Friday, April 16, 2010

Wayward One

I was in my pre-bedtime lull last night when the words "Being adrift isn't that bad, considering its freedom" popped out of the book I was reading. My mind kept wandering back to it as I tried reading the next five pages after it. Once I assessed that it's impossible to get any further, I sighed to myself and joined my headphones laying on the floor. With the cold floor pressing against my back and loud music cozying up to fill my head, I allowed my ghosts to hover around me once again.

So there I was, at twenty eight years old, laying on my floor at the cusp of midnight on a random Thursday night. I would never have thought to myself that's how I'd end up at this juncture in my life. Not that there's anything wrong with it (quite the contrary, really), but when I envisioned my life back when I was younger, I thought I'd be more... textbook. Textbook and cliche. I counted on following the quintessential footsteps of the lives of people introduced to me by the media (and my traditional family). I thought that by the time I've reached this age, I would've reached some sort of "ordinariness" and predictability in my life. My plan was to finish school, work for a bit, meet someone spectacular in the process, get my master's degree, get engaged, enter marriage, acquire a mortgage, have 2.1 kids (and a dog) and live life within the bounds of white picket fences. I thought that's how it was supposed to be so I was gunning for that.

Little did I know that life had something else in mind. I did everything by the book up until I finished school -- then that's when my new friend, Uncertainty, embraced me with an all-encompassing gusto. It was like losing control over my life and allowing a rather unknown force to guide me through it instead. I had no idea how to steer myself back on track until I got derailed and eventually catapulted into a dimension completely alien to me.

I despised not knowing exactly where I was heading. And I hated it even more that I couldn't do anything about it. And to make matters worse, I had no idea how to handle the curveballs that life kept on hitting me with. I spent a good deal on the ground trying to regain my balance -- and while I'm still working on it, I'd like to think I've gotten exponentially better in taking Uncertainty in stride.

It took me a while to realize that Uncertainty can possibly be one of the more beautiful things in my life. It kept me from entering a fiercely mundane life and it taught me to fend for myself. I am still largely searching for myself -- but I think I may have caught glimpses of my reflection here and there. And it's not too shabby. I like how I've learned to love my imperfections more than yearn for their absence. And I like how I've learned that what really counts is how we rise above our tribulations more than how we have a lack of them in life. Because ultimately, the best experiences stem out of our difficult moments because the pain is what's ingrained in our minds -- and the determination to eliminate the need to go through it again. Forever.

It no longer matters that I still have no idea where my life is going right now because part of the fun is finding out. And along with that are the discoveries that I make about myself and the world -- and the realization of how little I know and how much more I can learn. And with Uncertainty also comes options. Forks on the road become more visible and possibilities simply become endless. All of a sudden, notions that have never occurred to me before has become a foreseeable choice. And there's no better feeling in this universe than autonomy. And knowing that there is absolutely nothing that holds me down. There's no way we can enjoy the ride if we don't let go.

There is nothing wrong with the life I've wanted for myself before. But obviously, it wasn't meant for me to have. At least not right now (or maybe not ever). But in hindsight, if I did attain that life, I highly doubt that I would've grown as spectacularly as I've had as a person otherwise. Maybe we do need those curveballs -- not to dodge, but for us to dance with. They will never go away; it's one of those things we have to deal with no matter what. And it's probably best to do so with grace.

So, yes, I agree -- to be adrift isn't bad because it gives us the chance to change perspectives. And the ability to change perspectives is something that isn't granted to everyone. It is reserved only for those who have lived and learned.


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