I’ve been asked a few times what would be “my greatest adventure” and I could never give a straight answer. There’s doing this or going here. But lately, like an epiphany of sorts, I realized that my yet greatest adventure would be a little bit of both; packing it all up (which in itself is a great adventure already) and finally going home to the Motherland.
It will be 10 years come August since I left Davao, or should I say I left everything; the comforts of my youth, family, my best friends, my books, the love of my life…
Like I said, everything.
I left with a heavy heart, a hangover and a red backpack. I knew and everyone knew that the day will come for me to leave and I just have to suck it up. It was simply out of my control. It was set on stone, a mandate from the higher-ups. The only certainty at that time in my life was moving to New York after college, everything that happened prior was all fate. Moments and encounters were all bound to happen regardless if I left or stayed. I did not hold back like what most understandably would. Whatever it might be, it ended because it was meant to and whatever started it did because it should. Also, I really did not do much second thoughts then. I was young, foolish and most of the time intoxicated.
That day, I was playing it cool up until the very end. I went to see family and friends like I would on any given day, I ate where I most likely would, and I did a few things I have been procrastinating on. It was just like any other day except hugs were a little tighter and a little longer. Then as expected, I would have one of the saddest nights I could ever have on an airport parking lot.
At that exact moment, I was no longer the one being left behind. I became the one who left.
Maybe that was and still is the hardest thing to let go of; the idea that I had a “life” in Davao and I just did not get the chance to see it through. And whatever it could have turned out to be, for my peace of mind, I would really like to know. Just so I can sleep better at night, no other agenda.
I’ve asked myself if I mistake patriotism and homesickness. And the answer like many to life’s ponder-able questions is, I really don’t know. There are days when I feel so strong about an issue and there are days when I really do not give a fuck about politics or the status quo, I just want to be home. It is the beautiful mess that attracts me with it’s familiarity and uncertainty, not the bright lights and the big city.
But… I have stayed here for far too long. It is inevitable to have a love and hate relationship with this city especially when you embrace it. You cannot hate or love New York, it has to be both. For the most part, I love it. The diversity, the anonymity, the changing of seasons, the food, and the bike lanes or lack thereof, there is no place like it. It exudes a society that is tolerant and open.
However, there is in a rush, it is a mindset that is taught every single day and practiced every moment while living in New York. And as much as I abhor it, the unnecessary urgency of God-knows-what, it has penetrated in me in ways I do not know how. Although I must say riding the Subway was a huge factor because I felt some calmness in my life when I started biking to work. Biking helps me gather my thoughts, and it is nice to have a sense of control of my time and speed in a very fast-phased city.
It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result; for the past 10 years a huge part of it felt that way. Worse, even if I do something different it was all still the same. I’ve recently learned like many other things I’m starting to learn these days, that there is no harm in knowing when to stop trying. I think we owe it all to ourselves to recover in ways we know how after being spent. And so one day when I realized I will never be able to fold clothes the way they should be, I’ve made up my mind.
It is no longer a plan, I have made a decision.
I’ve decided that I know where I want to be and I’m in a rush for my greatest adventure. I have to do it. If it happens sooner, great. But nonetheless it will happen. Perhaps at this point in my life, I only care about what my niece says about me and a few other things. Things that really matter, things that makes me sleep better at night and look forward to waking up to.
I just want to be the one who came back and never had to leave.