It’s the Little Things

As a kid, I distinctly remember saying that I couldn’t wait to grow up (I said it more than once actually). I saw all of these amazing things around me and I met so many fascinating people along the way that I thought this world held nothing but wonders. I looked at life from a different perspective back then. I can even say that, as a child, I looked at the world through rose-tinted glasses. All I saw were the beautiful things this world had to offer me. There was only that, and nothing else. I remember thinking, “One day, I’ll end up doing everything and so much more.”

At 23, I find myself gazing back at the little girl who thought she held the world in the palm of her hand. I still get amazed at the things that catch my fancy and I still meet so many riveting and beautiful people every day. The only difference is my perspectives have changed. I have changed.

We may not want to see it for what it is but in the back of our minds, the thought is there. Life is never easy and it doesn’t always play fair.

There are a million things to appreciate but there are an equal number of things that leave your heart broken into several little pieces.

The glasses are off and reality rears its ugly head.

 

Yes there are happy people, but there are also those that literally live their lives one day at a time. There are kids who play with mountains of toys, but there are also kids who are forced to wander the streets begging for food. There are people who jet set all over the world yet, there are those who are content to live their lives cooped up within the 4 walls of their home, not realizing how ginormous this world truly is. Then there are the little girls who dream of conquering the world and holding it in her hands. They dream of controlling time and moulding life into a Utopia that’s been built on fantastical stories of happily ever afters. Somehow, they grow up and realize that princesses are for stories and worlds could never fit into teeny tiny hands. With this in mind you can’t help but think, “If there are so many things wrong with this world, what is there to live for?”

 

 

I always pass by Recto on my way to the train station. For those of you who don’t know where that is, it’s a fairly rough neighbourhood in Manila, Philippines. It has a reputation for housing some of the most badass people in the country who mug you blind if you’re not careful.

As I was walking, I came across two street urchins running up the sidewalk and pointing at the train that was passing above them. One of the little boys stared in awe and said, “One day, I’ll be able to ride that train too” the other little boy looked at him and said, “One day, I’ll make a bigger train that can take us to the moon.” As the train disappeared from their sight, they smiled, picked up 2 discarded sticks from the ground, and ran along the side of the street without a care in the world. I went home that day with renewed spirits and a brighter outlook on life.

Here’s the thing. Kids may be little but their hearts are always so full, their words almost always hold true, and their minds are constantly conjuring up dreams of a better and more exciting future.  If those two street kids, who may or may not have 20 pesos  to their name, dream about one day claiming the world as theirs, who’s to say their dreams won’t come true? That’s the problem with the real world, a lot of the time, when things don’t turn out the way we plan them to, we sulk in a corner and give up.

If you want to be happy, you have to remember that you can’t be good at something if you don’t work at it. It’s a basic lesson but it’s always shoved aside for the more highfaluting morals that are basically just a more flowery version of the original.

Another thing I’ve learned is that you have to want to excel. If you refuse to rise above and beyond what you think you’re capable of, you’ll forever be mediocre. I know a lady who used to work as a household helper. 10 years later, she’s opened her own restaurant and owns a franchise of a popular Filipino fast food joint.

 

To answer the question, what is worth living for? My answer would be LIFE!

Amidst all the chaos and “horrors”, there is still hope and a chance to turn dreams into reality. Sure there are bad stuff, but there are also instances when your heart is on the verge of exploding from so much joy and love.

 

“Such is the way of the world. Balance is in the greater scheme of things.”

 

One thing is certain, years pass and we all grow but that doesn’t mean that we have to completely let go of the kid in us. We can still dream for a better tomorrow and leap towards a brighter future. All it takes is hard work, faith, trust and a little fairy dust. 😀


 

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And The Hunt Begins!

After one has been able to enjoy the life of a student, most are forced to face “the real world” (so to speak.) Ironically, reality seldom involves Algebra, Trigonometry or the ability to hit the volleyball over the net with a perfectly executed serve. One cannot truly be labelled an adult until they are exposed to the gruelling adventure that is JOB HUNTING.

Graduation marks the end of an era. Once you walk up that stage and get that diploma, you’re on your own. Naturally, those that graduate with top marks get the most job offers. They are the gods of the hunt. As they busy themselves with shopping for the proper attire, the mere mortals step off that platform and type up their resumes with a flair that would put Jane Austen to shame. Despite what people might say, first impressions do last. Thus begins the tedious task of highlighting possible career options as well as the mental calculation of efficient employment hunting routes.

Here in the Philippines, more than half the population rely on public transport.  The lucky ones with cars show up for an interview with a dazzling smile, a perfectly put together outfit and impeccable personal hygiene. The ones that struggle for a seat in the jeepney at six in the morning to make it in time for an interview at eight tend to develop unnecessary sweat stains and rumpled clothing. Not a pleasant sight but sometimes unavoidable.

Regardless of your personal circumstances, you start the day with hope in your heart and a spring in your step. By 6:00pm, you hear the echo of the pounding of your feet, the growling of your empty tummy as well as the slumped position of your shoulders. Day 1, no luck. You go home, tuck yourself in for the night, wake up in the morning and the cycle begins again.

The direction of your hunt should seem pretty clear. ALL nurses end up working in hospitals, ALL tourism graduates land jobs in airlines or travel agencies, ALL engineers and architects join or start their own firms, ALL teachers get to share their hard earned knowledge with the next generation and every single cow in this world can fly to the moon and back. Impossible? Well so is that ridiculous notion of everyone landing their dream job.

A friend of mine studied nursing for 6 years. That’s 6 years of sleepless nights and hard hitting exams. At present, she works as a call centre agent for a multi-national company. Another friend took up Culinary and Hospitality Management in college. She is currently waiting tables at a restaurant in Singapore. I seriously doubt if these were the careers they had in mind when they worked their butts off to graduate. Unfortunately, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

We should all be so lucky to get a job that we like much less a job that we actually love. We’re never really certain where life will take us. One day you’re ready to tackle the world with a vengeance but the minute you don’t get your way, all is lost and everything is dreary once again.

This world holds so many brilliant minds. The sad part is, only a few will be given the chance to actually shine. Whether we want to admit it or not, there aren’t enough positions in this world to accommodate everyone’s wants and dreams.

Job hunting is a battle against hundreds, sometimes, thousands of people vying for the same spot. You think you stand out? Well, other people in that same line you’re in think the exact same thing about themselves. Will you be the lucky one? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Once upon a time…

As a kid, I distinctly remember saying that I couldn’t wait to grow up (I said it more than once actually). I saw all of these amazing things around me and I met so many fascinating people along the way that it literally took me a while to process it all. Still, I was beyond captivated. I looked at life from a different perspective. As a child, I looked at the world through rose-tinted glasses. All I saw were the wonders, the beauty that this world had to offer me. There was only that, and nothing else. I remember thinking, “One day, I’ll end up doing everything and so much more.”

I grew up watching Disney movies. Needless to say, there was a point in my life when I thought I’d get anything I wanted just by wishing and dreaming for it. . I was a little kid. I didn’t know any better. All that was running through my mind was, if stories like this ended up in the magic box with magical moving pictures, then that’s good enough for me. I was so caught up in the fantasy that I painted. I refused to grow up gradually. When I finally realized I had to, I was literally thrown into reality. Now I see how unreasonable some of my thoughts were (trust me, I’ve contemplated my fair share of outrageous things). Disney is great and all (great is an understatement. Disney is AWESOME! 😀 ) but I mean really… The day I see Aladdin, Quasimodo and Tarzan plop down on a chair in Algebra class is the day I become Princess of Atlantis. It’s just NOT going to happen. Sometimes I think it would be easier to stand up to some evil, witchy stepmother and fight my way to a happily ever after.

As I got older, I’ve given up on wishing on the 1st star I see at night. I’ve also stopped believing that Prince Charming will one day rescue me from the clutches of an evil villain (in the real world, villains are associated with psycho teachers, messed up pedestrians and people who seriously need an attitude adjustment.)

Life is life. It’s real and it’s in your face. Yes it’s wonderful (most of the time,) but I’ve learned to accept that it won’t always be long walks in the park and picturesque picnics in the meadows of Lala Land. As Maroon 5 said, “It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It’s compromise that moves us along” We don’t live in a fairytale. It’s not about true love’s kiss or the promise of forever (although a deal like that doesn’t sound half bad. 🙂 ). In the end, the deciding factor will always be the choices you made in the past. You hold all the cards. It’s how you play the game that determines your future.

At 23, I find myself gazing back at the little girl who thought she held the world in the palm of her hand. I’m still a dreamer in all aspects. I still cook up some impossible scenarios every now and then. I still get amazed at the things that catch my fancy and I still meet so many riveting and beautiful people every day. The only difference is my perspectives have changed. I have changed… I’ve learned to accept life as it is and not turn it into something fictional. Life may be hard and my paths may turn bumpy at times but I can still have my Happily Ever After. I just have to make it through my dark forests first. 😉

Taking it all in…

Two years ago, one rainy afternoon (and I swear, I am not making this up) I was struck by the need to write poetry. Usually I dive into creating poems that talk about heartache and love. Needless to say, writing under this genre was (and still is) the easiest for me. Probably because I’ve never actually been in love, I base my poetry solely on the stuff I read about in books or on the sob stories my friends tell me over a cup of coffee or sometimes a bottle of beer (or two) Trust me, when you have zero experience, it takes some of the edge off. There’s no pressure. That day however, I felt like I needed to write something different. Instead of writing one entire poem, I decided to dabble on writing several 1 stanza poems.

Earlier that week, I watched a documentary on high school kids. It was a tell-tale on the problems that each student had to face every day in school. There was so much drama; drama that teenagers shouldn’t have to deal with.  They interviewed various teens from different cliques and were able to unearth a lot of hidden emotions. I guess no matter who you are or where you come from, at the end of the day, you end up facing the same emotional demons. I started writing, editing, erasing, trashing and writing again. Basically, I played one-on-one basketball with my trash bin until I felt like I did justice to the story. 2 days later, I came up with 7 single stanza poems. My hope is that one day, by some miracle, one of the kids from the documentary will come across these poems and realize that somewhere in the world, somebody still listens to what they have to say.

I gaze from the side, wanting to belong
Various images flood my frazzled mind
Inside I know I have to be strong
One day the world will no longer be blind.
-The Outcast-

I grin with an absentminded smile
Wishing I could be anywhere but here
Tired of living a life of denial
Aching for some semblance of something real
-The Popular One-

I see you happy with someone else
Something in me shatters like glass
Knowing that will never be me
What we had now belongs in the past
-The Heartbroken-

I cannot love, I cannot be free
Judging eyes watch my every move
I don’t know who I’m allowed to be
So much to learn, so much to prove
-The Homosexual-

Rivers that reflect the allure of the moon
Earth, air, fire and water combined
Flowers come alive to the music of June
A kaleidoscope world that exists in my mind
-The Dreamer-

I create new worlds with paper and ink
Stories straight from remnants of a dream
Fantastic adventures come alive
Everything’s surreal, nothing is as it seems
-The Writer-

Endless corridors of empty spaces
Shadows bounce against the light
Images from different times and places
Consumed by darkness I can no longer fight
-The Addict-

Not Everything Needs To Make Sense

I was never one for sad and/or sappy stories (because they can be both and then some…) Back in the day, I would mock girls who’d watch schmaltzy movies and read about star-crossed lovers destined to be together by fate (this excludes Romeo and Juliet for obvious reasons) You remember those… The stories that usually ended with one dying and the other re-living the life they once had together (sniff, sniff, sob sob) Why on earth would you want to put yourself through all that heartache? There’s enough sadness in the real world to go around so why do we have to watch and read about it too?!

This was of course, the cynic in me. Years later, (meaning now) because I believe myself to be more learned and more mature, (or so I think, but I could be wrong) I have come to realize that stories like that aren’t as horrid as I believed them to be. Sure they only happen to 1 out of 30 couples (give or take) but still, they happen.

Earlier tonight I caught the end part of Dear John on the telly. I wasn’t hysterically sobbing or anything (because that would just be stupid) but I did find myself unusually melancholic at some part and, to be honest, a few tears did escape my eyes a couple of times (okay fine, I may have needed a Kleenex or two.) I guess no matter how tough you try and make yourself out to be, your walls will come crumbling down eventually.Some call it feelings, I call it a lapse in judgement (Just kidding! I’m not heartless people)

So if you will permit (just being polite. You don’t really have much of a choice.) I shall be handing in my 2 cents worth on the subject of love. (I promise to raise it to 5 cents if and when love comes a’knockin)

1) Love pulls you in so many drastic directions. Either you’re rocketing to, through, over and under the moon, bored out of your mind or plummeting to the ground at 300 mph. (if I missed something, feel free to let me know.)

2) Love is cryptic. A simple wink could mean the world. Some people can go through their entire lives without directly telling somebody that they love them but apparently feeling like that somebody is their sun, moon and stars.

3) Love is beautiful in so many amazing ways. Yeah it can be painful but you gotta remember that nothing is perfect in life. Even the most wonderful things have their flaws. The trick is to erase the blemishes and magnify the awesomeness 10 fold.

4) Love is giving yourself completely and without question. Sometimes it doesn’t always make sense and it doesn’t always have to. Some of the best things in life are unfathomable.

5) Love is above both reality and imaginary. LOVE JUST IS…

So yeah, we all live in the REAL world where we encounter REAL people with REAL problems and REAL broken hearts (figuratively speaking). But who’s to say that falling in love and living happily ever after isn’t real too? Love, just like life, is how we make it out to be. When it comes to love, walls and barriers break quicker than glass.

Now I end this entry with some words from good ‘ol Mr. HD Thoreau:

There is no remedy for love but to love more

Dear John...

"When his eyes met mine, I felt something click, like a key turning in a lock. Believe me, I'm no romantic, and while I've heard all about love at first sight, I've never believed in it, and I still don't. But even so, there was something there, something unrecognizably real, and I couldn't look away."