Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reality Bites

My best friend has lately been blogging about the Winona Ryder movie "Reality Bites." She was just quoting characters from the movie, and until tonight, she has not written comprehensively about how she's feeling. But I knew why, because I assume we'd have the same reasons if I was to also blog about that movie.

"You better do it now, and you better do it fast because the world doesn't owe you any favors." When I was 15, graduating from High School, I had a complete set of dreams. I had my life planned out, I was going to pass UST, become the school paper's editor, win writing awards, and graduate Cum Laude. Only one of those happened, that I went to UST. Looking back, I have regrets, would I have cared to be the school paper's editor or Cum Laude? Probably, but in conclusion, I think going to UST was enough, the things I didn't do and didn't get were in exchange of lessons and motivations I hold dear to me now.

By 4th year, I assessed myself, I had a knack for story-telling, I was getting decent feedback. I had two targets: GMA and Inquirer. At least one of those came true. But it wasn't easy getting there, I did sports, business (for a very brief while) and then settled when I thought I felt reality bite: I was going to be a writer for a Magazine. I was ready to make that job forever, except that against my acceptance was unhappiness. There was something wrong. And then someone called, my future boss. And my life, after months of wandering lost, was back on track.

Am I happy? Yes. Is it everything I hoped for? More. Is it enough? Not yet. And that's the point. It's never enough. You get a trial period, sink into the excitement of something new and good, and then lose it, for the search of something better. And then you get it, and then you want more, again.

You see friends, classmates, colleagues, who, at your age, have achieved more than you have, who are doing the things you want to do, living the life you ache to live. It triggers you into questioning whether what you're doing, where you are is the right thing. Of course at that moment, it's not, your mind is already tainted by the illusions of what could be. Then you sleep it off, so the next morning you could wake up feeling good about yourself, and regaining the happiness that momentarily slipped off.

I had plans of taking a Master's degree or a crash Journalism program; of working freelance in London or New York, just to fulfill a fantasy of living abroad. Experience the apartment-hunting, interviewing room mates, getting chinese in the middle of the night, taking the subway, checking voice mails. I had plans of having a piece published on Inquirer's Young Blood, or meeting a favorite writer over coffee (which might happen, by the way). I had simple plans too: learn how to play guitar, drink alcohol, kiss somebody, and go out of town alone. (I did get out of town, several times, but with friends.) Plans that take a backseat to obligations to my job, familiy, and bank account. I've always said I wasn't going to write for money, but I have to admit, it's getting increasingly harder to keep that principle.

For 2 years, I've been holding on to this title: "Dreams come true in Manila." Over time, ideas have come on how to execute it, who to get as subject, how to start it. It's just always been at the back of my mind to do a project that will both fulfill a personal goal, and something more that "sounds cornball but I'd like to somehow make a difference in people's lives."

When I stop and sit to think about what I'm going to write, I come to a halt to a sentence that begins with, "I." How was I going to write about dreams coming true when I don't know for sure if mine have. And I think that it will be a long-running struggle, because who can tell whether your dreams have come true? Who is to say that it has climaxed, and who's to say that it has stopped. Lelaina was right, "The answer is... I don't know."

We don't know. I will be turning 21 in October, would I be the person I was going to be by the time I was 21? I had a list, an idea of who I was going to be, but at the end of the day, reality does bite. "The only person you have to be by the time you're (23) is yourself."

And you just have to hope and make sure that that person is happy, and that she's doing what she should, because dreams come true everyday that you have it. And everyday is another day to be yourself.