Happiness is A Journey


Today, I feel happy. Its my birthday and it is the third year I will be celebrating it in Singapore. During my first birthday when I was fresh off the boat back in 2007, I remember feeeling very lonely as if I were the loneliest man in the world. It was the first time that I didn’t spend it with my family and the feeling of isolation and dettachment from all you hold dear was evident in my thoughts. Last year went by my memory without any remembrance of what I did and who greeted me. I just knew it passed with less feelings of isolation.

Today, with the aid of facebook, those who are the least persons I will expect a greeting from are the ones who actually said those kind words of celebration. I would think it is because of the birthday reminder that you can conveniently see in one corner but still, the simple words of saying “Happy Birthday” to someone in itself the important thing. In a world where everything is easy and sms, email, a phone call and a comment has different levels of personal meaning, it was still with great comfort reading those words.

For this year, I wish for myself (and for the people around me) that I will be a kinder person. As my friend Chinno made me realize, the world does not revolve  around ME. I am not the center of the universe and there will always have genuine acts of friendship and kindness. Its not always about what I want and what I think.  I need to build more links to other people not just because I need to do so but because, it is an act itself that doesn’t need to have reason but it shows the magnanimity of the heart.

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Opening the Gates of Oneself

Today i celebrate my 21st year of existence. To many, the idea is that today is the symbolic opening of the gates of the world. Today, i will be recognized as a free man with choices that will be respected by law and the great majority. I am now an adult -for formalities sake. But devoid of all that debutante celebration,  i am here in front of my computer typing this blog at 1:30 in the morning.

The closest that i got to have a blast at midnight was the countdown of my officemates 10 seconds before the clock turned 12. Yes, surprisingly, at the eve of “my night”, i was still in the office doing some planning and sending an email to Shangrila Mactan for a project which will come to life in November. Not the fanciest of birthday celebrations anyone could ever have. By 12:10, i was walking in ortigas avenue, carefully looking for possible mugglers lurking somewhere in the business district. I got home safely by 1am.

As i was walking in along the half deserted avenue, I began to wonder about the meaning of maturity. When does one really do mature? When was that fateful day  where  there is a shift from innocence and ignorance to  maturity and responsibility.  I gathered my thoughts trying to find out where that fateful instant happened. Unfortunately, I never did find out. The bus to Monumento just passed my way and i had to a step inside. I fell asleep 5 minutes after.

Now that i am all relaxed and a little refreshed after my 40 minute travel, I come to realize that it never really did happen for me. No transition whatsoever. Since i was a kid, the youngest of four siblings, all of whom are only a year apart, I thought to myself that I needed to prove something. MY eldest sister Mela was the responsible one, being the born leader that she was. People were gravitated to her for she exudes that responsible yet caring nature. My second sister Duday was the smart one, she is one hell of a good writer, studious and she knew her craft well. She graduated with honors in UP Los Banos. My brother Pedro was the popular one, his height, charm and good looks earned him the second glances of anyone who has talked to him and taken a glance at him.  As the younger of three talented people, I challenged myself greatly, for always, i saw that unspoken comparison between the four of us. (Maybe I am the only one who feels this way though) Especially to my brother who had the same schooling with me since elementary and high school, i was always “Pedro’s brother”, never did i hear it the other way around.

So as a young boy, I needed to excel and in everything that I did. I put a pressure to myself that developed into this will, this drive for perfection. I saw myself as different from many, where they play childhood games like tumbang preso or chinese garter or whatever, i watched “Star Trek, The Next Generation” with my brother and sisters pondering the morality of deep space exploration or i was training for the volleyball varsity, which you may read unsurprisingly, my brother was also a player.  In my graduation at college, i achieved my dreams, I became a chairperson for a college based organization, I was a cum laude in UP diliman, and I was popular in one way or another.There are many more accomplishments that i have set for myself that is not overshadowed by any of my siblings.

I am a perfectionist, that is crystal but after analyzing the roots of my perfectionist drive, i look back at the years and realize that maybe i deprived myself of my own childhood. I wanted to be mature too soon and wanted to act older than I should. I remember feeling so elated everytime someone would say i act more mature than i really am.

Where did my childhood go?

Now that i am working as a project landscape architect in one of the busiest Landscape Architecture firms in the country, I feel that  this need to be more mature is more prominent than ever. You would not imagine my weekly routine. Every week I have to juggle client meetings, an average of three per week, plus site supervision and inspection, design, cad and photoshop.All needs to be squeezed into the office hours of Mon-Fri. I work an average of 12 hours a day plus sometimes i go to the office over the weekends for overspill work, I sleep at 1 am and wake up at 6:30 or 7. That’s my life. Internally I am pressured and  at the same time, externally, i am demanded by clients to do all their whims with the thought that i have to look as if i can handle it all, charmingly and all-knowingly. Of course, these people use their money for big projects. They need responsible people to achieve their dreams. Maturity and responsibility is greatly needed for the job. The pace that i put myself to grow older just got more fast paced.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be less mindful of all the things that worry me. What would it have been like if i never did overexhaust myself in trying to be the best person that i could have been career wise. Would i be much happier and more content of a mediocre but medium paced life or will i be wondering this reverse idea of perfectionism? Its like dreaming what you cannot have.

My only wish for this year of awakening is that i may begin to understand that life need not be too stressful and planned. That i should stop planning and start living because dreams can still happen with sudden awakening, letting things happen in their own time and growing old at the pace nature intended. May this year bring me some piece of mind, some contentment to a soul that is searching for quintisential truths.

In the coming years of my life, let me grow old gracefully, Not rushing, not being left behind.

Happy 21st year, dear self!

transferred from Friendster Blog written last 04 Sep 2006 Continue reading

Birthdays and Good Times

Someone very close to me is celebrating his birthday today. We havent talked for quite some time now for reasons too complex to really explain in blog but i guess i just want to acknowledge the fact that i remembered. Not all things are forgotten. good memories always give a smile to my face and a sense of nostalgia always makes me stop and look at the sky and say, “Yeah, those were the days…”

Life is a game of chess… “Touch move”, as they say.  We really can’t go back to that moment in time when we were happier or more innocent than now. We grow up, face the music, move on and say to ourselves that the future holds something more for us.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this very small gesture is a simple act of remembrance. Remembrance that there were good times and birthdays are the best days to say that there are more good times ahead. Happy times.

Happy birthday to you. I wish you the best my friend.

transferred from Friendster blog written 30 Nov 2005