Sunday, November 26, 2006


Breaks aren’t there for nothing.

That’s what exactly entered my mind, being now happily blessed with the time to finally tinker away at my keyboard for another post – something I’ve been longing to do for the past two weeks but haven’t had the time (again, blame the barrage of exams.) After the academic smoke cleared at the end of the week, I moved to focus on something else:

Turning 19.


And I don’t feel like it. Which could be attributed, perhaps, to the fact that I wanted to enjoy my 18 year-old self a little bit more, relish writing “18” on data sheets a little bit longer. (Hey, isn’t a year supposed to be enough?) But whatever I do, the truth remains: With the ticking of the clock, it will all be just history in a couple of minutes. And fast forward into the near future, exactly 365 days later, I would then have to say goodbye to the suffix “teen” and enter the age of the dynamic twenties, marking another milestone in my timeline.

So how do I react to all this?

A few months back, I remembered asking a classmate of mine who just celebrated her 19th birthday on how it feels to be another year old. To which she just shrugged her shoulders and quite nonchalantly replied, “Nothing different, I guess.” Perhaps, she may be right. You don’t feel 19 right away, or even 20 for that matter. It takes getting used to, much like sleeping on a new bed or entering a new school year as a student one level higher. Heck, I don’t think I’ll even be surprised if someone casually comes right up to me, asks me how old I am, and throwing caution to the wind, instantly tell them I’m 18 forgetting that I just turned 19!

In many ways, ambivalence is the word. It’s a toss between the childish enthusiasm of burbling “Wow, I’m 19!” versus the midlife despondence of mumbling, “I’m already 19!” Or better yet, just leave it at that and go on with the world, letting time take its natural course with as much ado as listening to a chatterbox-of-a-DJ on the radio. Young people, that’s where I’m supposed to belong; and very well stuck in between, too: Mature enough (and having known better) to impatiently rush the aging process, yet definitely having a lot more to experience in life to lose interest in it so easily.

Birthdays are definitely more than just extra notches on the calendar. Like a tree stump accumulating rings year upon year, everything’s all inside you – happiness and heartache. I may not be an ancient as a Californian sequoia, but at least all the years I’ve lived are in those invisible rings inside of me. At times, I may feel like binging on sweets or throwing a silly tantrum – that’s the four-year-old me resurfacing; other times I’m wont to be overly responsible for the doings of the whole world that I may actually (appear) to age more than I really do.

Still, I believe nothing beats making one’s birthday worthwhile than a quiet contemplation on the previous year, on all the years of one’s life. Many times over, birthday or not, I realized that it always boils down to the one same thing: Living each day to the fullest, not knowing when you will hit a dead end. So it is for this soon-to-be celebrant who shares his special day with renowned physician Dr. Fe del Mundo and the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., as well as the feast day of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal: Reflect on all 19 years of my life, relish the memories and embrace the future with open arms.

To 19 and beyond!