Short & sweet conversations

JUST BE - Bernadette Sembrano (The Philippine Star) - December 27, 2015 - 9:00am

“It’s the quality, not the quantity.”

I’ve started to believe that oft-quoted line even in random conversations. I rarely have the opportunity to get to know people in-depth, due to this fast-paced life of ours. How much time do you get to spend with people anyway?

So I really value random conversations, enough that even without my notes, I can still hear or read their words. I had an interesting conversation with three individuals.

I will leave their names anonymous because these conversations happened in private. I wasn’t in the line of duty as a journalist to divulge their identities here.

Retired but not tired

One of the reasons why I’m writing again is because of a friend who’s retired but found her love for writing. I told her my dilemma. Why is it that now that I have more time in my hands, the less productive I feel. It’s been two months after I stopped hosting Umagang Kay Ganda.

My life was clockwork before. Wake up at 3 a.m. and everything follows: Workout, fieldwork, write, radio, ANC. Clockwork. The clock is working, but there’s no reason to set the alarm at 3 a.m. The second hand is working all right, but it’s going back and forth, with an unfamiliar tempo: Tick-tock, tick-tock, tic-tock, tick-tock! “Stop!” I want to say.

“Just set a time for writing even if you end up just staring into space.”

I’m at it again. I have to thank this lady for that. She loved the column that I wrote on retirement and said she could relate. I’m glad to help. This one is for you.

The workhorse

I had a nice conversation with a busy person. This I can pretty much relate to because I like being busy. It’s my comfort zone. The challenge of being busy is time passes you by, and at the end of the day, you wonder if what you did mattered at all.

It’s our daily grind. The daily grind works for many of us because what choice do we have? If we don’t work, we don’t eat. If we don’t work, who’s going to pay for the bills, tuition, medical expenses, etc., etc.? We need that paycheck to live! We accomplish things because we hardly have any choice.

But it dawns on you, too: What’s the sense of all of this? Was there anything memorable or worth remembering?

I used to remind myself of the purpose behind why I do things. Why do I strive and work hard? Most of us do it for family, others for security and there are others who want to make their lives better.

The achiever

“What do you want to achieve after this?” I was asked, in reference to my stint in TV Patrol. It took me three seconds to reply. I was still buffering.

Normally, when college students ask me this, I would say I just want to continue what I am doing because I love what I do. I want to grow and learn in this profession until I’m old and grey. It’s an honest answer.

But his question was more inquisitive and even challenging. It was embarrassing to say that I don’t have big dreams or a checklist. I just love telling stories that inspire, but I’ve also come into terms with reality that sometimes the stories we tell don’t seem to matter.

When I was a young journalist, I had a dream of changing the world. I still hope for that but my aspirations are simpler now. I just hope for a better life for others.

Instead of changing the world, the world has changed me, hopefully into a better person — simply appreciating life, telling stories and listening to other people’s tales. And loving, enjoying and learning from short and sweet conversations.

(By the way, please visit my website www.theearlyb.com. I would love to hear from you.)

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