Quarter life crisis, I thought, has ended for me until I recently turned 26. I felt the crisis became even stronger, my main dilemma– don’t know if what I’m doing makes sense.
What are the things I’m doing right now.
1. I’m finishing my MA in Comparative Literature.
2. I’m enjoying a lot of different sports like badminton, ultimate, and volleyball.
3. I’m still singing in a church choir with people I adore.
4. I’m self-studying photography with my point and shoot camera.
5. I’m happily dating someone but have doubted relationships since things happened.
6. I’m learning my Spanish for an exam.
7. I recently got back into baking and cooking.
8. I’m working on my investment portfolio.
9. I started traveling last year.
10. I’m teaching kids in hopes of helping change the country.
In all of these, I wonder, why? Why do I do these things? What sense is in them? These questions make me feel my infinitesimal existence, insignificance. I suspect pride and constant comparing of my life to others are the main culprits. Add to it my inferiority complex, my lack of self-esteem.
I recently read about this dude named Daniel Norris. This up and coming major league baseball pitcher scored a two-million dollar signing bonus but decided to stay in a Volkswagen van worth 10,000 US dollars, even taking shifts at a store to work during off-season. At age 21, he seems to have figured himself out, not caring what other people say, ignoring the lifestyle easily accessible to him.
I wish I had his strength, his talent, his eccentric way of living life. I wish I care less for what people have to say. I wish I can stop comparing my life with this cool baseball guy and start making my own.
Among these things I do, I feel quite sensitive about teaching as it has been central to me as a person. I used to be super sure about teaching, specially teaching kids from not-so-well-off families because I pray that one day they might improve their families’ lives. Now I know that kind of thinking is greatly idealistic and I’m not even sure if teaching actually makes any change, specially in basic education. Anyway, all society has for basic ed teachers like me are sentimental awwwws and ooooohs. I always get the question, are you a teacher or a real professor? As if being a teacher to kids is not real. In an interview of Lourd de Veyra of Rebecca Añonuevo about the proposed changes in the Philippines’ educational system, he paralleled professors to PBA league players while high school teachers to amateur basketball players–a reason for de Veyra to point out why it is ridiculous for the government to turn professors in college into high school teachers. There are reasons this move is ridiculous, high school teaching being callow isn’t one of them. I initially took offense, but then realized Mr. de Veyra is probably just a victim of society interpellated to look down on basic ed teachers like me. The way he nonchalantly made the parallel says so much about him as a media personality but also of society at large. It’s disgusting how he made the parallel (also his gestures that seem out of control) but then most people think the same way.
And so I come to this conclusion which isn’t rocket science and can easily be deduced by any one–I have to care less. Probably a paradox that to care less is to care more. The moment I get used to not minding what people say, then maybe I’d find more meaning in what I do, meaning not dictated by anyone but by the experience itself.
Either that or I should just stop watching Lourd.