During breakfast, my Lola and I talked about the possibility of relocating after 53 years and 16 years of living, respectively, in this house which my late Lolo bought 53 years ago. Leaving is always bittersweet. Adjusting pushes a person to his limits in ways he deemed impossible and leaving, in many forms, is almost a formal acknowledgment of saying goodbye to a stage in life related with great memories and facing an abyss of uncertainty. I admit I was initially hesitant.
I know: A house is only a tangible object and memories will always be shelved in our minds with our own interpretations. But our family is such a sentimental bunch thus tears will definitely be shed should this plan be realized.
Knowing that my Lola is more resistant to change than most people I know (i.e. convincing powers were exhausted for her to use a mobile phone, to have her spinal column examined), I simply offered the idea, “Auntie highly recommends that we move uptown.” Imagine my surprise when she immediately gave a giant sign of approval.
Other than ensuring the family’s safety and peace of mind during rainy season, the idea sprung because my family agreed that having my Lola nearer to several relatives is a better idea. In short, she’s the primary reason behind this possibility.
“It’s okay with me so you and Evan (my brother) don’t have to worry in the future,” her voice trailed off as she enumerated reasons while I succumbed to a sentimental mode. Perhaps she approved of the idea because life will be more convenient for her but I never thought we would be her primary reason for doing so.
This is exactly the type of people I’m eternally grateful to have met–selfless enough to always consider other people’s sentiments and experience, and wise enough to know loving one’s self is not equivalent to selfishness. This is the trait I wish to find in new friends, too.
I suppose the challenge lies between prioritizing important people and, better yet, the bigger community while keeping personal growth in mind. I’ve always believed that no matter how a person is saint-like and altruistic, to the point of being an epitome of a generous modern-day hero that has ‘serve the community’ on top of his to-do list, he will always be motivated by personal reasons.
For instance, my parents are concerned of us not only because we are a deliberate obligation, priority, stress-giver and -reliever rolled into one but also because both of our triumphant and disgust-inducing acts had and will reflect on them. They’re two of my best friends whose values I highly admire and opinions I value although some of which I still oppose. One of my relatives’ common reaction when seeing a starving, unattended child on the street is, “Where are their parents?” That comment alone speaks volumes on how my parents give importance to other people’s perception on their role as parents and how they always evaluate their performance in being “stewards of children.”
Also, the vague yet inspiring thought of being equipped to help improve people’s lives is a strong motivation to pursue a career. Yet it’s not the only one. I suppose that in my part, its payoff includes: maximizing my skills and potential, gaining a sense of fulfillment and gratitude; the realization I will have lived a “purpose-driven life.”
As I see it, imparting too much of one’s self either to another person or to a career or service without a clear purpose on how it relates to the self is quite unhealthy. As a hit song in the early 2000’s goes, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” Then again, too much of anything is detrimental. People that think the Earth revolves around them need to be reminded that being self-centered and glamorizing self-hurt are a call for serious help and they’re worthy of pity.
To tweak the neurologist’s advice on drinking, “Don’t just love moderately. Love responsibly.”