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What I Thought Life Is About

It will be less than two months away until I graduate and get that hard-earned piece of paper, my bachelor’s degree.

I remember five years ago, I was selfish. I was selfish of my life, my time, and my wit. In high school, I kept so many secrets about myself. I was a little rebel to my parents for they restricted me from doing so many things that in my mind I cursed and hated them. I was time conscious because I wanted to finish all my homework before they’re due, to read all the books on my list, and to have meaningful conversations only to people I trust. I was the nerd in the group and I’ve lived up to my peers’ expectation to be the body of intellect and excellence.

Five years ago, I thought that as long as I’m happy with what I do and where I’m currently in, then I found purpose in life. But now, I’ve flipped my thoughts upside down and realized that life is about being meaningful regardless of the emotions we feel in it.

Five years ago, I was happy to get high marks in school. But I wasn’t happy on the process. I stayed up all night doing projects, I’d felt disappointed with a groupmate who never kept up with the project timeline, I was broken when my parents couldn’t afford to buy me new books that my school supplies were all hand-me-downs from my older siblings. Regardless, I was very happy to be able to go to university.

Five years ago, I was happy because I have so many friends. But I fought with them, I felt upset at them, I betrayed them here and there, I envied them for some things they possess that I didn’t. Regardless, I enjoyed waking up early in the morning everyday because I was excited to see everybody.

Five years ago, I fell in love with somebody that I realized what it felt like to have someone to rely on. But I went through lots of heartbreak, I lied multiple times, I got jealous and felt so insecure about the most trivial things. Regardless, I was so glad to get out of it alive while becoming a more thoughtful person than ever.

Five years ago, my goals in life were short-sighted. I thought life is a one-way path. From having an education, to learning how to build good relationships with people, to getting a decent job, until finally being capable of giving back to all the people who helped me along my journey. I thought life has a purpose even when it’s too practical on the outside, but full of happiness on the inside.

Until today that I realize that life didn’t turn out what I thought it would be five years ago. I thought life is about having the right emotions – that it’s good when you’re happy and bad if you’re sad. But thinking how different people are in so many aspects, I engraved in my mind that life is not about being happy ’cause it’s all about the meaning of it.

Imagine how people of different age, race, origin, or even struggles in life, will finally get their long-awaited bachelor’s degree. Imagine how their parents are just as proud with the parents of some graduates with honors, who are distinctively, by numbers, worked harder for their marks. Imagine how a piece of paper, which is physically identical to everybody, becomes different because it holds various meaning to every person getting it. The moment I get it, I don’t think I’ll be happy. I think that more than anything, I’ll be fulfilled.

So don’t get deceived by having the need to feel good at everything you’re doing right now. Don’t get too inclined with the fact that sometimes, our emotions get so into us that they end up defining who we are. It’s true that when we were all five years younger, we have fantasies of what could be. But brace yourself, because our lives mature as we go forward. It never curls back down to a ball.

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