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Second-hand dream

04:03 AM January 07, 2020

Last November, during lunchtime at work, I found myself scrolling down the feed of a MacBook users and sellers group on Facebook. I realized it had been three months since I joined the group, yet I didn’t have any wish to sell, trade or even purchase a MacBook.

But that day was different. There was money to be expected from the long-awaited 13th-month pay. And I might, after years of lavishly wishing, finally get a MacBook for myself.

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Truth was, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to buy, which model, size and color. And I guess more than the specifics, my eyes were mostly transfixed on the price. My pro-rated 13th-month pay plus the little savings I had set aside wouldn’t suffice for a brand new, sleek one. Thus, I had to find the best deal for a preowned item.

And there it was, an interesting post from someone who claimed to be a long-time legitimate seller. As I went through the details of the item, I also looked into his profile to check. I presumed he’d been in the gadget-selling business for quite some time, as evidenced by a bunch of successful-deal photos — some clients smiling while others opting to have their faces covered by an emoji, just a thumbs-up sign to imply the deal was worth it.

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The seller’s marketplace item was a MacBook Air mid-2013. As indicated, the specs were: Intel core i5 1.3GHZ, 256GB SSD storage, Intel HD Graphics 5000 1536MB, 1018 battery cycle count, OS Catalina, with 5-6 hours battery life, all keys and ports working properly, and with activated MS Office 2019— for a price of P25,000. Fair enough for a second-hand item, I thought.

So, to keep my impulse to buy in check, I googled the specs and read articles and forums about the pros and cons of purchasing a second-hand MacBook. I even hopped over to YouTube, where I found a video reviewing if a 2013 Mac would still keep up with all the OS upgrades up to the present. I also sought advice from a friend who owned one.

I asked the seller if the item was still available. He said yes. Our chat went on until I was close to sealing the deal. As a potential buyer, my final preference was that it should have a complete set of Adobe Creative Suite applications installed.

I’ve always wanted to be a professional graphic artist. Be a dab hand at lay-outing books and magazines and, hopefully, make a career out of it — one of the many long-deferred passions in my dream to earn a spot in the crazy field of the arts and creative industries.

A part of me dreams to be like designer and illustrator Dan Matutina someday. But since my family couldn’t afford to send me to a school that offered a graphic arts course, not to mention that my education was subsidized by a local government scholarship program, I had to settle for banking and finance in a state university.

Eventually, I learned to accept and love what I had resorted to. And without the scholarship as a support, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pursue college to begin with.

It’s been almost a decade now since I left school. Though I didn’t get gainfully employed in the banking field, the exposure to the corporate world, as a communication skills trainer, has given me so much to realize, understand and accept about where life has put me now. Years of working in the BPO industry has introduced me to new challenges, always reminding me that there’s so much in this life I’m still yet to figure out.

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I could’ve learned graphic arts years ago. I could’ve saved to finance that pursuit as I began making money. I could’ve kept myself inspired and determined to go for it. I could’ve already been someone like Dan Matutina. I could’ve not let it go.

But when you are a breadwinner who has fully assumed the role of sole provider, putting your family’s needs at the top of your priorities, and making sure you also save for your own insurance as the idea of an unsecured future bothers you, stepping back and studying again might seem too risky a move. What if I don’t succeed?

A handful of salary information websites have impressed on me the idea that a graphic artist, especially a novice, doesn’t earn much. More often than not, artistic careers don’t pay the bills as easily as a business degree does. And when someone dreams of one path, sometimes he ends up taking the opposite direction where there are better career prospects. This is a common story — how people miss out on pursuing their dreams.

I decided to close the deal and meet up with the seller to test the gadget and hand him a portion of my hard-earned cash in exchange for a second-hand gadget. It felt risky, but to me it would mean a reboot of my dream. And while still figuring out my path back to school, I guess resorting to YouTube tutorials could be a good start.

I would learn Adobe — get my hand to grasp all the artistic strokes, and reanimate my story on a blank canvas.

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Chum Ocenar, 29, is a communication skills trainer in a consumer finance company.

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