I’ve been doing a lot of “farm work” lately while waiting for word from DepEd about my future, which is a way of keeping me away from biting my nails to bits. This got me thinking that I might as well finally get around to reading that copy of Walden I bought many years ago. I’m curious what sort of thinking Thoreau got out of doing manual agricultural labor. I haven’t really landed any eurekas from raking plots and sowing corn rows. Still, I do think a lot about the life shifts I’ve taken in the past two years, and how jarring the context switching has been. On one hand, my non-conformist pretentions are fed by this going-my-own-way insolence. But at the same time, I can’t help feeling that what I’ve done from college and after has been foolhardy. I can just imagine the clucking and the tsk-tsking of all my betters, which is everybody, including perhaps the bakery salesgirl who sold me pan de sal this morning. Everyone knows how to make a career and take advantage of opportunities but me. I’m now where I am for the wrong reasons: to learn, to confirm whether what I’ve been taught about the “system” is true, to maybe find solutions, to augment my life thus far of theory with practice, and other “self development/discovery” goals that share a common thread in their uncertain, tentative, “hope-for-the-best” outcomes. I mean, at my age, I’m expected to have a clue. At my age people expect me to have career plans and life goals. I can tell you my plans for the next three years, at best. And they’re uhh subject to change without prior notice.
Tenure doesn’t really strike me as attractive, unless, you know, that can help me help mankind, and I mean, really help the underprivileged. Did I just see you cringe? Or was that a smirk? Yeah, I know. Am I for real? But a yuppie year in Ayala has compelled me to stop doing safe things. Too much youth is being wasted as it is. So I dirty my nails and get burned in the sun. What am I doing with my UP education?! maybe a professor will say if they knew what I did these days from seven to five. You didn’t go to the country’s most prestigious university and study among the brightest to play around with seeds and dirt all day! You should be doing research, aim for positions where you can help formulate future policy, etc etc. This is of course my own fear of being found inadequate speaking, of not meeting people’s expectations and bars for success, or even their implicit definitions for what is worth doing. To this I can only say that I would show if I could what I feel in my gut, that there is infinite meaning in toiling with the soil and understanding that there is dignity in even this.