yourself getting to know your family better. You did spend almost 10 years away from them right after high school. The 6 months you spent in Butuan was not a wasted time. It gave you time to detoxify from the negativity that you have gotten yourself into, and the time to rest from the fast-paced life you had in Davao. Although you made one more attempt to go back to Singapore, because you just had to give your all and won’t back down until you see for yourself that it’s all over, and was sent back to the Philippines the moment you stepped foot on Changi airport; although that left your heart broken again and put you in a really dark place for a few weeks, you knew that your family and God are always there in those moments. You saw your family in a light you’ve never seen them before. You realized how resilient they are in times of crisis. You saw how much you are loved, despite being the least expressive and present in the family. You don’t know how you could deserve such love after abandoning them after high school and only going back home occassionally. Your family is the one of the physical manifestations of God’s love for you. God is truly amazing for showing this to you.

When was the last time you laughed? I mean laugh heartily. Laughed so hard you cried.

So now, you’re in a new city – a city which you swore yourself never to live in and in a situation where you didn’t know that you would find yourself in. Despite hoping to ace a career at your dream company, God placed you in one that hasn’t matured yet. But when you accepted this job, instead of wanting more for yourself from a bigger, more established company, you found yourself thinking less of the steps you want to climb (there’s nothing much to climb in the organization) and more of what you can contribute to help the company grow. In return, you found yourself more positive, more energetic, and more excited to go to work every day. Even your appetite is better that you find yourself craving for a lot of things. Although it’s almost the same work from your previous company, the place is less stuffier and the freedom to be creative is better. Yes, you’re probably feeling this way because you had a good long break before this and you’re in a new place. But it’s been more than a month and every day you still always find yourself waking up with a smile. Despite having to sleep in the entire day and go to work at odd hours, going to work is not a dreadful idea anymore. You have been happy every day – not all day, but definitely every day. You have found a spark of joy at the things you do and the people you meet. You find yourself in a conversation with random strangers and unlikely people. You are more involved. You are more connected. And the best part, it’s not entirely the company that you’re working for, or the job that you have, or even the salary that you’re receiving (which is much lower than what you were getting on your previous job) that’s been giving you this boost of positivity; it’s because you now have a sense of purpose on why you are where you are right now. That despite what happened a few months ago, you still continue to dream, and your desires and will to reach them are even stronger. And more importantly, you can do all of these not alone and not by your strength, but by God’s grace.

Like an eagle, at some point on their lives they have to pluck out all their feathers, break their beaks, and hide away to recuperate. Despite being independent creatures, during these vulnerable times, other eagles would always be there in the area where they’re hiding to make sure of their safety. When the eagle’s feathers and beak have grown back, they emerge from their caves – lighter, stronger, and better.

At 26, just right before turning 27, God needed you to pluck out your feathers and break your beak because they were getting heavy and dull. And when you meet your 27th year, like the eagle, you will have emerged lighter, stronger, and – not a changed person, but – even better than before. (Crap, I can’t belive I’m three years away from my 30s and still single, but that’s another letter.)
15 flights,
3 countries,
5 cities,
7 books,
numerous KDramas,
an orphaned kitten who later ran away,
and a hundred more reasons to exist in this world.
Let’s keep counting our blessings.

Don’t blame yourself for dreaming big. Dont blame yourself for being risque. Don’t beat yourself up for quitting your 5-year corporate job to chase your dream somewhere far.

Always loving you better and more than everyone else around you every day,


DearSelf Backpackingwithabook 1

Dominique Sabijon was once a wanderer, she now found and has set out to live her life for a purpose greater than herself: to help people find a spark of joy in everything that they do. Her thoughts and stories can be read through niqueknackz.wordpress.com (underconstruction) and @niqueknackz for other musings on Instagram.

#DearSelf is open for all who desires to have that intimate and sincere conversation with the self. This is an ongoing project. Feel free to join this collaborative effort. Reach out and let Backpacking with a Book be your platform. Email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com with the subject Dear Self, your letter, bionote (with your social media accounts), and photos to accompany your letter. Looking forward to be inspired by you soon!


Jona of Backpackingwithabook.com

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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