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If I were magna cum laude

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Basically, producing an excerpt like that is what I do, or, should I say, what I’ve been doing for over a year now. I write ad copy for almost all sorts of businesses in the United States, but of course my contractual assignment is under an outsourcing company in one of the metropolis’ busiest corporate districts. Yes, here is where I landed right after graduation. I have quotas, quality assurance checkers, and the aim-to-please search engine gods like Google. I am not one of those who found themselves a rewarding call that is in line with our “How Do You See Yourself Five Years from Now?” essay back in college.

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With my degree in mass communication, I know there are people who expected to see me wearing proper dresses and high heels while walking at the lobby of the Inquirer or GMA. It didn’t happen, and I deal with that reality as I put on my big-girl pants early in the morning, commute to work, and consume all the caffeine, chocolates and fast food that I can. I spend the seven-to-four sitting in a comfortable office chair, in front of double computer monitors, in a 20°C, well-lit room. My colleagues’ and my top priority is client satisfaction. We write because the client needs to be visible, to sell, to gain. What is art, by the way? I think I’ve almost forgotten. The last poem I wrote was dated 2014. The last time I checked, I couldn’t even get an article done in my inherent writing. I guess I have lost myself in the process called my need to eat.

But I believe I am well-compensated than most workers I know. Furthermore, I am lucky because there are people who are more accomplished and refined than me, and yet it was I who got the entitlement. Yes, it is temporary and it can’t give me bragging rights, but I believe it’s better than complaining in the social media while doing nothing at all. My modest salary puts me through graduate school, buys the groceries and pays the bills, and I prefer that than making nothing while keeping my IG account filled with expensive frappés I shelled out from my father’s paycheck. The thing is, there’s nobody else out there who will do it for you. Nobody. This time it’s only between you and your will to do. That’s basic adulthood.

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Maybe you were also like me 10 years back. You might have thought that being a grownup is fun and afternoon naps are not. Of course you have. We all have. But then you will realize that growing up is like a time bomb that goes off whether or not you have accomplished what’s on the checklist. Financial stability, marriage, maturity—all these will be bugging you like fear. It’s frightening and frustrating, being far behind schedule and failing on things. You will miss the train, you will face closed doors, and you will break your heart many times. But you can decide to wait for the next train, ride a cab or walk on the street, and throw all the pain into thin air.

And maybe, we’re in the same boat today. Many of my peers have been living the life they can call their own. Traveling, making banks, sending their kids to school. There they go and here I stay, completely bored with my mundane, undecided daily grind. Sometimes I hate myself for it. I’ve asked myself why many times. But there has been no reply. I guess I just lost balance, and I need to refresh my state of mind.

Here’s how.

First, slow down on the social media; it is one of the primary mind-killers today, maybe second to illegal drugs. Twenty-four hours and seven days a week, it will show you how others are living behind that computer monitor. It will tell you that life is happy with iPhones, white skin and a bouquet of roses from a special person. It will tell you the places you must see before you die, but would you just let these top tens overpower your plans? You are a person born with a free will and a chance to live. Don’t feel sorry just because you missed what’s on their stupid checklist.

Next, think twice when seeking advice from the elders. I might sound like a delinquent, but it’s entirely true that you are different from your parents, or your aunt, or your brother; why they fail is not why you will.

And the crucial one, yet the one thing I failed doing: Point yourself in the direction you know you are good at and, more importantly, where your happiness lives. If you want to be a teacher, be a teacher of pride. If you want to be a politician, don’t be fooled by greed. In my case, I wanted to write but I didn’t chase my dream. I was eaten up by fear. I’ve lost all the self-esteem that the young version of me had. I cowardly sat in the corner and didn’t notice how time had passed.

But the world is still beautiful. People fail and that’s okay. You will achieve things late and that’s fine. If life events didn’t work out according to plan, pull yourself together and be brave to make another. You might have lost the plan, but not the time and the ability to dream more. You will remain a lifelong student, learning the tricks and realities of living, so that you will be able to survive all the mishaps waiting at the next street.

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Ultimately, stop waiting for the right time.

“The right time,” you told me. But I will keep telling you that there is no right time. Your whole life is the right time. Don’t let the clock ticking 24/7 leave you just sitting there and turning into a tree.

If I were the magna cum laude this year, you’ve just heard my speech. But if I were still a grade-school kid, I’d take that afternoon nap. Gladly, cheerfully.

Rachelle Desuyo, 25, is a web content writer at MicroSourcing Philippines Inc.

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