Lemonade, Anyone?

Date posted on April 18, 2007

In my circle of friends, a lot has been said about my good friend Sherlyn’s recent decision to relocate to Boracay.

I’m not really that sure about what prompted her to make that decision. When I tell of her story to other friends, I tell them it was actually I who felt the urge to relocate and lead a relatively gypcyan life. My contract with Star Cinema was to end last January. I was then still involved with “You Got Me!” which was to be released by the end of February. Though I was just a signature away from a 3-picture deal with Star, that still meant that starting March, I’d be without a day job, and off a monthly salary.

Since I’ve always wanted to gallivant all over the country (around the globe, if resources allowed it), I thought this was the best time for me to do so. However, it would’ve been irresponsible of me to just get up and leave without careful regard for my finances. So in trying to reconcile my bohemian urges and my sense of accountability, I hatched a plan to become a responsible drifter.

It was simple. I was to move to a particular locale, take up a job that was more transitory in nature, fly back to Manila for occasional meetings with Star Cinema, then move on to another place when I’ve had my fill. It didn’t matter to me the kind of job I’d land. That was, in fact, what made the plan most alluring. The element of surprise. Each stop meant a chance to start on a clean slate, learn a new skill, get acquainted with a new place, and meet new people. I may have to part with certain luxuries staying in Manila would’ve guaranteed, like my house, my car, a potentially bigger salary… But in my head, this was me walking the talk. The uncertainty the end of my contract with Star Cinema brought ushered in the break to do something I’ve always longed to do. This was me making lemonade out of lemons.

I shared this inspired plan with Sherlyn, who was then taking haircutting classes from the Center of Aesthetic Arts. She immediately caught on and was soon conspiring in my grand plan. Her classes were to end in March, which meant she’d be a competent and qualified stylist by then. She would work in salons (as there’s never a dearth of beauty centers wherever you go) while I worked as a waiter, a University instructor, a bell hop, an English tutor or whatever job opportunity was presented. Sherlyn thought this would be to her advantage anyway since struggling to be a stylist in Manila would’ve only relegated her to a junior stylists’ job, with little opportunity to hone her skills in hair cutting. She upped her chances of actually cutting hair by going with me to the provinces. What, with her experience and education? On top of all that, we’d be together. We planned on sharing a room so we can split the rent. We thought about the adventures that lay ahead of us. We talked about how the hardships would be easier to bear, and the experiences more exciting, with a friend sharing the journey.

And so it was agreed.

Sherlyn asked a friend of hers who had an uncle working as a divemaster in Boracay to ask if there were any openings in a salon. She had almost forgotten about it when her friend broke to her news that his uncle had already found a job for her. Things happened so fast. By the end of March, Sherlyn was already making plans to relocate to Boracay for at least three months.

Meanwhile, I was stuck in Manila. I who deemed himself the progenitor of the idea in the first place. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I was actually assigned to a new film project as part of my 3-picture contract, sooner than most fledging writers might expect. Of course I’m thankful for the opportunity to write again. Still, I’m somehow disappointed that my grand plan had to be postponed yet again, while Sherlyn is now in Boracay, carrying out the plan we dreamed up together.

Many of my friends dream of dropping everything and traveling aimlessly. And at least once, we all thought of just disappearing from our life and getting the chance to start anew. A writer-friend of mine told me once that it’s particularly common among writers. Perhaps it’s the desire for new, authentic experiences untarnished and unburdened by connections we keep and backgrounds we have. It’s not as easy as one might think, as Sherlyn would attest. Sherlyn had thought of cutting her trip short after finding out she may have been hasty in her decision to work in Boracay. But she rallied on, and soon found that giving up would’ve been the easy way out. Now, everything’s starting to work out for the better. She’s found a new job and a new place in which to stay. She’s earning a decent wage, and she’s met new friends.

Sherlyn deserves a lot of credit for even trying this out, what more sticking to it? I just hope I’d have the courage to hold on resolutely when my turn to live out this dream comes.