“What do you want to be when you grow up?” A question perennially asked in my young and formative years. My answer would always be different depending on the day of the week, sometimes tall, sometimes scientist, sometimes astronaut, sometimes dictator and most of the time Superman.
It’s funny how the question is being thrown back at me nowadays, this time phrased a little differently, “Grow up! What do you want to be?!” I get stumped, what comes to mind is still a red cape and blue spandex, but that is out of the question.
I scratch my head and pick my brains for a more realistic repartee. I start with “searching” (Yes, searching!) myself (not google) for what i want in life.
Do I want to save lives? Not really
Do I want to come to work in a tie? Resounding no
Do I want to live in a palatial estate, have a hot wife and drive around my ex-girlfriends neighborhood in a Ferrari f142 while bobbing my head to beats of DR. DRE? Nnah ( cough)
Do I want super powers? Yes! And be mocked and ridiculed behind my back? Of-course not .
My next best idea is to have a cottage in Sagada, marry a beautiful local, and live out my days in peace and obscurity. sounds good enough. However, not exactly doable since all real estate, even in far flung locations, costs a bag full of money. Something I do not have at the moment. And another factor that has to be put in serious consideration is the lack of employment opportunities there, the ones that fit my limited qualifications. Unless I could manage to live off a meager Government pension (which i doubt the government is dumb enough to give me) or I can plant cabbages and strawberries, this plan simply won’t work.
Back to the drawing board! What am I good at?
Making excuses that to the untrained ear sounds logical though they really aren’t ? That’s one!
Squandering things of worldly value? That’s two!
Doing outlandish things when possessed by San Miguel? That makes three!
My old sister tells me I have a knack for drawing, and I believe I did once upon a time. I remember whenever I got bored during class, I would amuse myself by sketching caricatures of my dull teachers and at other times I’d make fanciful depictions of my crush in skimpy attires. problem is I’m no longer in class and its been awhile since I formed figures on paper ( yes I have become extremely proficient at making excuses). Simply put I was not able to develop that skill enough to have the confidence to rest my ambition on it. To be satisfied at how I lived my life is something I happen to consider at the back of my mind and I don’t feel it in drawing lines.
The question must again be analyzed from a different vantage point. ” What can i see myself doing?”, “What can I see myself being?” Tentatively I’d say, even if I’m not naturally gifted, I could see myself a writer. Whether to nit-pick current events as a columnist, to create prose as a poet or to tell stories as a novelist, anything to do with expressing human experience I would find interesting and worthwhile. Writing to me is a meaningful pursuit, a kind of purpose i can attach to my existence.
To borrow from the words of James Michner,
“I was born with a passionate desire to communicate,to organize experience, to tell tales that dramatize the adventures which readers might have had. I have been that ancient man who sat by the campfire at night and regaled the hunters with imaginative recitations about their prowess. The job of an apple tree is to bear apples. The job of a storyteller is to tell stories, and I have concentrated on that obligation. ”
(notice how by quoting an articulate person i am able to add effect to my otherwise bland and in-cohesive babble? ;p)
Some think of writing as a mere hobby, something unproductive and a waste of time. I don’t believe that. I can’t imagine where we’d be with out the Torah, Bible, Koran and the Tripitaka, unfortunately these stories did not come to us in DVD ( like duh?! everybody knows people only had beta-max in those days, pfft!) These are written traditions that serve as cornerstones of their corresponding religions. Here’s the idea if not for writing we’d still be stuck worshiping iguanas and licking elephant shit to this day. ( fu*#kin pagan!)
While it can also be said that there have been writers who died drunk and penniless, the same holds true even for stock brokers, bankers, industrialists, prostitutes, drug abusers, oscar the grouch etc. Misfortune does not choose its victims and poverty does not pick its members. Besides I’m already broke as it is, So it doesn’t make a difference, In fact its a level up. That’s a magic of writing, it can turn a loser into an instant intellectual loser.
On a more personal note, the pen saved my soul, it provides me with an outlet for all the erratic emotions that shuffle inside me, silencing the troubles of my mind and calming the tempest in my heart.
Going back, for the sake of clarification it’s not that he can soar across the sky in a ridiculous outfit or that he can stop a rampaging locomotive by sheer grit that I admire superman, truth be told, it is how he can remain unfazed by the senseless goings on of society, his faith in people, his values and his compassion for others, that I look up to and I’m not just saying this to get laid. If more people acted like him we would all find ourselves in a better place (with padded walls, kidding), I would not have been swindled and I won’t be bankrupt today.
As for my direction? who knows? we all have our own unique calling, maybe in my case I’m better off as Lois Lane (what does Lois Lane do?) and if I’m not, then I’ve totally screwed myself over.