I finally got to see my college friends eight months since we last hung out. We used to see each other monthly, exchanging updates and secrets. At times, if I closed my eyes it almost felt like I was back in college in my old rose barong hanging out at Coffee Bean in Gateway. Deadlines, schedule conflicts and other things that suck prevented us from our monthly dose of each other.
It’s been so long since we last saw each other. I started giving them updates – true and false – just to check how well they still knew me- I love my job (true), I loathe my job (true), I got a tattoo (techinically true), I started singing in a pop reggae band (false but they totally bought it), I shaved all my hair off (half-true). It was a nice way to catch up with each other as well as a good reminder of how far we’ve come. Gone are the days when I would scrimp on lunch just so we could all watch the latest Ai-Ai de las Alas movie. We were talking about something silly when we suddenly got serious. I looked around and realized it was that part of the night when we would question our intentions and evaluate each other’s accomplishments.
“Di mo ba nami-miss?” asked one of my first friends in the group.
“Mag-turo. Sayang ka eh.”
“Nagtu-turo naman ako ah. Iba nga lang.”
“Hindi. Yung totoong pagtu-turo. Yung bang sa classroom tapos puro bata kaharap mo.”
“Di naman. Nakakatamad din kasi mag-gawa ng class records at lesson plans.”
“Sayang ka kasi eh.”
It was clear what she was implying. Out of everyone in our little group, I was the only one who did not pursue a full-time teaching career. I was the corporate sell-out. Was it worth it? I sipped my macchiato and remembered the days when I couldn’t even afford coffee. The answer was simple. I was tired of not being able to afford the things I wanted. Is it so wrong to want a better life?
I suppose they would never really understand why I chose this life instead of theirs. They’ve always had a clear idea of what they wanted in life and they did everything they could to find their happiness. Looking back, I had about a handful of events that changed my life- flunking the UPCAT, taking up Education, trading in my diploma for a headset, switching companies, applying for a promotion. If I had changed any of these variables, I would probably be in a different place right now. I could’ve been a teacher at a public school convincing myself that money is overrated. I could’ve been a starving artist, peddling stories for food or money. I could’ve been so many things. Why was I here? Am I happy?
I’m here because I made lemons out of lemonade. I’m here because I learned to accept the gap between what I want and what the world has for someone like me. I’m here because despite wanting to believe that I am a victim of my circumstances, I know that I chose this life. Am I happy? That’s debatable. Most days, I’m alright. Everyone has good and bad days. Sometimes people have good weeks, good months, even good years. I’ve had a good couple of months and I really have no reason to complain. Now that I’m finding more bad days than good, I gotta learn to suck it up and be a man about it. I’ve stopped sulking, in case you guys were wondering. I finally understood that I wouldn’t be so burnt out if I took better care of myself. Patience is a virtue, they say. I still have plenty of things to learn. Until I’ve learned all my lessons, I shouldn’t be in such a hurry for things to speed up.
“Di naman sayang. Masaya naman ako sa ginagawa ko eh. Siguro kung milyonaryo lang ako, nag-turo na ako sa totoong school. Eh kaso hindi eh.”
She nodded in agreement and decided that that was the end of that. That’s what I love about friends. They make you realize the strangest things at the strangest moments. I’m not really sure when we’ll see each other again. All I can do is just sit and wait in fervent anticipation for the conversations and epiphanies in our next night out.
BRB. In completely unrelated news, I’ve decided to take a break from heavy blogging. I’ve recently reacquainted with my first love- fiction. I finally finished writing a story (two years after I wrote my last story) plus I’ve got a few buns in the oven just waiting to be written. Like most infants, they need all the attention they can get and so to do that, I decided to limit my blogging. *hangs up Do Not Disturb sign* See you in a few weeks (hopefully with something good)!