Friday, October 31, 2014

Thoughts of a Pinay at 23

I have written this blog entry because I have just read "Brain on 23" on Huffpost. Thus, my inspiration for this late night blogging. Time check, it's 3 in the morning, I am up. And yes, I am 23.

The article is super spot on for most 23-year-olds, including myself. It is true that at this point in my life, I know I should have been doing a lot of "more meaningful" things. A thing more valuable than just staring at this laptop screen typing out words for an article I'm not even sure anyone would read. Anyway, let me bring you to a 23-year-old Filipina's point of view.


I am 23. After adults have asked what my age is, their next question would be "May trabaho ka na ba?" (Are you working?). While it is true that we work jobs we aren't sure we want, sometimes we just have to. Filipino parents almost always expect their children to be "out and about" the moment they hold their diplomas in their hands or obtain their professional licenses. By that, I mean out of the house and about to get their own jobs and earn a living. According to one of the parents I know, his 'obligation' to his son ended the moment he graduated. I don't know exactly how to feel about that if I were in the son's shoes. Will I be sad because somehow it meant that my parents will stop giving me financial support and that I will be cut off of the privileges I have been enjoying all these years? Or should I be glad that finally my father has faith in me and that I am finally in-charge of my own life?

I am 23. After adults have known what my age is, some of them would follow it up with "Eh, nag-asawa ka na ba?" (Are you married yet?). Even if Wikihow has a handful of tips on how to deal with such a question, this would also throw a penny to our thoughts on the topic. And we couldn't just brush it off our shoulders. Why? Simply because some of our friends have been married, or engaged, and others already have kids. And while it's true that most of us 23s date people we aren't sure we love, sometimes we know we need to do it believing that among them, we will find "the one". We know there are online dating sites, but most of the time we meet people by way of common friends. And that's what makes break-ups worse. Either we see their activities on the social networks or we see them at our common friends' affairs. The latter usually happens. The birthdays, family-related celebrations, and fiestas surely wouldn't reduce the chance for that to happen!

Filipinos are big on marriage and families. We look forward to weddings and baby deliveries. That's what we celebrate. And I can't say 23 is too young for that (getting married or having a baby), nor will I say it's the right time for that. If I were put on that spot, my question for myself would be: Am I ready?

I am 23. After adults have known what my age is, some of them will say "Hindi na bagay sayo ang masyadong nag-babarkada" (Stop going out/partying too much). While it's true that most 23s spend hours drinking, whether it may be on the apartment floors or out on the bars or clubs, sometimes that's what we do to unwind, and most of the time, the only way we know how. It is true we have a few obligations and that we are often stressed. But we are not stressed because of work alone. We are stressed because once you're 23 and not in college anymore,the people around expect a lot from you.

I am 23. After adults have known this, they will start a financial lecture saying "Dapat nag-iipon ka na" (You should start saving while you're still young). This is actually one of the people's expectations from us. While it is true that we're officially done in school, working, and we don't have yet children or spouses, it is also true that we don't have secure jobs yet. Saving might be a priority for some, but most of us 23s don't really mind spending the whole paycheck on that designer shoes we've been eyeing for months now, or finally purchase the latest gadget out in the market.

Well, that's even better that other older adults saying "Tulongan mo naman ang mga magulang mong mapagtapos ang kapatid mo" (You should help your parents in paying your younger sibling's college dues). A known Filipino trait is our close family ties. And yes, part of that is actually giving our younger brother/sister an extra pocket money so he/she wouldn't be asking too much from our parents. Our parents do not really tell us to do this, but somehow it is given. In other words, "automatic".

I am 23, and I agree with Molly Sprayregen when she said that 23s worry all the time. Although we do, we still don't want to get older. And yes, we still want to be considered as kids. For the Filipino families, 23 is still considered to be in the youth zone. Our parents still want us around, although they wanted us to work, they would still look forward to holidays and long weekends so we can spend time with them. And as I have said, people expect a lot from us. We do expect a lot from ourselves too. We want to do so many things. We want to go to so many places. We want to meet different people.

We are 23 and we are hungry. We are hungry for recognition. We are hungry for wealth. We are hungry for success. We are hungry for love. We are hungry for happiness. And because we are not that young anymore, but still not old yet.. what we ought to do now is to enjoy. I just turned 23 and will remain to be for 11 more months. And I have decided to live the coming days with faith in my 23-year-old self. How about you? <3

*Thank you Molly Sprayregen for the inspiration :)

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