The Boy Who Cried “Let’s Hang Out!”

My Symphony: Something Here / Day Wave

Growing up is strange in that the people you used to hang out with everyday begin to gradually but steadily diminish into faces without names, and names without faces. Hours of deep, meaningful conversations at the football field have turned into minuscule scroll-down glimpses on Facebook. Countless heart-to-hearts have deteriorated into the most casual of “what’s up’s” and “hello’s”.

Who are we? Or, I guess, the more appropriate and less ambitious question is, who were we?

We were once kids, who (without doubts or hesitation) would knock on each other’s doors at two in the morning just because. We were once kids, who unconsciously spent more time with each other than with anyone else, on a daily basis. We were kids who drank their first beers together, smoked their first cigarettes together, and lived through their first heartaches and heartbreaks together.

Perhaps friendships are just naturally more challenging as we age. Back in high school, everything was just easy. We were in the same school, in the same classes, liking the same things, sharing the same goals (mostly consisted of passing Physics and submitting our Research papers on time). Some were even living on the same street, talking about the same trends, listening to the same music. ‘Follow’ meant literally following each other around school during lunch, recess and dismissal, ‘Like’ literally meant liking each other for and despite all his/her flaws and imperfection. ‘Friends’ literally meant people you cry with one second and laugh with the next. Life was a series of sleepovers, unplanned Saturday afternoons at the mall, secrets involving crushes and mortal enemies, and the usual horsing around over fishballs and ice crumbles.

But growing up has changed all of that. Hanging out is now a super-conscious decision you have to make. You don’t just happen to be in the same vicinity with your friends all the time. A mere meet-up for coffee takes a lot of scheduling, rescheduling and compromising. Nothing is as easy as it was. Now, you actually have to really want to see someone in order for you to afford the time and energy (and sometimes money) that it takes to meet with someone.

And this is exactly why friendships in this stage of our lives are the most important: these are now the friendships we choose to have, the friendships we choose to keep; the relationships we decide are gonna progress and develop into something larger and realer as the years go by. We no longer share our deepest darkest secrets to just everyone in our circle, and in the rare event that we have a sleepover, it isn’t just high school buddies passing time anymore; it’s like-minded souls mutually sharing in each other’s worlds, exchanging thoughts and ideas, basking in the light and warmth of a presence which, although rarely present, will always be genuine. We stopped being kids hanging out, and started becoming human beings connecting.

I love you, dear friends.

P.S. Let’s not be strangers…

What It’s Like To Be Inside Looking Out

My Symphony: “Always” / Panama 

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If this was high school, I’d be the perkiest, coolest, most popular kid to ever grace the corridors and hallways of my Alma Mater.

But nope.

This ain’t high school. This is the real world. I am 22 years old, and the only thing I am gracing isn’t the hallways of a school but the streets of this small town, as I try to look for a job that will support me and my lifestyle choices.

At this point, it is safe to say that I am not living the dream. In fact, I feel like I am living the nightmare. My very own version of nightmare. You might say that I am being a little too dramatic about this, but I am not. This is actually the bold, bulging truth. I am happy, yes. But I am not living. 

You see, my whole life, I’ve never been the type who conforms to what anyone else tells me to do. I’ve never been fond of career goals, business plans, 401K’s or the idea of spending close-to-a-decade amount of time in Med school. To state the obvious, I’ve never really been a follower of the whole “Right Path To Success” platform. That’s not to say I am a dreamless bastard, though. In fact, I have this huge dream, this glittery, flowy, almost ethereal dream that has perpetuated within me for many years. And this is the purpose of my writing here today. I need to get this one out, because when the American poet Maya Angelou said that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”, she probably wasn’t fucking around.

So here I go…

People usually wonder what it’s like to be “in”. It’s just how it typically goes. Ever since we were  little kids, we were being unconsciously bombarded with elements and factors that contribute to the whole obsession with fitting in, with getting there, with making it. We were encouraged to excel at school, to make as many friends as we could, or to be a part of as many activities and clubs as possible. Not everyone will admit this, but once upon a time in Kindergarten World, we had wished we had the same lunchbox as our seatmate Elizabeth, or that we owned a pair of shoes that looked exactly like what our super gross rich classmate Harry Campbell wore. Sometimes, being seven and clueless, we would take an accidental glance at the neighbor’s kid named Sarah McDowell and wonder (very deliberately) why she always carried with her a cute little shiny handbag while all we had was the same old backpack that aunt Debrah bought us for our third birthday.

It was stressful.

And then we grow up thinking that it will get better, but it doesn’t. Sometimes it does, for sure. But most of the time, it actually gets worse.

We are faced with expectations (lots of them, especially when you are in your 20’s). There are college applications and then, right after you’re done with college, you are faced with career expectations. Inject throughout both those scenarios the cruelty of relationship expectations and you have yourself the perfect recipe for a 20-something’s psychological and spiritual downfall.

Unfortunately for us, we do live in a material world. Most of us don’t mind it, because most of us don’t even notice it, but it’s true: all that surrounds us (and I’m talking about people who live in the city in particular) is an insistent visual reminder of what we should be doing. Every way we turn and every sight we see, we are being reminded that if we do not accomplish this or that by the time we turn x years old, we will be deemed failures. Society and that Pumpkin Spice Latte drinking office girl sitting in the corner of Starbucks will frown at us and maybe even choke upon the sight of us.

So, yes. It is stressful, I figure. But you know what else is stressful? Wanting the exact opposite. 

My whole life, I didn’t feel like someone on the outside looking in. I’ve been the exact opposite. I’ve been  inside looking out

I have always had inside of me this incompressible yearning to be elsewhere. Just… elsewhere. Anywhere but here. Something like that.

I’ve always had in me this powerful longing to escape, to break through walls, smash through roofs and fly over mountains. It’s this sort of constant itching to go on the wildest adventure of my life, of dropping everything and just going somewhere nice. Somewhere warmer, open-er, livelier. Maybe even somewhere nobody else has been. And I don’t know what exactly this inside-looking-out personality of mine has coagulated from, but I know that this has been me for the longest time that I can remember. It’s usually more difficult for most people, but determining whether or not a life of conformity was for me has been very easy. I just had to ask myself these ten super simple questions:

  1. Do I really have to have a six-digit income, compromising my time for money?
  2. Do I really need to have a triumphant coming out as the Entrepreneur magazine’s youngest tycoon in year 2018?
  3. Do I really want whatever materialistic things everyone else has?
  4. Am I gonna die if I do not marry and have kids at 25?
  5. Will it hurt my soul so bad if I decided to buy a one-way ticket to Indonesia or Thailand instead of buying the newest iPhone and the newest Jeep?
  6. Say I decided to work as a cashier at Walmart; will that really mean I have failed as a human being because I do not sit for 8-9 hours a day behind a mahogany desk on the 36th floor of Manhattan’s busiest commercial building?
  7. Would I really be happier if I owned more? If I had more? If had earned more?
  8. Does being alive mean making ends meet and making sure I pay all my bills?
  9. Do I really have the capacity to envision myself working for a corporation for the rest of my life?
  10. And, most importantly, will I ever be ready to trade all of my time and my energy for a dream that, somewhere down the road, may turn out to be not mine but someone else’s?

And the answer to all of these questions is a big, fat, poutine-devouring, cholesterol-obsessing, obese-looking NO.

At the end of the day, I refuse to obsess over society-dictated goals because I have my own mind, my own will and my own person. I do not have to trace out the edges of my life against some carefully carved out model designed by someone else. If you come to think of it, almost everyone is on to some grand master plan for the future – go to school, get a job, pay the bills, find the man, have kids (make them go through the same cycle), be happy. It is this vicious cycle where your freedom and right to a life of your own are being taken away from you without you even knowing it.

There has got to be something bigger than just schooling, or working, or buying a house and making money. There has got to be something more to life than just surviving, or financially thriving. Sometimes, I even ask myself the question, “Would I rather be rich and die not knowing who I really am, or would I rather be so-so (meaning roof on top of my head, food in my mouth three times a day, clean water in my stomach and a few good real friends and family), and die not only knowing who I am, but also die knowing that I have gotten to know the world that I once lived in, that I once breathed in?” 

This has been said before (a billion times) but I will say it again: life is fucking short. We are all here right now, but a time will come when we won’t be. We won’t be here anymore. Hell, even our planet Earth will one day collapse! The sun will explode and everything that we know right now will be non-existent. Where will your riches take you? How will your 13-million dollar condo unit in LA save you from feeling already dead even minutes before you actually die? Will you be laying in your death bed remembering all the hours you worked in the office? Or will you be laying there remembering the few moments in which you truly felt alive?

I personally would rather invest in actual life experiences rather than tangible materialistic possessions because at the end of the day, I have been through enough in life to realize that things are just things. Money is just money. When it comes down to it, life is meant to be lived and experienced (not owned and achieved). It is already there! Our lives, in front of us. This is it. The clock is ticking and we only get this one run to experience love, laughter, friendship and even crazy-ass adventures that will always keep us human.

There is a reason we do not have wires attached to us. We are not electric appliances or robots that were made to conform and follow a specific program. We are allowed to make our own goals, our own plans. There is so much out there to see, so many people to meet, so many highs and lows to go through, and so many oceans to swim in!

So, I guess, it really is time for me to act on this. It’s been 22 years. If I do not start working on my dreams now, when will I?

I am determined to live. 

Love is Not a Thinking Thing; Love is a Feeling Thing – and This is What it Felt Like

My Symphonies:

  • It’s Only / ODESZA (feat. Zyra)
  • Veins / Palace
  • Drifting / ON AN ON

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“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” –  Thích Nhất Hạnh

I need to say this to you now, before the storm becomes so brutal that it breaks everything apart. I need to say this to you now, before we both turn into the exact people we once swore we would never be, before we spit at each other’s red face with potent fists all embraced with pulsating nerves, before you call me a demon and before I call you the devil, before the bags are packed and before the doors are slammed shut, before our smiles turn to straight lips and before our glowing eyes become darker than our own shadows. I need to say this to you now, before we hate each other so much to the point of violence, to the point of indifference, to the point of eternal condemnation. And I need to say this to you now, before the day comes that we no longer even have anything to say to each other.

You always told me that in life, it is better to expect the worst from people, to carefully take into consideration the most tragic possibility before enjoying yourself the benefits of the good times. You were admittedly the pessimistic one, and you never hid that from me or from anyone. And I secretly liked it. I secretly liked the contrast we’ve both created the second our paths crossed. I am air and you are water, and would the ocean even be that beautiful if either one was absent?

I was never rational, though, to the point of madness. If there’s someone who can be a perfect epitome of the saying “love is for the fools”, that would be me. Without a doubt or any hint of hesitation. I’d gladly walk right up the stage and get my trophy as this generation’s number one fool. You see, love is different from relationship. You can love someone without being in a relationship with that person, but you cannot have a meaningful relationship without at least a dose of love; otherwise, it would just be like a casual business agreement.

As much as I hate saying this, I don’t think I am the relationship type of guy. But I do believe (very strongly) that I am the love type of guy. I mean, how could I not be?

How could I not be when I have loved every second of our first kiss? How could I not be when my heart always exploded with misery each time we had a fight, or when you were far away? How could I not be when I have explored every inch of you that there was to explore, even the darkest shades of gray and the maroonest shades of yellow? How could I not be when every time I thought of something to do or some place to go, you were always the first person, the first name, the first face that came to my mind, even when my mind was always a crib of a rainbow chaos? How could I not be when each time I held your hand I would see the universe as a perfect place again? And how could I not be, when all of the romantic comedies I saw in the past all of a sudden became pointless when I met you?

Because it was real, you know. It was never a rom-com. It was never some kind of a perfect story with a promising ending, but it was definitely a story nonetheless. A story, where neither you nor I plays the part of the protagonist. We were, if anything, the cover of the book. I, the front page with the title – flashy, bold, loud, eye-catching, but incomplete. You, the back page with the price tag, synopsis and all the reviews – detailed, keen, mysterious, informational, but written in very small font sizes, barely even readable. We both make up this exhilirating story of two individuals, but the story isn’t about us – it’s about someone else, some other couple who existed at an unidentifiable period of time in the history of human existence.

Because a day will come, my love, when I won’t even recognize you and you won’t even recognize me. We will become so different from who we are now that we will solidly question each other’s existence. A day will come when this little fort we built together crumbles down, leaving no signs of human touch. A day will come when those road trips, those summer vacations, those dinners, those lunches, those nights out, those parties, those friends and those songs that we had when we were still the you and I we met, just disappear into thin air, making the ultra convincing illusion that we were only nothing but mannequins – well-dressed, but lifeless. 

I had a dream, once, where I was being forcefully pulled away from you and I was holding on for dear life. There was just this sort of faceless void that was sucking me in and away from you. I was bawling my eyes out, legitimately fearing the possibility of having to face the world without you by my side. It’s crazy how real dreams can get, right? You’re a semi-expert in dream interpretations, so I know you know what I mean. And that dream, it happened so fast, so abruptly. I didn’t even have the chance to talk to you in that dream, and say the things that I wanted to say to you, in case the void was gonna be successful in pulling me away from you. The surprising part? That dream didn’t have an ending.  I didn’t get to stay asleep and dreaming long enough to find out if I was indeed pulled away from you. I didn’t get to see if you even did anything to stop the void from pulling me away, or if you were just sort of standing there, looking at me sweat and scream, just trying to keep close to you.

And that’s what gets me about dreams – you never really find out, most of the time. It’s like this very climactic scene is presented to you in incredible detail, but you never get to know how it ends, or even how the next scene looks like. But I have a theory here. What if our dreams are trying to tell us something? No, I don’t mean each of our dreams specifically, but the way all of our dreams generally come to us. Dreams come to us when we least expect them to, and then they end all of a sudden, without giving us a proper conclusion. But what if that’s the point? What if there doesn’t have to be any conclusion? What if, afterall, in that dream of mine, the ending is exactly just that – an image of me holding on to the edges of your shirt, while the faceless void was brutally sucking me in and you were sanding there, almost expressionless? What if the ending of our story is the climax itself?

I never believed in endings, though. That’s why no matter how much of an artist I am, I am always just semi-impressed with most of the films I watch and most of the books I read. I mean, there is probably only one fiction film that has ever been created (and that I’ve seen) that has convinced and impressed me with its incredible amount of realism. If you’ve seen the film called “Like Crazy” (starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones), then you probably know what I am talking about. It’s a great film, for me at least. It’s this story about an international student in the United States who fell in love with this American guy just several weeks before her student visa expires. And then there’s this video montage of the couple having so much fun and being so in love with each other, and it was also a very realistically cheesy montage – with shots of go-kart rides, walking along the city streets hand in hand, strolling at the beach, looking into each other’s eyes with a blush and an un-hideable smile on their faces (because, I mean, couples do this shit in real life, especially during the honeymoon stage). And then shit happens right when it’s time for it to happen, and complications with the immigration prevent the two from being together, so they have to be in a long-distance relationship. So let’s skip all the drama, the crying, the challenges and the brief appearance of Jennifer Lawrence in the movie and get to the part where they actually were able to find a solution to their immigration problem (yep, it involves a wedding). So, this brings us to the last three minutes of the movie, where Felicity Jones’ character finally gets to take a shower with Anton Yelchin and they finally get to be together. In the shower, the couple are neither sad nor happy, they are just there, alive. And then they both have flashbacks of all the times and moments they’ve shared together, right from the day they met until they got married. They both smile, and then they frown, and then they semi-smile, and then they semi-frown. And then THE END. Roll credits!

Yep. That’s how WTF-ish the ending of this movie is. But in real life, endings are always WTF-ish, and the reason for this WTF-ishery is that real endings are not glossy or pretty or even anything close to smashing doors, or parting clouds, or setting suns, or aerial shots of the city with the protagonist walking his “ending walk” towards god-knows-where. Endings are abrupt, and they are often cryptic because they happen without you even knowing it. Hell, endings can even happen right when you think you are on cloud nine. Because the reality is, endings aren’t defined as the last part of the story – in real life, endings can be just as calm, boring, so-so and noneventful as the day-to-day life of a fucking house cat.

My love, just like everyone else on this planet, I do not know what the future looks like. But I am doing this now – taking my time to appreciate you in my own literary world, and think of you – because you taught me to expect the worst. And if what you’ve been telling me all this time is true – if you and I really aren’t meant for each other – then know this:

I have loved you, and it has felt amazing.

The World According To Kenn Tenorio and 77 Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between, Coming From the Old People

My Symphonies:

  • Drag / Day Wave
  • Nothing At All /Day Wave
  • Lanterns / Birds of Tokyo
  • Taking Over / Joe Goddard

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We are here, you and me, right now, in this wonderful and chaotic place called Earth. And there are so many of us. Sooo many. So far, the general approximation is 7.2 billion and counting. Can you imagine that? There are more than 7 billion people breathing in this oblate spheroid at the moment. And each day, an average of 353,000 babies are born into this world to join our humanity. On the other hand, roughly 160,000 people die everyday. Every.Day. Isn’t that crazy? The statistics alone are enough to disturb us, scare us and maybe move us in some way, whether positively or negatively.

But lucky for us, we aren’t just here to make up those statistics. We are alive, and each of us has his own story to tell. We aren’t just here so that one day we can either give birth or pass away in order for the statistics to remain interesting. We are here for a reason, regardless of what that reason really is, or if you even believe there is one.

So 7.2 billion. To me, that’s a lot. I mean, I go to SM City Bacolod (which is a relatively tiny mall in my tiny hometown) and I go ballistic over the number of people that make up the crowd there, especially on Sundays. I literally sometimes get excessively infuriated by crowds. There are just times when you’re like “What in the eff is happening right now? Like WHY ARE THERE SOOO MANY PEOPLE?!?!!” And usually I just rush to run whatever errands I need to run in that mall and then I go for the nearest exit. And it really fascinates me how I can be so overwhelmed and stressed out sometimes by the number of people strolling in a nearby local mall, but when I take a look at the bigger picture, it’s nothing compared to the total of people that comprise the human race at the moment… 7.2 billion people.

… 7.2 billion people, yet we are so far away. So far away from each other, so far away from other people’s lives, other people’s cultures, other people’s griefs and joys. But when you think about it, we are one. We are one yet we are separated, scattered. We have gotten so used to life being a cycle that can be lived by following some rules and standards. We have become so accustomed to this process of waking up and surviving each day, trying to make ends meet, or trying to become better than we were yesterday, or competing with others, or gearing towards being successful. Life has become more of a marathon – a race – where money and success is what globally matters. We pass by people on the streets never really acknowledging that they, too, are humans just like us. That they, too, have lives and stories and friends and lovers and bittersweet pasts. For me, it is safe to say that we are the most selfish generation to date. And there are so many things that serve as distractions and deception these days. Technology hasn’t been a big help, either. I mean, don’t get me wrong – technology is great. It really is. I think it’s fetch. Super fetch. But technology has gotten to a point where it is so much of a convenience that it is becoming an inconvenience. I think you know what I mean. If not, here’s a basic example: Ever felt the need to sleep but you just find yourself at 4AM still scrolling away at your Facebook or Instagram feed? Exactly.

We are so caught up in our own little world that we forget to live. We are all just so busy. Gosh, do you even see how busy people are these days? And the most depressing part about being busy for me is that it is actually being globally viewed as a form of an asset, or an appealing attribute. Busy people wear their busy-ness like a golden medal even on their off-day. As if being busy makes you better than someone who lives a less hectic lifestyle. You greet someone and ask how they’ve been, and then he or she instantly feels the need to say things like “I’ve been so busy lately, it’s driving me crazy. But, you know, I’ve been well”. I know I already talked deeply about this back in 2012 in my article called We Are Very Busy People, but I just have to say something just to reiterate the general idea: being so busy is absolutely unnecessary. People think it’s necessary, but it isn’t. It isn’t even attractive, for me at least.

I am just feeling so strongly about this because I know that when it comes to the way the world works and the way that society operates, the numbers are not in my favor. I sit on the minority side of this topic. Even my closest friends and family know this. But they are exactly the reason why I always feel so compelled to share my insights to the world and to a lot of people. The more I grow up, the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted the way that I truly need to be understood and accepted. And the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted enough, the more I am empowered to keep on living this life the way that I know I want to.

People have called me a lot of things: a spoiled brat, a directionless immature slut, a lost puppy, a loose air, an un-contained chaos and a disaster waiting to happen. And I’m not angry at anyone for calling me any of those names. Had I been in their shoes and had I grown up with their thinking, I would call me those things too. But see, I’m not them. I am me. And in this world full of outside factors just wanting you to do what everyone else is doing, I know how important it is for me to keep it real. To wake up each day reminding myself of who I am, so I can consciously stay that way.

So life is pretty much a battle for me these days, simply because it is a constant struggle between following my heart and following what is “normal”, “right” and “rational”. To be completely honest, I am very solid in my ultimate life goal of becoming a ‘beach bum’ one day. It really is my only goal in life. I can write a whole book about this, but the basic, most straightforward explanation behind this is this: I love the beach, and I love sunsets, and I love tropical drinks and people whose best talents include meaningful conversations and appreciating the little things in life. I just love it. So why would I wanna live a life that I do not love?

But it’s not that simple. Contrary to popular belief, living the simple life is actually the toughest goal to achieve, especially if you come from a middle or upper-class family. Upper-class children are born into wealth and are therefore used to luxury and excess and most of them don’t even have an idea of what “simple” really means. Middle-class children, on the other hand, are mostly the most driven children on this planet. They aren’t poor, but they don’t have a lot of riches, either. So the general notion is that they wonder what it’s like to be on the greener side of the fence, to be rich, to have it all – they wonder what it’s like to have unlimited credit cards and unlimited yacht parties somewhere in France or Italy every summer. But that’s the thing: Middle-class people always wonder what it’s like to be “up there”, but they never wonder what it’s like to be “down there”. To live simply. To wake up not to jobs and a list of people to impress, but simply to wake up to the sunrise, the clouds, the birds and the trees. To breathe the fresh air in and look up to be reminded that you are whole no matter what.

That being said, becoming a beach bum requires a lot of work from me. But hey, I’m on it. Every single day that I affirm to myself that I am still the me that I know, gets me one step closer to my goal. I’ll be honest, I wanna leave everything behind sometimes. Just drop everything and continue on to the life that I want to live. For my own. For myself alone. If it were just completely up to me right now, I would literally pack my things right now and go on a really cheap tour to nowhere and let life happen to me. I think that’s where most people go wrong. They always feel like they should do things – a lot of things – so that their lives can matter. But what they don’t realize is that your life DOES matter. And it always will, whether or not you kill yourself over the obligations and goal-chasing that you think you need. You don’t need shit. You don’t always have to be the one that makes the waves. Sometimes you just gotta ride the waves and take time to enjoy the beauty that is our planet. Nature. Love. Poetry.

So why am I still here somehow trying to do some of the things that are expected of me? Simple. I love my friends and I love my family. When it comes down to it, their presence in my life matters to me. And even though they do not exactly share the same perspective on life, I love them to bits and pieces, and I just don’t want them to think that they failed as a parent, or a brother, or a friend to me just because I have life goals that to them seem silly. I need to take this process slowly because not everyone has the instant capability to connect with me about this on a soul-level. The general assumption would be that I am a hipster, which is what I am most irked by. Just because I love the beach and hate society doesn’t mean I’m a hipster. Ok, people? But if you really are THAT obsessed with labels, knock yourselves out. Call me whatever.

So in the mean time, while I’m waiting for that perfect time and that adequate amount of strength to reach my ultimate life goal, I’ve decided to do a research on old people. There’s really something about old people that has always intrigued me. If there’s a specific group of people that I openly label under some category, it would be the elderly. And nope, it’s so not under a derogatory light in any way, whatsoever. Here’s the deal. I love old people. If you come to think of it, they are the only ones around here that have lived long enough to know shit that we don’t. That’s just the most basic logic. With age comes wisdom. Generally speaking. And in one way or another, I do believe that old people are the most trustworthy of all of the age groups. Both them and little children.

So I’ve been reading a lot of articles and watching a lot of interviews about the elderly, specifically about their thoughts on life, love and the way that our world works. I happened to come across really interesting findings, so I decided to compile herein quotes I’ve gotten from my research. Fellas, I now present to you… The Top 77 Pieces of Life Advice From The Elderly:

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77  Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between

(from the elderly’s point of view)

1.“Invest in moments and experiences, not in things or properties. It’s not like you can be in your death bed someday and go “why is my condo unit in The Century not here with me right now?! I need it. I’m dying”. Invest in moments and experiences. Because moments and experiences become memories. And memories will never leave you, even when you’re old or dying. It’s the one thing that will be with you until your last second of consciousness, I believe.”

2.“Don’t look at the calendar. Just keep celebrating every day.”

3.“I make myself go out every day, even if it’s only to walk around the block. The key to staying young is to keep moving. Besides, later on in life, you will only wish you went out and moved more often”.

4. “Exercise, to me, is totally unnecessary. I think it’s mostly overrated. Stay active, and try to do it through experiences that you will remember someday, not some workout routine that you’ve memorized like the back of your hands.”

5. Have as many sex as possible. When you grow old, it is your sex drive and sexual capability that leave you, so take advantage of it while it’s still yours to have.”

6. “Fall in love, get married. Sex is to be encouraged.”

7.“Even if you feel hatred, keep it to yourself. Don’t hurt other people for any reason.”

8.“Don’t ever give up on love.”

9. “Nobody else controls you.”

10.”Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

11.“If you are embarrassed to be dating someone, you should not be dating them.”

12.“Do one thing each day that is just for you.”

13.“Forgive.”

14.“Find your passion and live it.”

15.“Most time things will figure themselves out.”

16.“Have a pet. Life gets lonely sometimes. Pets are reminders of how we’re all living things.”

17.“Take time to mourn what you’ve lost.”

18.“Keep going and never give up.”

19.“Life is fun. It’s all up to the person. Be satisfied. You don’t have to be ‘happy’ all the time, you need to be satisfied.”

20.“Love people. Find something to like about the person—it’s there—because we’re all just people.”

21.“Get a great education. That is something that no one can take away from you.”

22.“If you’re positive you can get through it OK. When you think negatively, you’re putting poison on your body. Just smile. They say laughter is the best medicine there is.”

23.“For years I would not take any medicines at all. I don’t think they do much, and lots of times the doctor is using you as a guinea pig.”

24.“Just go ahead and do your thing no matter what.”

25.“Have lots of people in the house and lots of different kinds of people—young, old, black, white, people from all over the world. People have always energized me.”

26.“I attribute my longevity to a great extent to walking, not being in the back of the car strapped down.”

27.“We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.”

28.“My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Vogler.’ My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.”

29.“Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it.”

30.“Science alone can’t help or cure people.”

31.“This is some advice for the ladies. Don’t marry an older man, marry a younger one.”

32.“I try not to worry. I just try to live.”

33.“I don’t eat very much, but I always eat a fruit, a vegetable, and a little meat, and always make sure that I get sardine and salmon at least once or twice a week.”

34.“Try not to eat anything that’s healthy. It’s true. I eat whatever I want. The secret to longevity is ice cream.”

35.“Quit while you’re ahead.”

36.“[Humor is] a life force, a way of surviving the difficulties of living.”

37.“When you laugh at yourself, you prevent others from laughing at you.”

38.“I think [people] have to be curious. They have to be interested in life outside their little aches and pains. They have to be excited about seeing new things, meeting new people, watching a new play—just passionate about life.”

39.“I don’t care what you’re passionate about: maybe saving Dixie cup covers. But if you do it passionately, you’re alive.”

40.“Age is not a disease.”

41.“Keep an open mind, and things seem less strange.”

42.“Always listen to the other person. You’ll learn something. Try to sit back, because you will learn a lot more listening to others than telling them what you know.”

43.“You have to love what you do. if you find a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.”

44.“Take naps every day.”

45.“You get one family, so stick with them. But it depends if these hardships are financial or emotional or other types. Stick it out. Some days are worse than others, and you have to be ok with that. The night is darkest before dawn.”

46.“I try to take the time to look at and appreciate the smaller things that make this life beautiful. When I do that, time slows.”

47.“Do something interesting every day; otherwise you disintegrate.”

48.“Learning new things makes you happy and keeps your mind active.”

49.“Sleep well, try not to worry, and enjoy good dreams.”

50.“Be lovable. I’ve lived a long life because there are so many people who love me.”

51.“I take a drink of Scotch every day. And I feel great afterward.”

52. “I don’t like stress. I can’t stand arguing. If anybody is fussing, I’m gone. I like to be around positive people, people who lift you up not bring you down.”

53.“Mind your own business, and don’t eat junk food.”

54.“Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious.”

55.“Have a good wife, two scotches a night, and be easygoing.”

56.“It is very important to have a widespread curiosity about life.”

57.“Take one day at a time, and go along with the tide.”

58.“You have to be lucky, but I made the best of things when bad things happened. I also ate prunes every single day.”

59.“Do what you have to do. Don’t analyze it, just do it.”

60. “Take it easy, enjoy life, what will be will be. Sleep well, have a Bailey’s Irish Cream before bed if you have a cold—you will wake up fine the next morning.”

61. “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying.”

62. “In relationships, sweat the small stuff. how you respond if your partner interrupts you while you’re doing something is very diagnostic of how good the relationship’s going to be. If you’re actively involved in reading the paper or doing something, and your partner wants to show you something of interest to him or her, whether you respond dismissively or you briefly stop what you’re doing and engage with your partner is very diagnostic of positivity in the relationship.”

63. “People who share core values typically have better marriages.”

64. “Communicate with your partner as often as possible.”

65. “Towards the end of life, what’s really important to people is to be able to see how their life mattered, how it was meaningful, how there was a story to it that wraps up in a good way.”

66.”Your life is not as serious as you think it is”

67.”When you meet someone for the first time, realise that you know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and others’ lives.”

68.”Remember that life is like a bank account: You don’t want to spend everything you have right away, but you don’t want to be a miser and save every penny. Yes, you’re only young once, but, with any luck, you’ll also be old at some point. Plan on a career, but don’t let it overcome the rest of your life. Take care of yourself, but don’t make it an obsession. Focus on your kids, but leave room in your life for yourself. Save enough money so that you’ll have enough for the future and for emergencies, but spend enough now to avoid looking back with regret.”

69.”Books. Read them. All the cliches apply (sunblock, flossing, travel). But don’t stop reading books, lots and lots and lots of books. Crappy ones, disturbing ones, difficult ones, fun ones. You can only live your one tiny life, but with books, you can live thousands more”

70.”Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependants, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!” 

71.”Don’t chase with your hormones. Attractive people, because of their attractiveness, are seriously overrated. Choose the woman or man for your life by the quality of their character, the warmth of their heart, the kindness in their soul. Really, even if she or he is not the hottest, seek the company of others whose company you really enjoy. The person you marry may be the person who keeps you out of a nursing home. Bodies age and fade, but a deep and abiding love lasts a lifetime”

72.”People will always remember how you made them feel”

73.”Stuff is just stuff. Hoard time instead”

74.”Floss regularly, dental problems are awful”

75.”Collect experiences. I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish I would have travelled more when I was younger”

76.”A friend will come running if you call them at 2am; everyone else is an acquaintance”

77. “Work less. And try to live more.”

The Most Phenomenal Fact

My Symphonies: 

  • Chandelier / Sia
  • Collapse / Vancouver Sleep Clinic
  • Flaws / Vancouver Sleep Clinic
  • Poison&Wine / The Civil Wars
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Kenn Edward Tenorio. 22 and notoriously crazy.

You know what the most phenomenal fact is? The most phenomenal fact in my life and in the world that I live in? The most phenomenal fact about everything and everyone that I have ever crossed paths with?

The most phenomenal fact, ladies and gentlemen, is that I am right now sitting here and  writing to you with the knowledge that when it comes down to it, this life is my own and that there’s no one else to be thanked or blamed. It is the knowledge that time is ticking away like a madman with every breath that I take; the knowledge that I am tiny and enormous at the same time, because of how the universe and this planet came to be billions of years ago. It is the knowledge that a day will come when none of this will really matter. Do you know how depressing and brilliantly liberating that is? To know that you can write and express your raw thoughts and articulate your raw emotions to a blank space without having to worry about the great future significance of whatever the hell it is that you are writing? Let me tell you: it’s motherfucking great.

You know how in movies the main character starts narrating his story through a voice-over while the opening credits are being flashed on the screen? That’s kind of how I feel right now. I feel like my life is on its opening credits, and here I am talking to an inanimate object so that people will later on hear what I have to say. I think it’s one part of being a writer. A lot of great writers in the history of literature didn’t get to see their work earn millions of dollars and millions of readers because they passed away before that happened. It’s depressing and also wonderful, I think. And I’m not saying that I am the next Sylvia Plath or Ernest Hemingway, I’m just saying that I am a fucking boy living in this sort of fucked-up but somehow amazing planet, and I am feeling somewhere in between alive and dying at the moment.

I am not naive, and I am not dumb. Well, sometimes I act like I am. Well, most of the time, actually. It’s actually like a form of self-entertainment for me. But I’m not naive or dumb. I know that I am often lost, and people always feel the need to put some sense into my head. You know what, let me tell you something rather explosive:

I am notoriously crazy, in the fiercest sense of the word. I am a lot of things, and people know that. For starters, I hate society. I’ve always been a nonconformist, but it’s not because I wanna stand out. In fact, the major reason why I hate society is that I know that it doesn’t exist. Society is a state of mind. It’s not like someone just woke up one day and decided he was gonna invent society and then Hello, bitches! Here I am! Yours Truly, Society xoxoxo! No. Nobody just simply got bored one morning and thought of ways to create society. Society is really all in the mind, and I am aware that as long as I hate society, I am self-injecting its existence into my life. It’s almost like acknowledging the fact that it is still somehow stronger than I am.

So in a way, going against “society” is like battling my own demons inside of me. It’s like telling that part of your thoughts that you don’t enjoy to get the hell out and go fuck itself. And I’m telling you, it’s not easy.

It’s not easy to have to walk along the streets and exchange hi’s and hello’s with people who may or may not be aware of the same things that you are aware of. I mean, I am not judging anyone. We are all different because had we all been similar to each other, the world wouldn’t be as alive and interesting as it is right now. We all make up this kaleidoscopic world, where each of us plays his or her role in the affairs of the universe. So it’s not that I want people to think the way I do, it’s simply that I wanna be heard. Sometimes. Like today.

All I’m saying is, there are so many facets to me that not a lot of people understand.

I am the friend they love to hate. Because I am so unapologetically expressive, and I am loud, and I am outgoing, and I am unpredictable, and I am hyperactive and sometimes unreasonably enthusiastic. And I do things that they take as an insult simply because we do not all share the same values and priorities. Sometimes I do things that I believe are fun but are already grave and derogatory for some people.

I am the whiny misunderstood bitch who’s lazy and erratic like hell. Because that’s just how I am. I am honestly either the best or the worst companion. I don’t do anything half-ass, and I think that I have established that. I like extremes, and I really just live in the moment. I am ill. I can be vindictive and irrational. I can be very over-the-top with anything that I do. I piss people off, and it’s usually the people I am truly close with. Because when I am really close with someone, I tend to show them all parts of me. I don’t spare them the gory details. Why should I? Do you have any idea how rare it is to find real friends nowadays? Real lovers? even understanding family members? Let me tell you, it’s effing hard. So when you know for a fact that this or that person gets you, and you feel like you’ve both connected to that point where you can share anything with them, even your deepest darkest secrets? You let loose. You let go, and then you explode. You let them watch your lava pouring and skyrocketing all over the place. I don’t know about you, but I like to think of every day as the last day I get. That’s why I love the extremes. I always try my hardest to live on the edge because really, there’s no other place I’d rather live but on the highway and the fast lanes of my own little world. People always say things like, oh my gosh I can’t wait for my bucket list to get crossed out entirely. Or Someday, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna fuck this shit and live the life that I want to live. Or Someday, my life will be great. Not today, nope. But someday, I am gonna be fucking rich/famous/significant. Someday I’m gonna change the world. Someday I am gonna meet the man of my dreams and I am gonna marry the fuck out of him. Because someday I am so gonna be in love that none of the gods can do anything about it. Someday I am gonna be happy. Someday I am gonna get a dog and walk him in the park where I can say that hey, I have a stable 9-5 job and I have a 6-digit income, so look at me being so fly at the park walking my super expensive dog along with the other stable people here. Like, one day, I am gonna be living my dream. I am gonna be an inspiration to others one day. Maybe next year, I’ll go on a trip to Rio where I can finally go crazy and be myself without being judged like I do in my tiny little hometown. Maybe next month, I can finally do this and that. And maybe, in the next decade or so, I can finally go on a hot-air balloon ride in light of my Bucket List Crossing Out Event.

Fuck.

It’s always Someday. That Someday, I tell you. Damn. It’s your worst enemy. Does anyone else out there wonder deeply about this sick obsession of people about the future?

Look at your friends. Look at your lovers. Your family. Your brothers, sisters, your batchmates in high school, in elementary, your workmates, your boss. Your community leaders. Et freaking cetera…. Everyone is so attached to this idea that someday, life will be good. The idea that someday, all of the hardwork and the sacrifices and the endless burning of the midnight oil will finally pay off. A bright motherfucking future. That’ what everyone cares about these days.

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In beauty pageants, one question that never goes out of style is this:

If there is one thing you could change about the world, what would it be and why?

I’m telling you, one day I’m gonna join the fucking Miss Universe just so I get the chance to be asked that question and I will say (and no I won’t be giving any amount of fucks about the time limit or how the crowd’s gonna react or if they shut the cameras down, coz I’m just gonna explode):

Thank you for that wonderful question, Ms. Someone Who Is Supposed to be Worldly Significant Enough For Me To Shake Out of Nervousness Because It’s Supposed to be a Big Deal. 🙂 (of course, I’ll be smiling the entire time because that’s how a Miss Universe contestant should act, right? They should always be skinny and smiling, as if representing the universe is all about that.) If there is one thing that I could change about the world, it would be the way humanity worships the future. Like honestly, that’s the only thing I would like to change about this world. I just wish we could all give less of a damn about what the eff will happen next month, next year, or 5 years later. Why is it always about the future? You always hear “Someday, I will be happy” but you never really hear someone saying “Right now, I am happy. This is great. This is amazing. I feel alive”. Tell me you hear or read that across social media sites on a daily basis and I’ll be the first bitch to axe-kick you across the face to wake you the fuck up. Because nobody says that. Nobody believes in the present anymore, when it’s technically the ONLY thing that we are certain about. Why can’t the HERE and NOW be amazing? Why does it always have to be a trip around the world  or a job promotion or money that will make you happy? And why does it always have to be SOMEDAY? I’m sick of that word, actually. Someday is the worst scammer you will ever encounter in your life. Sure, you can choose to believe so tightly in the future, but what if none of what is on your bucket list happens? What? You’re never gonna be happy then? That you’re gonna die sad and miserable because you didn’t get to do all those fancy things that you were once so sure were gonna happen? I mean seriously, ladies and gents. Look around you. You are all breathing and you all have a reason to believe that right now is the best time to live, because this is the current time that we are in. For a change, try focusing on the now. I don’t know about you, but now is lovely. Now is beautiful. Now is birds chirping, now is oceans running deep, now is breathing and caring and dancing and loving. Now is friendships that are flourishing, now is rivers rushing. Now is fireworks and parachutes and gummy bears and pugs. Someday isn’t the time. NOW is the time. Now is literally the only time that you are alive. Okay? And yes, three servings of STL for me at the backstage after this please, thankyouverymuch!

And you know what else? 

The most phenomenal fact is that I get to live these days with you even when I know that we aren’t meant to be together. Look at me. And then look at you. We are two different people with ideals sitting on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

I am happy, though. You know I always am when I am with you. It’s kind of hard to rationalize what we have because everyone knows that what we have is anything but rational. But you know what? I am fucking grateful. Being with you has taught me a great deal about myself and about love. Being with you has made me look at the tiniest of things and feel like I can still hold on to them. Being with you has proven that even air and water can make a wonderful harmony at one point… even just at one point. Remember that night I told you that this is the kind of love that can kill us? The kind of love that can bleed and maybe never heal? I meant that. I realize that in this crazy world, it is possible for two people to have a connection so strong and so real that no amount of hardcore differences and hardcore battles can make them let go so easily. When two people have a really strong bond, it takes more than just a heated argument or a Bible-thick list of differences to make them realize that they should let go. And that’s what it’s like with you…

We make hurricanes, thunders, lightnings and earthquakes, but I love that.

I love that for now, I get to kiss you good-night and see your lazy face in the mornings. I love that for now, when I look into your eyes, I still see the you I fell in love with. I love that for now, I get to hug you and smell your natural scent right down your neck. I love that I get to laugh with you, and smile with you over the stupidest things. I love that I still get to reach for your hand in the dark and feel them open up, like a flower in the dawn of Spring. And I love that for now, you are mine and I am yours, and in this little tiny world of Here and Now that I built inside my head, we are forever. I know that forever doesn’t exist in the long run, but it does exist in the present. That’s how I feel, and that’s how I have been feeling with you… Call me crazy, but I am glad I am. Because if I weren’t, I wouldn’t be here… I wouldn’t  be here breathing the same air as you. And I probably wouldn’t be the one you gave your heart to at this point in your life.

Your mouth is the mouth that says the harshest things to me, and the same mouth that kisses me.

Your eyes are the eyes that look down on me, and the same eyes that say how much I’m loved.

Your hands are the hands that brutally give me bruises, and the same hands that delicately hold mine.

Your arms are the arms that push me away, and the same arms that keep me close to your chest at night.

Your mind is the mind that doubts me, that hates me, that kills me. And the same mind that believes in me, that loves me, that thinks I’m alive.

And if that Someday will come when you think you’ve had enough of this plethora of mess that is myself, and you decide to let go, know that I truly do love you. You know how I know that? Because I’ve always known this was irrational, but it never mattered. I genuinely didn’t give a single heck about how messy, and how irrational, and how crazy this was because for once, I wanted to experience how it really is to FALL. How it really is to love someone not for the good times, but for the whole package – the good, the bad, the ugly and the brutally grotesque.

I know we do not have a tomorrow, but today is still here. And I am here while it lasts, my love.

The most phenomenal fact is that I don’t love you, but I always will………………… 

Life, Three Days Later

My Symphony: Ships In A Bottle by Butch Walker

The house

After an unbelievably stressful and gruesome travel, I have finally arrived in Bacolod – safe, but not entirely sound. Eek! I feel like a sore loser already for opening up this blog entry on a slightly negative note. But hey, I just said I’m safe, and that’s one positive thing! But I believe there are always two sides to every story, and this is me refusing to ignore either one. And having had spent at least 72 hours here in my hometown has been very eye-opening. It’s only Day 3, but there’s already a lot to take in.

Let me start with the most obvious one – my old house in Mansilingan, Bacolod City. The pictures above show an honest presentation of how the house looks like today. Six months ago, a bunch of money-hungry freaks (or as most people call them, “professional robbers”) stealthily managed their way into the house, wrecked the ceilings, took all the electrical wires, stole the water tank motors and ruthlessly ravaged several other properties from our washing machine down to our old photographs and my brother’s high school yearbook.

This afternoon was my first visit to that house after almost three years. It was supposed to be a very painful experience, but I have to admit I forced myself to not feel anything. If I were to give credit to where credit was due, I would really offer myself a good pat on the back for at least having the guts to walk into that house without anything but an aching, longing heart filled with story-heavy memories. I mean I could have cried like a fucking baby for all I know. I could have stood there inside my purple room, reminisced, and wept out loud. I could have watched the bitter reality sitting right in front of me and dreamt of ways to make it sweet again. But I didn’t. I didn’t because it’s too hard.

It’s hard to know that the very place I used to call home is now this abandoned concrete structure with remnants not just of bad memories, but of good ones! And that’s what’s so hard about it – that house, despite its being a witness to a couple of heartbreaks and momentary familial discord, had actually seen and heard more love, more laughter and more unity within and around it. And to see it look so old and so tired in spite of its young age is just heartbreaking.

So it’s not just hard; it is also heartbreaking.

It’s heartbreaking to remember the things that took place inside that orange house; those big and little moments that were all filled with a captivating magic. It’s heartbreaking to learn that the living room in which my brother Clayton and I spent hours and hours talking and playing with our cat is now empty and essentially covered with dust. It’s heartbreaking to look at my mom’s walk-in closet and no longer see the wide mirror which used to be always there. It’s heartbreaking to set my ears wide open and no longer hear the sound of home, but the sound of desperation, of this ten-year old place screaming for help.

And my room! Oh, my room.

It hurts to walk inside my room and see nothing but a violent darkness, because I know that that is where I technically grew up. That room was where I spent a lot of time being honest to myself. That room had seen me smile over texts from my crushes; it had seen me wrestle with History and Chemistry textbooks and with endless homework and projects; it had seen me fall in and out of love time after time, and it had seen me move on and start over. It had also seen me dance to Backstreet Boys songs and emotionally sing to Taking Back Sunday’s music and lyrics. It had seen me as I formed my alter egos inside my head, and it had seen me talk to myself – literally. Simply put, that room had seen the best and worst of me. And it hurts to come back to it and find that there is almost nothing left to come back to. I am now surrounded by the fact that indeed, nothing is as long-lasting as we’d like to believe it is.

Every living and non-living thing is constantly deteriorating. People grow old, things change. Nothing new or surprising.

I’m sure I will keep on coming back to our old house over the next two months. I’m sure that next time or the time after that, I will no longer be able to successfully block the feelings that I’m supposed to feel. I had lived in that house for ten years; I know that pain will become inevitable at one point. But I’m ready for that. I’m ready to feel pain for the nth time.

Then there’s this thing with the city itself, Bacolod. Being back here still feels surreal. I’ve only met three of my friends here so far, and I have to say I’m quite happy – happy to see them, happy to be with them, happy to feel like the high school version of myself again, to a degree. But there is this dizzy state of disbelief that’s somehow creeping in. I don’t know if it’s the jet lag or just the extreme and sudden change of weather, but the whole being back in Bacolod thing hasn’t sunk in yet. All I know is that this afternoon, at around 4PM while I was walking to my grandma’s house, I saw and felt something I’ve been wanting to see and feel again. It’s the sight of my neighbourhood’s narrow roads and the feeling of being free. And maybe this is just an illusion of mine, but it feels very real. Life isn’t always like this for most people, but I’m glad to say that for now, this is the way it is for me.

I’m liking this.

I like taking cold showers without feeling like I’m being murdered in the middle of Antarctica. I like walking around our neighbourhood in just board shorts, a tank top and an old pair of slippers. I like waking up to the sound of roosters and maya birds declaring that it’s morning. I like to hear the sound of loud public jeepneys and tricycles coming in and out of my silence spectrum. And I like the possibility that the home might still be around even though the house has turned to ruins.

Because maybe, just maybe, it’s true. Maybe home isn’t a place but a feeling. Maybe after all, home is never between the walls and the corners of a man-made structure, but within the confines of the heart.

Maybe it’s anywhere and everywhere in which you feel not necessarily sound, but safe.

I don’t really know. I guess I’m about to find out.

I’m Going Home

My Symphony: Home by Daughtry
I don’t regret this life I chose for me,
But these places and these faces are getting old…

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Maybe that’s the best part of going away for a vacation – coming home again. ― Madeleine L’Engle, Meet the Austins

This is it. In less than 24 hours, I’ll be on a plane back home. 

Damn. Typing that out just literally sent chills down my spine. There is something about the word “home” that is very powerful in a comforting way. And that’s what I am feeling right now – this almost indescribable feeling of danger and safety. It’s been a long time coming, and now here I am. My bags are all packed, and I am more than ready to go.

The weeks and the months that have led me to this moment hadn’t been smooth-sailing, though. There was a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, a lot of reckless daydreaming and a lot of uphill battles with the people around me and with myself. But I have to say it was all worth it. We take every experience, big or small, and learn from it tremendously.

When I left the Philippines two and a half years ago, I left with one goal in mind: to find whatever it was that I was always looking for. Halfway through high school, I developed this irrepressible longing to leave – leave the city I’m in, leave the people I’m with, leave the life I live. My “past life” (for a lack of a better term) was byzantine, to say the least. I made a lot of mistakes, disappointed loved ones, broke my friends’ trust, caused a lot of emotional trouble and took for granted all the things and moments I now wish I could have back. And instead of facing the world and trying to repair the damaged, I decided to walk away and leave everything behind. And I did that because that’s what I had been wanting to do all along; I wanted to start over, strongly believing that there was another place out there for me which I could call home.

I was wrong. 

I think everybody should leave his or her hometown and go somewhere far at least once in his or her life. Not only is there a myriad of things and life lessons to learn Out There, Out There also makes you appreciate In Here, in a way no other place can. And to me, it’s been an exhilarating ride so far.

Everytime a friend or a family member asks me ,”So when are you visiting the Philippines?” or “Hey Kenn, are you going back here in Bacolod for a vacation soon?”, there’s always this part of me that cringes for some reason. It’s like my heart turns gray and my entire upper body shrinks, and all I want to do is run away screaming like a lunatic. I don’t know, I guess up until now I’ve never really accommodated “visiting the Philippines” as an acceptable oxymoron. Phrases like visit home and vacation in Bacolod sound disturbingly self-contradictory to me. So let us make one thing clear:

I’m not “going on a vacation”; I’m going home.

It’s as simple and as truthful and as accurate as that.

I look at Vancouver and the world that I’ve somehow built here for myself. I look at the bed I’ve been sleeping in for many months; I can see its edges and its weight take up a portion of the wooden floor. I look at our kitchen and then I look inside the refrigerator; I see a dozen eggs with one that’s broken, along with my brother’s sliced cheese which he always reminds us is expensive. I look at the living room; I look at the ceiling, my mom’s new carpet, the big red cushions and the television, which has started to look noticeably old despite its newness. I look inside my closet; I look at the big black bag in which I carefully stuffed all of my notes and physical memories from college. I look at my cat, Dunkley; I see him in the biggest and fattest he’s ever been; I see him groggily walk towards his favorite spot on one of our red-and-white dining chairs, and I see him yawn, stretch, stare devilishly into the air and lull himself back to sleep. And then I look at my pile of luggage sitting tall and proud in one corner of my room. For the first time in a long time, I feel like myself again.

This is why this chapter is very important to me. The farther I’ve been from home, the closer I’ve felt to it. And at these times when I often feel lost and unsure of who I’ve become, I find it crucial to go back to my roots and refresh things a little bit. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had here have all been climactic, and I can never be grateful enough for the opportunity to get to know life and the world around me from such a different perspective. But the time has come. For at least the next two months, I will be in my hometown, the small city of Bacolod. For at least the next two months, I will be breathing a familiar air under a familiar sky. For at least the next two months, I will be storing my clothes and my books in a room inside a house which my feet and my heart have known since I was little. And for at least the next two months, I will be not here, but there.

And there is waiting.

See you soon.