Trust in The Magic of Time
Growing with my grandmother whom I fondly called ‘Nanay’, the beginning of the day was as early as 4:00 in the morning. She said that we should be set to open our eyes without wink and make neck cracks to shake off the haze in our brains. She also told me that we must be ahead of our snob roosters in the backyard who were still being cradled by somnolence before the break of dawn. This remained true even on weekends on which I didn’t have classes at school. If she was still alive, I would have reacted this way as a millennial: (Nanay, WTF?!) J
It was at the tail of the week that I usually join her in the market near the north harbor we locally call Divisoria. It is located in the heart of Manila. Like hunters in the wild, we paid a look clandestinely as fast as we could in the endless cramp stores left and right to procure the finest layers and layers of multi-chromatic fabrics in varying textures and peculiarity and other numerous elements of odd shapes and sizes for her dressmaking work.
She would always say that time is of essential value and that we need not to waste it for some unnecessary work. She practiced what she preached, and that included me of course. So if she is tired, I am tired too. J
Very seldom that I see her sitting or lying down. One minute I saw her cleaning the house then sooner she will be laying her hands on her vintage sewing machine and did some magical work of making dresses in days and beautifully crafted dining and bedroom linens in weeks. And oh, not to forget my favorite thing she did on weekends was giving me an organic hot coconut oil treatment for my scalp. J If she had the things-to-do-list in paper at that time on what came to be palpable these days, each of them is knocked off one after the other. Then I would have let her do the blogging of: ‘Ways on How to have the Most Productive Day EVER!’ J
From there, I valued time just like as how a mother holds her day-old newborn and to the best of my ability spend each minute to people, circumstances and experiences I care and believe in.
And so when I had begun curating my own ideals, principles and ethics on work and other matters in personal and social context as I grew older; I unconsciously gave birth to the need of writing a to-do-list and it became a pseudo part of my body. Like I have to make grocery at this time, talk to my mother tomorrow, go to church later or bond with friends on the coming weekend. This gives me a better picture of the day for example, and sends me the mental tracker that I used my time purposefully.
Make every moment count as they say.
Consequently, anxiety builds up when I don’t do anything at a particular time of the day or agitation creeps in if I was not able to swipe out majority on what is on my list. There was this one time I became a part of an organization where one of the criteria in evaluating job performance is to measure how much task you can do in a little time with 100% accuracy, it was like whoa, rat race! And so I thought that this can be something more serious than anxiety especially when talking about unmet goals or unfulfilled dreams. I feel useless and inept.
One story I remember, I seldom to be cooking in our home. I let my uncle, who is more popular to us as Aki dons the role of the master chef. One of the rarest occasions, I joined him in the kitchen and he was cooking an endemically known vegetable stew dish with fish meat called ‘Dinengdeng’. I volunteered to help and initially estimated that the cooking time may take only 30 minutes since vegetables and fish can be ready in a little while. But apparently, it took us around an hour or so.
As I was preoccupied in doing the preparations like mincing the onions while simmering the soup, then lifting the cover every now and then as often as I can checking on the vegetables and the meat while talking to him while also checking my phone until I feel the need to lift the cover again; I didn’t notice he was watching me from afar. And he keeps on saying to me in several circumstances:
“Hayaan mo lang, lalambot din yan” (Just let it be, the vegetables and the meat will get tender).
“Hayaan mo lang maglalasa din yan” (Just let it be, it will slowly absorb the flavor).
“Hayaan mo lang kukulo din yan.” (Just let it be, it soon get to a boil).
Result: A very flavorful and appetizingly green and firm vegetables that is on point, plus a meaty and colorful debate about Philippine politics in between (Disclaimer: My uncle and I love debating all the time, it’s our sort of telenovela watching kind of thing.) J
That angle interested me.
I was counting on the time like a best friend, counting on the moments on what it can offer me. J
One day, I was running late at work. If it was my old self, my blood pressure would have gone high as I hurriedly ran out of the house to get a cab skipping the popular jeepney to go to work. Graciously hoping that the universe will help me get work in 30 minutes or less. At that time, I was residing in Manila and my work is in Taguig. At rush hour in the Philippines, that would have been one of the greatest miracles recorded of all time. J But guess what? Yes! Your guess is as good as what happened. J
Though I value being on time at work, maybe what was more important that time was just to let it be. J Just take advantage of the air-conditioned cab, put your make-up on and enjoy the people watching to set things back in proper perspective. You will still get there not in the time you wished to but soon. J
In my lifetime, I have collected so many journals and planners and if they are going to talk and you switch on your eavesdropping mode they will speak about my things-to-do-list, on how my day was and if she’s generous enough she may give you what my dream-board looks like. My notebooks don’t appear clean and fancy. There were tasks that were knocked off, goals that are still on asterisk and underlined even from two years before and some dreams that remained untouched from still yet a decade ago.
Sometimes it’s not how many, but it is how well.
Let time do its job on things and on you.
Take time especially for yourself.
Writing this entry took quite a while (and again, I was not able to do some other things) but I just let it be. And it is okay. Being a storyteller and pursuing writing today was brought about by thousands of moments happy or sad, hundreds of hours of experiences, more than a handful of rejections that took just minutes to say but taken years to heal and gazillion of seconds of celebrated occasions in my life.
These built the core of my metaphorical microphone and come on stage to tell you a story.
Am I a late bloomer for being a writer? No! I believe I have arrived just in time. J
Time maybe not ‘count’ in certain chapters of your life, but there was no lost time.
One only loses time if he has no direction.
Do you think some things take so much time to become real?
I believe there are two clocks in this world.
One is our clock – the one that we cannot control.
The other one is the bigger clock which is out of our hands but could mean that possibilities are limitless.
If your dreams expired in your clock, there is still another one.
Trust in the magic of time.