in school, in family reunions, in family gatherings, i've always felt like the odd one out -- always somewhere, but never really anywhere. for years on end, the reason for this self-perceived peculiarity has always eluded me, but lately, i think i know what my problem is.
while most people are hardwired to always think of the future, of what's the next adventure, tryst or happening, i prefer to live in my past. when i was in college, i did not care about what was to come later on in my life. sure, i always convinced myself that i will become a lawyer someday, but i did not frame my short- and long-term plans. i refused to yield to the demands of growing up, because being in the university was more than enough for me.
i had my friends, my beer, my cigarettes and my bliss. i shuddered at the prospect of leaving what was familiar because i did not know what jungle waited for me outside the university.
but i later on realized that this penchant for idealizing the was proved fatal in the end. for while it is true that life is fleeting and it passes us by without us even noticing it sometimes, the pain of departure is so much more magnified for someone who tries to cling on to it despite its transient realness. my friends left me, the university outgrew me, and i was left alone with my beer and my cigarettes -- solitary and pensive as i tried to revisit the fond memories of my younger days.
as a human being, i should have known that to live is to constantly be in flux and that it should always accede to the next logical episode. but i am more arrogant than this, and even when it proved to be destructive in the end, i still chose to cling on to those hollow remnants of the past -- so much so that sometimes, i suspended the now to revisit the psychedelic days of my younger self.
this partly explains why it took me more than 4 years to finish college, because instead of being prospective in my direction, i chose to digress and constantly look back.
prior to entering law school, i crafted a pact with myself to discard this destructive habit. i vowed to be prospective and conjure a semblance of order in the big mess that has become my life. in theory, that made perfect sense, but life does not operate that way, and i had to be reminded of this reality the hard way.
a close friend once told me that he lives by the wisdom of al pacino, especially when the man said, in a movie, that the now is an accumulation of what-has-beens, and any act that we've done in the past, whether life-changing or insignficant, affects our future. in my mind, i related this to karma and the fact that this universe never lets you get away with anything. you do something bad now, it will haunt you in a year or two years' time. you try to improve your lot now, no matter how difficult, and the universe will reward you not long from that moment.
i admit that i'm not proud of what i've done in my past. there was a turbulent episode in my life when all hope seemed to be lost, and my existence was hanging by a flimsy and fragile thread that was constantly at the risk of breaking. during my lost days, i've kissed numerous lips, ripped hearts out, and broke the souls of others. i lived with abandon, and i did not care what other people thought because caring was pointless when nothing seemed to matter anymore. when you feel as though you've lost your cause, you start to think that life exists just because it does, it is bereft of purpose and it does not deserve introspection.
now that i'm in law school, i've experienced my friend's karmic life philosophy firsthand. even when i know that deep inside i am not a bad person, the past continues to chain me down and remind me that once upon a time, i was a horrible person. and when i try to convince people that i've since outgrown that directionless person, at the back of their minds, they continue to be doubtful.
in retrospect, all these seem ironic. back when i used to hold on to the shadows of my past, i felt like i was neither here nor there. i did not exist, for i just opted to live. but now that i wish to move on from my past monsters, it perennially comes to life to haunt me and humiliate my efforts to becoming a better person. it's taxing to say the least, but i won't give up trying. besides, if i go by my friend's life principle, everything would turn out better in my next life episode.
i just have to wait to find out.