musings

Blip on the radar

Filter what needs to be filtered

It’s quarter to 6 p.m. and as I watch the sky turn from fiery orange to dark blue, a strong sense of nostalgia hit me — for things that once were but will never be; for things being the way they are but will never be the same again. I suppose a more fitting word describes this wave of emotions; ‘nostalgia’ is the closest I could find.

I remember how, when I basked in my so-called funemployment year, I would exercise late in the afternoon outside our house. After a day composed of jumping from one app or website to another, from one episode or movie to the next, I would prepare to go out with friends. Deadlines were nonexistent. It’s the life I slightly miss today, especially when stress levels are through the roof; at that time, I missed the structured, to-do-list-characterized life I currently live.

As I sat in complete solitude and silence in the living room, I am reminded of how this day is but another square in the calendar, another checkmark in the years I will have lived. My mind was free from running to-study lists. I immersed in the feeling of being small – no, not literally; I’m aware that holds true – in a world full of billions of people with own concerns and aspirations. An odd sense of comfort enveloped me when I realized that amid differences, we are alike in struggles on being resilient, trying to be better every time, coping with blows to our self-confidence.

It was overwhelming. No matter how gargantuan a challenge may appear to be overcome, it is but another pitstop along a long, winding road. It does not define the entire journey. It was humbling. All pieces, both bright and dark, fit perfectly and have a designated place in a giant jigsaw puzzle. A puzzle filled only with bright pieces would be too glaring and unpleasant to the eyes.

Perhaps I had been too caught up with emotionally draining events and mentally demanding tasks that I missed to pause for awhile and see things from a fresh perspective. As in photojournalism, the angle from which one takes a photo matters. Maybe I construed worst-case scenarios from events that are outside my locus of control. One mistake does not define me and if other people’s perception of me are tainted by it, I cannot do anything about it so I let it be. What can I say? If it has no solution, then it’s not a problem.

Today, I have been reminded that all things are passing. Cherish light, stress-relieving moments, usually characterized by tummy-aching laughter with family and friends, but could also disguise itself as a peaceful walk in school at  3 p.m. by yourself with a Coldplay playlist as companion. Never lose hope in trying times. It’s a way of gleaning lessons you would not have learned otherwise. It molds you to be a better version of yourself. A reason to be grateful need not be grand or life-changing. It could be in the form of finding a This Is Us playlist and falling asleep to it after hours of learning the gross anatomy of the neck.

This moment is fleeting. Life is short. Taking time to notice it is never time wasted.

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