It’s a quiet afternoon. The sky is overcast, and there is a faint breeze whistling through the trees. I have just boarded a bus to the nearest train station. I no longer have to look out the window to see where I should get off; I’ve taken this trip enough times to know.
I’m on my way downtown, to Lucky Plaza to be exact. Like most Filipinos here, I’m about to send some money back home. Yep, this is part of who I am now, a Filipino who works and lives abroad. To distill my existence into a three-letter acronym would be a wrong way to describe how I live though, or anyone else, for that matter. Life and people are much more nuanced, and to morph and glaze them over into a concept or collective, however well regarded, would be to see them from a narrow perspective. You begin to realize this when you become one of them yourself.
I’ve been based in Singapore since May last year, and with everything that move entailed and all other things, I kind of lost touch with the pleasure that is writing. Not that I’ve let go of the personally gratifying exercise that keeping this blog has been. It’s always always bubbling underneath the surface, but I’ve allowed myself to be almost fully occupied with the exigencies of this new chapter. Only today did I realize that it’s been a full year since my last post; only today did I finally decide to put a period on that rather sad gap and to start a new sentence, again and again.
As you may expect, I’ve gone through more than a couple of cycles through the metaphorical washing machine of life from the time I started to seriously contemplate uprooting and throwing myself “out there” up to today. I’m all for YOLO, but know that behind the hippy-ishly filtered images of “living fully and freely” lies major work; setting something into motion and following through with it takes commitment, tenacity, and a whole lot of faith. Freedom, with its dazzling rush of excitement, comes with the grounding weight of responsibility. And depending on how you are as a person, anxiety will surely tag along as well.
Given all that and, at the risk of sounding self-absorbed, my seemingly inborn tendency to observe as I live and at times observe myself as I’m observing, the highs and lows and twists and turns can be prolonged and magnified. A royal pain in the ass sometimes but a gift nonetheless. This is where writing comes in. You put your arms around the wriggling, pulsating strands you fall into, the web of life you find and create, and endeavor earnestly to weave it all into something intelligible, interesting, and if you really try, something beautiful.
I have a year’s worth of balled up material and a lifetime ahead to work with. So please bear with and join me, dear readers. I am not “a voice of a generation”, but I am a voice, just like you. Now you might ask what good it would do you to drop in once in a while. I actually cannot give a perfectly good answer to that perfectly good question. All I know is that it’s fun to share and definitely fun to sort of eavesdrop. At the very least, you can see how my ride is going, and maybe you can tell me about yours. And who knows? Maybe one of these days we’d run into each other on the train.