“Magiging tita ninang na kayo!” I was at the office when I received that message from one of my high school best friends in our group chat. I felt a mixture of happiness and excitement because back then, there were only three of us, then we became six because we had our own partners, and now, our small family was slowly growing. I sent a congratulatory message and expressed how happy I was for her and her partner. I wished her and her baby to always be safe. I was really excited that our group would have its first baby. But then, I started feeling a bit sad.
I felt that everything was slowly changing. I’m not the type of person who’s afraid of change, but I didn’t expect things to change this rapidly. I’m aware that we’re getting older. We’re no longer high school students chasing each other in the school corridors or having jamming sessions in the classroom when there was no teacher. We’re no longer the kids hanging out at a classmate’s house to watch a horror movie and snack on mangoes. We’re no longer the kids throwing peace signs in photos with somewhat “jejemon” poses. We’re no longer the students who are contented with KFC’s flavored shots.
I’ll admit it, after we graduated from high school, we all started living our own lives. We went to different schools. Our worlds expanded, and we met new people. They weren’t my only best friends anymore, and I wasn’t their only best friend either. Our interests changed, and we’re into different things now compared to before. We no longer chase each other in the corridors because we’ve learned to walk and take things slowly. Life has slowed down for us, and we’ve learned to savor every moment we have.
There are no more jamming sessions, but we’ve still learned to go with the flow of life. We now know the right tune, the right tempo, and the right theme song for each other’s lives. We may not hang out at a classmate’s house to watch horror movies, but sometimes life itself is scary. Facing the uncertain and unknown future is frightening. We’re still scared of making mistakes and failing, but like before, we’re here for each other, facing our fears together.
We’re no longer jejemon, but we have learned how to value our peace more. When you get older, you realize the importance of things that bring you peace. You won’t accept anything that is less than what you deserve. One of our biggest achievements is that we can now afford to go out wherever we want, eat what we like, and buy things we couldn’t afford before, even if it means not eating at KFC as often anymore.
It turns out that change can be scary at first because you’re not used to it. But when you realize that not all changes are bad, you’ll understand that it’s a significant part of life that reminds you that even though you’re still far from your destination, you’ve come a long way.
Indeed, we are not kids anymore. Over a decade has passed, and we’re now at an age where we’re slowly starting to build the dreams we used to write about in essays assigned by our English teacher. This is us living out the answer to that question we were asked back then, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It turns out we’ll reach a point in our lives when that question isn’t just a question anymore. It becomes real. And now, it’s gradually becoming real for me.
She’s not the only classmate who’s starting a family. Many of us have already gotten married, had children, and built our own families. It just takes a little longer to sink in for me when it’s my best friend saying that she’s starting a family. But no matter how big a change happens in her life, one thing I’m sure of is that until the end, we’ll still be there for her, and she’ll be there for us.
Last week, she sent us a picture of her ultrasound. I was overjoyed, genuinely happy from the bottom of my heart. I’m happy for her and her future family. Sometimes, I even find myself looking at baby items that I could give to my future godchild. Every now and then, I check up on them, asking how the mother and baby are doing and reminding her to take good care and eat healthily for her baby’s sake. I’m delighted because, in a few months, we won’t just be six, but seven. I’m not sad anymore because this is what change feels like—a beautiful and wonderful change.
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Jade Nool, 25, is a corporate slave in the morning and a part-time writer at night. Soon, she’ll be not just a regular ninang, but a cool ninang.