April 3 is my birthday, and this year (2015) it falls on Good Friday. The closest to this that I had was April 3, 1969, which fell on Holy Thursday. Back then, we were living in the side street of Burgos, Tacloban City, between Salazar and Del Pilar streets. We had a closely-knit neighborhood, and practically everybody knew everybody else. Oh, yes, back then, we had what you call civic-mindedness and had a youth club, where Rodrigo Rama was president and I was the veep.
Our induction party was Hawaii-themed, which we held at the Knights of Columbus building along Zamora. The news photo about it was even printed on the society page of Manila’s Graphic Magazine.
Back then, we each had buddies and our initiation to manhood was downing Tanduay rum and smoking Ice King cigarettes (this we did discreetly at first, because it was taboo, but we did it in the open eventually, without much ado from our elders). The girls, meanwhile, had their nightly Spirit of the Glass sessions, which, for some reason, was abruptly halted at one point. I think that was because the spirits were literally chasing their butts.
Since we had a caboodle of neighborhood friends, it was de rigueur to prepare some food on one’s birthday, and mine was inexpensive to do–it consisted of fish dishes, with gulaman mold thrown in. And the obligatory Tanduay, of course.
Abandon and go-hang were the themes at the peak of my youth, and I look back to it without regret.
At this point in my life, however, on my nth birthday, my lesson is that, even as it is only downhill from hereon, the bottom line is I have to live it on my terms, that I really have to captain my ship, again on my terms. Never mind that becoming a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates is a blur. Peace of mind and being true to myself are my guideposts.
The important thing is you are happy at what you do, and you do it wholeheartedly. After all, the lessons in the journey are more important than the destination itself.