December 31st, 2013. Today is the last day of this magnificent year. I never really expected it, but I believe this year has been one of those wonderful years which I am extremely positive and at the same time, extremely … Continue reading
In a different part of the wold, my birthday has already started. Here in the Netherlands, it’s roughly four hours away. Tick tock, tick tock. Facebook will soon be flooded with greetings from online friends. We all know the drill, those closest to us give us messages in our phones and emails, some of them give messages in facebook personally, some declare it on your wall and others, just like other people’s greetings. At this moment I have received 1 text message, 4 personal facebook messages, 11 posts in my wall and 1 liked another person’s greeting. There are those valuable few who take the time to say, “Let’s go out and celebrate your wonderful day. Just you and me and let’s find somewhere nice.” You don’t get much of those these days. It now usually ends with facebook and real life meaningful talks are now a thing of the past. This blog even reinforces that I also am trapped in this, that me writing this means that I accept that I have a virtual self.
Far from the usual social connections, I am here living in my fifth country of residence away from all that I know and cherish but I am following exactly the course of action I wanted to take. This is the dream – taking a break from work, gaining new knowledge, doing a masters degree, traveling Europe and in the process learning the cultures of the world. Why is it that at this moment when everything seems to be perfect, I realize that the only place I want to be today is either in the waterbed of our house in Singapore or right beside my mom in Manila. I just want to be there, as if I never left, as if this reality is a mere dream and all the wonders of what I am experiencing is just a momentary flash of the subconscious that I will fail to remember tomorrow.
Birthdays for me are like wormholes of emotions. I just feel everything. I’m happy and sad at the same time. I’m apathetic but all so sensitive. The day feels like a never-ending story and facebook provides false hopes of warm smiles and kind faces wishing you good things.
A few weeks ago I was carpooling in France from Angers to Paris. I was in the passenger seat with this wonderful French lady that had an American accent and we were talking away as if we were the best of friends at the same time, wonderful acquaintances. We know for a fact that we won’t be seeing each other again at any point in our lives but we shared personal stories quite casually. She was divorced, had two kids living in different parts of France and one of them is going to Luxembourg with her grandson the month after. At one point in our discussion, she told me that she was attending a wedding of the daughter of a close friend. She then told me something unexpected – that she needed to go on a diet because she thinks she looks horrible in her clothes and that she wants to loose 5kg before the wedding. She also said that she was happy to go only if there were other people who are not couples. She gets too uncomfortable with all the couples who go back to their rooms, mind their own business and don’t really mingle. She had to ask her friend if there were other friends who were also going but not so boring like the other couples. I believe she was fishing if another friend, a single old gentleman was coming. And he was so she would too. After hearing this I suddenly asked her, “It never goes away does it, this social awkwardness we feel when have no other person is interesting enough (or interested with us) to speak to?” She said something like, “Some people are just so boring, I can’t bear being in the same table with them.” I thought this sounded like a discussion of two teenage girls talking about the senior prom.
With these memory in mind, it dawned on me that even though life becomes richer, we add more years to our age, we get white hair (just like what I had for the first time last week) and lines are formed in our faces, our fundamental issues are the same as always. I’ve contemplated about my birthday since I was in my teens and I am again back to square one. My thoughts are probably different from a few years back, the issues become more complex but the same dilemma occurs – why is it that birthdays are such wormholes of emotions. I am basically going through a seemingly annual menstrual cycle wherein I am full of uncalled for mood swings that just doesn’t go away. Maybe it is good (this is optimism coming in). It is good because I know that this is not just an ordinary day, that my mind is telling that me that this is a Eureka Moment. I am growing up again and all these thinking keeps me sane and alive for the rest of the year. What is life without introspection? What is life without the passing of time? What is life without these impossible-to-deal-with emotions?
If I get to the point in my life when I will forget my birthday was coming, to forget that the day has a meaning and that this day I will see the usual signs of joy, if I forget that, will that be living? These honest moments of confused emotions is the indicator that I have a mind that wants to understand this. I have the heart that feels this. I have the fingers that type this and I have the eyes that sees everything that will happen in this day. I am alive and every birthday I celebrate this by flushing my thoughts and emotions out in the open. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable, accepting I am not a stone because I feel. This, I believe is the miracle of my birthday posts. I say this because I believe it has meaning. I don’t know if it will mean anything to someone else but me blogging reaches to out to everyone, “Hey I am here and today, allow me to contemplate my life and my existence, because I am alive.”
Here is the link of my previous birthday post: Opening the Gates on Oneself
Here is the link with my thoughts on Facebook: Breaking Free from the Digital World
Check out this video too and the effects of social media to society
I am in the midst of preparing for another travel plan that will happen in two days time. I am traveling to Milan to meet a university classmate who is just like me, studying his masters degree and after that … Continue reading
For the last few days I have been spending time with Jose in London and days before that we were in Greece to celebrate Chinese New Year. It has been a couple of months since we last saw each other and I am very happy that we had the time to relax and see a new city which we both haven’t been before. It has been a wonderful 10 days but of course, if I could make it longer, I would like to do so. When you have shared your life with a person for a couple of years, it seems alien if they are not there with you. Right now I am in London in his family home and I will spend a month here. I am waiting for Jose to come back from a visit to a family friend and after that, me and his sister will send him off to the airport for his travel back to Singapore.
Now that I have a bit of time to think, I thought of doing a blog to clear my head. For the last few months I have been contemplating on my life as a student, as a professional and as a person who has somehow taken the big plunge of rebooting his life. I now know that this masters degree will change my life – that I will be doing something I have never imagined I will do and that it is providing me with skills I never thought I would acquire. I am in that period of uncertainty, some sort of an intellectual crisis. Where will my life lead me?
Before coming to Germany, I had a clear vision in my mind of what my skill sets were and what I am happy doing. From my previous blog I had a certainty in my writing, a certain stance but now that stance is wobbly. I am somehow unclear with my vision of the future for the first time in my life. With new knowledge comes new avenues of growth, new possibilities, new means of working and my own definitions of how my life is be suddenly opening up. It is as if I was looking at a certain tunnel where there was a clear but unchanging view and now, I have come to the end of that tunnel and I realized that the scenery is much richer and the roads diverge in different locations. Life choices and career choices are not linearly constructed and I have to sort out which one I will need to take. Life isn’t as simple as I thought it was.
However, after traveling in Athens and meeting people from different backgrounds in Germany and here in London, I also realized that this thinking process is a privilege. Many people have no luxury of choice and that the world sweeps them in its mighty current. For example, Greece is a beautiful country but so much of its people are in poverty now and many people of my age do not have jobs. I don’t have a job now but I can live because I chose this path to become a student and saved my money to achieve it. I am opening my options and of course that means that I will have a choice. I have put myself in this position of limitless choices but it scares me too.
The real question now is that is it better to have limited choices or having more choices in life? Is a straight path better than a convoluted path in life? I’m not really sure. I am now here in this point and I am trying to create a straight path but I do know in my heart that it won’t be that simple anymore.