Four bottles of beer, and I woke up with a hangover.
I could picture my 20-year old self shaking her head in disappointment. Naikot natin ang mga inuman sa KNL, mars, tapos sumuko ka sa apat? Well, what do you know? People grow old, Young Me, and newsflash: you are now officially in your late twenties.
I longed for this. The growing old, the entire jig about being an adult. The sage advice has always been to live in the present — carpe diem — but I was never one to listen. I wanted to grow old and now here we are. I am past the phase of trying new things for the heck of it, of making mistakes just because I could. Decisions, I learned, weigh heavier when you’re old.
Many months ago, I read a good news: Jovito Palparan was found guilty of kidnapping UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. I call them Karen and She even though I never met them. I met their parents, I joined prayer vigils and rallies, and I condemned with all the passion I could muster the institutional mandate for enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. I still do.
A month ago, Imelda Marcos was convicted of seven counts of graft. She was allowed to post bail, unfortunately, and only for a fraction of the money she allegedly stole. And then Bong Revilla was acquitted, Martial Law in Mindanao was extended, and activists like Satur Ocampo and Rey Casambre were arrested. An onslaught of bad news upon bad news upon bad news.
These things still break my heart. Former colleagues have gone the other side but I’m still here. I’m lying low, but I’m still here. I don’t always draw the sharpest lines but my heart, I believe, still belongs to the right side of the struggle.
I have been Jolens for over five years now. Some of my friends have started reading this blog and they recognize it’s me. They know it’s me.
“Ikaw na ikaw,” one of them said. And I don’t know why exactly, but it really makes me glad that my friends can tell this is me. Maybe it’s the implied recognition of a so-called writing style, or maybe it’s just the sheer specificity of my profile. In any case, I am happy.
And I enjoy blogging, I really do, regardless if my friends read me or not. Blogging has introduced me to new people I genuinely find interesting, people whose thoughts and opinions I value, and people who are way better writers than I can ever be.
So for that, and for many other things, I am grateful. Here’s to seizing the day (or trying to). Here’s to growing old.
I started writing this many Sundays ago, in the same week I turned a year older. I made a few revisions over the following weeks and, because the year is about to end (and it already has in That Side of the World), I decided I might as well post it.
Happy new year, y’all! 🎊
*Apologies to Bee Eyes for the title.