Thursday, September 4, 2014

Outside in

So last night was another eye opener. A good friend hit me up for a couple of drinks. As always, I couldn't make it in time due to the different work hours at our office jobs. He just flew in from work, all the way from Mindanao. He's a social worker, you see. He's one of those few figures in my life that I look up to.

Anyway, he got back and said he had something from my mother whom he had met numerous times. My mother always tells me how she finds him interesting and how light hearted he is. I get it, he really is like that. My mother also adds that she feels like he's my brother. I also get that, he is like my brother, maybe even more. He said he just bought two authentic handwoven wraparound cloths used by Muslim women. It was a beautiful handwoven piece. I joked about how I wouldn't give it to my mom and just keep it for myself. He let out a snicker and a laugh and mentioned that he also bought one for his mother. I was thankful, I appreciate that kind of a gesture.

As we ordered beer, we got to our usual exchange of "Hey, what's up? How are you holding up? What's new? Really? Wow. Has it been that long?" questions. It was a routine but a heartfelt one. I kind of had the feeling that he was deeply concerned about something. I let some time pass before really digging into what's eating at him. A bottle of Pale Pilsen sounds about just right.

He was concerned that he was having a "midlife crisis" even at a young age. We are around 24-25 years of age during the time of this publication. I told him maybe he was just burnt out at work and that he reserves most of his time for work and not really leaves much for himself. He replied "Yeah, maybe. But I don't really know.. it just feels wrong. I feel like I haven't done enough in my life and work."

He said that he was concerned about where his career is headed and that what good does it do. He also added that he wished he had a craft. Said that he wished he had something like a hobby to keep him busy and entertained the way I shoot with film and write about stuff and so on. I was surprised. You see, I always looked at him as someone who knew what he was doing, what he wanted and what he plans to do. He is that kind of person who is passionate about his work and has a clear cut path in his mind.

I can see that he was lost and struggling with words to describe what he was feeling. He had always been like that. Guarded and refined, I always thought it was an admirable thing about him. It was one of the few things that make him who he is. It's a brand.

I just said that maybe all he needed was time to see himself in the eyes of other people. It's just that sometimes, we get too busy dealing with life and forget to see how much of what we do really mean to other people. It's not being vain, it's just reassessing your progress, your work, your passions and reservations. You can't quantify what you do just by looking at other people's work (he taught me that, he fervently believes in it) and at the same time, you can't really assess how important your efforts are until you've seen them from the perspective of a person who has benefited from it.

Believe me, he is a social worker out to do good. Maybe he just doesn't see it that way. I can't really compress everything I've learned about life in last night's booze session. Maybe it's not yet time to fully make sense about everything. I think I need another bottle of beer.

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