Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life is a Buffet

I’m no genius but I think I just might have discovered a way to people figure out.

I’ve realized that the way I approach life is pretty much how I would carry myself when I’m at a buffet. I could be wrong about this, but it kind of feels right.

First off, I just love a good buffet. The variety of choices, the sensory overload and just the thought of all that food gets me excited in ways that most people would find weird. You would think I would indulge and stuff myself silly (I would if I could, actually), but surprisingly, that’s just not the case.

At first I thought it was because I didn’t have a good “battle” plan. I thought maybe I should eat the light stuff first before going for the main dishes (which will backfire if you start with the salads, because all that fiber will make you feel full faster), or maybe that I should try all the desserts first (this tactic won’t make you full, but the sugar crash-and-burn effect later is so not worth it). I keep looking at all these foods and end up stumped because everything becomes overwhelming. I never zero in on anything (except maybe steamed dimsum. You can’t go wrong with dimsum.). But I am excited by all the possibilities.

So what ends up happening? I get a little bit of everything. I try my darnedest to taste test everything unfamiliar. I rationalize that even if I didn’t eat the buffet’s worth in quantity, I did get to taste a week’s menu of this and that. Both my mind and my tummy end up feeling equally full. I got my mental satisfaction, which to me, makes the trip more worth it than anything. It’s a new experience of sorts. To now have the authority to have an opinion on that-which-was-not-tasted-ever-before.

Applied to life, I think I am the same way. I enjoy doing different things, changing it up every so often. But doing and learning are different. I can keep doing things, but not really learn from them (like how to stop mourning over failed friendships that are supposedly not worth it). or I can go through the whole alien process of discovery and add a new talent, skill, knowledge or trivia under my belt. I hate to say it, but it’s always important to learn something new. Even if that something new proves to be worthless info to you.

I used to think I was a creature of habit. That I can wake up, go to work, go home, curl up in my cozy bed with a good read and be thankful for another uneventful day. But I was wrong. It is nice to have someone to reach out to out of the blue to meet up after work. It is fun to get a little bit lost and try a new route going home every once in a while. It is fun to have other options of things to do. Even if you never end up doing them...

If I would be asked if I liked meeting new people, I think I would hesitate before eventually answering yes. Because yes sounds like the right answer. But is it my real answer? I’m not really sure. Because when you meet someone new, that person could be a potential friend or a potential hurt waiting to happen. But I’ve also learned that it always pays to see it through. To not deny cultivating relationships out of fear.

Some people approach a buffet and will make a beeline for their favorite dish and be perfectly happy just eating that. I admire these folks. They know that it doesn’t take much decision-making for them to be happy and they stick to that. They keep their life simple. They won’t feel like they could’ve tried more, eaten more or less than what they had. Simple can be boring, but it can be safe too. And feeling safe is hard to achieve, I think.

Some people will try to eat as much as they can, take in everything, regardless what their tummy says. They are admirable in a sense that they are making the most out of the experience. They are living it up in that short span of time that it takes to enjoy a full meal. But I could never do that. I’d feel like crap afterwards and all it takes is a quick trip back to that memory lane I like to call "Episodes in the Boulevard of Traumatic Overeating"and that’s enough to stop me from making another round. These people, I can imagine, go through life just doing everything and anything, even if it changes them, hardens them or even worse, destroys their inner core. These are those who have definitely been there and done that, But I don’t feel the need to go to that extreme. I will push my limits, but I refuse to stand at its edge.

So there, maybe Life isn't exactly like a buffet. But sometimes it is. You just watch and learn from it (if you can find the time to stop eating).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Three Little Words

Honestly, I shouldn’t be allowing myself to write anything non-work related today. But I suspect that the reason why I haven’t been able to get any actual work-related writing done is because I needed to get these thoughts out of my head first. So here goes…

First off, sorry but no, this entry isn’t going to be about THAT particularly popular set of three words. And it’s not because I’m in love or not in love. This just isn’t going to be that kind of blog entry (at least not for today).

Everyone knows the power of words. It can either bring your spirits way up or bring you crashing down, depending on three factors: namely, what was said, who was saying it and even how it was delivered. All this happening to you in a span of a few seconds. You find yourself at the mercy of who your talking to. An unwilling recipient sometimes. And there really is no escape.

Do you know what power you yield when you speak to someone? Words can literally feel like it’s cutting you open like a knife, or be light as feather caressing your face. Either way, they affect you afterwards. Sometimes, I admit I just say whatever pops into my head, no prior editing involved. It works for me, this system of no regrets. Because the lessons I’ve learned from it have been important, and most of the time, painful.

So now, I appreciate when people take the time to say something kind and genuine. You don’t want people being kind to you just because they pity you. It doesn’t feel the same. You’d feel better off if they had not said anything at all, if that was the case.

So what three little words am I talking about? It could be about anything and anyone. Some examples come to mind:

“How are you?”
This seems average enough, but it’s not. When people ask you this, if they’re really your friends, they really do expect to really find out what’s up with you. The fact that they even bothered to ask is a nice thing in itself. With millions and millions of people in the planet, why even bother to ask you?

“I miss you”
Self-explanatory, I know. But most of us go around thinking and feeling this exact sentiment, yet never get around to verbalizing it. We just let people be part of our life without getting around to telling them how they can affect us. Either because we’re too shy, too proud, or even because we're sometimes just too busy. But that still doesn’t discount the fact that we still feel it anyway.

“You home safe?”
I guess it translates differently to a person whether this is said through phone or text message. It really does make all the difference that they even bothered to ask. I walk around in a crowd daily and literally feel invisible sometimes. It’s nice to have people around in your lilfe who validate your existence by looking for you (hopefully not because you owe them money or something like that haha).

There, it's out of my head.
Now back to the rat race....

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Right on the Money

My horoscope for the day:

"You're still worried about work -- but you really don't need to be, especially if it's that issue you know you really should have let go of several days (and maybe even weeks) ago. When you're feeling obsessed, however, there's really no talking to you, and no way to distract you. Remember, though, that getting too involved in anything never works out favorably. Go to a movie, call a friend or take up a new hobby. Just keep your mind busy."

When all else fails, thank god for cosmic advice and my Magic 8 Ball....

LBU, I love you

LBU, I love you

I can hear the wind howling from outside. And though rainy weather normally gets me down, I have surprisingly been either too distracted with work or with friends to really be affected enough by the dreary weather.

Today, in a sea of black umbrellas, I find myself being the only one in white. And no, I didn’t say that for cinematic purposes. I just realized it this morning on my way to the office. Normally, I too would be carrying my beloved automatic LBU, but I left my Little Black Umbrella at work yesterday and had to grab one of the many new ones at home. For some reason, my mom has managed to amass a significant number of umbrellas as corporate giveaways or gifts. But this is not the point.

The point is, noone uses white umbrellas anymore. Why? I personally don’t like it when they get old and rusty. The dirt is too telling. It is hard to maintain. But then again when I look at everybody else’s black umbrella, it makes me think about why they would want something as lovely as an umbrella to be in such a drab color. The weather is gloomy enough. But it seems, as with most Pinoys, the safest choice is always the best way to go.

Because a black umbrella will never ever look too dirty or neglected. It won’t fade or look broken even when it is (unless of course the metallic spider-like thing inside breaks apart). People like that, when things still look normal, even when they’re not. Even when everything is breaking down.

I know I’m starting to veer off in a figurative direction here, but it still holds true. Everyone has their own LBU which keeps them safe (from the elements, muggers and possible staring from other people). My white umbrella keeps me safe too. But it also draws attention. And as much as people like to be safe, they always seem to have this unfailing curiousity for what is different.

Now my theory on that is the same one that I apply when I'm out trying new food for the first time. It doesn’t necessarily have to always be mind-blowingly good for me to try it, it just has to be different from what I’ve tried before. So when I see someone wearing something outrageous, it won’t really register to me as something I should label as fantastic or what-not, it’s just different. Same applies with people. How tragic if everyone was the same. You see, we don’t always have to agree. You are you and I am me. Also, there’s no wrong answer when giving out opinions (unless of course, your just copying from someone else’s).

Uh-oh, I can hear the wind howling again....

Tonight, I finally got to try Nissin Ramen’s new instant noodle flavor, Thai Chicken. Being a fan of Thai food (or more specifically, anything sweet that’s not made of pili nuts or langka haha), I had high expectations. It was just as sour as I expected, but the quality of the noodles were so distractingly "boring" (for lack of a kinder word) that I don’t think I’m eating it ever again. Which makes me crave for SOMS Thai kitchen in Makati again. Ugh. Except for their crappy outdoor plastic stools, I just love eating there.

Next week, I look forward to checking out this place called Heavenly Chocolate (with equally adventurous friends) and I'm morbidly curious about their Penne pasta with bacon and chocolate sauce. Bad timing because of my self-imposed chocolate ban this week. But good timing because it gives me something to look forward to (food is always a welcome motivation.)

Yesterday, a friend talked about being enlightened after finally figuring out that there really was cosmic balance in his life. I wish I could figure out mine. Is it being happy, healthy and in love with love? Is it being employed enough to afford myself the pleasure of getting to eat what I like? Or is it as simple as being positive enough to not wallow in the usually-tempting depths of my self-imposed despair? I choose to be happy lately. Because I can.

Thank God.