I remember when I was a little girl, I used to look at myself in the mirror and ask, “Why do I look the way I look?” “How come I don’t have blonde hair or blue eyes like my little Barbie dolls?” “How come I have to count 10 more years before I could become 18 to do what a girl should do?” “Why am I born in this family?” “How come we don’t live in a big house like the one in those soaps I watch on TV every night?” “Why did I get my dad’s big fat lips and get bullied for it because it was not as slim as the rest of my classmates?” “Why am I a Filipino and not Chinese or Japanese or American?” “Who put ‘me’ in this body?” The questions were endless.
I grew up asking those questions thinking perhaps if I study well I would get my answers. Answers to questions became a bit clearer as I learn from school about the intricacies of human beings, science, math, physics, chemistry, biology, social studies, history and culture. However, they offer explanations that answer only the façade of what my heart was really aching to understand. There were those moments of solitude where I would talk to myself and ask, “Where did ‘I’ really come from? Who put me here in this planet – in such a time as this?”
Eventually, I got worn out asking because what I hear in school and in people around me seem not to be enough. However, the best answer I heard unanimously from all of them was, “If you really want to know the answer you need to be the best in everything you do and dream higher. Who knows you might stumble upon the answers along the way?”
I kept those words in my heart.
I was a little girl of about 8 or 9 when I started dreaming of working in a bank simply because our house where we were staying at that time was situated next to a rural bank and I was fascinated by the different people coming in and out of it. I remember the time when I had finally able to save my very first 100 pesos and came inside the bank for the very first time to open my very own bank account. When the teller handed me my passbook and I saw my name written in it, my eyes lit up from excitement. You can imagine my joy as a little girl.
My mom told me that if I save more money and keep it there a lot longer, I would then earn more. Unfortunately, something happened that left us with no choice but to withdraw even that money I’d saved.
In spite of what happened, that didn’t stop me from dreaming that one day I’ll be able to work in a bank – a real commercial bank. A year after I finished school, I was able to land a job as a secretary in a bank and in four years time I have become an account officer.
At the age of 25, what I had been dreaming of since I was little has finally become a reality. I asked myself, “Now what? What do I do next? Where do I go from here?”
I thought of life as an endless pursuit of dreams. You cast a dream in your mind, strategize to chase it and when finally you had achieved it, you dream another dream and the cycle goes on. I asked myself, “why is it so important to dream anyway?” “What if I just choose to stop breathing, then none of these dreams would matter anymore?” When I look at the people around me working their way up to chase their own dreams, listen to their plans for their future and wonder what to do next. I felt a relief knowing I wasn’t alone.
All those questions I had as a little girl and my questions as a young professional who was relentlessly trying at all cost to climb the corporate ladder, still remain unanswered. There were nights when I would stay up in the middle of the night and just ponder at some thoughts about my own life. I need answers and I got to find them. But then I asked myself, “Where should I start looking?”
A lot of things happened in my life since I started to embark on that journey. I thought some of those things weren’t really necessary but it happened anyhow. I reckoned if it happened then it must be necessary at the time. I met a lot of people along the way, some I loved and still love, and some I hated but have come to love in the end, some left to never come back forever, some left and moved to another place and some remained. I realized that in this life, we are all just passing by. This posed another set of questions, “If all of us will leave this world at some point in time, where do we go afterwards?” “Does our life end right where we are?” “Who decides where I go and when I go?” There must be somebody who knows all the answers to my questions. But who?
(To be continued in my next blog…)