Begin Again

It’s been a while. My words, somehow, feel unnatural—strangers again to my fingertips. To say that life is passing by in a blur is to belittle such a cunning thing. Life has always been an expert in manipulating time, making it answer to its every whim. Take it slow on their struggles. Make it fleeting on their moments of joy. Prolong the agony. End the good things so soon.

Perhaps it is this mentality that pushes us to take the race, however unwilling we are to partake in it. Perhaps it is this thinking that is the source of our trouble with life: that we have to chase after it.

We forget the truth that life is in the smallest things. The trifles around us, the details. An unmade bed. The flicker of shadow thrown on a wall. The creases in a book. The sound of the blades of an electric fan, slicing into air. The pain at the nape of your neck. The veins twining, running on your arms. The heaving chest of someone deep in sleep.

Slow down.

Breathe.

Take all the details in.

—“Trifles”, written on August 16, 2012

I write my first entry for the year 2015 in a hospital room, the sound of the air-conditioner a steady hum in the background. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer last November and, though it is difficult for our family, we are calling our banners and gathering our strength in order to battle the disease. We have the father of our home to defend. We are hopeful.

The air is far from sterile, as far as a hospital setting can go, and it is cold—the thermostat broken, permanently fixed at a Baguio temperature minus the scent of pine in the air.

My 2015 so far:

  • Finished my second semester in the new university (UE)
  • Read 5 books so far (slow-going, yes)
  • Had my first henna tattoo (and I only got talked into it by someone younger than me, haha)
  • Went to my first UPM Fair and I’m not even a UP student anymore (UPM Fiesta!)
  • Finished Japanese Module 1, an extramural class offered by the UP Department of Linguistics (ah, those joyful どようび in Diliman)
  • Started cooking (ish)
  • Picked up the guitar again (hello, old friend)
  • Slept a lot (this is me, to be honest)
  • Took a lot of instant photos
  • Reunited with a high school classmate who came all the way home from Florida (Hi, Jezy!)
  • Formed a team with the best friend, the favorite, the only (someone’s back!)

This year-starter is four months late and not for lack of trying. December of last year, I’ve been practically calling for this year. I remember being very excited for things to finally be happening. But then, 2015 began before I felt ready. I felt like parts of me were wildly scattered, rogue pieces here and there. Nothing specific, just the same old feeling of floating in a vast ocean with no star to guide me home.

When the fog of confusion started lifting, however, I was surprised to see an old friendship rising from the ashes like a brilliantly-plumed phoenix. Feathers somewhere between the color of the sky at sunset and the color of leaves after rain. Brand new colors. Once again, I am reminded of how powerful such a connection with another human being can be: this friendship has saved me before, years ago, and it is saving me now by steering me towards the truth of my being and by showing me that I am not alone in this universe. I wake up each day with love and gratitude brimming in my ribcage.

Yes, things are happening. The forces of fate or coincidence or the universe or whichever you’d like to believe in, really, are at work. Perhaps, at 20, I’m a little bit impatient. Many of my peers have graduated and have begun establishing careers, while I am still in school and still—well, a lot of many things. Frankly, it can be a source of insecurity but I am learning to accept that we all have different clocks in our bodies: some are in time with the social construct of life, others a bit slower, and still, some faster. Some people mature earlier; others a little while later. But the thing is: being late is a social construct from which you can liberate yourself. Allow yourself to take life at your own pace, to “take the details in” as the old me once wrote. Do not keep up with a clock that is out of sync with yours, at the risk of your well-being. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a delayed student, it’s that self-care is essential.

Transferring to UE and suddenly becoming the oldest in the batch (when I was so used to being the youngest) drove me to become more mature and more capable of managing myself as well as my relations with others. In the past, I fell apart easily. Now, hopefully, I will be able to handle the pressure of a to-be medicine student, and a lot more.

Things are picking up. Gone are the days when summer meant endless marathons of House MD and devouring book after another book. This year, my summer will consist of a class on Statistics and NMAT Review. And then without missing a beat (cue: falling asleep on feet) back to school! Then the sembreak, with the refresher course (cue: groaning), and the November NMAT (cue: drumming), and then my birthday (cue: cake and confetti) and then Christmas (cue: happiness).

That’s a rough chart of what will be happening this year.

I am over the moon with anticipation.

P.S. The title of this blog entry is dedicated to my favorite person in the universe. And, of course, to timing. 😊

it comes and goes in waves
it comes and goes in waves
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