Wishing to be an adult at 9
It was July 27, 2012, when I had to skip class because my mother gave birth to my youngest sister. I was just 9 years old at the time and my little brother was four.
I was supposed to attend the morning class session scheduled at 6 a.m. as a third grader in the nearest elementary school at our house, but it was very unusual that my father didn’t wake me up at 5 a.m. and forced me to drink the hot Milo he prepared to wake my sleeping spirit (how I started a productive day when I was young); instead, he just let me sleep. When I woke up at 8 a.m., only my little brother and my cousin’s girlfriend Ate Karen were around. When I asked where were Mama and Papa, she told me that Mama had experienced birth pangs while we were hugged by the calmness of the night.
I became excited until I learned that our dog Chupipay also died that morning because the driver of the jeep parked beside our street didn’t notice that she was sleeping under his vehicle. I sat by our door looking like the people in the P500 bill, contemplating what to do to distract myself when it crossed my mind that the computer shop nearby would open at 9 a.m. Without any second thoughts, and taking the chance that Mama wasn’t around, I quickly ate my breakfast, took my wallet that had P20 (good for two hours), and ran to Ate Ailyn’s shop. I was her first customer that day and I expected that she already knew about Chupipay and Mama who was giving birth that morning, but before she could ask questions, I sat at PC3 and wore the headphones that had absorbed a lot of sweat from people who fought for their lives (DotA and League of Legends players). I opened my Facebook and started playing Tetris, and when I got bored, I explored different games in Y8 and Friv. I was totally distracted over those two hours.
One day, months later, my mother asked me to buy Pampers and milk (for my sister) at the nearest grocery, which was a half-kilometer from us. While walking, I saw two ladies ahead of me, one with blonde long hair and another with black vibrant hair who looked like they were in their 20s. I couldn’t take my eyes off how pretty and well-dressed they were and they seemed so happy with their life talking and laughing about college. It made me wish to be like them someday. Since that day, I’ve always looked forward to an independent, adult life.
Fast forward to when I was deciding what course and which university should I go to for college. I’ve always been an achiever and was our section’s top 1 a lot of times, but unlucky with scholarships even though my grades were high. I applied to public schools but didn’t have the luck to pass the courses I wanted to take. I didn’t have a choice but to go to a private university, and as someone who has always wished to have that adult independent life, I did everything to be allowed to study in Manila. I enrolled alone at one of the schools in the University Belt and started to romanticize life in the city. A few months after college started, I moved into a dormitory near our school since the commute from Cavite to Manila was exhausting me. I was excited and expecting a convenient and happy independent life living here in Manila.
It has been almost a year since I moved here. There is no hot Milo or coffee prepared by Papa every morning. Lunch and dinner aren’t cooked by Mama, and the food is not that exciting and appetizing to eat anymore. Mama’s voice when she’s mad at me for being in front of my laptop the whole day is already fading and I didn’t expect that there would come a day I will long for that irritating sound.
I don’t have to commute from our house to school anymore, but it’s more exhausting. Games can’t distract me right now since instead of finding something to distract me, I have to budget my allowance wisely and will be stressed if it is short. I have to fix everything myself, and even after a long, tiring day, I still have to figure out what to eat for dinner and prepare the things I’ll be needing tomorrow.
I knew it, it’s not all about being pretty and well-dressed or looking happy living life but adulting is about changes in life and how you will through them positively. Maybe the two ladies that I saw when I was 9 years old were smiling and keeping their appearance happy to hide how hard it is to live as an adult, just like me now.
I once wished to be an adult when I was nine, and now that I am 20, I sometimes wish to be a little girl again.
Chynna Rangas, 20, is living an independent life in Manila as a computer engineering student at the National University.