21 May 2012

Enjoying the View

The view from my new apartment, which I moved into on Saturday, overlooks a nearby subdivision where I can see kids playing basketball, people walking their dogs, and trees, trees, trees, trees, trees. And in the distance, behind a layer of smog, is the Ortigas skyline and a bit of Greenhills.

In the past two days, I have drunk in the view and felt myself in other places, particularly gorgeous green Singapore or just somewhere like home. I think it's because it's a little hard to believe that I am right here in Quezon City, that this view is mine, and that this life is my life.

The dark cloud over everything in the past month or so has been my own fear that all this amazing stuff — my wonderful dream of a boyfriend Cris; my move-enabling, actually enjoyable job; and now this fantastic apartment — will be taken away, just as so many other things were taken away or I was pushed from them. So, I half don't want to believe in them to make the impending pain of losing them easier to bear.

My friends (rightly) say I'm being ridiculous, being afraid of things that haven't happened and may never happen. Cris would say that people don't know they can choose to be happy; "We're going to be happy, Kat," he likes to remind me.

I know, really, because in the past few years, I told myself to choose happiness and work on whatever would get it for me. I wanted career fulfillment, some nice (if only rented) real estate, more family time, and more love. But really, I wanted to be at home in myself, to learn to be my own anchorage, and to architect my heart into the haven I longed for amid all the changes, disappointments, and adjustments.

The thing is, I did that because of the disappointments; I did that while telling myself, "Life is not entirely the wonderful thing you've dreamed about; just roll with the punches and find something to smile about regardless." I guess it was really just another way of saying, "Life will get better, but not by much, so don't ask for much; be content with what you get."

And then, life got better by a ton.

And quickly, I realized that while I was good at living like happiness was a light at the end of a long, long, long tunnel, I wasn't prepared for when I found myself standing outside with the sun in my face and the sea at my feet.

Or inside a new apartment with the lease in my name.

It was just so much easier to be self-confident when I had nothing to lose and nothing to miss. That's it, I think. In a weird way, the lack of fulfillment was armor. I'm so much more vulnerable now that I'm where I always wanted to be, with the kind of people I always wanted to be with, and doing the kinds of things I always wanted to do.

For the past couple of years, I lived believing happiness depended on strength in the face of difficulty; now I find it depends on openness and vulnerability in the face of fulfillment, especially fulfillment you never thought was possible.

This post features photos by Cris.

Prayers these days are alternately, "Thank you, God," and "Oh, God, what happens next?"

More of this, I hope with all my heart. Please let there be more of this, and help me to enjoy it.