When we were children
FROM COFFEE TO COCKTAILS - Celine Lopez () - July 24, 2005 - 12:00am
I have all these fragmented memories of my childhood. Lots of it has to do with imaginary friends (and I still have an abundance of them up to now). My career as a garden-variety sociopath may have started early, but I believe that our childhood is what we hold on to when we get that pissy you’re-not-on-the-list feeling. No matter how much scolding and corner time we served in the past for being regular urchins, it is still all good.

Forgettable misdemeanors and petty consequences. It was a simpler time, a time when we still did not recognize ourselves as responsible human beings but as figures of whimsy.

Of course, it all changes. The moment that your parents become only a part of your life among other people, things do get complicated. It’s hard for the average Pinoy to grow up. In the cold, jagged Western culture one is cut off at the tender age of 18, just around the time that the privileged Pinoy child is christened with a debut or a new car. This is the cushy rite of passage coddled P’s tread on. The things that matter and make us grow usually hurt and don’t come with an instruction manual.

The social calculus kicks in – or sandbox politics, as I like to call it. You bear the burden of pleasing everyone. In high school, we fool ourselves that we are finally responsible adults by choosing sleazy boyfriends with fast cars and exercising the right to cut class.

We tend to form an abstract picture of the real world much like how Sweet Valley High tends to be the WB version of Pride and Prejudice. Of course, that simple rebellion is also as simplistic as bad grades, which are formulated to make perfectly clever children think that they are stupid.

I’ve done my part in the human massacre of the rational mind...college is quite the avenue for it.

With the freedom we receive in that stage in life, much like the Delorean, it’s a cruel and chilling example of the overestimation of oneself. But like the Delorean, the message that it has passed is imprinted on us with more of the measure of a tabloid rather than the cathartic variety.

How does one know when they are truly adults? Why, even at the fruity age of 30 we still seek the approval of others. Maybe the cool people have passed and chilled their flames upon graduation but the vicious cycle never stops.

We try to please lovers, bosses, colleagues, people smarter than us one way or another. Some through abject militant tactics, some through simple brownnosing which is actually noble for its lack of pretense.

When I first started writing this column, I loved using big words to unditzify myself. My editor always told me write to express, not impress. My loquacious approach just gave me the heebie-jeebies in the end.

I read the columns now and I’m reminded of Mira Sorvino with her Harvard degree in Chinese. I wanted to sound mature, but now I’ve kinda discovered who I really am (corny, not-so-sosyal and food-court loving!). In the end, as you get older, you realize being a grownup is trying to simplify your life rather than carve complex dramas that you so ardently did in your more casual past and you find enlightenment in solving your self-inflicted delilahs.

I don’t want a trophy boyfriend. I want someone who understands me and makes me laugh. I don’t want to be super rich, either. I’ve seen some super-rich buddies and there’s always a Faustian deal that comes with that kind of wealth. As I’ve always said, deprivation helps nourish the human soul. How can one be happy when they have everything and still have no clue what more they want? It can be lonely. Parents, too. There comes a time where they will cease to be figures of authority and more pillars of good conditions and inspiration.

The most important thing to realize when you’re all grown up is that you are not out there to please anyone; rather, you are out there to do the right thing. Something that makes you happy and something that would define your life. Your parents always wanted you to be a doctor and you end up as a drummer in a wannabe White Stripes band...good for you, granny, you can take your diapers off now.

There will come a time that your possé will shrink to the proportions of an iPod Shuffle and you will discover that you have never been happier. There will come a time that being cool is actually being baduy.

There will come a time when you might hurt those you love but you do so only because you need to live your life without the color-by-numbers Marxist philosophies.

The day you realize you’re content is the day you can put your legs up in that La-Z-Boy and have a martini. Crap, I’m quoting a princess again but what the hell, Princess Grace once said, "Happiness is not pleasure but a way of life, a consistent state of being where there are highs and lows." And that, my weaning puppies, is how you transform from a ball of fur into a true-blue bitch. True happiness is only found when tinged with sadness. And it’s only then that you can watch an R-rated movie and deserve the right to.

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