Walking out of my 20s | Inquirer Opinion
Sunday, August 19, 2018
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Walking out of my 20s

I am turning 30 this year.

I would love to leave the prime of my youth, if not glamorously, at least, gracefully. But on my 29th year of breathing above the earth’s crust, I know it would never happen.

My life has been a walk in the park — Jurassic Park. It is always easier to give up and get eaten by a Tyrannosaurus rex, aka T-rex, than to actually survive and try to win life.

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Living is a daily choice, but here we are, spending our time on trivial matters. We live in the day and age of technology and convenience. There is access to almost everything, and young people are given so much opportunity.

Yet, the world is full of unhappy people.

While most of us are bored with our daily routines, some are fighting with grit and tenacity to live longer.

I witnessed a dear friend who did everything to live. I always wonder what it would be like if he were alive today. While some of us are having a quarter-life crisis, his life ended less than a quarter-century old.

I have a buddy who was expected to die within two years after he was born, but he is now 20. He has claimed his life and championed it, and has fulfilled his dream to join a choir.

I grew up with three older brothers. They would always make fun of me, but they became my go-to persons. My father was away for work for a very long time, so my brothers assumed that role. They are the three musketeers who save me from bad days.

I remember struggling in school because my brothers were such achievers that the teachers expected me to be like them. I could see their promising future, until one of them was framed for something he never did.

He was accused of brutally taking another man’s life. Though his name was not identified, my brother’s face appeared in a newspaper, because his picture was handed over, along with the victim’s personal belongings, to the police station by an unknown person.

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When my parents saw the news, they immediately turned over my brother to the authorities to clear his name. We were expecting to be accorded due process, but he was immediately charged as the murderer.

He went through every test you could imagine and the results were always negative. His DNA and fingerprints were not found on the victim and in the crime scene.

According to a witness, the victim’s car was driven away by the suspect after the killing. My brother, at that time, could not drive a car. He had coworkers who testified that they were with him that night.

My family fought hard for him because we knew that he was wrongly accused. What could people gain in framing up a boy whose parents were breaking their backs just to make ends meet?

But after 10 years, a number of lawyers shuffled by the Public Attorney’s Office and countless hearings, he was taken away from us — that same brother who stood up and protected me from being raped.

I could not imagine the trauma he went through when he was secretly brought to the crime scene just to torture him and make him own up to something he never did.

The true perpetrator is still at large. Those policemen were promoted, and my brother was sent to jail.

I would like to walk out my 20s by telling these untold stories. While we are stressing out on adulting, some lost their 20s and were not given the opportunity to experience it like the rest of us.

I realized that we do not own anything in this world. We cannot take our earthly belongings when we pass away. Even our life is not ours. We are just stewards of it, and we have the responsibility to flourish and live well as long as we exist.

My brother could have given up by now. He will be old to build a career by the time he is released. He knows that he will bear the stigma of being an ex-convict all his life.

However, he is determined to live even behind bars. He is teaching his fellow inmates and helping them graduate from secondary education. Instead of wasting away because of all the things that happened to him, he has chosen to look to the future, even if it is a blur for now.

In our 20s, we have limited resources, but life has gifted us with strength and time. Let us become a blessing to other people who might be facing bigger challenges than us.

This, my friend, is my last attempt to walk out my 20s gracefully.

* * *

Verna Lucia P. Sarraga, 29, a licensed architect, works in a nongovernment organization.

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TAGS: turning 30, Verna Lucia P. Sarraga, Young Blood
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