Starry nights

“So how many years na kayo?,” is a question people ask when my relationship is brought up. I started getting Bs at math in the 5th grade and my first grade in College Algebra was pasang-awa. I still always go back to the year I met you to make sure my count is right. I was off by a year yesterday when I told someone I knew from childhood, but it’s still (comfortably) overwhelming we will soon be turning five. I’m ahead of myself, as that count is four months away. But nonetheless, we’ve still gone a long way.

So I’ll put that journey in the form I know best: words. Our first song was Stella from Incubus. My second favorite song from my first love in music aptly summarized the infatuation, the wondrous beginnings of you and me getting to know each other. Fast forward to now, when we’ve gone through so, so much. And I just had to share that I found the perfect song two years ago; but it just hit me now, how it describes what we were, what we are, and what I’m willing to go through for our future.

Cosmic Love, Florence and the Machine

A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes

I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it’s left me blind

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out

You left me in the dark

No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight In the shadow of your heart

And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat

I tried to find the sound But then it stopped, and I was in the darkness,

So darkness I became

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out Y

ou left me in the dark No dawn, no day,

I’m always in this twilight In the shadow of your heart

I took the stars from our eyes, and then I made a map

And knew that somehow I could find my way back

Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too

So I stayed in the darkness with you

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out

You left me in the dark

No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight

In the shadow of your heart

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out

You left me in the dark

No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight

In the shadow of your heart

Running

At one point in my life, I never thought I’d find myself giving in to the exhaustion of my body yet still pushing it to continue work that can be put on hold. I attempted to relax this weekend by shifting my attention to my favorite time “wasters”: books, TV shows, and online newspaper articles. But there was always that nagging feeling I had something else to do, something else to finish and that I would just be wasting my time on trivial pursuits. Yet my body was in constant conflict with my mind, begging me to at least consider it needed its attention away from what it’s been exhausting itself over. There was that terrifying thought I would die finishing work I wasn’t even certain as to what its purpose was in the first place. It has reached the point in which, as much as I love what I do and the opportunities it provides, it has ultimately become about finishing for the sake of finishing. Kind of like a 10km run that was done just to not waste the entrance fee, rather than psyching myself up to be among the first finishers. You feel accomplished after running/walking a great length, but you didn’t quite make the most out of the physical experience.

The actual purpose has been lost in the schedule shifts, sudden changes, and all those crazy events Murphy just loves to include in a chaotic universe. And as much as I own up to my responsibilities, I have to accept some things are beyond my control. My individual actions have their limits and spreading myself too far has brought out both the best and worst in me. This resignation can work out to my advantage–the control freak in me is not as aggravated, and has caved into the pseudo-calm of accepting the consequences of chaos that cannot be controlled.

I’ve ran many races in what will be the last two years in two weeks. There have been accomplished finish lines that let me enjoy pats on the back and some sort of trophy of getting that far.  But races can get you tired after several runs, and if I’m not even sure I want the finish line anymore, then it’s about time I sort out what direction my steps should really take. Every story is made from change, and frankly, I’m tired of always coming back to this. So now I ask myself: when, where, and how? Soon, I’ll see, and to be continued. Heh.

The days that were

“Samahan ng mga walang buhay.” -Espartinez, 2012

“GAL club. Get a life club.” 

If I were to sum up the last three months, these two new names for our little overtime group at work says it all. Chasing deadlines has always been my forte, but it’s a whole another case when you have to learn new skills outside your inclination (read: alam ko na talaga ang meaning ng “export” at CMYK), have class requirements to consider, and you’re only four individuals working on the production of TWO magazines. Yes, four is to two. 

And it’s not yet over. It’s Saturday morning, and I know my to do list hasn’t ended. But I need to stop, even for just one morning, and set everything into perspective. As much as I have always wanted to be a career woah-man, my body and soul have insisted otherwise. Empowered movies about ladies in heels walking up and down a business district don’t show the exhaustion when you get home at 11pm. It may look glamorous to be opening up a bottle of wine at said hour, but clinking that glass with someone is a lot more fun than drinking it alone to get to sleep. I don’t give up–I never have, ever since I took 12 units twice just to graduate–and I won’t. But the toll the extra work has taken makes me wonder if the finish will be grand. But such questions don’t have to be answered now; they will be answered at the right time and I simply have to do what matters for the present.

Work woes aside, I have definitely been enjoying school. It’s allowed me to step away from work without feeling guilty about being ‘unproductive.’ It exposes me to the ‘last bastion of decency,’ (as my professor puts it) which is the classroom and opens my mind to the possibilities of the future as I learn something new twice a week and every time I start on my readings. School is tiring, but it doesn’t make me want to wonder why I’m resigned to its fate. It’s nice to be starting and hoping to finish something that doesn’t have a totally uncertain future (read: a good grade). 

C’est la vie. Even if it tends to be lifeless. Okay, lifeless is exagerrated. Productive? I don’t know. I just hope when I have a lazy day to spend, I know how to spend it well. :))

The bane of being busy

There is an exhilarating rush to being productive. In the last few weeks, I have surprised myself in pulling two straight all-nighters, walking back and forth a day after both all-nighters, managing to make quick decisions on the same day, appearing approachable and speaking properly to all persons involved, and all in all, pulling off a successful event. The exhilaration found its conclusion in achievement. I thought I could finally breathe, reap the silence of my exhausted body.

The universe, however, had other plans. There was more work to catch up to. New projects popped up and school was about to start in a week. I don’t even want to begin with what went down in between–the thoughts are exhausting in themselves.

I am no longer productive, I’m just busy with work. And it’s not the kind of busy you want to show off to look like a career-driven woman. A career has direction, discipline, and a goal. I’m not even sure where my some of my efforts are going; I do them for the sake of finishing what needs to be done. But I’ve given up or have doubts on the importance, given the uncertain circumstances surrounding what some tasks are leading up to. Right now, I don’t feel that exhilarating rush. I haven’t, in the last few weeks that we had to end up cleaning up and finishing another person’s work (see what I mean by an exhausting thought?).

But similar to the last week of May and its culmination on May 26, the previous paragraph’s bruhaha has again, proven that I am able to do more than even what I expect myself. Even I’m surprised how quicker things have been going with how we were forced to learn new things, despite the delay in accomplishment.

I certainly hope this amazing ability to keep on top of things, no matter what the setback, applies as well to my first semester as a student in UP Diliman. My first class brought on another type of exhilaration–an eagerness, a fresh new excitement that made me look forward to the rest of the year. It also made me realize the tasks both classes required will keep me productive. And amid all the bruhaha that has to be done, I wanted to step away and immerse myself in the brain-gasms of the required readings. I knew where my brain and body will be headed then; and I know it will be worth all the extra effort and extra coffee. 

Then again, I probably won’t be complaining about the uncertainty of all this once the answer reveals itself in time. Life doesn’t get any easier but it does make us wiser. I’d much rather be complaining about the crazy of stress than the lack of motion from being idle. The universe won’t give me anything (anyone) I can’t handle. 

 

 

 

Getting there

No one every said growing old was easy. During my first stages of 20-something, I was always hoping that like college, there was some sort of flowchart to indicate where I’m headed next. But then what’s the point of moving from college course flowcharts to an unexpected turn of events? We hurdle through our first jobs, impossible employers, paycheck to paycheck living, and everything responsible and adult in between to be able to make our own decisions. 

Some of these decisions I haven’t made with certainty. My life in the last six years has been about doing some things I’m not sure of in order to reach some semblance of certainty. I was never quite sure about pursuing a scientific, technical degree, and when I my gut decided it wasn’t for me, I took the alternate route of the publishing industry. It hasn’t been easy either, or as glamorous as most people would expect. But every time I find myself exerting more effort than I ever expected, overcoming challenges I found impossible at first, and forging closer bonds with amrazing people amid all the craziness, I am thankful that my life is finding its place. You can’t always know where you’re headed exactly, but I’ve made a major decision for this year that will help me get there. That and, as responsibilities multiply at work, I won’t find myself bored or stagnant with my current preoccupations.

It’s been an interesting week at work, in fact, beating my body up since last Thursday. Nonetheless, it’s as if my body has set itself to default work mode because that’s all it’s used to. After making up for the lack of sleep in the last few days, I woke up at 3pm (officially) to a call from Singapore regarding one of my future assignments. It took yet another call from what I do to keep me up; that may be sad for most, but honestly, I don’t mind finding myself in this workaholic state (for now). I don’t just write for a living–just as I had set for myself nearly two years ago; I put several things together and meet interesting people that color my life in the most unexpected ways possible. The motivation I get from all these just means I really love what I do and I’m grateful for being given the opportunity to do so on every weekday, and occasionally, on the weekends. 

I know that there will more setbacks and surprises in the future; loving what you do is one thing, but reaping the rewards of hard work is another. Motivational speakers and articles don’t really talk about how difficult it was to get where they were–at least, the publicized and edited version of it. We all want to believe we can achieve that level without any difficulty. But as much as I cry, sacrifice, and lament over the difficulties of the job, I know I can handle it. Weaknesses are there to help us reevaluate ourselves and understand how we can move forward instead of back from our limitations. I am not the wisest, strongest, or most practical person in the world–but I am slowly learning and hopefully will come out ‘grown up’ and not just old and jaded.