Today I turn 31 (when does a woman get to start hiding/lying about her age?). And man, I feel old! Many years from now, my kids will talk about how ancient their mom is. Because she was 30 when the great economic crisis of 2008 began. She was 30 when the first African-American President was elected into office. She was 30 when Cory Aquino--whom they will know only through their history books--died and she was able to watch the historic funeral march live on TV. She was 30 when Michael Jackson, a man whose music they will only know through playing with their latest video game console and through watching classic music videos, passed away. And when I tell them Patrick Swayze died a few days before my 31st birthday, their response would be, "Patrick who?"
Yes, that's how old I am.
About 24 years ago, my two older sisters who were then what they now like to call tweeners were CRAZY about this Puerto Rican boy band called Menudo. I'm not sure if the band's target audience included 7-year-olds, but there I was. There was no Internet or YouTube yet (Hmm...I'm not even sure we had cable back then.) but we combed through magazines looking for articles on them and we rented Betamax tapes of all of their concerts and performances. So yeah, I guess I was also crazy about them. I was 7 years old and I was in love...
But guess what, now there's YouTube and the Internet and now I can cyber-stalk anyone I want with just a few clicks! So, when I got sick last week and couldn't focus on work, I took a break and started surfing the Internet on anything I could think of. I suddenly remembered Menudo, so I decided to look them up. I found some really old videos of them, and watching them took me right back to my 7-year-old life. I was suddenly back in our old house in Tacloban, listening to their music in our cassette tape deck.
And then I thought I wanted to see how some of them look today. And when I saw their grown-up faces, I was like, "Whoa! What happened to you?" Some of them looked so much better and some of them looked...older. I guess sometimes with celebrities or with people that we haven't seen in a long time, we get stuck with the image of how they looked like when we last saw them. Even when it had been some 20 years. And yes, looking at those older men made me feel old. My childhood crushes have grown. My childhood is now just a bunch of old videos and photos.
Yes, that's how old I am.
Every year, the days leading to my birthday always get me in the mood to think about what I have done so far in my life and what I still want to accomplish. That Menudo incident got me to thinking even deeper. What if my 7-year-old self got to see me now? What would she say? Would she also go "Whoa! What happened to you?"? Would it be in amazement? Or would she be disappointed?
When I was a child I had many dreams. I wanted to be an artist, an engineer (like my dad), a writer, a singer, and a stage actor. Not necessarily in that order. And you know what, I think I've accomplished most of them in some way at least.
Becoming an engineer was pretty straight-forward. It wasn't easy though. I had to struggle in school for many years to get my degree. I didn't become a civil engineer like my dad as I had originally planned, but I still have my PRC ID to prove that I am in fact a licensed ECE. And I like to think I did pretty ok in my four years in the industry.
This photo is of an actual meeting that I was having with my colleagues. This was taken about 5 years ago.
I can't believe I'm posting the next two photos. But it's my birthday so I guess I can humiliate myself all I want today. Hehehe. So I will never be able to perform on Broadway but at least I was able to feel the high of performing at the Music Museum in front of hundreds of people(1st photo). On the other hand, I was also able to perform in a very intimate venue where the audience members were sitting just a couple of feet in front of me and I could hear every gasp and every yawn (2nd photo). I still miss performing sometimes and I would love to try it out again if I had the chance.
Being a writer is something that I WISH I could do, but something that I know I probably never will. (At least I know my limits, right?) But hey, I have this blog and I know about a dozen people actually read this, so that should be enough, right? Hehehe.
And as an artist? Maybe it's not with a brush and canvas (although I did dabble in sketching and painting many years ago) but I like to think I create images that people can appreciate and that I am happy about. And isn't that what being an artist is all about? (Photo taken last weekend during a shoot. I loved the multiple facets of the mirror so I couldn't resist taking this shot.:D)
So, I guess I don't really know what my younger self would say if she sees what I have become. I'm hoping she wouldn't be too disappointed. I would like to tell her though that I am happy with how my life turned out. I will tell her that her life will not always be easy. She will go through a few heartaches. She will make many mistakes. And she will struggle to find her dreams. But she will grow strong and learn to fight for them. I will also tell her that I have not achieved everything that I want to yet. I still have hundreds of dreams in me. And I know for a fact that I still have my best years ahead of me. She and I will go through many more days like today. Each year, we will look back on our life and feel proud with what we have accomplished. But more importantly, we will look forward to doing more. So much more.
Because that's how young I am.