the pursuit of that gusto


We all have those ambitions, those dreams we pursue constantly. When I was 8 I dreamt I was going to be a comedian, it was silly and childish yet it was pure. Come 12 years old Areffio, was discovering technology and the full potential of the internet, I became obsessed. I wanted to be able to do all the shiny flash-related web stuff, I made an article about a web designer I interviewed for a class paper, which was eventually turned down by my group mates. They didn’t believe that web design was a real occupation. I had to interview a street vendor instead.

I had to interview a street vendor instead.

That folks, was the first time I had to compromise. I was 14, in 8th grade. It felt necessary but  regretful. It became a habit for me to settle for what I had, without pursuing what I wanted, what I deserved. After that I enrolled in a college that was 3rd on my list, took up and got a degree in a field I knew I was good at but never really liked. I settled, I compromised, I didn’t reach my full potential.

That was my main mindset, I had to make use of what I had. After graduation I had jobs that I didn’t really like, making less than my peers, turned down offers from big soul-sucking companies. My mind was conflicted that I did not know what to do with my life. Why did I do that? Why did I not sign contracts with big named “fortune 500” companies?

My uncle told me to ask myself one question everytime I commit to a career path, “Would I be happy doing this after 10 years?” and for the most part my answers were usually, “No”.

I had a rough 2010-2011 because of that, I was strict on money, been drinking every night but I was doing one thing that made me who I am today. I still had that passion for web design and development. I was doing jobs that offered little to no money, built my portfolio, stayed days locked up in my room armed only with a laptop, but I was happier than when I was going to work. I was doing what I love. It was tough though, I eventually needed money so I had to compromise again by working at a call center doing tech support for a few months. It was brutal and harsh but it built character. I was shot down and was depressed because I didn’t dream this, I was still doing web design at this time since I loved it so much. It kept me going, believing and practicing.  

I honed my web development skills in that time period and finally mustered up the courage and took a huge leap of flying out of the Philippines and coming back to The Bay Area. For the first time in my life, I stepped out of my comfort zone.

To be honest I was scared and skeptical at first but I was optimistic. I eventually landed a temporary job a month later, a Front End Web Developer doing web design for a small start up. I was ecstatic! I was doing design for big movies and tv shows on facebook. I was doing things I usually would’ve only dreamt of. I’ve ended that job now, but I have had jobs after that had me doing the same thing and I loved every minute of those jobs.

I’m still not where I want to be but as a 23 year old? I’m slowly getting there. I didn’t compromise and fought for what I loved, I fell down countless times, wanted to give up to the point my mom even told me to start flipping burgers. I took it slow, steady and eventually took that first step towards my dreams. I didn’t compromise so I’m here and love what I do.

Now, when I ask myself “Would I be happy doing this after 10 years?” my answer is “YES!”.

Never forget your passion, fight compromise, you’ll get there eventually.


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