#ChooseBetter: 4 Inspiring People Who Redefined Their Life
The old proverbial phrase says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It sounds easy, but that’s not always the case for some of us. Sometimes, the curveballs that life throws us seem endless and determined to keep us face down on the ground.
But, through sheer will or divine intervention, we power through. No matter what hardships or challenges we face in life, we are built to overcome them. We just have to take that first step and decide to #ChooseBetter for ourselves.
We chatted with four women from different walks of life and listened to their inspiring stories of how they weathered uncertainties, resolved to #ChooseBetter, and ultimately redefined their lives.
Michelle is a 29-year old who describes herself as a simple girl who loves to travel and eat. She used to be a full-time employee, but is now an online seller of crochet items through her Instagram account.
On what made her quit her job: If I have to be honest, stress is the major factor. Also, I’m the type that if I know I won't be able to grow anymore in a certain area or field, I’ll move forward and look for a new bigger challenge.
On the challenges of selling online:October 2019, naging hobby ko ang pag-crochet. Yung nag-start pa lang ako, may days talaga walang buyer o walang nag-i-inquire. Also, ang hirap pala maging one-man team sa business. [In October 2019, doing crochet became my hobby. When I was just starting, there were days when no one bought or inquired. Also, I found that it’s hard to be a one-man team in the business.]
On the effect of the pandemic on her business: Nag-focus muna ako sa pag-donate ng mga crochet earsavers sa mga frontliners. Gumagawa lang ako ng gumagawa ng earsavers hanggang sa makaipon lang. Pag nakadami na ako, i-post ko, just in case meron may kailangan. Also, it’s a way to help and give back. [I shifted my focus to donating crochet earsavers to the frontliners. I just keep on making earsavers. When I have enough, I post them, just in case someone needs. Also, it’s a way to help and give back.]
All I really ask are pictures in return. It’s okay if I don’t profit much in my crochet journey, as long as I can help and bring joy to others.
On advice that she can share with others: We all bloom at our own time, so don't rush it. Just be you, stay real, and trust the process.
JOBELLE VIVAS MERCADO
Jobelle is a full-time mom of two kids: an eight-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. She started working at the age of 15 after graduating highschool because of financial needs. Since then, she’s been into online selling, even while studying, and now, her main business is making and selling leche flan.
On how she got into online selling: I decided to be a working student to support myself in college. Then, I just continued working in several companies and BPOs. Eventually, I decided to give up my career to focus on my kids. Being a full-time mom is not easy. But, I am happy, though there’s still a part of me that wanted to do something. So, I did online-selling of leche flan.
May kulang kasi sa akin kapag wala akong nakikitang pera galing sa pagod ko. Mas masarap sa pakiramdam ko na may kita ako na nasha-share ko sa asawa ko. [There’s something missing in me if I don’t see income from my hardwork. It makes me feel better that I have income to share with my husband.]
On almost giving up:Nung December, talagang hindi ako makasabay sa dami ng luto at may naramdaman na ako sa katawan ko. January nung malaman ko positive ako sa tuberculosis. Then, inisip ko ang mga anak ko at asawa ko. Sila ang reason kung bakit ako matibay at araw-araw nalaban. [In December, I had to make so much (leche flan) and I wasn’t feeling well. In January, I tested positive for tuberculosis. Then, I thought of my kids and husband. They are the reason why I’m strong and why I fight everyday.]
On the lessons she learned in life:Kapag may gusto kang maabot para sa sarili mo, abutin mo. Hindi yun pagiging selfish kasi sila naman ang reason why you are doing that. Mapapagod lang pero hindi susuko. Kilos lang ng kilos. [When you want to achieve something for yourself, reach for it. It’s not being selfish because your family is the reason why you are doing that. You’ll get tired, but don’t give up. Just keep going.]
BENJIELYN REYES PABLO
Benjielyn (or “Benj”) is 29 years old and is the youngest and only girl in the family. Making accessories started out as a hobby and a bonding session between her and her mom, which then became a business. Now, she sells handcrafted accessories on her own through Facebook and Instagram.
On what she does: My mom is fond of jewelry. Yung accessories na handmade is naisip nya lang out of nowhere talaga na what if we make handmade accessories, then let’s gift it na lang sa mga friends namin and family. Then, nung madami nang positive feedbacks and madami na gusto magpagawa, that’s the time na naisip namin i-business. [My mom is fond of jewelry. Then, she randomly thought of making accessories as gifts to our friends and family. When there was a lot of positive feedback and more people asked us to make accessories, that’s the time we decided to make it into a business.]
On doing the business on her own: I took the leap to be on my own, though I was very hesitant at first. I had sleepless nights that time if my decision was right or not. But then, I just tried and I learned so many things.
I also do workshops. It feels so good kasi pag nakakatulong ka, lalo na sa mga mommies na gusto magkaron ng extra income. And I am overwhelmed kasi super thankful sila kasi I’m their teacher daw, as in nakaka-iyak minsan sa tuwa because I’m happy for them. [It feels so good when you’re able to help, especially moms who want to have extra income. And I am overwhelmed because they’re super thankful that I’m their teacher. It makes me cry out of happiness for them.]
On her realizations: Because of this journey, I realized that it’s not always the money that counts. I realized that happiness and contentment are now my priorities in my life. The happy faces of my students feed my soul and no amount of money can replace that feeling.
Jonette has worked and juggled a lot of hats as a freelancer. However, she’s still a writer and artist at heart, as well as a tarot and oracle consultant and a relationship coach. With her business, Jonette offers guidance, counselling, and coaching through the tarot.
On how the pandemic has affected what she does: This climate can certainly take a toll on us emotionally and mentally, and make us question our inner compass. I think this is why I feel [my business] will still be okay; clarity, compassion, and empowerment still matter.
On who inspires her to continue doing it: Friends from different circles. Some of my clients and relatives have been wonderful fountains of support, too! My heart swells just thinking about all the love, and how much they believe in my skill. It can be easy to forget that the people we also need to check in on are the strong people in our lives. What a precious thing it is to be able to open and rest easy in each other's presence, in a safe, non-judgemental space.
On advice that she can share: Please never forget to be kind, loving, gentle, and forgiving to yourself. Please know that you are not alone. Self-care will look like different things to different people and will also be different for you. The key here is to listen to yourself, listen to your body, listen to your spirit. What are they telling you? What do they need of you? How can you give it to them in ways you can? Even just a little bit at a time already can mean so much.