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…is what I occasionally ask myself when my mind or hands are not busy with something. Looks like I won’t be blogging as much as I did back in college–where I would carefully craft my posts feeling like I was such a good writer, at least I made some of my friends laugh with my words–but I’m totally fine with it. That’s because at least now I have good things to be busy about.

So yeah, what AM I doing with my life? I finally had the courage to resign from my advertising job a few months back. It was a fun ride, 80% of which I would account to the people I worked with: they were fun, lighthearted, creative, wise, funny, and more important, they were my friends. But work was busy as hell. Don’t even get me started; anyone from advertising knows what I’m talking about. Being busy is overrated, even glorified. I got caught up in this competition at one point. Big projects? Yay! Going home on time? Be prepared to be questioned about what you did for the day. Now, honestly, I still want to be busy enough to be productive towards goals that matter to me (no, you cannot expect me to be a bum for days, it’s not in my system) but still have time to clip my nails.

So what does matter to me?

  1. Being an entrepreneur – Although I didn’t graduate a business degree, nor have I handled a big business, I have always been compelled to push through with entrepreneurship. Ever since college I have been telling myself and others that one day I wanted to do this. And not just one day–I mean I see myself doing it in my future. Office work was always something I felt was temporary in my life. I can’t imaging being 30 and still confined to a desk. Finally my friend and I decided to get a small food cart. We already made a few mistakes before even starting, causing much delay, but I guess those are things you learn when no one is dictating what you’ll be doing for the day. I’m just happy that I found a reliable partner to work with and taking the leap with this maybe not-so-big move is the starting point to what I really want.
  2.  Being creative – I just CAN’T imagine life without creativity. And that is one reason why I decided to go into entrepreneurship–so I can have more control of my time and focus a part of my energy to making or developing things that others might love as much as I do. I’m taking a short accessories course, and I’m glad I am doing so (knowing I can be a spendthrift) because 1) what could be more fun than learning something new? and 2) it has empowered me to start a new accessories line (secret for now :P) and level up from the handmade trinkets I did. All I can say is, I am very very happy that I am doing something I truly love, that I’ve taken this not-so-little step, and I can’t wait to make it grow and grow and grow.
  3. Having control of my time – Not just time, but my energy. These two things in my life were out of control when I worked in advertising. It exhausted me too much, leaving me little time for everything else that mattered more than the flyer I was working on: relaxation, focus on personal projects, dinner with loved ones. Yeah, we all want those, but we can’t always have ’em. And that’s what I’m working on–finding that balance in my life. I want to pour my energy on things that actually came from me, not what is handed to me.

Where I am in my life, where I will be in the next few years, I don’t know, and no one else in this world can really answer this question for themselves. Sometimes I doubt myself–most people my age and older work in offices (which honestly I like too) and then they’ll move to bigger companies and eventually be in top positions. But that just doesn’t appeal to me. I will not be true to myself if I go down that road. A call back from an ad agency I did an interview with was exciting when it happened, but turned it down because 1) I might be blinded by the new offer 2) All I could think about at that time was the food cart we wanted to put up, and the Incubus album “If not now, when?”

I am lucky enough that when I’m in doubt of my life decisions, I am able to find reassurance just around the corner telling me I’m doing fine. It truly is a risk, it’s scary, but really exciting. I am happy, and whatever the outcome (crossing fingers of course!), where this adventure leads me to, I am pretty sure I can say this when I read back this entry one day–no regrets.

Since when did I get old?
I hardly notice until I start talking to my not-so-little little sister and find out that she doesn’t know what a Sony Walkman is. Now I’m becoming the adult I couldn’t understand when I was her age. So here’s a list of how things went about just a decade ago.

mIRC
asl? You enter a chatroom with an alias, and those are the first few letters that pop up a window. Answering this is a must if you want a conversation to happen. After trading such essential information, you then decide if you want to talk to this person.

When you think this person might be worth your attention, the real conversation begins. “What’s your favorite movie?” “Hu do u knw from my school?” “Do you have bf/gf?” Asking these used to be far more interesting during those days, maybe because there’s an air of mystery, and you are compelled to judge a person solely by text.

Well of course, we gotta take it to the next level. How? By sending a JPEG file of your neat face. This sounds like a risky move, but there really weren’t a lot of other options, unless your chatmate is the type who likes to put up a get-to-know-me Angelfire website, complete with a guestbook.

I remember his name was Karl, 7th grade from the school across mine. I received the file and opened it to see a scanned studio photo of himself. When it was my turn to send mine, I told him I didn’t have a scanner, although secretly I wouldn’t do it anyway. So you continue to socialize, maybe for the next few days or months, and when you deem him worthy of your time and trust, he becomes entitled to receive an invite to be added to your just-growing Yahoo! Messenger list.

Slow internet
Remember dial-up? You turn on your speakers to hear the progress of establishing a connection, listening to the noises until you can heave a sigh of relief when the status on the screen says “connected.” And for crying out loud, it used to take an hour to download a song. But see, that was also part of the thrill—the thrill of waiting a whole damn minute for the next page to load, anticipating and observing as the text and images ever so slowly appear before you.

Renting a video
If you had a VHS player at that time, you’d be cool. I remember frequently being tagged along by my dad to this store called ACA Video, and I’d walk between numerous movie titles, then pick out the ones I like. The rental fee was around 30 pesos for a few days, and there’s the extra fee for missed return due dates.

There was also the thing called rewinding, kids. You had to do that to watch a scene you missed or if you want to see the whole thing again. This applies to cassette tapes as well. I even recorded some songs from the radio, worrying that a hit song might be forgotten when it’s no longer popular, and how am I supposed to find it when I want it played on my birthday party? Only one thing to do: record the song over my old Chinese speech tapes. Then came the VCD. Then DVD. Then Limewire. How silly of me to think the world would still run on cassette tapes after a decade.

Address books
Yes, these were actually written: name, address, telephone number—and looking for a name means looking for the tab with the first letter of whoever you need to call. I even felt bad at times for writing on them if I really like their cover designs.

Burning CD mixes
Like songs but don’t wanna buy the whole album? Then burn it. Obviously, not everyone had a CD burner back then, so some of my classmates did burning services for a fee, and extra charge for a hard CD case. It was also one of the sweeter presents you can receive, knowing enough thought was put to create the playlist. Burning a song compilation ain’t easy, unless you have all the albums to rip the songs from.

Three-way phone calls
Can it get any cooler/lamer than this? We all know this kind of service is obsolete, but this used to be fun, especially if two of you have this phone feature to make it into a five-way call.

Old toys
Koosh Ball, Chinese garter, Monopoly, Polly Pocket (who by the way is now a giant), and jackstones were just a few of the popular games in my childhood. And who can forget the once-so-famous Tamagochi? Imagine Pet Society without the social aspect, without the color, in a very small screen, and made up of a few pixels, which can cost a few hundreds. A few hundred bucks for pixels. Yeah.

Slam Books
Define love…Birthday…Ambition…First crush…Dedication…
Those are typical questions you’ll encounter when filling out a slam book. It usually consists of three parts: the basic “nice-to-know” info such as your favorite color and birthplace; the cheesier life questions on the next; and the dedication page. Before you fill out the page assigned to you, there will always be an urge to check out what others have written about themselves, or maybe you just want to find out what their motto in life is. It can be disappointing though when all that’s written is “secret.” Sneaking on someone’s page can also mean that you’re only making sure you don’t miss out on any of the oh so caring acronyms for the dedication page:
ABC-Always be careful
TCCIC-Take Care ‘Cause I Care
JAPAN-Just Always Pray At Night
ITALY- I Trust And Love You
and…
BBBBBBB-Books Before Boys Because Boys Bring Babies

Those are just a few of the many things that have changed over the years. If I missed out on any of the acronyms, please let me know.

One of the best terms in my college years is the last term before my graduation. Why not, when all I did was read! I only had four classes, and although I always had the option to cut them on lazy days, more often I opted not to, because I enjoyed all minus one of my subjects. Add to that the thought that my school days are numbered. When again will I be  sitting in a room of 30 people, listening to professors talk about murder fiction,  philosophy or the great works of writers?

Those were the months I intentionally read my crime fiction readings at night, alone in my dimmed room to intensify my experience of the stories and yes, it did give me chills. That was the only term my thoughts about life were almost answered, especially when I decided to  write  down my favorite ideas from different existentialist thinkers to remind myself how I choose to see life. It’s also the term when I learned a few other things that popped into my stream of consciousness, a series of notes-to-self, some of which I wish I realized earlier: do not plan out your life too much; spend more; relish solitude; and continue making animal sounds, because apparently I’m not the only legal adult who has the urge to blurt out a moo or an arf.