I did not look forward to Christmas, and I’m not even too giddy for the new year. Like a true Filipino, I used to look forward to the ber months—the cooler breeze in Manila, lounging in coffee shops with a book or a buddy, shopping for a few presents (and receiving some), and nonstop playing of Christmas songs. Well, not this year. It was warm all throughout December, and I only felt the season on the eve itself. What a bummer. Recapping the year I can see and dissect exactly why I am a Grinch this season. I finally understand what it feels like to be on the side of the anti-holiday.
I strolled around Greenhills for a few hours yesterday, stopped by for a drink and indulged in a moment I have been fond of since I started driving after twilight—parking the car. And no, it’s not because I’m about to make out with someone; it’s turning the engine off and letting the music roll that turns me on. It’s perfectly still as I let the radio station play their soundtrack to the weekend, and I can only focus on nothing more than the instruments and vocals that lightly reverberate within the space that wraps me. I am breathing pure sound in a concert for one. I have my feet up on the seat, curled up with shins resting against the steering wheel, and it’s just a moment when I feel so safe; everything else is suspended. Beyond the dashboard are some Christmas lights adding color to my thoughts.
I am also reading Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down. It’s about four troubled Londoners who encounter each other at the top of a fictional tower block called Topper’s House during New Year’s Eve for one reason: to throw themselves off the rooftop. This book is very timely on my part for a trifecta of reasons: I bought this novel months ago and now I am reading it on the same holiday when the whole story starts off; it shares with four perspectives on what ticks people off and decide to cross the line; and I see myself in two of the younger characters—reading their struggles, resolutions and youthful idiosyncrasies is like reading advice tailored to my own life. It’s not sappy, does hit home on some counts, but this writer can lightly talk about heavy hearts with humor and not turning it into a joke.
These are just a few things I want to share with less thought on organization. Earphones will be blasting Generator by the Foo Fighters when the clock strikes twelve. Happy new year.
That’s what’s in for me one Monday morning, the day I was set to tell my boss I was taking three more days of vacation leave, right after I used up the five days I filed for the month. I won’t elaborate on what happened; all I can say is I got what I wanted.
Reading the daily paper—once a habit done purely for leisure—is now also a requirement for my nine-to-six (nope, not five) day job. As I scan the papers for pickups, there is one section I will always avoid: the horoscope. As much as I am curious about what it has to say about my day, I would always convince myself that I can’t let two sentences take over the next 16 hours of my life. But then occasionally my officemates take a detour and read out loud their own fate, then ask my sign; and I am compelled to say it because I want to know mine.
I do not know exactly how the workings of astrology are done and how the writer formulates predictions to make anyone feel like something is looming over him. I read it because sometimes the assurance of a friend or giving myself a pat on the back despite the turmoil in my head is not enough. I want another option to tell me that today I will find a missing piece, or an opportunity to do something great, or that I will meet people and that today I can be courageous.
I always make sure that reading my horoscope works out for me by being partial to what I choose to absorb:
Gemini: You will find love today. You will finish something you’ve started long ago. Your lucky numbers is 23.
I say: Great! This is totally possible!
Gemini: You will have an awkward encounter with someone. Money is not your friend today. Two stars today and lucky color is orange.
I say: The hell. Noo, it can’t be. It just can’t.
My take on this is not to take it seriously. The cool thing is when it matches or your status or un-status quo, but these are just a few words put together to tell you how your life might run, or how you might want to run it. It serves as a reminder to what I’ve forgotten I can be: that I can be creative today, that I can start a business or a project, or that I can choose to take action despite this piece of print telling me today is not a good day to do ambitious things.
spreads I’ve taken out from the daily paper + two-month-old magazine issue + sketch pad for poster entry brainstorming + distractions
Lately, I’ve been feeling like my life’s just a list of tasks. I am not creating nor am I even consuming. I don’t know where to start or when to stop. I have ideas recorded on paper and typed on notepad files that never flourished enough. This must be what quarter-life crisis feels, assuming I live to 88. And it doesn’t help to know that others go through the same thing, or that others have bigger problems, or that it will all be okay. It’s irrational albeit comforting to say any of these, because these words are kisses to a man with a broken leg—it makes him feel better, but it does not fix his injury.
The thought of the future brings anxiety to the present. I see where the lives of older people have headed, and I am afraid of two things: becoming the mess like they are, or growing up not being as good (what does that even mean?) as any of them. Everyday, I walk to the station where I get my ride home; I know the route, but I feel directionless.
I’m under the pile right now, and I need something to push myself up. Until when will I be a wallflower? Will I ever shine?