2019 was one of the most confusing years of my life. It happened right after I graduated with my bachelor’s and I was out in the wide world traveling. I didn’t have the same ol’ routine of going to school anymore, I was paving my own road now. I’m not bound by structure anymore and was unsure of what I was striving towards. I had this piece of paper in my hand that was going to get me a job, but what’s next?
In my travels, I took a month-long trip across the US and Europe. The cities I hit were Austin, Washington DC, Boston, London, Oxford, Venice, Barcelona, Budapest, and Copenhagen. Yeah, it’s a lot and I was dead at the end of the trip (I got the stomach flu once I arrived in San Diego). I met with so many people I knew personally and other new friends I made along the trip. I’ve gained so many different perspectives from my friends. It made me grateful for how good I have it in San Jose and San Diego. Not only are those cities amazing cities to live in, but I have a healthy family back in SJ and cheap housing and an awesome community of friends in San Diego.
After settling down from my travels, I had to find a job, and man, I struggled hard. I went through so many applications, phone calls, and interviews which all lead to rejections. I wasn’t bothered because I believed in the resume I had built and all the work I had put in my previous internships and classes to be able to find a job. But as time went on, the more discouraged I got.
It went as long as four months of unemployment before I got accepted to one. I got hired to do direct sales. And let me tell you, direct sales is tough. I stood 8 hours outside a store to convince people to donate to a charity. Not only was talking to people for so long tiring, standing all day wore me out too. I would get back home and just rest because that’s all the energy I was able to output and would rinse and repeat. Work all day only to come home and do nothing. The worst part was I wasn’t able to make a sale. This was a time where I felt with all the effort I was putting in, my best wasn’t enough. I learned the fundamentals and learned all the techniques, but a part of me felt I was manipulating people into making people commit to donating to charity SO I can get money. After coming to the conclusion I’m wasting too much time and making zero money, I quit after just two weeks.
So back to square one, unemployed and still didn’t what was going on with my life. It was around this time, I got rejected from the woman I thought would be my partner in life. She had a servant heart for others and Jesus unlike any other and I wanted to be part of her mission. I blame myself for not setting my intentions straight with her. I wanted to tell her at the end of 2018, but she just entered college and I was leaving it and I didn’t know if I was going to be in San Diego, back home in San Jose, or a new city altogether. And all this uncertainty caught up and left me with where I am, grieving because we’re both in the same city and haven’t talked to each other since. I’m still recovering from this heartbreak to this day. So the first half of 2019 was full of rejections from jobs and the woman of my dreams.
What kept me going past these rejections were the things I already had in my life. My God and my friends. My faith is important to me because I believe God looks at his in our brokenness and tells us He loves us in all our failures. My friends (especially my roommates with half I can call friends for life) being able to support me.
One of my roommates connected me to his dad, also our landlord, because he owns a roofing company. So I worked for him until I could find a job. It was tough because it was manual labor. I’m a small guy and there’s only so much physically I can do. The hardest part was the thought of “why am I doing this after getting a four-year degree with two internships and a good GPA?” I kept reminding myself that I’d rather do this so I can stay in San Diego than go back home.
Around this time, which was about June, I started a small group for my church. I wanted to start one because I wanted to create a space where people can feel like they belong. I spread the word and people started coming! This is my greatest accomplishment of 2019. It was amazing because I got my roommates involved too. One of them had work on Sundays so he got his God on these Tuesdays. Other roommates were either new to Christ or didn’t have him in his life and so to get everyone involved was awesome. Part of my community group was invited to a yacht owned by a member of our church. It was my first time on a yacht. We took it out to the San Diego Bay to swim around and hang out. It wasn’t til all of us were lying out on the deck sunbathing when two of my community members said “I can’t believe we’re really here. I’ve been searching for a church for so long and I’ve found a place I can call home. AND now we’re on a yacht!” Upon hearing these words, my heart filled with warmth and was fulfilled. Maybe this was what God wanted in my life?
Around August, I was roofing on top of this guy’s warehouse and he invited me inside to show his new product, SmartPatch. It was an embroidered patch which anyone with a smartphone can put their phone over and it’ll take them to a destination. I was astounded by this product. I told him about my situation and what I could do for him. Time went by and we got to know each other and he was like “you’re a smart kid, you’re in!” Thus began my work in the SmartPatch era.
All in all, 2019 was full of rejection and discovering my purpose. The question of “what kind of work am I supposed to do” still runs through my mind. I’ve done a good job working as a roofer/SmartPatchologist. My small group has been amazing and I want to make it available to more people. I’m planning on opening it up to my next-door neighbors. I’ve done more music production this year and would be a dream come true if I can do that full time. 2020 is still full of unknowns, but it helps I’ve got a strong community behind me to push me forward and a clearer vision of my purpose in life. My biggest lesson is trusting God in these highs and lows to push me forward and create amazing opportunities for others to thrive.
Thanks for reading this through and stay tuned for my goals for 2020!