what ifs, maybes, and could’ve beens

28 Mar

the past weekend saw my version of spring cleaning. ignoring the fact that we only have two seasons here in my city (and that it’s actually summer season now), i nevertheless fulfilled the cleaning part anyway. i was rummaging through my desk and getting rid of the unnecessary sheets of paper that the pack rat in me has stacked and shoved in when i chanced upon my admission papers and test results to law school.

i stopped everything i was doing and just sat down. because in that moment, i was suddenly taken back to many, many years ago.

almost 7 years to this day, i walked up to the stage in my college campus and received my diploma for my degree in political science. not to toot my own horn, but i was a diligent and studious student. that day saw me graduate with magna cum laude honors. what a proud day it was for me. i had the rest of my life planned out: enroll in law school after summer, work my butt off for another 4 years, take the bar, and work my way up to working for the foreign affairs office and eventually get to my dream job of working for the UN.

but life, as we have all seen and experienced, more often than not has different plans for us.

life has certainly taken me down a very, very different road. not that i don’t love or appreciate what i do and where i am right now. not that i am not grateful and thankful to the Lord every day for a job that provides me with my needs when so many other people don’t have that luxury. but there are times when out of the blue, something reminds you of the other path you could’ve taken and you feel this painful pang of regret of what else you could’ve been—i know a lot of you know what i mean.

life took at u-turn for me that summer after graduation. i had gotten into the two law schools that i had applied for, and i was ready to take on the next challenge that would take me closer to my dream. but my mom’s cancer came back. and when it did, it came back with a vengeance. terminal was her diagnosis. we lost her only 8 months after. when we found out, i decided then and there to put my plans for law school on hold. i wanted to take care of my mother and spend more time with her. mom, the ever-supportive and selfless parent that she was, told me not to give up on my dream and to go on with enrolling in law school . . . this is one of the hardest and most difficult things for me to talk about. so many painful memories are tied to that summer and the months that followed.

in any case, i had made up my mind and chose to work instead to help out with the bills that were piling up. a political science graduate, i had very few options. the quickest way for me to get a job was to work in a call center. and though it was a bitter pill to swallow, i knew i had no choice. we needed the money. so for the next 8 months i toiled at a job i didn’t want or enjoy, but the money helped. and that kept me going. for a lack of anything else to do, i kept at that job a few more months after mom passed away. then my body gave up and succumbed to a burnout. i resigned and thought about my options. for some reason, i had lost my zeal to pursue a law degree, and even if i had wanted to, money was tight, and it just wasn’t a financially feasible option for me anymore. so off i went looking for a new job. as luck would have it, a college friend invited me to apply for a post in the operations department at the company he  was working in. the industry was publishing, and i have always loved to read. so i thought, why not give it a try? long story short, here we are 6 years later, and i’m still at the same company, albeit in the marketing department 🙂

many people still come up to me and ask me if i ever plan to pursue a law degree, especially that now i can afford to. there are times that i really feel tempted to, more so when i see my college classmates who are now practicing lawyers and when i think about how interesting that life could be and that i could’ve been good at it. but then the urge goes away. it was a dream i had a long time ago.  a dream that i shared with my mom. now that she’s no longer here to egg me on, that dream has slowly faded away to obscurity.

and so that moment—those few minutes i sat down to ponder the path i have been lead to—quickly dissipates and vanishes. and all that uncertainty, the wishful thinking, the if-i-could-turn-back-time emotions are gone, just like that. but they’ll be back, i know. when i least expect it.

then came the next thought to pop into my head. “where will i find room for all of my clothes?” oh well, back to spring summer cleaning.


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