seven lessons I should have realized sooner

(This could also be titled as “the seven things I should have said,” and is addressed to different people, or “the seven things that I should have told myself”)

Everyone refers to those lists where they have to do every little thing before they reach the age of thirty, or one of those bucketlists where they travel the world.  Admittedly, I’d want to take part in all of those things, but before I start immersing, I have to let go of a few things.  It’s no use denying that I went through one of the most emotionally tiring months, even more than a 23-unit first and 24-unit second semester could ruin combined.  It’s not easy admitting this, mostly because the concerned are still existent in my reach, and putting down the front I have would only make me crash and burn.  It’s been a month since then, and I have almost fully recovered.  But I can honestly say I’m not the same person after this all happened.

1. Age is just a number.  I’m not encouraging cradlesnatchers and cougars here, but a much deeper essence.  Your birth year may determine how old you turn, but it does not determine how old you become.  It’s old in a sense that you have a more or less grasp on what your principles are, and how these principles are addressed to the people around.  Age also describes how long you’ve been on this earth, but it does not give you the pride of parading around the sidewalks screaming, “I’m mature!” while ducking in the alley throwing spitballs at the person you hate.  I have come across younger people who handle problems head on and say what they have to say, and older people who think it’s better to run away than confront.

2. There are, in fact, answerless questions devoid of Divine trace.  Honestly, there were dreams I had when I’d take an axe and butcher people from behind, just so they could feel the pain I feel.  But right when I did so, it dawned on me that all I’ve been striking is air.  When you wake up, you scroll through Facebook and you see that the people who once thought could give you all the answers just throw you off later on, when you realize that they decided you’re not worth their time anymore, and you don’t know why.  And I thought the mysteries of the Rosary were to be explained in “due time.” At least God would explain it sooner or later (or so the Bible claims), but with some people, you can never get an explanation.  You’d be surprised, since you can communicate with everyone (or almost all of them), and instead you find yourself talking to a brick wall, asking the questions but getting only echoes back.  If you hear your own voice return the question you asked, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee: you aren’t getting your answer.  Why is the sky blue? Why did you leave? Question 1 gets you a scientific explanation, Question 2 leaves you.

3. Memories are meant to be echoes of what used to be, not the very things that can bring a person or an event back.  I have learned that memories are “waking dreams,” which means they come alive when you’re in reality, whether you are staring out the window, holding a wilted flower between your fingers, or the cup of coffee you both shared one afternoon.  But there comes a time when he chooses to walk out that door with no trace whatsoever, and you become so hung up on what happened, mapping out the reasons why he left, connecting Reason A with Reason B with Reason C, wondering what you could have done wrong. You look back, remembering that joke you shared, and wondered why he laughed that time.  What made the next day different, when you shared a story and yearning to seek comfort, you are instead shut out? It just does not align, does it? Well, memories aren’t meant to align, and are certainly inconsistent.  And no matter how many times his favorite song comes on the radio, he won’t come around if he decided to.

4. Honesty is always the best policy.  This comes first in line, followed by the “no-bullshit” rule and “if you make promises, keep them” conundrum.  Won’t life be a hell lot easier when you say “Sorry, I’ve been playing you this whole time because hubris” than “I’m busy,” then finding photo after photo of otherwise? I never said the truth doesn’t hurt, but it’s a short-term hurt rather than a prolonged, messed-up hurt of trying to figure why the you a few months ago and the one now just doesn’t align.  You want world peace? Don’t hide behind stupid excuses.  Or else, war ensues.

5. Grudges do not give you peace.  It’s understandable for one to feel a “heat-hotter-than-the-sun” kind of anger towards another person, especially if betrayal of trust is on the line.  I have gone through that, and it wasn’t pretty.  You’d start questioning, tracing back to the root of where it started, dating every day, every minute, every reaction to what they said, and you’d even slam on the good times you had.  Grudges do not give you rationality, but rather throws you into a blinding rage— a kind of rage that makes you tear up in an instant because you can’t handle, you can’t accept that this kind of thing happened to you.  But after a while, the anger cools down, and you are left with a void in your heart, wondering if the things you said while raging were too irrational.  When I was going through the grudge phase, I’d wake up with a heavy feeling in my chest, as if I haven’t slept a wink, and I felt like I got the wind got knocked out of me.  Every freaking day.  And that’s when it hit me: I hate unresolved business.  Lesson number 2 exists, yes, but it’s a choice of the individual, after all.  And I am one who will always answer every and any question that requires resolve.  When I finally let the anger go, I felt like the weight of the world let go too, and I sleep better now.

6. Don’t give up on people so easily.  Everyone differs, of course.  Some people go to the ends of the earth because of their immense care, and others go to the ends of the earth to escape from people.  It’s a known fact: people sometimes disappoint you.  But what makes people people are their being human.  I know that we have to strive for perfection (according to Jesus), They are flawed, and they make mistakes.  Of course, the initial reaction is to run away from the mistake, as if they pulled a Pontius Pilate, washing their hands clean of anything.  I have gone through this too, and I can tell you, there are a lot of people who have disappointed me — in a sense that I’d wonder why they could have possibly said or done this.  But I guess this is where my belief in the good comes in, that people have the capability to change, and it is your responsibility as whatever you are (be it friend, significant other, sister, brother, etc) to be there for the Other.  People are good.  Don’t give up on others (easily) if you don’t want others to give up on you (easily).

7. YOU are the storm, as much as the sun.  The biggest battle a person goes through is wondering to whom should the blame be laid upon.  I don’t deny going through this.  As a matter of fact, I am still going through it.  I am still so hung up on whatever I’m going through, and I blame the memories, the photos, the people around me for reminding me of what was then.  In line with this, people change.  And you realize they’re going through a storm.  You hold out the umbrella long enough, and you try with all your might to pull that person under your roof, but if the rain still doesn’t stop pouring inside, you’d best believe that the sky outside isn’t the cause.  It’s rare for some to help storms that aren’t their own to stop, because they don’t usually hold the key.  I guess people are afraid of that power sometimes, that if they so much as admit they’re the cause of the rain.  They do not try to rein it in, but instead let loose and just stay the same, in the hopes that they will be rescued.  But rescuing isn’t the same as ceasing, in a sense that the rescuer can only do so much.  The rescuer is finite, and it can’t always battle against infinity.  You are the storm and therefore you have the choice: to either be its master, or be its slave.


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