Sunday, March 25, 2007

Carpe Diem

(Foreword: I've already blogged the picture above some months ago, but it carries special meaning to me, and hence, in this most auspicious and nostalgic of times, I decided to use it again)

Has it really been a year?

As I am writing this, my thoughts race back to exactly a year ago, March 25th 2006, the Feast of the Annunciation, the day when I finally graduated from high school. I still remember how much my barong itched as I was about to walk to the stage. I recall having gotten a haircut the day before, and I can still taste the awful lasagna they served us immediately after the ceremonies. I can still recall, with vivid clarity, the look of relief on my classmates' faces as they processed to the podium, some necks glittering with the gold and silver of medals, others content and humbled to have at least gotten their diplomas and made it through high school. Has it really been a year since?

I will never forget high school. From my first day as a freshman, when I still clung to my parents for 'moral support'; to my discordantly barren sophomore year, when I lived in fixed paranoia; to my junior year when I first started to become a 'smart ass'; and finally down to my last, glorious night as a senior, spent with friends, someof whom I had known for eight, nine, or ten years. I still recall the crazy discussions in my senior religion class: how our teacher called us 'coprophagous imbeciles' for failing to pass the simplest quizzes; how I almost blew my top off at some filthy juniors who took my bag and hid it from me; how chose 'Bivouac of the Dead' for our speech choir piece; how we all laughed, cried and drank booze like drunkards on the last night of our retreat.

I still remember all the homilies I heard during the many times I heard Mass in our school chapel, still remember the names of our enthusiastically fervent second grade altar servers (If Gab Navarro doesn't become a priest, then I'm th queen of England!), still remember the correct way of folding Father's alb (the trick, it seems, is always to fold it an odd number of times), and I still remember the smell of wafting incense-- whose smell was the olfactory equivalent of a burning rubber tire-- rising in clouds to greet the Sacred Host, encased in its two-foot high monstrance.

I still have many mementos from my myriad discussions with my teachers, some of whom I have come to consider my closest friends. And I still remember hating some of them, especially the 'lavender mafia' of my sophomore year, who hit on every good-looking student they could rest their eyes on (thankfully, they have long since gone from the school). I will definitely remember my Latin classes for the rest of my life, and how I almost got suspended for greeting an elderly substitute teacher with the words 'Podex perfectus es!' (How could I have known that he trained under the Jesuits--and actually TAUGHT Latin-- way back in the 1940s?!?!) I still laugh at that incident, though, mostly at my own expense.

I can still produce all the movie tickets I've saved for every movie my friends and I watched, often to the detriment of other viewers, for we went into the theaters as a foridable group and talked somewhat loudly. Those Friday, Saturday, early weekday gimmicks I still carry around with me. And I certainly can still remember the songs I sang on the way to my UPCAT and ACET exams. Ever tried blasting Foo Fighters' DOA at maximum volume at 5:30am? Or for that matter, the Beatles' I Am The Walrus? I got some really weird stares for that one.

I have a tendency to hoard most of my things. It's a known fact that still have some of my notebooks from the fourth grade, and I've personally never thrown away any of my textbooks, although admittedly, my dad has done this for me. Sometimes I just want to plop down on my couch, pick up those old tomes, and reminisce on the good ol' days. And it helps, I think, to remember where we came from. I'll admit that some of my mates probably know more about me than my own siblings or parents; and while I do regret this, I certainly don't regret having them around one bit. They have kept me going through when seemingly overwhelming obstacles come my way, they have challenged me to do things that I normally wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't do.

All those shared moments of sadness, relief, anger, exhaustion, jubilation, despair: these, we did not experience not just as individuals, but almost like family. I can never recall a time when we did things solely for the benefit of a particular clique or group; and this is not something that just comes naturally. By our tears and pain, though joy and sorrow, we have all undergone the same path. And that is why I love high school.

Has it really been a year? Empirically, objectively, yes. But I know that the friendships I made duing those four years can never be severed by something so petty as a set quantity of time. They have been forged by forces and circumstances far beyond mere pleasantries and trifles, and it is this fact that makes high school the best time of my life.

To end, let me leave you with some words from Green Day's 'Time of Your Life', one of the very few songs from them that I ever liked:

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Congratulations to the all the graduates of Batch 2007! Carpe diem!

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