Of Pit Stops and Turning 25

Airports, according to a rom-com movie I’ve watched a few years back, are the world’s most romantic places. These are where epiphanies happen, where we realize what we feel for someone, for something.

I always want the things I do not have. I long for the time that has passed and ached for the future that is still on its way.

“I want the time I have.” (photo by Zandra Mae Estallo)

Every motivating article and every self-help book I’ve browsed, every speech on TEDTalks, and every person I’ve talked to told me that my early 20s will be spent on figuring life out, should be spent in being uncertain. I’ve always found indecisiveness to be off-putting, so when I had my personal encounter with it, I didn’t know what to do.

Perhaps that was why I found myself at two in the afternoon lugging a wheeled bag through one of Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s terminals, I was looking for something to take me out of the rut I was in the past years.

I was on my way to see life unfold in the Land of the Rising Sun.

In the 17 days that I immersed myself in Japanese culture, I learned about humility, kindness, and staying in the present—the third is the one I treasure most. Realizations about how beautiful the world is came in the forms of temples and shrines, adorable children, falling autumn leaves, stunning mountains, and new friends.

That trip to Japan taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid of taking risks. I shouldn’t be afraid of putting my heart out there because at the end of the day, I’ll only regret not doing the things I could have done.

I’ve written this essay two years ago.

My life did not magically fix itself in spite of me going to places unknown. That is the beauty of pit stops and life. There is never a guarantee.

If there is something I’ve learned in a quarter of a century it is that I have to want the time I have.


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