“When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful / A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical / And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily / Oh joyfully, playfully watching me / But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible / Logical, oh responsible, practical / And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable / Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical.”
I did not write those words – though I surely wish that I had written them. Those of you who are 40-something-and-up will likely recognize them as the opening lyrics to “The Logical Song” by Supertramp. You will also acknowledge these lyrics as the lament that they are: Adulting – a good deal of it, anyway – sucks (to put it in not-so-adult lingo).
Adulting in today’s world especially sucks. We live in a day and age where it is often almost impossible to distinguish between fake news and the legitimate stuff, given how crazy times have become. And we, as “responsible adults” are supposed to wade through all that garbage without getting the stink of it on us. We are expected to understand the unfathomable and make sense of the insensible. This is the Rubik’s Cube that defies solution, no matter how many twists and turns we make, so it would seem. And, whereas once, we literally used to play with marbles, now, we figuratively struggle not to lose our marbles.
As I ruminate on the matter, it hits me again (as it does when I muse on such things): I am pushing 50 – half a century, good Lord. Where have the years gone? Thankfully, I neither look nor feel it. For the most part, I credit this to the usual suspects: a healthy, low-sugar, low-fat diet, and a reasonable amount of exercise. But I also credit it to one more thing: I, as an adult, am still in touch with my inner child. And my eight-year-old self constantly reminds me never to take things too seriously.
To drive this point across, let me recount a recent incident – one of my Fake White Chick in the City accounts. I was recently on board a cab, en route to a friend’s condo. The cabbie eyed me suspiciously, as is the usual on my commutes, unsure of my heritage – but self-assured that no way could I speak the vernacular. In Filipino, I asked him to let me off at the corner and I would just walk to the condo. It was a one-way street that used to run two-ways (Makati is notorious for changing things up like that) and I just could not be bothered to wait it out and go the longer way around the block. When he got over his initial shock of the disjunct between my words and my looks, the cabbie said, in Filipino. “Ok, Ma’am. You’re young anyway, it’s not a problem to walk.” I chuckled, to which he then asked, curiosity winning over propriety, “How old are you, Ma’am?” “Nearly 50,” I matter-of-factly-replied. His eyes grew wide as saucers and he looked at me with more incredulity than he did upon first hearing me speak in Filipino. “Say that again? What now? Because I thought you said 50?!?” “Yes, I did say 50,” I retorted. “Ma’am, you must not have any problems or stress then, because you look 30!”
I almost laughed out loud – actually, I think I may have LOL’d. If he only knew, I thought to myself. While my life is not fraught with difficulty, it most certainly is nowhere near easy. Quite the opposite, actually. But I purpose to keep my chin up, the best that I can, through it all.
Let it go
You see, as adults, we often forget what kids believe, without a doubt: THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS. Ever see a kid latch on to a problem like a dog with a bone? Not really. They may fret and fuss and freak out and even fight for a bit, then after that, they’re fine. They know that somehow, the problem will “go away.” Sure, mom or dad – the adult – will most likely take care of it, which seems to put the burden squarely back on our already weighted-down shoulders, now doesn’t it? But that is hardly the point I am trying to make here.
It is the attitude that I wish to emphasize. The ability to let the problem, whatever it is, go. The knowing that nothing lasts forever, not even cold November Rain, as Axl Rose once penned to music. Where the solution will come from, I do not always know. But I DO know that the answer to my need is somewhere out there in the Universe; and, as I remain positive and act in accordance with that positivity, the Universe will respond accordingly.
Say ‘hello!’ to your inner child
“There are times when all the worlds asleep / The questions run too deep / For such a simple man / won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned / I know it sounds absurd / Please tell me who I am.”
This may seem an esoteric choice for this month’s edition of Manic in Manila. I don’t know, maybe it’s because 50 looms. The again, it really is just a number. To a child, 10 seems ancient. Maybe it’s also because in the process of “growing up” and “becoming logical adults,” we have lost a chunk of who we are – and that thought irks and bothers and keeps me up at night (as the rest of “The Logical Song” bemoans).
Thing is, I doubt it was ever meant to be that way; we were never meant to lose a portion of ourselves, merely to grow into the fullness, thereof. Also, how can you be entirely logical in a world gone illogical? While it may seem counterintuitive to our adult sensibilities, maybe it’s in looking at things just a little off-kilter that the pieces of life’s puzzle begin to interlock.
With the eyes of imagination and the power of positivity, we can stay young at heart in a world where being jaded has, regrettably, quickly become the norm. Your inner child cries out and gives you the weapons to slay that hideous beast. Will you give heed?
By ANGIE DUARTE