Pilgrim

I don’t have a good sense of direction. I cannot give clear instructions to a cab driver. When I was a kid, it took me a while to know where’s my left and my right. But in spite of not having a good sense of direction, I’m proud to say that I manage to visit a lot of places without a map.

People often describe me as “lost.” I am lost in every sense of the word. Lost in geography. Lost in thoughts. Lost of words. Lost…. My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations ( John Green, The Fault in Our Stars). Sometimes I cannot chase my own thoughts. I have to write them in my notebook because my mind skips from one idea to another. I think big. I like to keep my ideas vague and I always leave a grey area.

My sister tells me I am floater. I wander and wonder. I am a dreamer, one who spends a large portion of his/her life exploring and experimenting.  I spend a lot of my time in wonderland compared to my real world.  I dream a lot but I have no real goals.

I think  I surpass the three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I feel so lonely that I have no one to console me for my lack of ambition. I have no ambition to be rich. Of course, I want to have enough money to travel, to buy new clothes, to satisfy my appetites. But money itself is not my motivational force. When I think about security like most adults worry most, I  just have faith that God will provide. As written in Matthew 6: 25-34:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

This is not to say that we should not work and wait manna from heaven. But I don’t treat my life like a survival race.  We will survive no matter how much we are earning, how matter how big our family, no matter how limited are resources. If you think about animals, they don’t have money system of barter and trade. The birds just fly. The ants just crawl. And the street cats who have no pet owners have nine lives.

I don’t think that attaining the highest position in a multinational corporation can be one’s greatest achievement.  I do not envy those who have fancy business cards. I’m wondering how much time they devote in their corporate jobs, how much time they spend for hobbies, for culture, and for spirituality.

I once wrote an advice to my friend: to find a cause, to fall in love, to write a book. This is probably what I want to do or what I want to believe in. I interpret John Carter’s advice with metamorphic lenses. As what I said, I like to keep my ideas vague. That’s why I like metaphors. Finding a cause does not necessarily mean to stop global warming, to campaign against greedy politicians but to preach a principle that has life value. Falling in love for me does not have to be involved with a male figure. I want to fall in love with ideas. When an idea pops in my head, I want to nurture it and never leave it until it becomes a finished product. I might not publish a book at ll. All I want is to write my life and make it a masterpiece. I invent it and I make myself a heroic protagonist.

But for now, I’ll just dedicate my time to arts and humanity. Be a fan of artists. Seek and taste cuisines from different islands. Learn from people who excelled in their craft. Listen to different national anthems. Sing a new song with a different language. Travel and preserve memories in photographs and memoirs. Expand my reading list to reference books and niche magazines. Acquire a new set of skills. Discover hidden talents. Write a lot of letters and stories. Find romance and poetry in life. Love more people. Admire more people. Accept people as they are. Help people to be happier. Share what I already have. Glorify God. Claim that I am more than a statistic figure of human population. Take advantage of boredom because boredom calls a higher need.

“The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.”
Susan Sontag

It’s funny and superficial to say that this is my purpose in life but it can be profound at times.  There are many people who left earth without spending a single moment to question what is their purpose in life.

When you choose the road less traveled, you will get lost. There is no map for a road less known to others. But just like every destination, I manage to get there without a map.

Gotta go on my way *emote

Sunday Morning

Have you experienced waking up in the morning and asking yourself, “Why am I still alive”?

I feel this way every Sunday morning, except mornings in my parents’ house. I wake up and ask silly questions on my head. Why do I work so hard? Why do I have to work? Why do I have to succeed?What is the measurement of success? On my efforts of improving my life, is it necessary? Why do I demand too much of myself? What are my plans? Do I really have to plan? What are my goals for? Why do I have to accomplish something? What is the end goal of everything I do? Why can’t I just be contented with love and simple life? Why do I want to make my life complicated? Am I happy?What is the measurement of happiness? Will this make me happy?

These random thoughts haunt me every Sunday morning. It’s like a session of Purpose Driven Life. It’s like a tiny Jacklyn shouting at my head , “There is something wrong. There is something missing.” I suddenly feel incomplete. I miss the comforts of my home. I miss my family. I miss waking up in a place where I know I am loved and cared for. I have lived all by myself for almost five years but I entertain the feeling of homesickness every Sunday morning. It’s not about being homesick. It is the feeling of uncertainty that causes unfathomable sorrow.

As weekdays go on, my life follows a must-to-do list. But it is during Sunday morning, that I wonder why I restlessly think of controlling my life. Like King Solomon, I share the same sentiment.Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:11

And here I am writing non-lucid thoughts hoping that I am not alone. Just a survey to comfort me, “Was there a time that you woke up and asked yourself, “Why are you still alive?”

Dreams Change

Your dreams change as you grow old.

You probably realize that when you are already done with college or have been working about two to three years like me.

I was reminded of my childhood dream when the buzz of Ms. Saigon audition was spreading all over the news and social media. God knows, I’ve been wanting to be in Ms. Saigon and be Ms. Saigon. After having performance-related subjects in college, theater workshops, meeting theater artists, auditions, and snippets of theater performance, my theater dream blossomed and blossomed until it shrank ironically. I got to know myself. I discovered my strengths and bitterly accepted my weaknesses.

I questioned if it was a dream worth fighting for. I can deliver a line, fill the stage with the decibel of my voice. But I don’t have outstanding looks that can compensate my mediocre talent. I can sing the right notes, but not stellar enough for a country that has a lot of singing talents planted everywhere like coconut trees. And as I met a lot of people who were also into musical theater, I found out that there were a lot of girls who sounded like Lea Salonga. They didn’t intentionally imitate Lea but her voice and her songs had become the template, the way Whitney became the standard for pop singers. And did I mention to you that I have two left feet? I have poor body coordination. I’m not a dancer. Not only that, there are so many things in theater that I don’t think I can handle such as the pressure on stage, the number of  thank-you auditions,  to open yourself more to rejection, correction, intimidating personalities. Sometimes, it’s only beautiful when it’s a dream. Sometimes it’s enchanting when these things only happen in your head. Having said all of this, I knew I had my limitation. And if you want to survive in this competitive industry, you have to be versatile. Apparently, I’m not.

I thought of this while I was controlling my left leg from moving during our rehearsal for a play. I just realize that this is not something I can claim as my own. Don’t get me wrong. I still like theater but it is now just a dream I dreamed. I kept the lyrics of “I still believe” in my music sheet folder and decided not to go to Opera House for auditions.

It’s not that I’m frustrated. I’m just enlightened? Reality pinched me in a harmless way. Perhaps what I want in life is to shine, to be at my best. And theater is not exactly the place I can say I belong. Everyday, life gives me more questions. Where do I belong? What other dreams are there for me? Can I create another dream? Is it too late?

I find comfort from this quote of C.S. Lewis.

dreams change