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HONORING MY MOTHER| Maybe next time

By Icoy San Pedro

The violinist Lucy Chapman once said, “You may not be where you want to be yet in life now, but you are also not where you used to be. Take a second to realize how far you have come.” A most fitting reminder for those who fear their lives or careers appear to be dead in the water.

A secret I have never told anyone, back during my elementary schooling years, every time I reached another level, from grades one till six, I always said a silent thank-you prayer. And it always went like…thank you I’m in grade two, or thank you I’m in grade three…and so on. I don’t know why, but after that, perhaps with puberty setting in and a combination of false confidence borne of an equally-pimpled peer group called friends, I never bothered with such childish practices anymore. 

Looking back now, I’d describe myself then as being like a giddy backstreets driver,  merging into highway traffic for the first time, and maneuvering with a head-long drive into whatever unknown lay ahead. Pretty much after that, with quite a number of look-before-you-leap lessons piled up after each setback, these were always punctuated by a favorite cop-out closer synonymous with wild youth: well, I’ll strive to do better next time. then as always, perhaps just like anybody, history repeats itself and it’s always back to square one.

Meanwhile, just learning to appreciate how far one has gone is most often an accomplishment in itself. The least of it all: you’re still breathing and somehow, in spite of all you have gone through, that must account for something. However slowly, working one’s way up this ladder that showcases how far you’ve gone, there’s the realization that some opportunities not afforded others are likewise in your possession. As this is another given, eventually, you have to accept life, as it is, is never a competition with others. You are your own rival and as your goal, have to be better than how you were yesterday.

Evidently, others will always be better, richer or more powerful than you can ever hope or imagine yourself to be. This is never a race against them as only your pace is important. For those who aim to compete, even the small failures will invite only envy, and this later lead to frustration and losing sight of your pace to be where you are. 

Meanwhile a long time ago, there was a sack race in the school sports activities and a grader kept complaining that the others in the race, along with their supporters, distracted him no end so it was difficult to even run. His teacher advised him to drown out all the noise and only focus on the finish line. Eventually, during the final heat, he finished second, out of all the ten finalists. I wasn’t that guy, but one of the hecklers, but I learned a lot that day.


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