I like to believe that there is more to life than hashtags or sex or uTorrent or Aldub or Daniel Padilla. I like to believe that there are plenty of other ways to while away aside from sliding one’s thumb on a smartphone screen. Or that a night well-spent is more than just sitting on the bed and watching reruns of Sheldon Cooper’s witty oneliners. I like to believe that self worth is not defined based from whether one is in a relationship or not. I like to believe that this is not yet the end, and that life, truly, has still so much to offer.
I think everyone of us is born with this tiny hole on our chest, and that this hole gradually grows as we age. Perhaps our innocence when we were young makes us unaware of what this hole really means. I mostly spent my childhood days absorbed in street games and awesome cartoon shows that perhaps they had been enough for me to be apathetic to this hole. But then alongside growing up is my loss of innocence. I became so self-involved that I started to notice even the smallest detail. I started to see this gaping hole in full view. And it didn’t look good.
So I started the pursuit to have this hole filled. Much like Miles and his quest to seek the Great Perhaps. Something was missing in my life, I told myself, and I hated the fact that it made me feel incomplete. I hated how it made me feel vulnerable as it allowed people see pass through me. Maybe it was gut-feel, or maybe it has subconsciously been instilled in me, but I made this conclusion that, corny as it may sound, there was only one thing which could fill this void – happiness.
And my chase to happiness thus started. I observed other people, then became so engrossed by adults and their brief cases that I vowed to be just like them. I thought that to emit this kind of all-knowing aura is an indication of being contented and happy. Because the perfect formula to success is simple and straight, right? You enter college and aim for Latin honor. You look for a good paying job. Save up. Start a family. Then spend your old age wearing a straw hat while tending to the thriving lettuce at your backyard.
So enter college was what I did. But then I realized that college takes time. I grew impatient. I already wanted to be complete back then. So I placed myself in the midst of people harboring the same hole on their chests. I called these people friends, and together we tried to fill these holes albeit temporarily. We partied all night long. Danced to the tune of latest Maroon 5 and our racing heartbeats. Drank golden liquid to our heart’s desire. Went home with the stench of smoke in our hair. Yet drinking days spiced with teenage angst could only keep for so long. Eventually, our nights turned dreary that not even a bottle of my favorite SML apple could turn them around.
I looked for distractions and became obsessed with young adult novels. I started to chase for that elusive I-swear-in-that-moment-I-am-infinite, believing that it is the only thing that could justify my very existence. Then I tried filling the hole by taking my own dose of romance. But I hadn’t thought that trying to complete yourself with the nonsensical sense of love is a risky business. Yes, it is true that you give away shards of yourself when you fall in love. Instead of getting the hole filled, it ended up getting bigger. Apparently, love only ends up two ways – either you settle down or you break up. And I think the latter happens more often.
And so I was back at square one. That was the time when I remembered that I could still be happy by being successful in my career. And won’t it provide the perfect ending to my pursuit? Me initially looking for happiness in the wrong places only to find out that my happiness lies on my passion to hone the young minds. Yes, it is true that teaching provides this feeling that you are doing the noblest profession there is. Those small moments of happiness inside the classroom are priceless. But they were not enough to mask the cold painful truth that our country is a hostile ground for teachers. I realized that in order for me to be truly happy, I need to make a change. And I know that my underpaid overworked plain teacher self won’t make any real difference.
So I tested my luck and tried to get admitted in the graduate studies program of the country’s premiere university. And though the entrance examination alone made me doubt my scholastic proficiency, it provided me this euphoric kind of rush that I have not felt in a long while. Yes, I was happy. I was happy when I received my notice of admission. I was even happier when I received my very own UP student number. But the level of happiness gradually decreases as the academic year progresses. I simply found myself trapped inside a classroom filled with an excellent professor and a handful of classmates whom I think struggle the same way that I do. Apparently, for the nth time, I searched for happiness on the wrong place.
And so it got me into thinking – is this really how growing up feels like? Tirelessly searching for the possible new things that could make you happy? If so, then Matthew Quick was right when he wrote that the reason why adults drink, gamble, and do drugs is because they can’t get naturally lit anymore.
I thought that the easiest way to be happy is to take the same roads that others had taken. The question then is though I tried not to leave a stone unturned, then why did I still fail? Why is it that not even obtaining a degree or having a job or enrolling in graduate school or being with the people near and dear to my heart could suffice to make me feel whole?
Then realization struck me. Maybe the very reason why I failed was because I tried to imitate what others had done. I thought that I was making my own decision, but the opposite was actually happening. By trying to mimic others’ story of happiness, I was letting these complete strangers dictate me of what to do with my life. I made my decisions based from the things that were preconceived by other people.
It’s quite clear now – the reason why I got lost is because I was blinded by the idea that everyone shares a common Great Perhaps. It took me a long time to figure out that there is no ‘the’ Great Perhaps but only ‘a’ Great Perhaps. The fact that the universe is so random must entail that we, too, share with this same thread of randomness. This only means that there is an infinite number of Great Perhapses out there waiting to be discovered, each of which quite unique from the other.
Yes, I am 23 with no apparent direction. I must admit that I am wandering and lost (apologies to Tolkien), but then I remind myself from time to time that the greatest thing about me getting lost is the fact that it is only a matter of time until I will be found. Not by other people (I am done following their ways), but by my own self. And when that happens, I am certain that I will finally feel complete.