What if I took my academics seriously? What if I planned which degree to take for university? What if I stayed longer in my previous job? All of these questions linger in me as I start falling into the trap of comparison. Would I be as rich as he would? Would I have a good stable career like hers? Would I be in a happy married life like theirs?
Days before my 28th birthday, I took a trip with a friend who had an extremely positive perspective on life. He had an annoying belief that everything turns out for the good. Before I met him, I thought I was already one people who swear by the “Hakuna Matata” lifestyle but I guess I have not noticed that living in Manila for years have turned me into a cynic. There are times when I bothered by thoughts of what ifs and I know I am not alone in this. Anyways, we randomly thought of visiting Lake Danao in my hometown (I initially wanted to spend my birthday in Sagada but due to the sudden changes earlier this year, I had to give up the idea).
At the start of the trip, I already felt that things were not going well. He failed to get an earlier trip because of the outdated website so I had to wait for almost 3 hours. The weather did not agree with me too and decided to make that day rainy. Therefore, we went to the jeepney terminal to catch a ride to the lake, turns out it was the last one and the only seats were on top of the jeepney. Eager to not waste the day, we tried out top loading (As a daredevil, I enjoyed the road except for the part where it was freezing cold and wet.) We arrived quite late and found out there were no transportation to go back to the main city after 5p.m. Luckily, while on top of the jeepney, a young man started talking to me. He turned out to be one of the locals whose relatives are managing the tourism office. I told him about our random trip and he politely offered to let us stay in the tourism office. The darkness of the place did not scare me. In fact, I was amused to see a sprinkle of fireflies flying around a big tree, made me feel like I was standing in front of a giant Christmas tree. We stayed in the tourism office for a while the young man went looking for his cousin. Turned out that his cousin was not around so we started worrying on where we could possibly stay. It would have been okay to stay near the lake if not for the rain. The young man was concerned about us, he told us there was a place where we could pay to sleep but it cost P500 (for him it was too much, for us it was reasonable). He took us to his house, his two younger brothers, mother and father greeted us. They were embarrassed to have us because their house was still under construction. His mother cooked dinner and welcomed us. They went far in accommodating us by giving us one of their two rooms. The children slept in the living room. Despite our offer to sleep in the living room, they insisted we sleep in the other room. The next day, we woke up to an amazing day; his mom cooked breakfast and went with us to the lake. We borrowed a small Bangka and tried our skill in fishing (I did not catch any while the kids caught several). It turned out to be a great day; we had troubles finding transportation back to the city again but a neighbor offered to take us to the main road. It was a scenic motorbike ride (habal-habal way). The sun shone across the fields and the cool breeze blew through my hair. By the time, we reached the main road, most of the students and workers were trying to catch a ride back to Ormoc. We ended up walking for hours, until a person driving a truck let us hitch a ride. In no time, we arrived in the main city but I realised that I have lost my mobile phone and that we missed the last trip to Tacloban. I tried searching for my mobile but did not find it along the road where we were walking. My friend ended up paying for the unplanned stay just because I did not foresee extra costs. At the end of the trip, I started thinking about the incidents. Would the trip be better had I planned well?
Everyday our lives marred by these internal conflicts between planning lives out and just taking it as it are. We are lead to believe that it is all black and white. However, life reminds us of those grey areas. The trip to the lake reminded me to worry less. Despite the troubles and problems we were faced during the trip, we met incredible people and got what we intended. It was not a smooth journey but it ended well.
Some call it luck, some call it fate, and others call it destiny. Whatever it is, life is never shown on a full frame. A never-ending series keeps you on the edge of your seat. It does not offer you the benefit of seeing an alternate ending. You are given options with no rewinds or edits. Life’s unpredictable nature should comfort us more than scare us. I know most of us have a bit of obsessive-compulsive nature to control everything but we cannot. Life is bigger than we are and we can never tame it according to our wishes. It however, reminds us daily that things fall into places. So take a seat, get comfortable and enjoy it as it unfolds in front of you.
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…
― John Lennon