26 Feb Choices, Consequences and Your Bullshit
JUAN SAYS: Sisa Zaragoza writes her observations from her recent experiences that should all get us thinking about our life choices.
by Sisa Zaragoza
They say that life begins at 40. While some may dread the big 4-0, many of us actually look forward to crossing the line. It is, to many, a right of passage. It is when many of us, women most especially have finally made it. We have good careers, we have beautiful growing children, a stable life, a husband to snuggle to at night. We have it covered. We are free at 40, men and women included. However, as we crossed this midlife threshold, we come to realize that 4-0 is just a number. The idea of “freedom” is just that, an idea, because many, like the people I have reconnected with recently, have become imprisoned in the past that they have built for themselves.
As we celebrated our 40th birthday, many of us looked back at the last 4 decades of our lives. We are considered lucky if we can pat ourselves on the shoulder to congratulate us for a job well done. But to be real, many, if not all who crossed the 40th mark have one thing and one thing to say about their lives: “what the fuck have I done?”
We are what we are today because of the choices we made in the last 4 decades. The mistakes of the past, the decisions we made to correct them are what shaped us to who we are and what we stand for today. But as we look back at what we have done, can we proudly say, I did the right thing. Can we all say that we are proud of who we are today? Kung may maganda kang trabaho, nakatira ka sa condo, pero single ka pa rin, masasabi mo bang tama ang mga desisyon mo? Kung nasa pangatlong asawa ka na at patuloy ka pa ring nagkukumahog sa pagtatrabaho para masuportahan ang mga anak mo at mga anak ng pangatlo mong asawa, masasabi mo bang you made the right choices? Kung hanggang ngayon kabit ka, o ginagamit mo ang iba’t ibang tao (lalaki man o babae) para kumita ng pera para may ipakain sa mga anak mo, masasabi mo bang, congratulations for a job well done? Sometimes I wonder, is turning 40 really that great when you know that the life you lived is not exactly what it was supposed to be?
Our Life Choices and the Consequences
“I am haunted by the past,” exclaimed an ex-boyfriend during one of our recent conversations. I didn’t know what he exactly means by what he said until he sent me the text messages from his daughter by his first wife. All I saw was a young girl desperately seeking for a father’s love and attention. “Ganyan ang ugali niyan kasi na-brainwash ng ina,” he explained further. And as I recalled, that was the girl he replaced me with. The girl he married because he wanted to hurt me so badly.
Another ex mustered the courage to talk to me one time letting me know that he remembered what I’ve always told him. “Hindi mo malalaman kung magwowork-out kung hindi mo ita-try.” And with that, he thought of marrying the girl he (again) replaced me with. Many years hence, he is already struggling to get out of it. Sadly, an annulment is such a costly aftermath of wrong choices.
I am not saying that just because they replaced me with these girls does it mean that KARMA is biting them in the ass. On the contrary, I would like to believe that what happened to our relationship has nothing to do with the choices they made after me. It was their conscious decision. They wanted to do it, they did it, and now they are reaping the consequences.
I have heard the statement: “ayoko ng magulong buhay,” a couple of times in the recent months. Truth be told lahat naman tayo, ayaw ng magulong buhay. But it makes me wonder if we are so bent on wanting a peaceful life, how come we arrive at decisions that destroy the peace that we are seeking? The ex who had troubles with his kid is on his third wife. He has two children from previous marriages and is now in a common law relationship with a girl once married with two children. Now he has to fend for them. He now works three jobs just to make ends meet.
The guy who is struggling to get an annulment is in another relationship. Yet previously, he did get another girl pregnant only to lose the baby. It disappointments me, seeing people wanting a better life yet taking actions that are contrary to what they actually want.
We know that life is unfair. Life is never fair. But life is full of opportunities and chances. Sometimes we are presented with chances for a different life… yung hindi magulo, yung hindi complicated. Life gives us a chance to get out of the shithole. Why can’t we all just grab these opportunities by the horns and wrestle with it until we get the better life that we so wanted? Hindi ba dapat yung mabuti, yung iba, yung tahimik, yung hindi complicated, yun ang sinusugalan natin?
Yet we continuously choose the pig pen just because. Ang hirap sa atin, gusto nating makawala sa basura, pero paulit ulit nating binabalikbalikan ang mga basura. I guess, it is the comfort of smelling the stink, it is the comfort of knowing that it’s gonna hurt. And sometimes getting hurt over and over again becomes very comforting because that is the only life we know how to live.
And Now Your Bullshit
I must admit, I am a sucker for mending broken lives to the point that it sucks the life of me. I get sucked in their shithole because I was bent on pulling them out. It gets me dirty, sick, hurting myself in the process. I was bounded by my obligation to being a Christian, but then again, recent experiences have reminded me of what I have known all along: you can only do so much. You can only give so much of yourself. You can only help those who want to help themselves.
There will be people who scream foul, who cry out for help but they don’t want to help themselves. They want to get out of their misery but when they see that the road to the life they so wanted to live is steep and treacherous, they back down, return to things that broke them, because it is comforting to succumb to the kind of pain you are now familiar with.
With my last posts on facebook about choosing “better,” I was recently asked by a girl friend, “what is better?” Alam mo yung feeling na hindi mo alam kung joke ba yung tanong niya o seryoso, ganun yung feeling. Ganung ganun.
Alam mo yung binigay na sayo ang lahat ng KPI, i-a-ROI mo na lang? Tapos hindi mo pa ginrab? Parang ganun lang yun.
How could anyone not know, not see, not recognize what is better? Better is peace. Better is right. Kung apples to apples ang comparison, hindi ba dapat alam mo na kung ano yung better? Better is always the choice that points to your north star. But then again, how do you explain “better” to a girl who has a fucked up moral compass?
And that’s when it hit me. I may have known the girl since we were in high school. We may have shared the same dreams, the same hopes of a brighter future. But at 40, I have lost her. I have lost her a long time ago when she decided to live in a foreign country, surrounding herself with people of questionable character, with a job that entails, well, being questionable too. Though she may say that her principles and values are still intact, I believe that those too, the core of her being, are already compromised. Indeed, BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER.
No matter how much you try to lure them back to who they were, who you believe they truly are, our efforts are exhausted to no avail. Mapapagod ka lang. Masasaktan ka lang. Hurt people hurt people. People may turn years older, but not necessarily wiser. And how can you expect them to grow when they are surrounded by people who have already reached their maximum potential for growth. Surrounding yourselves with people who are no better than you has its backlash. You maybe the smartest of the bunch, but that would never make you better. As iron sharpens iron, so does one person sharpens another. Eh paano nga kung tanso? Anong sharpen ang pinagsasasabi natin dito?
And as I said goodbye to my high school friend, I only have prayers for her, that she may realize one day that she still has a choice. It may not be an easy choice, it may entail giving up how much she is earning now, but I hope that she would one day learn to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. I can only do so much. I can only cry so much. And I have to keep reminding myself of what I know: THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, AND THAT IS NOT ME.
I believe that is never too late for anyone, not even when you are above 40, not even when you are in the twilight of your life. Nobody stays down forever. Nobody should suffer in chaos and uncertainty. Nobody should die with a corrupted character. Lahat ng tao may pag-asang tumayo, bumangon sa mundo ng kalokohang iniikutan nila ngayon. Life was not meant to be hard, nor was it meant to compromise your character for the sake of money. Ask the rich, money never made them happy. Peace of mind, peace of heart that is what everyone should strive for. Then again, it is only brought in our lives when we make better choices.