A peculiar conversation with my mentor

I sat in her office, her face lit up and that moment I knew she was excited to see me.

She was very happy when she asked me how I was. I briefly told her about how my work was and she told me stories of how the department has been since I left. For quite a while we’ve recalled professors who left, who retired, who were great and of course those who didn’t deserve to be given credit.

Then she started asking me how my life was going on apart from work. I told her there was nothing going on aside from work. My life has been nothing more than a routine I wake up in the morning I go to work, in the afternoon I deal with an-hour-long traffic jam then I hear the mass and walk myself home.

She gave me the look and stared at me for a very long time. When she finally spoke she said “What have you been doing with your life? You’re missing out” She told me you can’t forget how good life is just because you’re in a hurry to get your dreams. You are not forever young. When you’re old you can’t have the same rush and bliss when you see your crush, when you fall in love, when you hold someone’s hand. Have you ever had a real relationship?

I shrugged and said no (A high school relationship doesn’t count. C’mon I was just a kid then). I was too busy studying and I really never felt the need for it. I was happy with my friends, too happy I didn’t even notice it. Then she asked me what do you do with all the guys that approached you? I befriended them. She took off her glasses and said ‘what?’ With a tone like how she couldn’t believe when she first knew Michael Jackson was dead. Well, I didn’t want any emotional attachments. My dreams are obviously somewhere overseas and I’m scared that I might get emotionally satisfied I might choose to stay with the comforts of local opportunities then I’d unknowingly give up on my dreams. It happened to a lot of people that I know and I wouldn’t want to wake up one day telling myself I could’ve had my dreams.

Then she answered you’re not them you know better, I taught you for years. You can’t lose all your time worrying about your future. You will be old before you realize you can’t do all these things anymore. And you will be old when you think about what real happiness means. Then I quickly answered back, what if my dream is my real happiness, something that will make me very contented. She looked at me straight in the eye and she said look at you, you’re devastated more than you’re happy. The way to your dreams is always rough, remember that.  It is a level of satisfaction, a self-fulfilment but it won’t be your real happiness because your dreams won’t be at your death bed when you’re about to go. I didn’t tell her what was running in my head but for the love of arguments I was about to ask what if he dies earlier than I do then that makes it all the same right?

I really couldn’t believe my mentor who was a feminist was talking to me in a very different perspective. I guess these are those things you won’t learn from books. How am I supposed to argue with all these? She has  already seen the world and I’m still about to see it.

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