I'm moving out of Cubao this weekend.
I'm happy about the change; I wanted it for the longest time but was never really able to pack up and go until now. And while I no longer detest my current neighborhood as much as I did when I first moved in, I know it's the right time to move out.
Cubao, or at least, the part of Cubao where I live (and will have lived), is an in-between place. Physically, it's between Araneta Center and Anonas and thus between any decent place to eat or get transportation; it takes a little extra effort to get to or from anywhere.
But when I think of the dingy bars, abandoned buildings, motels, and dusty hardware stores I saw every day, as well as my own street's sari-sari stores, low-rise offices, suburban houses, roosters, and sidewalks decorated with animal poop, I think of myself when I first moved in, still between being a clueless kid and getting my shit together.
I was between working for my parents' friends at a job I'd accepted mostly out of quarter-lifer desperation — no one else seemed to want to hire me — and believing I could find and be offered a new job by myself. Once at that new job, I was between existential, "do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?" crises and learning to just do the work, enjoy what there was (is) to enjoy, and make life outside the office rewarding enough to compensate for having to write (and now assign) yet another article about _____.
I was between being angry and disappointed with myself, for not having attained/achieved everything I'd expected to have achieved by the grand old age of 22, and being proud of what I'd accomplished instead, kahit papaano.
Faith-wise, I was between the loss of a sense of belonging and frustration with the community I just no longer belong to; and a quiet contentment with the few prayers I still say, as well as acceptance of the good that conservative religion can still do for other people.
I was also between using fight-or-flight in an increasingly serious yet still kinda new relationship, and learning to just do things because I loved someone who deserved an awesome girlfriend. And when we broke up, I was between bitterness, disappointment, and rage; and celebrating how I had, in the process, still become the kind of person I'd wanted to be at the start.
More recently, I was also between a crippling fear that I couldn't open myself up to another person again, and allowing myself to just step out and be happy with someone amazing.
So, this upcoming move to a nicer apartment (and tighter budget, haha) feels like a natural next step. And when I say I won't miss Cubao, I say it not out of dislike for the neighborhood (it's actually improved in the past couple of years) but out of recognition that you can't and shouldn't miss something you've outgrown.
Sure, I know that the years to come will involve a lot more moving on and, I hope, moving up. I hope I'm as ready as I feel. But for now, I just want to dwell.
Actually, I know I have to relearn dwelling; for so long, the mantra was, "Just hang in there till things get better." I'm slowly rewiring myself to accept a new one — "Things are now awesome! You can now slow down, stop worrying, and enjoy them."
It's easier for me to throw or give things away now. I no longer feel the need to save every last bus ticket and piece of ribbon. I'm looking forward to getting home tonight, sorting my belongings, and putting some of them in bags that will end up on the curb or at a church.
I am actually thinking of throwing out or shredding* my old diaries, every last one, even the first one I wrote when I was just ten. Little things — the lack of clutter in my family's new house, the clandestine visit to the now-empty old house, an article I read about the imperfection of human memory, the way the silver paint has flaked off the shoes I wore to my senior prom, my own general lack of concern over my inability to find certain photos in my hard drive — are telling me, the present is just as important as, if not more important than the past.
I'll still try not to forget things, and I know I can't ignore how much the past has shaped me. But, the more old things I hang on to, literally and figuratively, the less room I have for other good things that may come.
* Burning would be more dramatic, but that would be bad for the environment.
First, I have to find the truck guy's number.