Well, this is pretty new. It's past three in the morning, and I can't get to sleep, but I'm too lazy to leave the confines of my bed, and so here I am, blogging like a weirdo. Back when I first started this whole blog thing, back in 2006 (or was it 2007?), you can't really do this whole accessing-the-Internet-from-your-bed thing. For one thing, we didn't have a computer in our house, and so I'd have to walk to the corner Internet shop at Philcoa to log on to the Internet, and for another, once we did have a computer and dial-up Internet in our house, the aforementioned computer was downstairs, plugged to the phone line. Yes, it was pretty old school. I even remember the dialing static tones of pre-fiber optic Internet.
How far we've come, human race.
Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about responsibility the past few days. It's been five months since I got back from the concrete jungle of Singapore (and really, the place should have an anthem, like "Empire State of Mind" is for NYC and "Manila Girl" for, well, Manila. I haven't heard a song that's actually nostalgic and anthemic for Singapore. Get on it, guys.) and I feel like, despite the amount of freelance writing and the projects I've been working on, I am still way, way behind compared to my friends and peers.
Of course, it's probably not helpful that I compared myself to Chris Hemsworth, who is my age and has already portrayed a demigod superhero comic book character and has raked in millions and bazillions of dollars by just being buff and speaking in a vaguely theatrical accent.
What am I doing right now, you might ask? Not much, really. I write freelance for an online magazine, and occasionally pinch-hit for a travel magazine. I help my friends run a radio program on AM radio. My day "job" consists of reading extremely boring articles on mining in the 1950s and 60s, and plotting them on a timeline. It's not very exciting work, really, but at least I make minimum wage.
What do I want to do? I want to write, for starters. I want to write stories set in this world that's being plotted inside my head, and I want to tell good, encompassing stories about people who I've known growing up, people who have grown up and who refuse to grow up. I want to be able to teach at a university I've had the privilege of attending, to talk and discuss and exchange ideas with people who are just beginning their own journeys as they leave adolescence and enter adulthood. I want to spend more time with my friends, to listen to their stories and to get to know them all over again, after five years.
(An aside: I cannot say, with my heart doing a little skip-hop-happy-dance, how HAPPY I am to be home. For example, tonight I watched "Cabin in the Woods" with Maw and Pam and Ruben and Sandra and Sean and half the time we were sniping at each other, or hiding behind cardigans and proffered arms and squealing fearfully whenever something came at us on the screen, but for the life of me, I just had so. Much. Fun. And I just feel super duper lucky that the people I am friends with are the kind of people that I can squeal with at theaters during scary movies, and talk about the film we saw in excited, over-analytical tones, and I do not have to "tone down my intelligence" or run into a dead wall of silence or pretend that I am not affected by what I saw and experienced and simply say, "Oh that was nice.")
(And another aside: I am just so happy that I am friends with the friends I have. I always find the need to thank people after a great lunch, or afternoon, or dinner, or whatever, or simply hanging out because I'm just so pleased that they decided to spend a portion of their day with me. Every time, I feel like saying, "Thank you for being my friend and telling me about your life and sharing your thoughts with me and making me a better person. You have no idea how many times I've sat alone at coffee shops or restaurants or fast food joints all by myself, with only a book for company, and wonder where my life was going. You have no idea how lonely I've felt for the last few years. Thank you.")
Which is all, to say, that I should really get off my high horse, stop treating my time in Manila as though it's an extended vacation with a deadline, and start replanting roots all over again. I've been living such a temporary existence for so long - being in a dead-end relationship with a deadbeat can fuck up your mental state a bit - that I've forgotten what home feels like. And I really need to start owning things again - like my work and my writing and my life because I've been putting myself on the back burner for so long that I'd forgotten how it is to be myself again. And yeah it's easy to give advice to friends, but it's much harder to follow one's own advice.
My best friend Zebra pointed out to me once, over salad and a sandwich and fries, that I might be one of the most stubborn people she's known, simply because I am terrible at listening to what other people tell me. And on the one hand, I know I'm great at following instructions, but other times I'm just one of those awfully hard-headed people who refuse to budge. (This usually happens when I'm feeling lazy or when I refuse to follow other people's orders.) And I should work on that too - not the mindless drone order-follower, but actually re-learning how to listen and winnow out the constructive criticism from the ambient noise.
And so there: I really need to step up my game. I promised myself that I'd follow through with my goals when I got back to Manila, and it's taking baby steps, sure, but I want to follow through with all of them.