I turned nineteen approximately eight hours ago. That’s a long time to be around already, if you ask me.
First order of business was to run, which I haven’t done for about a week and a half now. Life, that is, the collective term for the craziness of school, work and hopping around the city in search of nothing, really, somehow got in the way. I managed to clock in at least an hour, roughly two kilometers maybe, despite panting pathetically for everyone to see — blame the gradual return to smoking and the hiatus. My body hurts and I literally can’t feel my legs right now, but if I am gregarious enough to deem climbing a mountain on Saturday as a ” birthday celebration”, I should perhaps think of running as a piece of sumptuous red velvet cake, right?
When the summer started, I realized I have only just started to like the freedom that comes with being
unloved single, and unattached, real or imagined. That meant I had too much to internalize and so decided to take myself up on the challenge of spoiling myself as much as I could, from the little things (like hunting a Mcdonald’s branch that serves breakfast whenever I crave for that sausage mcmuffin meal, which is like every other day) to the monumental decisions (like getting myself an expensive book or signing up for an out of town trip with random strangers.) It’s amazing, this get-away-with-everything pass. My life is brimming with friendship and love and travel and the still-crazy battalion of hopes and dreams, and while that’s not exactly a Nobel Prize or a Palanca Hall of Fame distinction, I try to think I am worthy in every way and every bit of the bliss.
After running this morning, I settled down at a rusty swing at the neighborhood playground and realized that after ten years, I’ll be twenty-nine, which, for normal people, means I should have nestled comfortably into a definite career path and have met the love of my life to produce kids as stubborn as I am. Ten years! Ten short years. But what if I decide to live in Timbuktu or study astrophysics instead? What if I’d rather be Gellhorn and switch paths to become a war correspondent? What if in a miraculous moment I reaffirm faith in God and decide to live my years in a convent? How about Cambodia, India, Burma? What about love letters sent from Prague or photos taken in Dublin collecting dust in an old shoebox so when I am old and grey and full of sleep, to borrow from Yeats, surrounded by boisterous grandkids or not, I’ll have tears in my eyes whenever I reach for them to relive the high moments and the consequences of wanting too much and needing very little to get by?
There are times I feel utter helplessness for not having a slightest clue what I really want, but most of the time the indecisiveness is liberating — worth it. I won’t feign maturity, or feeling the slightest bit of settled, or even knowing with utmost certainty what I want the next few years to be like. Because I don’t. And this not-knowing, this tendency to go into everything and everywhere at warp speed, most of the time without the assurance of a safe return, that’s enough to live for. That’s enough to celebrate. Happy birthday, indeed.
Bawat bituin ay isang tahanan,
Kumakaway at naghihintay,
Nagpapasikdo sa mithiing maglakbay.
Wala, wala akong kasiyahan;
Walang pantalan o himpilang makatighaw
Sa bughaw na uhaw
At matandang pintig ng nunal sa talampakan.
— Rio Alma, Estranghero