"Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you.
Quit milling around the yard and come inside."
- “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out”, Richard Siken
Hello. Are you there?
You left the door open again. It's a good thing you remembered to take the key out of the door knob today. That advice you got to always have a place to put your keys in: I see you haven't taken that to mind yet. Don't worry, you will. (From when I came from, I have a little bowl just by the front door where I keep the keys.)
Yep, twenty years from now is what I meant. A long time, huh? You'll become more forgetful, so you'll need to have these little rituals to remember things. You're going to start, five or ten years from now, tagging important stuff with chips so you can track them with your phone. (I forget when you will do this exactly, but I'm pretty sure you will eventually. Almost everyone in the future does this.)
It's good to remember. Well, sometimes. Your first kiss, for example. You were walking in Intramuros with this boy you liked. It was a breezy evening. You both stopped, by this statue. (Queen Isabel II, I think?) The lights were beautiful, and it happened--that electric thing when two people kiss.
I say sometimes because you probably also remember that you found out he was with someone else (Oh lord, thank Friendster for that), and you discovered that he probably cheated with you. It wasn't your fault, but it did feel like shit to be an accomplice to some crime, unknowingly. You blamed yourself for getting yourself into these messy situations.
It's not your fault, you know.
Seriously: you can't keep blaming yourself for all the things people do. Sure, you might be a reason for some of the things they do, but not all. Surely not all. Everyone's going through their own journeys, choosing the best paths they can take at the moment. There will be times when you'd want to stop them from jumping off their metaphorical cliffs. But here's the thing.
Here's the thing: you can't save people. Most especially, you can't save people from themselves.
I guess right now it feels sucky, huh. The thought that you are powerless in that regard, saving people and stuff. I mean, I'm pretty sure you think that your happiness is closely tied to other people's happiness. How many times did you try, to your detriment, to delay your own happiness to make people happy--believing that your turn will come when they find theirs?
You can't do that. Stop. Stop immediately. You will destroy yourself in anger and sadness and frustration.
Here's a good lesson: the most you can do is guide them. And not forcibly, at that. You can tell them that maybe they can do this or that to make things better. With a caveat of course that you might be wrong. Your experiences aren't always applicable to everyone's lives, after all. Some things work; some things don't. It is what it is.
You can't make everyone happy all the time, anyway. You will make some people happy at some points in their lives, but never all the time, and certainly not everyone. Some people will want more. Some people will move on without even thanking you. Some people will tell you to fuck off.
If you keep getting broken every time you fail miserably, trust me: you will self-destruct. Pick yourself up. Smile. Shit hits the fan all the time. Forgive yourself.
Or try, at least. That's the most you can do.
Try your best.
You (Only a Bit Older, Hopefully Wiser)
P.S. Don't forget to floss
HELLO, MY NAME IS EVAN TAN.
I'm a writer and communications professional based in Manila, Philippines. Outside of my regular job, I like to travel, work out, volunteer, watch movies and plays, go to art galleries/ fairs and museums, read books, and eat vegetarian food.
More about me here.