In Transition

Between work and school and work. It’s been a month since I resigned from my first job at Excel PH. Learning from public school principals while helping in their formation to be better leaders was an enlightening experience, but the reasons I found for leaving are heavier than the combined weight of the reasons I could find to stay.

For the past few weeks, I’ve finally been able to do a number of things: go on a four-day trip with friends to Coron, rekindle more friendships, catch up on Orange is the New Black, hike up Pico de Loro with the HJ team, physically attend team meetings, start reading The Signal and The Noise, submit an abstract to a tobacco control conference in Beijing, attend a jazz night at Mow’s, and take up swimming again. I’m sleeping longer, eating more, and am generally less stressed.

School doesn’t resume until another month, and I’m still considering whether I should work full-time at HJ after working for them part-time for two years, and on what terms. I want to be a full-time student, part-time NGO worker for at least one semester before diving in. Upon receiving my grades for last sem, both Eli and Mama told me, “If that’s the grade you got while working two jobs and studying, you’re more than able to do part-time work and just study.” I think they’re right.

Between apologies. I’ve fought with two important people in my life in the span of three weeks. Resolved one disagreement, unsure about the other. Steffi and I talk only when necessary. I’ve given her her baon for July, and she seemed genuinely thankful. I don’t know how long it’ll be until we’re comfortable talking to each other freely again. I can’t even bring myself to look her in the eye because I’m afraid of what I might see. It’ll be healthier if I stop expecting for an apology.

Eli has forgiven me, but I haven’t forgiven myself yet. The feeling of nearly losing him again served as a reminder, almost as a motivation, to keep me from inadvertently finding another way to hurt him. I told him about this, and he said, “That’s a heavy weight to carry.” He held my hand, and added,

Do good for the good, not to prevent something bad from happening again. It’s more universal.

Pain is not paid back in pain, but in acceptance. I forget to be kind to myself, even when I’m granted the kindness of others. It’s time to remember the more important things.

“Kaya ‘di umuunlad ang Pilipinas” is a mentality that has to stop.

Although its popular use showcases a commendable level of observation skills and provides a lively commentary on various social issues, it propagates an abusive level of negativity. “Anong klaseng irrigation system ang mayro’n natin? Palagi na lang bumabaha nang ganito,” “Bakit kasi nila pinapapara ‘yung dyip sa maling babaan?” “Ginagawa namang negosyo ‘yung pulitika,” are among many examples of statements attached to the phrase, and they are more often than not directed outward, towards a person or a phenomenon outside of oneself.

One must then challenge her/himself to look inward after identifying a problem, and to resist the temptation to solely express dissatisfaction about a certain state of affairs. The issue must be explored: Ano na’ng gagawin natin? Ano’ng puwede kong gawin? Invest in agriculture and technology. Familiarize yourself with the safest and already established loading and unloading areas along a specific route. Exercise your right to suffrage. Always ask.

I want to learn how to ask the right questions, to propose a set of solutions, and to identify which solution will be the most appropriate to an issue at hand and the set of circumstances it works within. That then leads to the question: Paano tayo makatutulong sa kaunlaran ng ating bansa? Or: Paano na tayo tutulong? In other words, and as a priest in our parish said, “Mabuting balita ka ba sa ibang tao?” It is not about telling others what cause to believe in, but showing why it is worth believing in through your everyday choices at work, at home, and everywhere in between. It is not about settling for the best, either, because the best is a specific point in time. It is about continuously doing and aiming for the better, because the comparative keeps us moving, always striving.