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Long Night's Journey Into Being (with apologies to Eugene O'Neill and Milan Kundera)

Eugene O'Neill, Milan Kundera, pragmatism, philosophy, life, destiny

Life. Destiny. What does it hold for me?

This is probably one of the questions that has confounded man since the beginning of time. I know; it bugs me at this very moment. Okay, it may be a rather expansive declaration but indeed, isn’t it one of the deeper mysteries of existence? Man is born, grows up, and finally finds the path leading to what he wants to be, or to become.

But so rarely does anybody have it figured out from the start. It could probably be considered as an awesome feat of singular-mindedness should that be the case. Yet if one put his mind to it and tries hard, trust that something always gets in the way to sidetrack or frustrate that grand plan. Nothing is ever easy in this world; I guess nothing is, at least for most of us poor mortals.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t going to be another of those angst session-cum-speak-out articles. Nor am I the average deep-eyed cynic, even if I try my darnedest, what with World War III on the brink, the peso sinking into the abyss of devaluation, and God knows what mayhem is going on elsewhere in the universe. It’s a kind of catharsis to let out some steam that’s normally confined in the sanctuary of a journal, for those who keep one, or pent up deep within the psyche. This is one of those times that we must confront our deepest fears; uncertainties that would be ordinarily dismissed as belonging to the realm of fancy and have no place in this pragmatic, oh-so rational world.

I don’t presume to be a philosopher, intellectual or dreamer, but I like to imagine I am one. Since childhood I’ve been fascinated with ideas, concepts, the written and imagined word the way other kids bawled for the latest robot, the latest doll. I had my share too, but in retrospect it feels as though it was only in keeping with being one. It’s as though I had an adult’s mind in a child’s body.

I must admit, back then I wasn’t like the average kid. Growing up in a community that misunderstood the unique as weird, made an object of derision instead of admiration, it sure was tough. Despite being dispatched to the first grade after two months in kindergarten—“kicked upstairs,” to say the least (but thank you so much though, ma’am)—owing to my obvious disinterest in the “four-walls” kind of education, I thrived somehow. High school, with hormones going amuck and EQs seesawing proved to be another ordeal. Narrow-minded adolescent taunts of “weirdo” and “nerd” were ho-hum. But I found solace and release in writing for the school organ. I guess I was serious at it even then, for predictions went all around that I’d be a journalist someday. But saddled with the psychological quirk of not wanting to be predictable, I proved them wrong and entered the State University—as a History major.
History’s another of my great loves; blame that on a still-running infatuation with a figure from long ago I fancy as a lover in a past life. For once in my life I felt totally at home, where I could think, act and do as I pleased without the fear of being misunderstood but with self-imposed rules still strictly entrenched. Such freedom! Those four years were—and still are—the best of my life so far. But all good things come to an end, and not necessarily equally so. On the brink of graduating, I left. Suffice it to say I did a stupid thing for what I perceived to be love. That tolled over and over in my mind as I sat, head in hands, pondering the gravity of my action. Through the black haze of despair and guilt I asked myself, was this meant to happen? Just then I received an invitation from a friend of long standing to write for the paper he manages. It’s been a rewarding and fulfilling experience so far, and I continue to improve myself in the field of human relations.

At last, my salvation has come. I’m supposed to be contented with my life now, the reader would probably ask. I want what I’m doing, I get something out of it, and I derive enjoyment from it. But still, questions remain. In one recent conversation with a friend who also found her proverbial niche in life not from her degree but in a field not too distant but nonetheless disparate, she asked “Are you happy with what you’re doing now?” I thought I was, but suddenly I felt ambivalent.

Should I subscribe to society’s dictums as to what must make one happy? (“Oh, you’re a writer. Do you expect to live on that alone forever?”) Oh, brother. Call in the philosophers on that one, which brings me back to the question I posed earlier on. What lies in wait for me beyond all this then, and all the others with the same predicament as I? I’ve dodged time and again the path that I should have taken long ago, though most of it unconsciously, yet I always find myself heading for it just the same. Everything points to it now—heck—even the horoscopes do. Well, I suppose now’s the time to forge straight ahead. Hopefully at the end I’ll finally find the answer, the consummation that I didn’t know I’ve been seeking all along.
Published: 2006-04-29
Author: Royce Ambrocio

About the author or the publisher
The author has been writing professionally for 10 years now across various industries: TV, print, advertising, and online commerce. He has done scripts for TV, feature articles in magazines and newspapers and copywriting for consumer, tranport and service companies.

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