08 July 2013

snapping awake and alive

It's ten minutes to five as I type this. The world around me isn't quite awake yet but it's obvious there are activities. Those who need to be are already dragging themselves out of bed. Me, I'm here, typing away, because sometimes, I've been snapping myself awake, just like that, during ungodly hours such as 4am.

My body has been adjusting to many things these past 2 years, I think. Not just physically but perhaps mentally, physiologically and of course emotionally. One consequence of this perennial adjustment is that no matter what time I fall asleep, my body wakes me up at the crack of dawn. I am more of a sunset person but this turned me into a sunrise person. Strange. Perhaps it's also connected to changes, about how I perceive things, actually, or how I put meaning into things that I like or dislike.

I am a sunset person because that's the only time that you see indigo in the sky. The moment before my favorite orange takes over, it gives way to indigo. And then the guessing game of what time the sun actually goes down ensues in my mind. Two seconds, three seconds, two minutes, three minutes. Sometimes, you're staring at the sunset so hard that you don't notice the seconds passing. But then, something calls your attention away from staring. And when you stare back after just a few moments, it's gone. The sun is gone. It has set. Yes, sometimes we miss scenarios like that, that easily -- in a snap of a finger.

But I've loved sunsets for another reason. It's because I have been such a night person, a nocturnal creature, since I was in college. My body was attuned to another time zone, I always thought, even before night shift working became the fashion in urban Manila. And for me, the sunset signifies something else:  that no matter how shitty or crummy your whole day was, you can leave it behind as soon as the sun sets, and you can begin feeling better anew, because you still have a chance, and the night gives you that chance, for as long as you could stay awake. So the sunset signifies something positive for me. Well, at least ideally, it should.

As for sunrises, I guess the older I grow, the more intuitive and more "traditional" I become, perhaps. Or not too traditional, maybe just a bit. Of course we all find ourselves settling down, slowing down, in our own different versions of what that actually means. No more partying, no more drinking all night, no more smoking, no more hanging out with people who wouldn't even care if you got sick but they're always there when you wanna party-party-party. Some behavior changes, but hopefully for the better. Emerging from some dark shadow, we leave behind something that which we do not want to bring forth with us in our journey. Leave it, drop it, step forward and move on. Wait for the light to shine your way, again. Wait for the sun to rise. And the times that you thought you were in the dark, that will soon be over. Like how fast the sun sets on us, that's also how fast the sun comes to our rescue -- to brighten our day, to make us look forward to what's gonna happen soon, to make us feel better that we could do more, today, as soon as the world is lit up, as soon as our surrounding universe comes alive. As soon as the sun shows up. Yes, that soon.

And this cycle never ends, you know. It never does. At least for us who lives on this planet, this 24-hour cycle of showing up and not showing up is what makes us feel that cycles do move us, cycles inspire us to not be stagnant, to not stay put when we definitely need to move. When things don't go our way during the daytime, there's always the nighttime to kick back and make ourselves relax that what we did or what happened to us during the daytime would be alright, that we would overcome it, that there's always something else to do than moping and weeping or regretting. There's always something else. And when we feel like we're stuck in the dark of things, whether we are trapped inside our own problems of perception or others are messing up our perceptions and have been keeping us in the dark, just wait a few moments to clearly see everything fall into place. The world lights up for us all, and it shows us that hey, this coming day could be better than the day before, so make the most out of it.

It's one thing to deal with such daily markers of time-slash-emotional passages but it's also another thing to deal with age markers. As I just turned 40 last April, there has also been a significant change in the cosmic make-up of my being. Yes, throw it all in -- my mind, my body, my soul, my heart, my spirit, my brain. Everything wants a tune-up. Like a car that you've been driving for ages, the body yearns to be free of certain things, to be liberated of certain thoughts, to be modified for a different purpose. It's challenging to take all these in, especially for someone who has been battling a constant love-hate relationship with stability and wanderlust, or perhaps have found its middle ground. Yes, I happen to believe that I have found that point, that moment or instance when you want to settle down and slow down in some aspects of your life, and then there's that other side that makes you not want to be pinned down to someone or somewhere or something. No, it's not just about having an itch to be scratched from time to time. I'd like to think of it as an overhaul, like your car needs a good strip-to-metal kind of paint job, or a new paint job for that matter, reupholstering of the insides to make it more comfortable when you move for a few more thousand kilometers of your life, or whatever you need to do to "pimp your ride" like what they used to do on cars in MTV before. Jazz things up. Something like that.

I guess this year has been like that for me. So many changes. So many plans of jazzing up stuff. So many moments of snapping awake at ungodly hours just to make me realize that different gods are still looking over me, giving me clues on where to find new signposts of new life, new joys, new chances. There are just so many that sometimes it overwhelms me. That's why sometimes, I find it silly that I think some things are hopeless, some things are not meant to be, that I've only wasted my time doing this or that when I could have been doing something or other. I call this "tinikling of thoughts" after that national folk dance of ours -- the moment you stop processing thoughts properly, you might get caught in between those closing-opening-closing bamboo things. Boy, what a way of keeping you in your toes, huh? Yeah, that oughta be the case. Your mind has to be snappy as well. You can't just remain idle. You can't imprison your mind and think that that is the only way to go. Free your mind, like that song said, and the rest will follow. Because truly, it will. It really will.

See how fast the sun is showing itself up beside me today? Those snaps are somewhat real time, in sync with what I'm typing here, as I type. Funny, isn't it, how thoughts could also progress as soon as light progresses onto the world. So this is the time to embrace new things, refurbish some things, restart things that still need to be done, and put away those that need not be included in your next journey out of current traps. Yes, as always, let's move forward, and travel light, so leave baggage behind if it only brings you down. There are still many things that need to be accomplished. And there are many more people out there to accomplish them with, if you find yourself stuck with some old but unreliable faces already.

But I guess even that you need to learn how to temper or tinker with -- relying on other humans for validating part of your existence. I mean hey, if they don't validate you properly, then perhaps it's time to get back your ticket and move on to another path, take another journey. Not all people in your life are meant to be there with you anyway. That's why, whether we like it or not, we also need to learn how to say goodbye, even if you sometimes think it's not yet time. There's no real proper time to do something anyway, so might as well get with your gut feel and do what you think would help you out in the long run. Well, yes, it's scary, it might feel unstable, but how are you going to know what's on the other side of the mountain if you don't climb it, right? Or swim around it perhaps, if that's more your thing. Bike through it? Fly above it. However you want to approach it, the point is, just move. Move. Move, I tell you, move. And believe me, things will really fall into place. Just be patient. Be patient.

And meanwhile, enjoy what the new day has to offer. Yeah, like what Annie sang, you gotta hang on to tomorrow, come what may. But what's better here is, tomorrow is here already. 

And so, let's live for today.

It's 5:40. Good morning, Manila.

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