SO and I, and 2 other friends are supposed to go on a trip on the 2nd of December, but I think I’ll need to scrap this. I don’t think this is the kind of trip I will enjoy. First, I might need to spend quite heavily. I understand that a vacation is not worth it if you’re too anxious keeping within the budget, but it’s not proper for me to be spending so much when I have a room to improve, a potential sideline to work on, and a Master’s degree to pursue. A mountain climb to Mt Maculot, or a trip to Gulugod-Baboy and/or an overnight at Masasa Beach will cost me upwards 1,500 pesos. That’s money better spent on a Logitech web cam, a gym subscription for several months, or a tooth extraction at a reputable dental clinic. Yeah, they say that traveling is a chance of a lifetime, that you should travel while you’re young, that should dare so as not to regret – but earning money and saving part of it so that you’ll be able to live with peace of mind is also important.
Second, SO’s vacation demands are so frustrating. Yeah, I get it. He wants to have everything easy and chill. But that means shelling out more money. It also means not leaving the comforts of life to rediscover or challenge one’s self. For him, a hike is should be an outdoorsy version of malling, and should be easy, sanitary, and predictable. Moreover, for him, the word “quick” is more important than “get-away.” He has strict time limits and he easily goes haywire when things do not go smoothly and take longer than he expects. He has his own views and I’m not contesting that. If that’s what a vacation is for him, one that prioritizes comfort and control, then so be it. But since we have different intentions and expectations, I doubt if we’d enjoy this trip, or any travel at all. His deal-breakers are far too numerous for compromise, and even for reality. How the hell am I supposed to find a passable “hotel” around Mt Maculot, let alone pay for one?
I must learn from the Cagbalete-Lucban trip, that one trip I thoughtfully planned for the both of us. I was able to salvage it, but just that. It neither made us happy – only our Chinese friend who came along had all the fun. Mutual travels – they are out of the question now.
I’m so lazy. Things I have to do and finish keep on piling up, but I even though I’m so frustrated, I simply can’t muster the willpower, energy, or intelligence to face even just half of them. I’m no longer the adolescent who did the most stupid things without fear of dying, who rushed everything as if the world would end today.
And I’m so sad. Life is in suspended animation and the only tasks that I manage to complete are the ones I have already done in the past. I have come to a point in my life when I do better with routine work than with new ones. Well, I think repetition and certainty is what life loves and it is what we are naturally predisposed at, but I used to put more importance on new things and activities, than I do now. The certainty of death, the proverbial Damocles’ sword that comes with the power of life, brings with it dharmic resignation.
As I trudge toward my 30th year of existence, the grayness of my hair – and life – becomes more and more apparent. We keep on saying that life is dynamic, but my horizon sees little of that much touted change. As they say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Minsan gusto ko na lang makiuso sa mga burgis – “Yeah, yeah, you poor, know your place, it’s under me or under the grave” – pero pag naaalala ko yung mga panahon na halos wala akong makain at naliligiran pa ako ng mga Christ-centered classmates ko na may star-shaped pang chicken nuggets, nahihiya ako sa sarili ko. Madaling maging mahirap kung pare-pareho kayo, pero ang kalikasan ng lipunan ay ikaw lang ang maghihirap para sa ikaliligaya at haraya ng iilan. My somewhat privileged life is supported by the backs of anonymous poor people; the least I could do is to stop adding insult to their existence. Wala na nga akong magawa para matigil ang pagpatay sa mga maralita na “nanlalaban,” hahamakin ko pa sila?
Of course. And I had my share of suicidal thoughts and even attempts. But now, whenever my mind drops into an abyss that I can’t see, I just remind myself that I need to pull myself up to eat ice cream because a tub of Double Dutch is pure bliss. (But yeah, any ice cream will suffice.) Depression is a disease of thoughts, and though modern medicine has developed a panoply of interventions to treat mental illness, it is never bad to help one’s self. One happy thought can be a lifeline enough to drag one’s self from the dark side of the mind. I’m not sure if this remedy is for everybody, but I don’t think there is any harm in reminding ourselves of a moment of happiness. Cling to anything that can make you smile, and work it.