This morning was not any different than other days. After doing my morning rituals, next thing I checked were messages from my mom and what my friends and loved ones were up to in every nook and cranny of the globe. As I scrolled down smiling and occasionally laughing at funny posts and videos, I was taken aback by a Safety Check on Facebook posted by a friend from high school who lives in France.
This is the first time that someone I know had a close call with acts of terrorism and I was glad that he was fine. I immediately turned to online news to see what is going on over there. Clip after clip of videos just intensified the horror I felt about the attacks. Seeing the chaos and vicariously feeling the terror those people must have felt made me realize how such violence can alter a person’s life course. I had to sit it out for a moment when thoughts just started pouring in.
I realized one sure thing, life is one fleeting event. As I sit here now typing, I found that my present is but a moment that when I finish this sentence with a dot, it will be marked as my past. So fast that you can never go back. So I reminisced at my past and remembered the good and bad memories. But I chose to dwell on the good ones only. I recounted how fun my childhood was. I am an only child but I never felt alone since I grew up with a bunch of happy cousins and neighborhood friends not to mention I’ve found my best friend for life in kindergarten. I consider myself lucky.
Interesting to say that grade school was witness to my tomboy phase. My classmates can fully attest to that. It would even be a topic in our class chat room that I was an “Amazona” as a kid but high school in Angelicum College marked its end. The sweet “crush and puppy love” phase was an adorable chapter of my teenage life that I always enjoy recalling. Although I was a fat kid back then, it didn’t really bother me. I was too busy laughing and being just that, a kid. Happy to say that the highlight of my high school life was when I gained my closest friends. They gave me a thousand reasons to laugh and cry. And that’s what made them so special that they deserve a big chunk of my heart. I place them now as my own brothers and sisters since I have none.
Going to college in UP was a different story. It was still fun but gone were the days of nonchalance. I had to come out of my protected shell and had to start acting like a young adult. There was a bit of revolt on my part but the call of maturity was strong. I had no way of getting out of it. In the end, I was happy to give in because I again found a good number of friends and a clearer purpose in life. We may not have seen each other in a long time but the friendship is still there. I don’t think it will ever be gone.
Finding my way through the sea of employment-hungry populace was not easy. Life after university years proved itself not to be easy. And it didn’t help that I was picky. I wanted a job that I felt would satisfy my every single professional need: decent money, travel, unconventional, and challenging. I thought I would never find it. Good that it was meant to be found in a small ad box in the Classifieds section of Manila Bulletin. Without my parents knowing, I signed up to be a Youth Worker for one of the biggest cruise lines in the world. I thought “Wow, a sailor (how I called it back then for a lack of a better term) haha!” That was a good ten-year adventure-filled chapter, a part of my life that deserves to be told on another series of blogs that would soon follow. I never thought that will be a life-turning event.
I developed friendships during my time on ships but as it is, we all had to part at some point. So I now have what you call an LDF or Long-Distance Friendships. Like LDRs, I can truly say that it is not for everyone. It gets hard to have friends who are far from you. There will be times when you miss them too much or you will worry about their safety when some bad news hits and you know for a fact that’s where they’re at. Those are the times that you become so thankful for technology. A quick click and you can instantly see how they’re doing.
In the light of what had tragically happened in Paris, I became more aware of what I should not take for granted. Now, I feel more blessed thinking of everyone I love and of the people whose lives have touched mine for the good. And I am grateful that they are fine wherever they may be. I am sure that from now I will always think of them and pray that they will always be safe and happy. That’s the least I can do as my small way of saying thank you.