This long, uncertain journey | Inquirer Opinion
YoungBlood

This long, uncertain journey

Early this year, I made an outline of the crucial tasks that I needed to accomplish each month for the rest of the year. As a fresh graduate who was only beginning to understand how the real world works, this was my attempt to keep myself sane. Think of it as if each task was a pinned stopover on a long, uncertain journey. Each pin on my outline was an indicator of how far I’ve come and how far I would still need to go.

I was certain that I would accomplish everything in my outline, that I would somehow finish this long, uncertain journey. Well, that was until this whole pandemic happened. Apparently, it’s not just social or physical distancing we’re doing, but unavoidably, as the world is at a standstill, we’re also forced to stall the important tasks, plans, and decisions in our lives, thus, impeding the future we’re slowly building for ourselves. Whoever said the world doesn’t stop for anybody hasn’t lived through a pandemic.

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You see, in my outline, I initially planned to resign from my job by June, exactly one year after I graduated from college, to pursue something much closer to my filmmaker heart. “That one year was just a trial and error, just me testing the waters,” I reassuringly told myself even though I was really anxious about the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that my current job in media didn’t bring me joy. It’s just that when you already know what you want to do with your life, not even the closest thing there is to that thing will suffice for the real deal. I think I didn’t phrase that more eloquently—but anyone who has or had a passion would understand.

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A few weeks before graduation, one of my closest friends from college asked me what my greatest fear was. It took me a while to answer, but I managed to say that it’s being unsure that I really wanted to become a director. “Ayokong maging 30 years old tapos bigla kong ma-realize na: ay hindi pala para sa ’kin ang pagpepelikula (I don’t want to turn 30 years old and suddenly realize that filmmaking is not for me).”

I said that for the longest time, being a filmmaker, a director, was the only thing I wanted to become, and that I didn’t know much outside of filmmaking. That’s why I’m so scared of that time when I would’ve become so unsure of my passion, because I don’t know who I am outside that dream of mine. If that happens, I’m just going to be another human living a life devoid of meaning and purpose.

My friend, who was either lying or a low-key psychic, just dismissively but reassuringly said: “Magiging direktor ka, ’yung magaling (you will become a director, a great one).”

For the longest time, I believed I had it in me to become “a great filmmaker,” because that’s what everybody said and that’s what everybody wanted me to become. When everyone around you says you’re going to be this certain kind of great person, you’d believe them, and you would do everything you could to be that certain kind of great person; otherwise, you’d become this certain kind of great disappointment for them. I don’t want to become a disappointment, not now, not ever.

So I went on and applied for production-related jobs, eventually landing one as a field production assistant in the news and public affairs department of one of the leading broadcast media companies in the country. It’s not film, but I’m in production, and I’m doing something close to what I really want to do. It’s okay even if I have to wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning for a grind that wasn’t until seven hours later; even if I have to go to Farmers Market at least twice every week when I don’t even do our own grocery back home; even if I still have to wash all the dishes we used and clean up the venue of our shoot while everyone else is preparing to go home; even if I have to keep my real compensation a secret to my parents so that they won’t tell me they sent me to a well-reputed school and graduated with honors just to be asked to peel bulbs of garlic and onion. All this, because this is better than not being here at all.

I’m willing to go through this long, uncertain journey so that I won’t ever have to say to myself someday, when I’m much older, that I knew what I had to do but didn’t. I think I speak for everybody who’s at a similar point in their lives when I say that I’m so scared of what will become of me years from now. I know this is just a phase, but to anybody who has ever been through a similar journey (and with a pandemic in the equation): Please tell me, how did you make it out alive?

I’m 21, and I’m so sure of what I want to do with my life. But I still pray that I will be so sure of this for the rest of my life, especially in these very unsure times. For now, I’ll just follow the pins on this long, uncertain journey of mine.

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Miguel Louie de Guzman, 21, is a field production assistant in one of the country’s leading broadcast media companies.

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TAGS: flimmaking, Miguel Louie de Guzman, Young Blood
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