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I Could Be the One to Set You Free by Jon Oliver R. Balili


“I feel like I’m trapped in somebody else’s master plan. Go to school, get a job, get a mortgage. All I’m really doing is dying.”

-From the music video of “I Could Be the One” by Avicii and Nicky Romero

I’m sure no one knows this, but I’m an avid fan of Avicii’s music. The latest of Avicii’s hits to get stuck in my head is “I Could Be the One” whose music video features a woman hoping to get out of her mundane routine, go on a vacation and set herself free. I highly suggest you watch the music video. It may just inspire you (though I don’t encourage sexual encounters with random strangers).

I like how Avicii’s music videos have stories that go in tandem with their songs. This one though really caught my attention as I found myself being able to relate to the main character’s dilemma. Much like her, I’ve felt the desire to break out of a lifestyle that feels like a routine. I’ve felt the need to go on a much needed vacation and simply enjoy life.

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At some point, I wished for the days to just pass by.

Working for a non-profit research organization is harder than most people would expect. With so many things to do and so little manpower for getting things done, stress can build up to insane levels. Overtime is a frequent occurrence and we sometimes have to work on weekends, whether at the office or at home. Many have envied the position I hold here but it isn’t all that glamorous.

Halfway through my stint at this company, I was convinced that I would turn into a workaholic if I stayed long enough. At least one of my friends, though, thinks I already am one. I found myself spending less time on photography, on hanging out with friends, and even on simple chores like cleaning my room. I would come home tired and all I wanted to do was lie down, wish my troubles away, and sleep.

To be fair, the job has its perks like exemption from income tax (given our non-profit nature), monthly communication allowance and travel on company expense (when a project warrants it). Unexpectedly, it had also introduced me to a new angle in photography, although photographing disaster-stricken communities is, to say the least, not an assignment for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I hate my job or regret having accepted the job offer. At least, I shouldn’t hate it or have any regrets. At some point in my life, the prospect of working for a research organization was something I wanted. It’s just that over time, my views on my job, my long-term goals and my outlook on life have changed.

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If only life was this easy…

After years of being demanded excellence at every turn and striving to deliver it (from the early levels of basic education to college to work), I just feel exhausted. All through my life, I’ve always been depended on by people. Back in high school, I was regarded as a bright kid and others would always come to me for help. In college, I ended up being president of a student organization and somehow started a college newsletter. At work, I’m known as the go-to guy for one reason or another. Striving for excellence was indeed the norm for me.

A friend who facilitated a workshop I attended said that there comes a time when leaders burn out.  I may just have. Now I wish that for once I could have it easy and live life without a care in the world or, as the foul-mouths would say, not give a fuck. Not have to be sought after by people who need their problems solved, not have to care about such things, not have to worry about giving anything less than my best. If only for just a while…

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Looking forward to a vacation and the pursuit of a dream…

Months ago, I told my employers that I’d leave the company by the end of the year to pursue studies in photography at the University of the Visayas New School of Art & Design (I wrote an article on that some time ago). To my horror, though, I learned later that they were scrapping the program due to consistent low enrollment turnout. Although it’s sad not to be able to formally study photography, I don’t blame them for closing the program; that’s just economics at work.

School or no school, I’m leaving. My end date has already been set and I still intend to pursue that dream of making it big in photography. After nine months of hectic labor, I ought to give myself a break before the next leg of the journey through life. What better time than the start of a new year?

Time to free myself.

Time to free myself.

Although the last day of 2013 is the day I officially leave, I agreed to stick around unofficially until mid-January to tie up loose ends. It guarantees, or at least increases chances, that I won’t be bothered after I really go.

What happens to my life after this point? Who knows? It doesn’t look like I’m going to school, so I’m going to need another job. I prefer one that affords me the time to pursue photography on the side or, better yet, one that is actually photography-related. One thing is certain: I will try pretty damn hard to reach that goal.

But first, a well-deserved break is in order.

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This entry was posted on December 31, 2013 by in A Day in a Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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