Except For A Few Great Rebels

Circumstances in your life define your philosophy, yes, but your philosophy also defines your life’s circumstances.
Thumbing through Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, and I see this note from my college freshman self. :)

I haven’t had contact with anyone from the outside world for the past three days, four if you count Sunday, but I choose not to since all I did was walk around SM Valenzuela with my family like a zombie, barely minding my surroundings.

See, I woke up (strangely not hungover) Sunday with my left leg aching like I just came from a thug fight the night before. I wasn’t even wearing heels for the Kalayaan Literary Circle launch party, so all I had to blame was me walking around the whole afternoon in search for a decent outfit after we ran into some problems with the dress Mom reserved the day before. Again, I found this strange, for I was used to tiring myself out on a daily basis — this sem alone, I discovered it was humanly possible to walk the entire stretch of Katipunan Avenue (I was with friends, we had a few bottles, it was raining, it was awesome) and that walking aimlessly when you’re alone is the best way to discover secret bookstores and a row of stalls that sold electric guitars and analog cameras for fairly decent prices.

Anyway, the pain continued throughout the day, aggravated by helping Dad carry an old, wooden bedframe from the second floor to his bedroom on the first. By evening, I looked like an eskimo strategically wrapped in my favorite hoodie and a comforter.

Usually I would have used this as an excuse to read like a maniac, but the fever just had to come with migraine and so forcing down sentences was not a good idea. I looked right out of a sitcom, the stereotypical bum of the family. I couldn’t do anything else but watch TV and hope to find some profundity rising above from episodes of Pretty Little Liars and ANTM, which I didn’t, while waiting for re-runs of Big Bang Theory and Raising Hope.

So that was four days ago.

It’s now Wednesday and thankfully looking at a computer screen doesn’t send me crashing back to my crib couch while groaning like a sick hobo. I managed to write today, as I have been able to for the past few days (weeks?), only on paper, because I recently re-discovered the merits of going back to basics. See, I spend quite a lot of time on the road, and I found out that I usually look forward to traversing the highways the most. I love how it suspends any sense of time or space that we have. It forces me to do a lot of thinking as well, but usually these thoughts have long flown out the window (see what I did there) before I could even whip out a tab to write and publish them here. I must congratulate myself, though, for still having a pretty decent handwriting, in a moving vehicle, when bus drivers are usually too (In) Need For Speed to attempt a perfectly comprehensible script.

I drew up a calendar this morning, hoping I could mark down deadlines and exam dates since I have only a month left for this semester. It is yet to be filled, much less actually written on. I think I am prolonging the inevitable to enjoy the last few moments of my sick leave. That, and I don’t think I’m in the mood to face reality just yet.

Sure, this semester is one of the best periods of college. I had to deal with some pretty traumatizing  twisted horrible    issues that I like to believe I could have avoided if I had a chance to do them over and act like a rational adult, but on the positive side it was filled with too much laughter and surprises that I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again if I could. I can’t help thinking though, that my academic standing, while not exactly suffering, would have yielded better results if I had developed some sense of time management early in the sem. I don’t want to dwell on this, though, for I am now delusional old enough to think it is pretty pointless to beat yourself up over regrets. All the immature, pessimistic whining is beyond me now. Disposition is one of my favorite words for a reason.

Aha! So that brings me back to the reason behind this blog post. (Which I forgot, thus my blabbering about some other things, but then again this is a blog.)

I sleep with books. I have a bedside bookshelf housing a few of my favorites. One of these is Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy which I bought two years ago back when I was a freshman taking up Philosophy in PUP. I knew I made the right choice upon choosing the course, and it only made things feel even more in place when I learned I managed to score pretty decently in the entrance exams, thus granting me a scholarship. I didn’t need one, though, for PUP is infamous for the 12 pesos per unit system, being a state university and all, but it was the prestige of being a scholar that did me in.

I am trusting my memory and a little bit of my imagination when I say I remember doing well on my major subjects. I stayed there for a year before dropping out in the middle of the first semester of my second year — exactly this time around, a year ago — for no other reason than pure, unadulterated laziness. I transferred to Kalay aiming to finish with a Lit degree as soon as possible and head on to Australia or Europe for a reunion with Philosophy. That sense of direction alone is enough to feel a surge of control flowing back to me, like I’m on top of everything all over again, as if I always have been, as if I never left the spot.

I am intoxicated by possibilities. I was never really a one-hobby kind of girl, I dabbled in everything from music to writing, so being able to define what I want to do for the rest of my life, that is to teach, surprises me and scares me at the same time, in the most unsettling, most wonderful way possible. Committing to this suddenly seems like the easiest, most natural choice there is, and it does not leave me thinking I am missing out on something higher, something more worthwhile, because I am refocusing all my energies toward one window, the way I feel about everything else. With all due respect to every other profession, I couldn’t think of anything else more splendid to dedicate life to than teaching.

In short, I better get my act together and actually do some studying now. I am feeling better, I can now walk without looking like I am over seventy-five and in dire need of a cane, and for the next three weeks, I have to remind myself of the things I want, and what I have to do to get them. Never mind if time is just a social construct.

“It’s time.” Perhaps, it always is.

“There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.”

― Jean-Paul Sartre


4 thoughts on “Except For A Few Great Rebels

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