Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Life as a Pasckie

IT is not the first time that I am asked what'd be my plan in the next five or ten years. Truth is, I laid out a 30-year plan when I left the Philippines in late 1990s. I maybe had two or three major distractions and eventual regroups in the last 12 years but I am still on target. The journey is still on the right direction. Being single and essentially freed of parental/financial responsibility (since my kids are all grown-ups hence independent) with zero debts give me more breathing room to course the remaining 18 years (of my plan). No legal hassles either. Despite my adventures and misadventures, I came out of the rubble and roses scot-free and sweet as a summer song.

          Eighteen years from now, I'd be 74. Pretty much my dad's age. I know I'd still be strong by then. Right now, I don't have ailment that requires steady medication or doctor's visit. I am quite healthy for my age, 56. I told a friend that a major turn on my plan would be marriage or a serious relationship/cohabitation—since I just have to realign or adjust my personal blueprint as a two-person life's plan.
          Meantime, it would be ideal, given the tilt in global economic lives, that I'd sustain a business/entrepreneurial pursuit in my home continent/region (Philippines/Asia) and still connected with the US mainland, my residence. Maybe a resort dive destination and/or import/export of whatever product. I don't need to personally supervise my own business/es though. I am good at ideas and strategies but weak on implementation and follow-through. I humbly admit that. So it's most likely that I'd work with other people like kin and family, let them manage—while I assume the background. I'd spend more time writing books, lecturing in schools and literary gatherings—which entail a lot of traveling. I dream to own a farm with fishpens in the Philippines and a property with trees around it in the US. I am not a city dude anymore and I am never a party guy. I still plan to republish my tiny newsprint newspaper in a community setting and organize fundraisers.

           Indeed. There are still a lot of creative stuff and things and collaborations that I plan to spend my older age with. Like film projects with my son and friends. Books with my other children. Charitable institution with my siblings under the name of our dear departed mother. Political/economic consultancy (which I did when I was younger). An Asian/herbal/Filipino cafe-restaurant in my resident city. Writing workshops in the woods. And more books. I will not stop writing books till the last heave of breath escapes me.
          As a single man, I don't see the need to acquire huge acquisitions like a house. I'd rather focus on working. I observe that owning a house in the US entails a lot of duties and responsibilities. There is no point when I am just looking after my own body. Money and tax/es and duties in a house can be used for business, for example. What's certain is—I'd spend more time, make up for lost time, with my children and siblings and their families. And my longtime friends which are scattered all over the world.

          What I am kind of afraid as I related to my friend Cindyrella the other night? I am afraid of the stress level in America. I want to live happy or happier. I am not scared of aging further and getting weaker or dying alone—I have a very tight and loving family who will always have me. Stress and misery kill people and I see that around me. Not in my country where natural misery like typhoon devastation abound—I see that more in a supposedly comfortable and well-endowed culture as in the United States. Makes us feel and believe that happiness is not the presence of it—but the pursuit of it. It is how we enjoy and savor whatever blessing and privilege that we got that spell happiness. And not when we finally attain whatever it is that we want. Because when we get those, we are already aiming to get more—and when we lose what we acquired, that's the time when funk sets in.

           I don't want that life. I want to just enjoy the fact and truth that despite my history of battling a dictatorship and relationships that didn't work out—I still see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still feel warmth in a lonely bed. Because there is always love in the heart of humanity despite a bad, bad world. And she's just out there. I just need to always leave my heart's doors open. 

[First photo. By my daughter Donna. On her trip to our home province of Ilocos Sur in the north of the Philippines. Next two photos by Cindy Zalme--in Lake Norman, North Carolina. And Marta Osborne, in Seal Beach in California.]