I’m in a lighted place. The last few days have seen the first leaves pushing through the snow; they are yawning. I know for a fact that this would be a year like no other. This is the year that I’ll leave my work in Ateneo, because I will die if I spend another year doing the same thing. This is the part of my life where I come upon a sharp turn—the kind where you don’t see what’s ahead of you. We come upon the strangeness of the future, the way it cannot really be anticipated and thus gives rise to that particular mix of fear and excitement— the way one would toss and turn the night before the first day of college, the first sleepover, or a class fieldtrip in grade school.
Today is the first time I’ve literally had a breather since last Thursday—I’ve been working non-stop, and it’s been incredibly fulfilling. I feel like I’m finally beginning to wake up after years of sleeping. I mean that metaphorically, and a little literally. I told Oli the other day that I wake up earlier and without grudge. I’ve long since realized that sleeping is my way of coping when I’m unhappy. When Levinas speaks of fatigue, indolence, and sleep: it strongly resonated with me:
In the Bible, when Jonas, the hero of impossible escapes, invoker of nothingness and death, observes in the midst of the raging elements the failure of his flight and the fatality of his mission, he climbs down into the hold of the ship and goes to sleep.
But these days, I wake up early, excited, and with a purpose. It’s the first I genuinely felt easy in the last few years, which started out studded by overt pains because of I kept scraping against sharp edges and angles, and has since become the low throb of a toothache that never goes away. And I suppose people around me sense that, the way they are suddenly friendlier and brighter towards me, like as if they saw sunshine suddenly bursting through a ruffled curtain.
I’ve been accepted as an instructional designer for one of the broadcasting networks in the country (or almost accepted? It hasn’t been finalized yet). It’s a job that—so far as I understand it—is a remarkable fit for me. I haven’t broken the news to anyone in the department yet, except for that accidental blurting to my boss about my applying for it. I should have an earnest talk with him one of these days, clarify certain things. Periods are better than ellipses.
But I want to tell you how life as I know is suddenly rosy. It’s different when you look at it standing by the door. What stands out now are not the questions that this milieu of life fails to satisfy, but answers it gave. I was talking to a friend yesterday, and it was only then that I realized how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve determined about myself. Ateneo is beautiful, I’ll miss it. It has become my home, complete with the ambivalence of love and repulsion I feel towards my literal one. I’m anxious that I won’t have access to the library anymore; I should finally get that alumni card. And I could always go to the chemistry building to buy liquid nitrogen even if I’m not working there anymore, right? And the people, I’ll miss the people—some, at least—and how heart-warming they are, how we can have conversations where we express and not have to explain. How I wish I could be more of myself there. How I wish I could have shown more of myself.
One of my closest friends in school told me once that I should show more people how I am with friends, that I shouldn’t be too shy because I am likable. My heart burst in gratitude: it tends to shrivel without feedback, and it has perennially been obsessed with the question: am I doing this right? Life, I mean. Am I doing life right? How I wish how I knew how to do that too. It’s like wanting to sing a catchy song, but you don’t know the lyrics at all
Here I am, nostalgic even before I leave. It’s not that silly, I suppose. I do want to make best of the time I have left here; and here’s to realizing the value of what I have. If or when I come back, it will never be the same.