I read a story about two people with restless souls who grew up together. Suffocated by their small town, they dream of nothing but to leave and see the rest of the world. When the older one finished high school, he opted to travel the world. The other one chose to finish college before starting his adventure.

The two didn’t stay in constant contact but every now and then, they’d meet, fall in love and stay together until circumstances or choices pull them apart again. After over a decade of traveling, already in their 30s, they found themselves settling back to their hometown and falling in love again with each other, this time, for good.

The story had a happy ending but something about it pulled me down so bad. I felt so sad that I cried for hours. It was so painful that I actually felt a weight on my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I just felt sad and scared and alone.

It was totally fucked up, I know, but reason rarely has a chance against emotion.

So I plummeted.

Maybe it was the exhaustion from the emotion that made me want to get up. I prayed. I listened to gospel music. I went on to read funnier stories until I became functional again. The pain subsided but it didn’t go away. I had to work. I had to function. So, I pushed it aside but breathing heavy could be tiring. That’s why I decided to confront it.

I have to understand why it affected me that way.

The Time I Will Never Get Back

I was brought up to be logical and practical. Growing up in poverty, my immediate goal was to buy a house. I went to get a job. I worked my butt off. I almost always had two jobs. I took my post graduate and only took a leave when one of my jobs required me to travel.

Before I knew it, I was 30, single and only went to as far as HongKong. I did manage to buy a house and cars. I managed to send my family on vacations. That’s about it.

I never got to travel the world because I never had the time, because it was never a priority, because it was never in my consciousness. Now, nearing my 40s, I realized I should have traveled. I should have explored the world when I had the vigor and “innocence” that would have allowed me to appreciate the world with so much more purity. I should have lived in the world when I could afford it.

I could still travel the world but time and life have jaded parts, if not all, of me. I will never look at this places from the eyes of a 20-year old. I will never have those experiences and awareness I could have carried and applied through my adulthood.

That’s why the story resonates to me. It was what I realized wanted to have done. If I had that consciousness and freedom then, that’s what I would have done. I should have lived in the moment. I shouldn't have worried about a house or a car or money in the bank.

Who knows? I might have been a better person after all the travel experiences and become a better worker or pursued my passion instead of financial instability. I could have pursued my dream instead of getting stuck in this career. Who knows what those travels could have done to me?

I will never know.

Love, God Damn It!

It’s always a dangerous subject. It’s a trap, really.

That story was full of it. From beginning to end. It’s there in every word, in every space, in every corner. There’s the character’s love for each other, their love for themselves, their love for adventure, their love for home, and their love for life.

It got too much for me because I realized that there is so much about love that I thought I understand but don’t.

As much as the characters love each other, they love themselves and life more to go on their separate ways, trusting that what they do now is what they need to do for themselves in that moment to be completely happy.

In the end, they found themselves and they found love in all their right places.

They found love in and for themselves to be just content to finally settle and to be certain that they love what they are settling into, that they are settling because that’s what they want and not because that is all left for them to do. They settle despite the power and ability to leave.

I don’t have that certainty. I don’t have that love in and for me to be certain that I love what I am settling into, whatever the fuck this is I am settling into.

I’ve had relationships. Unlike the characters, I didn’t end up with either of them, obviously. I loved and lost. There are days when I am thankful for those relationships and what I learned. There are days when I know I wasted my time, the same way they wasted theirs because one of the endings left the other party in ruins and the other, it was me that was ruined.

The endings of both were my fault. That’s not just me taking the high road. That is me being honest. It was my fault.

And now, unlike the characters in that story, I wonder if I will ever have the chance to get it right, to love right, to know love right.

Succumbing to Expectations

I love my parents. I wanted to make them proud and I knew what will make them proud. I knew that a career is what will make them proud. Professional success will make them proud. Getting a step higher above our social status will them proud.

I know because for every “we will always be proud of you no matter what” is a “buy your own house” to match. For every “do what will make you happy” is a “take a Master’s degree” to match. I could go on forever.

Better life translated to a career, house, cars, stability so that’s what I pursued.

It was my choice, ultimately. It was my choice to walk that path. I could have turned my back and be a wanderer until freedom and the world tire me out. I could have.

But I chose love. I knew I couldn’t turn 30 and not have anything to show for it but tanned skin and marks on my passport because even though they would have been happy to see me happy, they would still lie at night thinking what they have done wrong, why I am not in a corner office, why I am not driving a car, why am I not sending them on vacations.

I know because I am happy now for the most part and they are still unsatisfied. They are proud for what I have accomplished but not proud of my happiness because, to them, happiness is all these and getting married and having babies.

Unlike the characters in that story, I succumbed to expectations. I sold out and it's all on me.

I know This is Stupid

What is worse is the knowing that I really shouldn’t be depressed because, as inhumane as it sounds, there are others who got it fuckin’ worse than I do. There is a kid who was gang raped by her cousin, women who were beaten to death by their boyfriends, families who can’t even afford to eat twice a day.

I, on the other hand, get to debate with myself whether I should get a salmon or a chicken with my salad. I get to drive my car. I get to drink wine while I write this god forsaken blog. I get to travel. I get to have dinner with my friends. I get to download those songs to my phone and pay for this god forsaken Netflix.

I have a shitload of luxuries while more than half the world can't even afford the most basics of basics.

I get to make choices. I am presented with choices none of which is deserved.

And So Here I Am

It’s just a story written by a nameless (but a damn good one) fan for some boyband she likes. It hit me right in the gut not because she’s just that good of a writer but because the story served as the last gentle push for the me that has been standing at the edge for far too long.

No, I don’t have that life altering tragedy like death or cancer or some shit people go through no matter how undeserved. What I have is that little tinge of sadness and emptiness that started to show up a long time ago. It was small enough to be ignored, to be shoved deep under the sheet. It is small enough to be pushed away to the farthest corner of this barely utilized brain. It's is small enough to be unseen if I just angle my sight in just the right direction.

It’s not a riptide or a hurricane.

It’s a ripple, a quiet sway of the vast ocean.

But ripples don’t go away. It sweeps through the entire vastness of the ocean. It reshapes rocks. It changes shorelines… constantly… discretely… forever.

Deal With The Hand You Are Given

I go on because I have no damn choice.

Because for all the “nevers” that have been said, this is the one “never” that is certain. We can never change the past.

I can never bring back my 20s. I can never uncare for what I care for. I can never unexperience what I experienced. I can never change the choices that resulted to the consequences that is now.

All I have is now, here… this.

I just need to play this hand until the game ends, win or lose.

It doesn’t happen often. Depression is something I have successfully warded off for the most part of my life, I am not about to let it win this time.

Once in a while, I will indulge myself into this annoying sappy shit. Once in a while, I will let myself cry. Once in a while, I will let myself cry over the ‘what could have beens’. Once in a while I will let myself be swallowed by loneliness.

Once in a while. Nothing more.


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