What are your dreams? I thought about this as I went about doing an errand across our university campus. It was hot and sunny, reminiscent of the tropical summer days in May.
I had finished writing down my goals for the year (or at least the quarter) but still found myself asking what kind of life I wanted to live. Surely everything I was doing now was temporary. I was jumping from one short term goal to the next in preparation for the long term ones. I was doing the errands, trying to finish my thesis while working so that in the future should I decide so and so I’ll have a fall back.
But I felt the sticky summer heat and refreshing breeze in January and it reminded me how I’d love to spend life slowly. I wanted to go on road trips across the country and take photographs of spaces and places. I wanted to be in the kitchen baking coffee buns, or cooking up delicious Filipino meals, I wanted to plant trees and herbs and flowers, I wanted to write and draw.
I felt these longings too while on the road from Caticlan to Kalibo. The Panay island seaside shining golden in contrast with lush forest trees. As we made our way through the winding roads I looked out into the horizon and wanted these things.
I make mental notes of these “flights of fancies” because it seems they never go away. Maybe, despite this ambitious, more western approach of succeeding in a dog eat dog world – what I really wanted was the slow life. .?
I wanted time to make art and make food.
I used to be so hung up on becoming the person everyone expected and wanted me to be.
But I also want to be just me, and happy, and well loved, and be treasured the way I treasure my people. I don’t want to lose anyone any more to this spectacle world.
A winter time ago- the person I loved and I walked past a lake house. We looked at it wistfully and he said to me how much he wanted to have a house by the lake with the warmth of a happy family and a slow kind of life.
I wonder now if he meant it, if it was just a flight of fancy unlike my recurring ones. We used to have the same dreams but I lost him to the world- the shiny towers.
If what he really wanted were the shiny towers and not the lake house- it would be easier to stop wondering. But I can’t help but think about the lake house. Did he really want the lake house? did his wants change? were the shiny towers a distraction? That’s the difficult thing about malleable people, you don’t really know what they stand for and most times, they don’t know either.
So these days, I try to keep true to myself and know what I stand for. I don’t adjust my beliefs and values just to make others comfortable. I take note of the things I want – are these ways of escaping or do I really want this?
Do I want this because I think my dreams are too hard? Or did my dreams really change?
I pay attention to things I find uncomfortable. Maybe I really don’t want fame? Maybe I’m doing the wrong kind of networking? These things serve as my clues.
Life never tells you what you are and who you should be. That gets us all the time, and for the most part we feel lost. I think self-reflection and observation are ways to guide us through our paths. We begin to recognize what truly matters, what and who’s good for our soul. So many of us don’t stop to think. We jump into new things, new relationships thinking that a change of scenery will bring about a different outcome. We end up hurting others and even ourselves in the process.
What was I trying to say again? Ah, I find it easier to find my way in this life when:
I take note of passing fancies, recurring fancies
knowing where I stand, what I stand for and who I am,
when I take time for self-reflection and observation I save myself from repeating mistakes and going into a cycle of unhealthy, toxic relationships
Hmm, I think that’s it.