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.
A minute left and the festivity of my date birth officially ends, leading to another countdown before I could mark another year of existence in this world.
And as accustomed, I shall once again lay down my life for the past twenty-five years: what I had accomplished, where I failed, how I deal with my present complications, and reasons why I should still rise to face every morning that comes hereafter.
To start, my life now hadn’t exactly been the one I had always imagined.
I have tried to label each year with a mark- a personal milestone I have reached and which I believe will continuously define my life altogether with the other milestones I have accomplished.
22 was a year of productivity- I had vast reserves of energy thundering like the Niagara Falls and I was bent on exhausting them all- to realize my ideals, my ambitions, my desires. It was a year of so much bustle and hubbub that I forgot to slow down…until it finally took its toll on me. It was only a matter of time until I began to gradually weaken. Drained, I look at the horizon— nothing significant has happened. The equilibrium was undisturbed. I should try harder.
23 was a year of realization- And there is I was, resolute that I have no more issues in life- I believed I have come into full terms with myself, faced my inner demons, cleaned all skeletons in the closet… I had no idea what was I thinking. This year, I faced waves of tidal denouements, slapping me one by one with the realities- some I ignored, some I denied to be true and worse… some I did not face. I drowned… and I have seen what was below the surface, beliefs which I have held on were shook to the very foundations. Life began to manifest itself beyond just black and white, top and bottom, good and evil- there were so much more to life I laugh and said to myself, how could I have been so blindsided by these? Was I too held by the puritan dogmas of organized religion? Too absorbed with myself? I think I was just being too arrogant. It was now when depression and frustration started to slowly creep into what I thought was an impermeable armour.
24 was a year of resignation. I began to gradually lose the bravado of youth, the fire of idealism which I swore to keep and to uphold, and the sense of rebellion in trying to prove myself- that I was better than what they perceive. I have acquiesced to the many painful truths of this world. I had to swallow and stomach them all nevertheless, and it strengthened my resolve. Everything came into full circle: I know now that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was; Some things will never come into fruition no matter how much effort you put into it; Everything on this realm, no matter how blissful or painful must, at some point come to and end… and all you could do is to give a wistful smile and sigh with every passing… then move on. Mono No Aware. Memento Mori. I practically learned my limits and the limits of this world- things I can and cannot give, things I can be and cannot become.
I could probably say that this year is marked by growth. 25 is when I begin to unload things that would hinder my aspiration to outdo myself… to constantly become an even better person— no matter how painful it is to let go of things you have held onto for so many years… because you know you have to move forward and that is the only way to go. I ceased to be a cynic. I began to finally, finally understand and accept that you need others, sometimes, even in the most trivial aspects of your life, and that you have to make yourself a needed by others too. There is no other better feeling than the feeling of being needed.
Twenty-five years— it seems I haven’t done that much. I want to travel: eat good cuisine, smile in photographs taken in The Pyramids, The Eiffel Tower, The Parthenon…, and breathe the cultures of the lands beyond the seas. I want to write books. I want to insanely fall in love- the type of love that will always be vivid in my head until my dying day.
But at the very least, the one thing I really want, that even in case none of my grand (almost delusional) ambitions don’t come true, will still make my existence worth all of it?
To touch the lives of as many people as I could.
I am a teacher- for now. One who is not only supposed to dispense knowledge, but to mold characters as well. I am not the best in this craft— nevertheless, I would wish to believe that I am at least doing good. Five, six, ten years from now; who knows? I may join the corporate world. Be in publishing sounds nice too. I might be even running a small business.
Or I might be stuck being a teacher.
I am afraid, to be honest. What I am, where I am now… it was only thought to be a phase. I’m supposed to be bigger than this. Circumstances though are forcing me to be stoic- and it angers me. I do not want to remain like this. My efforts so far prove to be real insignificant. My capabilities are beginning to reach a plateau- and I even once thought that my improvement will be limitless. Not that I compare myself to others, but there is indeed a small paroxysm in the deepest recesses of my heart— this isn’t supposed to be happening. What I want and what is reality conflict relentlessly and I cannot say until when I will be able to bear this.