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Never Give Up

“'Cause sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak. And when you feel weak, you feel like you want to just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength. And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up, and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you want to just fall flat on your face and collapse” –Eminem (excerpted from his song ‘Till I Collapse’)

As some of you already know, I love to write. In fact, I felt so strongly that writing was my calling, my purpose in life, that I left my cushy, corporate job in 2017 to pursue my passion. But, things didn’t really work out in the way that I thought they would. I wasn’t earning enough money to stay in my apartment and I was forced to relocate to Austin and move into my parent’s house for a while. Then, I worked as an editorial intern at a local magazine, where the type of writing was quite different from what I enjoyed, and I completely stopped writing for ME.

I’ll be honest. I was disappointed and embarrassed that I wasn’t successful in my attempt at a writing career. I was scared to do something “risky” like that again because I was afraid of failing. I thought that I wanted to do the safe thing, the responsible thing, and go back to a structured office job working for someone else. I thought that maybe a marketing job would be creative enough for me to feel fulfilled. So, as my internship wrapped up I started searching for marketing jobs. And, I got one.

Déjà Vu

Seven months into the marketing job, I started experiencing familiar feelings and emotions. All of a sudden, I was hit with racing heart palpitations, restlessness, and feeling suffocated. I was even having stomachaches that I’d never had before. At the time I thought they were dietary-related, but now I've realized they were caused by anxiety and internalized stress. I was experiencing existential anxiety. The quarter life crisis is a real thing, and in my experience, it can happen multiple times throughout your twenties.

Deep down, I knew these feelings and symptoms were back because I was working in a job that wasn’t for me. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, but my mind and my ego were telling me that I had to do it. I had to work for an employer to have a steady paycheck and to be safe. Yet, at the same time my higher self, my heart, my soul—whatever you like to call it, was telling me that I needed to do something else. My soul tried to wake me up in the best way it knew how (with symptoms of anxiety) to tell me to follow my true path. But, my fear won me over on this one. So, I returned to my job after taking a few days off to try to gather myself.

The anxiety didn’t immediately go away, of course. It was still there, nagging at me. But, I didn’t really know what to do, because I was crippled by fear. Having to pay bills, needing to make a living, and thinking there was no other way to do that other than to be in a job like this. Then, I made this website so that I could start writing again. The anxiety dissipated a bit and I knew that I had taken a step in the right direction.

Around this time, I also had a dream that I was waitressing and in that dream I felt so happy and free. So, I took that as a sign. I picked up a second job waiting tables and guess what? I felt happier and I felt free. By taking on this second job, it allowed me to have extra money to be able to do more than just get by. For a couple of months, I was really feeling better.

Facing My Fears

But, it was as if all of these actions were just putting a temporary Band-Aid on the real issue. And, as you all know, Band-Aids have a short life cycle. The Band-Aid came off and this time, the existential anxiety came at me full-force. What ARE YOU DOING Saba? I was hanging by a thread, I couldn’t hang in there anymore. I didn’t have the time or energy to write because I was working two jobs. I was just trying to stay balanced between the two jobs, a social life, and keeping up with my other responsibilities.

I knew that I needed to quit my job because my job wasn’t giving me joy. I knew that I needed to do what my heart was telling me to do which was to follow my passion. But, I felt stuck. I felt paralyzed by fear. What about bills, what about health care—I need money! I was getting pulled at both directions; my heart was telling me to take the leap, but my ego was clouding my path with fear and anxiety, and telling me that I couldn’t do it.

But, what was I so afraid of? Afraid of failing? I had already failed once before and I survived. Is that really the worst that can happen?

Discovering the Secret to Success

I think about some of the most incredibly successful people, and I realize that while it seems like they’ve just always been successful, they haven’t been and it took a journey for them to get there. Eminem, is arguably one of the most lyrically talented rappers out there and he didn’t have an easy road getting to the top. In fact, he struggled a lot and failed many times before he was discovered. But, he didn’t give up; he kept persisting, and he made it through. Dr. Dre even discovered him from a tape from a rap battle that Eminem was awarded second place at—not first. He left that battle feeling defeated, but it was that moment, that changed everything for him.

While Ed Sheeran was pursuing his passion of music, he was homeless for a while. He slept on a lot of friends’ couches, but the nights he didn’t have a couch to crash on he would sleep in parks or on the subway. Yet, he continued playing and he didn’t give up. He pushed through, continuing to play at venues and sending out his music. When Ed Sheeran moved to LA, he had no record contract and no place to stay. But, because he took that that leap and made that move to the US, he became the successful musician he is today.

The author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling, was rejected by TWELVE publishers before finally finding one that would publish her book. I think about each of these people, and think if they had given up at any point of their journey, if they hadn’t kept pushing, if they hadn’t kept trying, they wouldn’t have achieved the success that they have today. Think about if J.K. Rowling had given up after the 12th publisher turned her down! If she had not just tried one more time, Harry Potter would have never existed.

Never Give Up

It is never too late to go after your dream in life and to pursue your passion. And, if you fail and fall down, then you simply have to pick yourself back up and try again. I have no idea where my journey is going to take me and I am very aware of the fact that I am taking a path that isn’t a straight shot. I know I may face some challenges and difficulties. But, it is the path that my heart wants to take and I have to follow my intuition. I want to pursue a writing career because I want to be able to help people in the world. In life, we go through so much suffering. We feel lost, we feel pain, and we feel alone in our struggles. I want to be a light in the world for people who are feeling like that. If you are reading this, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate your support. Even if it’s just a mild interest in what I have to say.

And, if you are going through a similar situation, if you are at that point in your own personal journey where you are feeling anxiety, or going through an existential crisis, just know that it’s normal. You’ll figure it out. Just follow your heart and it will lead you the way.