Quarter a century years old.
One could say that at this age a person is already at the prime of his youth— already in full bloom (and ripe for the picking, if you know what I mean).
Twenty-five marks a significant milestone in everyone’s lives. My good friend told me once that it is true: something changes in you upon reaching this point in your life. True enough, this is a period where you have established your core values, the basis of every mindset and decision you make from hereon. You have a definite idea of who and what you are— your limits, your strengths, your potentials yet to be tapped. You are still a work in progress nevertheless you are fully armed and able to evoke change making an actual contribution to the world. There is still the fire of idealism yet you have gradually reconciled it with reality, that some things can be changed and some cannot… but you are still hoping to be the person you have imagined yourself to be eight years ago.
I am twenty-five, and there is still a long way to go.
Yet life has taught me some extremely valuable things over the years. Some I already knew but had to experience it myself to really understand what it was all about. Others I have seen through vicarious experience and dutiful listening to the wise. The rest I did not see coming and had to deal with them the hard way (and I mean HARD). This is not a surefire formula to attain success or to win the Miss Universe pageant or to go to heaven but I am sharing these especially to my dear students as something to ponder upon… and if you want to increase your survival rate in this world.
1. Be helpful… only AT THE RIGHT MOMENT
- Do not get me wrong on this one. I absolutely abhor people who do not lift even a single finger to help people in need. Like some of my students who say “There are others who are willing to do it anyway” or “I’m kinda in the middle something right now” or “I simply do not want to help.” (You people know who you are and thanks for making the world more hellish than it should be.)
- My point is- You are not Superman. You only have limited resources, time, and capabilities. And while this is not an excuse for you to refuse somebody in need or to give less than what you can really give; this should make you be more discerning when providing aid: “Will I really help and not aggravate the situation? Will there be more who will be benefited than harmed? Will my assistance ACTUALLY YIELD RESULTS? Am I needed in the first place?” If not, your effort is a waste. The thought and intention of helping is nice but the end-result is what matters at the end of the day.
2. Learn to say NO
- Peer pressure is almost impossible to resist. Numerous times we give in to the coaxing, incessant cajoling, and charming persuasions to do this and that. While this isn’t entirely bad, there are times necessitating you to turn the other cheek and walk away. I have succumbed to peer pressure in the name of “friendship”, camaraderie, or reconciliation and the negative impacts it had one me were titanic. Worse, I alone would have to suffer the consequences! (tears) Only recently did I learn that to say NO does not make you a bad person at all. You have all the right in the world to decline especially if what you are about to do is an outright abomination or sheer idiocy.
3. Be yourself. ALWAYS
- Hmmm… how should I put this without being too Vanessa Hudgens (I got to go on and be who I ammmmmmm …) or Demi Lovato (this is me, this is real…. Grrraaahhh!!!)? I guess you really have to be schmaltzy with this. Fact: There is no point TO BE NOT who you truly are. I cannot continue sugarcoating this to my students (because I am soooo fed up ad nauseam to the “I-am- wearing- a mask-pretending-to-be-someone-else” drama) so here it is, THE WORLD IS UNFAIR. DEAL WITH IT, my darlings. With our standards of beauty, intelligence, and other societal criteria of who’s desirable or not, people are conditioned to be eternally insecure— I am too a bit, until now. But unless you cannot accept the fact that someone will always be better, hotter, or sexier than you, you cannot enjoy the perks (not of being a wall flower) of being just simply, errr… you. Is lying to yourself for the rest of your life just to get shallow approval and admiration worth it? If you really think about it, it’s not so bad being you. Just work on what you have and do not be a prick. You’ll do perfectly fine.
4. Crap Stinks. Period
(refer to my previous blog entry…)
5. Tame your tongue
- I used to have the ‘I-don’t-care-as-long-as-I’m-being-real’ attitude once too. Having come into full terms with myself, I vowed to be an avatar of honesty no matter what. Being you is being real in the first place as I would have put it then. It was a disaster. True, I did speak out my mind. I was being honest, too damn honest that I lost the very thing which has kept me from the biggest troubles all these years: discretion. I just said whatever the hell I wanted and did not apologize for it: I was just being true was my justification. Take it or leave it. And there, true enough, I realized later then that all along I wasn’t really being real. I was being crass, cheap, and a total drama queen. I hurt people. It didn’t really make me happy, proud or prove my point.
- Honesty is still a big deal for me… only that now I know better: Especially if you’re not contributing anything to a solution or concession, if what you are about to say is downright in-your-face insulting, or your prattling is just so damn irritating to the ears, LEARN TO SHUT UP.
6. Embrace your past- completely
- We all had issues in the past and we have had our own ways on dealing with them. Some deliberately erased them from memories; some compensated them through some kind of an atonement; some pretended it never happened; and some attempted to undo them (what the!?). We all have reasons for such: out of shame and guilt, mostly. I myself have done things which I am not proud of. And thinking about those now make me cringe and hate myself for the rest of my life. “Why was I so stupid, desperate, and selfish?” And this is where soap operas and Japanese anime enter the picture to save the day. Watching them taught me that no matter how dark, ugly, or painful your past is, embrace it with all your heart— not because you cannot do anything to undo them anyway, but because all of those are already a part of who and what you are now. Good or bad, they have all contributed to the totality of your existence as of the present and you cannot truly be one with yourself without accepting them… (sappy ending song follows)
A common scenario in any graduation ceremony after the looooong speech of the guest speaker and the traditional hat-throwing in the air would be the high school best friends hugging each other, telling to one another with teary-eyes that even if they part ways in college…
An unexpected thing occurs due to circumstances (fate?) and a friendship is forged between two, three, or more people who, still out of disbelief, promises to each other that no matter what happens…
A colleague who just got the promotion and suddenly becomes the supervisor assures his now subordinates that…
I, we, will not change.
And after four, five years of college life; after some years of being together; after several months of holding the managerial position… would it still be the case?
It is very comforting, truly: the feeling of security, knowing and assuring/assured that change will not occur despite whatever circumstances. The emotion and the memory where you felt the zenith of joy freezes in time and swiftly, it becomes the locus of the relationship- the reference of everything you do, say, and think. And the pressure suddenly kicks in.
“You were never assertive in high school.”
“You used to prioritize friendship over dates.”
“You were so humble back then.”
“What happened to you?”
It is as if a crime has been committed, a violation to the sacred unwritten accord that seemed to measure one’s character thus resulting to disappointment, detachment, and dissension. “You said you will never change?!” You accuse with fingers pointing condescendingly. “You promised.”
And so to you, how noble you are for not changing a single bit. How loyal you must have been for being exactly the ‘you’ a couple of years ago till now. Praises for you who remained every inch like yourself because you are true to your word indeed.
Thing is, the moment you decided not to change, you decided to die.
For when change does not happen, life ceases to exist. Change is life itself. And so why do you take it against them? The people who, either willingly or unwittingly, changed? Is change an enemy? Is changing tantamount to committing treachery to the very people who constitute your world- your friends, associates, lovers, family? Is not changing even possible? Your beliefs? Choices? Decisions? Feelings?
Fact of life— change comes inevitably and f*cks things up. Even if you do not notice it, even if you do not want to, and yes, even if you believe you have always stayed the same. People change. For good or bad. Period.
But you want the friendship to remain? But you wish he/she will be just like the girl/boy you liked before? But you want him/her to be firmly grounded no matter what?
Change is vital, but is never the issue. It’s not about change, really.
It’s what you do about it.
I have come to a point in my life where I am already perfectly convinced that even if something is so appealing to the mind and to the senses; even if it is from somebody whom you fear or consider dear; or even if the whole world says it so, it will not change a basic and undeniable fact–
If it is crap, it is crap.
It is a perfectly normal phenomenon in life, sh*tt*ng. Give some. Get some. Be it unintentional (or not), serious, relentless, underserved, or laughable; the truth remains that crap happens. And it would have been a happy despite being a crappy world until the problem arises when many people, due to some filial (“But she’s my mom!”), friendly (“We’ve been BFF’s for like forever.”), corporate (“Promotion, baby!”), and of course, romantic (“I only did it because of luuurrrvvv”) relations begin to confuse what is supposed to be within the horizon of acceptability from a clear bull.
I too have had my shares of bu**sh*t in this world. Most from people I could care less, some from people I care, and a few from people I thought who actually cared. Of course I also gave my significant dosages of these too and I’m pretty much sure this will be the case until Armageddon.
I have eaten more sh*t than I should all these years… and I know many share the same plight with me. Not that I’m complaining, really. All the crap added up gave much more sense inside my skull on why the world exists as it is. On the contrary, it is surprisingly a good thing: not eating sh*t itself, but what it does to you. You suddenly have a wider perspective of things— Sh*t happens, period; Not all things are sh*t because some are not; and you can always get something good from sh*t, no matter what type it is.
Point is, it ain’t that bad.
And right now, I am in a middle of a predicament—a serious crap involving somebody whom I can almost consider as a best friend. Had conditions been different, I would have easily eaten another boatload of crap in the name of reconciliation but it just so happens that I am, at this juncture, is unable to take any sh*t anymore no matter how you shove it down my throat. For quite some time I was searching for the word that would embody how I feel about it as of the moment and how will I deal with it until it is over. Ah, yes. ENOUGH.
There is a time in every school year where every faculty room is suddenly abuzz with discussions, assumptions, and predictions. Teachers just can’t stop chattering. Surely, something is bound to happen.
This is the time where there is a momentary shift in the balance of power between the lowly students and the god-like teachers. For a brief period, they are suddenly under the mercy of these kids; their numerical assessment on their performances decides their image, their worth, and probably their future.
Faculty evaluation in schools is very much like a political election- the students the electorates, the teachers the political candidates. Evaluations are announced a week or two before its administration and suddenly, there is vaudeville. Teachers become amped. Some suddenly become unrealistically (more like irritatingly) pleasant in the classroom. Some give heart-warming speeches in between (or sometimes the whole) lectures on hopes to win sympathy (votes?). And some would even resort to either direct bribing, pleading, or worse, threatening.
And of course just like the regular campaign period, some propagandas sell, and some do not.
I could just imagine the face of every student watching in amusement at their teachers as they perform their own antics. A few entertaining, others obviously trying hard, and the rest just plain pathetic.
Albeit, evaluations is not all that merry. Many students, would actually treat evaluations as payback time, judgment of the gods day, and the time of vengeance. They were silent as lambs when Teacher A threw a tantrum with no particular reason at all, or when Teacher B deliberately gave failing grades out of spite, or when Teacher C gave a grandiloquent speech on how doleful their existence are. But the students remembered— and they cannot wait for a second longer.
I never expect anything every time “The Hour of Retribution Comes.”Nor do I plan for my own campaign strategy to rally my ratings up. Not that I am being a hypocrite but I, from the bottom of my heart abhor becoming Mary Poppins every evals week— my towering pride just cannot take it. You know, similar to the rate-me-for-who-I-
Everybody knows I love power-trippings, has struggles with issues on schadenfreude, and a true-blooded prick. Still I do my share of reminding students about objectivity, open-mindedness, and a sense of humanity. Hell, your beloved teachers, after all, aren’t perfect. We all have our shares of quirkiness. And admittedly, we can be real bitches and assholes at some points (I take the cake in this part).