I lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling. Here, in my rented room, alone, on my own with no one to depend on but a few friends. While my classmates and batchmates make something out of their lives, or maybe having family dinners or whatnot, I lay here, in the solitude I found under the sheets, with nothing to hear but the sound of a distant dog’s bark, the stillness of the night, and the hum of my fan.
I still wonder, seventeen years after they asked me the same question in kindergarten, what do I want to be when I grow up?
On one side, I want to be a teacher. Teach kids and touch younger people’s lives; show them there is much more in life than the numbers and letters on their test papers. On the other side, I want to research. Just study and spend grueling hours to find related literatures, trying to find out what to make out of the information I find — what do they agree on, disagree on? Still on another side, I want to draw. I want to draw, paint, create — I want to put my thoughts into pictures, put colors in the gray areas of my mind. And yet, on another side, I want to sing. I want to grab the guitar and sing at the top of my lungs in complete abandonment; sing until all I feel are nothing but air I breathe in and out in time with the tune, where the words reflect my heart and mind without telling anyone because I’m using another artist’s song, because I’m still too scared to make my own in fear that it’d strike too close to home. And in yet another side, I want to write. I want to write of the things people have forgotten about, how my country has changed, how people have changed.
And yet, here I am, lying on my bed. Because I have made myself too small, too unimportant to think that what I think is of any important. Because I have let myself believe that my voice is too small, too soft, too sweet to sound good. Because I have led myself to think that I am nothing but a young adult, and I have nothing to show for it because people think I am wasting my talent, instead of getting out there. Because I’d rather lie in bed than face the fact that I might stumble ot get rejected or fail.
But no. I have done enough of that. Because I am on my own, I can do anything. I can write, I can sing, I can write, I can research, I can teach. Because I take the reins, I decide what to do with my life. Whatever other people think, it matters so little now.
So yes, I’d pick up the pen and start writing, or drawing. I’d grab the guitar and sing my heart out — if my neighbors could hear me, might as well sing well to make it worth their time. I’d continue writing, and from now on, about anything I want to write on. I have done a great offense to myself, trying to sink all my ideas down the drain because o thought I was too inconsequential to voice them out anyway.
I still have no idea what I want to be. Or maybe it’s because I was asking the wrong question all along. Maybe, instead of trying to limit myself into one thing, I could do all that I want. Maybe instead of putting myself into a box called “teacher,” I could put myself out there and be ALL that I want to be. Maybe instead of thinking I’m a Jack of all trades, master of none, I could make myself better to reach my full potential in all the things I want to do. Maybe I feel like I am a mediocre because I allowed myself to be.
So here I am, still lying in bed. I will get up, take a shower and make myself something to eat. Then I’d clean my room and do one thing at a time. And when it’s dark and I have done all the things I could today, I’d lie down in bed, again, feeling better, knowing that I didn’t do myself a disservice. And in the morning I’d wake up and do the same.
My dad once said that there isn’t a single path to where we wanna go. Others take a more direct path, others don’t. He said every person has his own path, and it is rather useless to compare yours to others. It has taken me years to fully understand this. But now, I am independent, and my life is in my hands. I am on my own, and it isn’t scary — it’s amazing, it’s exciting, it’s crazy. I will never know what lies ahead, but what I do know is that I can make it through. And I guess, that is all that I ever need to know.