A year ago, I wrote this for an exercise in the scriptwriting workshop Star Cinema conducted. As co-facilitators, we were encouraged to participate. We were simply asked to write about what we’re feeling, or to write about a time when we felt a particularly strong emotion.
Back then, this was me. A month short of the expriration of my contract with Star. A few weeks shy of my 25th birthday. Back then, the most interesting thing that I could say about myself (when asked for an introduction), was that I left law school to pursue a career in film. I was trying to make myself more passionate and courageous in a desperate attempt to prove I had character and could amount to something.
That was more than a year ago. Now, I’m still in Star Cinema. Still struggling to pursue a career in film. Still no script credited under my name. I’m tempted to say nothing’s changed, and the worst part of that is I’d be telling the hard truth. Especially when I turn my head and see how my close friends have leap-frogged in their careers and are now boasting of fat salaries, promotions, and, heck, even love lives. The sad truth is the intangibles rarely count nowadays.
But I won’t say that. Lots of things have changed. I’ve grown a lot, despite appearances. It’s funny cause I can tell how badly I wanted to sound optimistic in what I wrote down there – and how I still came off sounding miserable. Reading this piece and seeing how different I feel now despite the seeming stagnation of my career proves all the more that it’s all a matter of perspective. It proves once again that writing can indeed do wonders for one’s growth.
Weather-weather lang yan… And I feel the storm has passed.
A QUARTER FULL
7 November 2004
I am overwhelmed by a feeling that things can be better.
A few months back, I owned up to a premature Quarter-Life Crisis. Premature only because I was a year and a few months ahead (I was 23 then). Now, I realize I might have spoken too soon. Either I was misled into thinking that already WAS it, or the depression I’m in right now is just part and parcel of a protracted suffering many have recognized as intrinsic to one’s passage to adulthood.
There is an email that speaks of this. The Quarter-Life Crisis – the restlessness, the sense of displacement, the fear of stagnation, the uncertainty of everything.
I remember first reading about it when I was still in college. Back then, I was just amused that the Gen X-ers have found a counterpart for the pentagenarian affliction. Years after, a close friend of mine sent the same email to all her twenty-something friends, including myself. The second time around, I read it with an eerie sense of tangibility. I thought, it must truly speak of a universal truth for not only am I able to relate to the article, my past encounter with it was proof of its application to those who came before me. It offered little comfort, but at the time, it was enough.
I’m now a month and a week away from being a quarter of a century old, and the restlessness remains. While the article was accurate in finding the words for what most people my age are feeling, stating the fact that there are others who suffer the same misery still fails to account for the feeling of desperation. The feeling of loneliness continues to overwhelm me. In the end, all it succeeds to do is to prove how desolate the world has become. At the end of the day, you have but your shadow to keep you company at the crossroads.
As I write this, I start feeling bad that I chose a dispiriting topic to write about. I was asked to write about a pivotal part of my life – and I chose to write of here and now, not necessarily the lowest I’ve sunk for it to constitute a cinematic enough conflict, rather a boring testimony of ennui. I know I’m capable of more optimism. I fancy myself good at providing clarity and direction to those who need it. The process is painful. More so when you’ve no one to turn to when in need of it yourself. While some mistake it for masochism, wallowing in all that despair, I dare say it’s the best form of self-preservation. I guess I needed to purge myself of the bleakness if I’m to write about sunnier things.
Looking inwards, I’m met by a disturbing emptiness. Twenty-five years old and with very little to show for it. Like I’m 75% void, 25% uncertainty.
But if half a loaf’s better than no bread, I guess a quarter full’s not bad.