In my weeks of solace, I found little to no inspiration from the things that are happening around me. In my earnest search for a subject, I decided to work backward – to contemplate what has happened. And I can’t help myself from tearing up as I reminisce over my childhood.
I was this frail, young, pushover kid who’s always overeating while others play. My parents were slightly overprotective and had a typical 8-5 job that suffices for our small family.
I was born a few years after a dictatorship regime has ended, people were actively liberating, you hear and see them do the things they like to do without prejudice – as if they were birds that were freed from the cage. But of course, I also understand where all this came from, the haunting stories of tragedy, massacre, and abuse are not new to me.
Given the newfound freedom, this brought the people to be hopeful, to see the joy in people realizing their dreams and plans after long years of struggle. Boomers, young adults, and our parents would often ask me, and my cousins a very particular question:
“Ano gusto mong maging, pag laki mo?” (What do you want to be when you grow up?)
It was with this question when I first came to understand that different upbringings bear different fruits. All of us answered specific careers without even knowing what those careers entail. As I look at it now, I began to wonder.
Was this how our parents or their generation insinuate prejudice on us? Was this how they wanted to condition our mindsets and check whether our aspirations were tailor-fitted to society?
Of course, back then, no one would think of wanting to be an advocate of gay rights and HIV, or a freedom writer who does content online or an inspirational speaker who changes the lives of people.
It was a time when kids were somehow “pushed” to aspire for careers that bring you an honorable title, careers that pay off the bills, jobs that are very much mechanical. As I ponder more about this, I try to reassess myself – “Where do I want to be, What do I want to do?”. And I figured, maybe I was asking myself the wrong question. And that the right question to be asked should be:
“Am I happy with what I’m doing?”
I think that’s where all this boils down to- our happiness. We are not the generation who defines successes based on educational attainment, the title you see on your name, or the paycheck you receive every month. We are a generation that measures our success based on how we feel, on what matters to us, on our social causes.
I realized that the question “Anong gusto mong maging pag laki mo?” puts a limit to our potentials, our capacity to do more than just for ourselves. Instead, it checks if we can fit in what society aspires its people to be. If you get to read up to this part, Are you happy with what you’ve done so far?