The sun was high up at 7 am on this bright Thursday morning. I raced myself against time and sunny weather with a pocketful of anticipation for the day that was to unfold in front of me. The all too familiar streets leading to the university was unusually empty of students. I tread the same streets with a peculiar feeling of both fear and excitement coupled with an incessant itch to run far away from the hustle and bustle of the city that was home.
You see, this is the part of my life I have kept on-hold for quite a long time, tucked in some dusty corner of my memory and shoved to the level of a minor insignificant task. A part I wish I could Shift + Delete at any given time. A part I hope so badly to ESC.
The mere thought of it brings to mind an exhilarating view of the ocean under the bright blue sky and the sweet sparkling sun. The rush of salty waters awakens the soul for a taste of a new adventure. The fine powdery sand stretching far into the horizon guides the traveler’s feet to safety. The cool breeze, almost too sweet for the morning, sings to its ecstatic audience like a well-conducted orchestra. I close my eyes and listen to it: the melodious music of wanderlust in some faraway city, country, home; and imagine myself in the midst of my holiday.
But reality, or at least the live experience of it, kicks in as soon as I find myself in this daydream and the next thing I know I was standing in the midst of traffic in the crowded and polluted stretch of Magsaysay Boulevard waiting for the green light to send its proverbial message to me.
Walk the hard heavy steps to get to the university. Climb the unpolished stairways and count each step. Scrape the floors and seal them in. In time they will bury your secrets. Smile like the sun when you get there. Summer waits for a new beginning.
Time screamed a resounding 7:45 am.The professor arrived a little later and greeted the class with formality a little too out of place for the event. And in that moment, it was as if my heart would burst into shrapnel of mixed madness. I was not scared. I was terrified. Terrified in all ways incommunicable in language. Terrified of my own self-constructed fear.
You know how people tell us that the only way to overcome our fears is to confront them head on. I believe in it as much as I believe that one day I will be able to set myself free from all the things that scare me the most. I believe people are equipped with means to secure themselves in the face of the overwhelming fear of things. I fear numbers as much as I fear the unbelievably long and complex process of arriving at the answer. I fear that in my feeble attempt to find x, I will lose myself in the immeasurable vastness of a given equation and fail once again. I fear the sound of my own failure.
But failure is a word too bygone as I sat in class earlier this Thursday morning. Sitting there in class in one of my most hated subjects, composing myself with the calmness of a dead cat, sandwiched between a Computer Engineering major and an IT major, packed with negative-zero knowledge regarding the fundamentals of College Algebra and crammed with nothing but a sackful of optimism tucked under my sleeve was already an accomplishment worthy of note. I know it isn’t much compared to the gigantic achievements of the world but for today, at least for today, I clap for my own accomplishment.
Perhaps the grandest thought in all of these lies in the stark realization that no one could ever truly escape from the call. I could run from my summer class and choose to spend the days in bouts of laziness and procrastination but never could I escape the fear that gnaws the insides of my spirit. To face that fear: that is all that matters. Perhaps the greatest lesson this summer semester could offer is the open awareness to the truth that in our endeavor in finding the x in our everyday human existence we arrive at these concrete challenges that either make or break all that is human within us. Finding x really is not about finding one solid spot of answer but rather discovering the making of that answer.