Over the past weeks, if not months (since December rolled in?), I have been having that recurring impetus of wanting to take stock of myself over the usual fare — where I am now, what I have become as a person, what do I believe, and where I am headed — but I just can’t seem to sit down and grapple with it. There is the usual excuse of being a busy and half-crazy rookie teacher but if I’m honest with myself, I know it’s only half of it. It’s just that so much has changed between college me and mid twenties me. An even more significant departure exists between adolescent me and me now. So perhaps the lucid and thorough exposition and cross-examination will have to wait. But I will jot down the snippet observations, the sudden reveries. This will be one of them.
Perhaps what I miss the most about me in high school (though there are more things I cringe about when I approach this province of memory) was her certainty. She was such a straight arrow, such a predictable, know-it-all goody goody who had all the world, humanity and its injustices figured out. She knew what needed to be done to change the world and make it better, and would, not without arrogance and chutzpah, willingly elaborate and engage in debate about it. She’s the reason why I’m a teacher now, because as per her analysis of Filipino society in the early months of her senior year, educational reform was what the Philippines needed to get itself out of the hellhole it was mired in. I now find this opinion of hers naive and narrow. I could have pursued chemistry or biology or psychology (the course I applied for in UP) and I would still be of some use to the country today. It’s not the profession, really, that counts, but the intention, the commitment, the ethics behind one’s goals and actions. Anyway, I could be wrong. And that makes two illustrations of how different she and I are. But she was so hopeful, so fervent, so set on the path of nationalism. She was, after all, a romantic. But college changed all that. And even further, the world of work. Many old hopes turned out to be their own brands of monstrosity. At the same time, the narrative of the world became more dizzy-ingly complex, vague. Who was good? Who was evil? What matters? Lines and edges are less sharp to me now and you know, it isn’t uncommon for me to ask these days, why do I bother?