Daydreams

When I took my second course in college, which is Education, one of our subjects in school was Child and Adolescent Development. One time, we were discussing about early childhood (about 2 to 6 years old) and late childhood (about 6 to 12 years old).  I found out from that particular lesson that one of the favorite amusements of those in the late childhood stage is daydreaming.

When I was at this age, I remember that I was daydreaming a lot.  Actually, mine went even past late childhood stage — until my sophomore year in high school, I think.

Daydreaming for me was a hobby then.  At night, to lull myself to sleep, I daydreamed (or night dreamed??!) instead of counting sheep. I daydreamed of things that I didn’t have and would want to have.

I daydreamed about me being so wealthy that I have so many luxury cars and a very big house with a very wide and spacious garden. In my daydreams, I was so wealthy that I could buy EVERYTHING I wish to have and visit ALL the places I want to go to.

I daydreamed about being so famous and popular that ALL the people I know will know me too.

I daydreamed about me being perfect.

All these years, I almost forgot about these daydreams until a couple of nights ago when I couldn’t sleep and I suddenly found myself contemplating on them. I suddenly thought about how stupid and shallow they were. But hey…I was young back then! At that time, I didn’t have any idea of the realities of life.

A little more contemplation from that sleepless night and I came up with the following realizations, after having lived the life I have now:

Realization No.1: Being super wealthy is not so impressive at all

I used to work in a bank and I have seen how problematic rich people are.  Wealth and riches are things that I can’t bring with me when I die.  So these are really very temporary and very complicated at the same time.  Money is so hard to gain (or earn) yet so easy to spend.

I realized that in real life, what matters most is that I have a place to live in, I have a stable source of income to provide for my family’s needs, I have some savings for rest and recreation, I  have enough for emergencies, and most importantly, I have good health. Yup, I don’t really need to become super wealthy or super rich to have all these. I just have to embrace the simplicity of life.

Realization No.2: Being famous and popular is not really a good thing

Why? I have just three words: LOSS OF PRIVACY. If I were super duper famous, people would be looking for skeletons in my closet.  They would be digging for secrets and information about myself for their own personal gain. I would be pressured in doing what the public wants or expects me to do. In other words, the public owns me! Wow, that’s not a very good thought. If it were to happen, I would most likely be banging my head on the wall while telling myself over and over again about what a chaotic world I have put myself into.

Realization No.3: It is perfectly all right if I am not perfect

Nobody is! Perfection is shallow and boring. Well actually, it is unreal.  What really matters is that which is inside the heart.

So, did I stop daydreaming?  As a matter of fact, I didn’t.  But now, my daydreams are the reflections of my hopes and dreams for a better future.  They are somehow attainable, especially if they are what God plans for me.  Some of these are:

I daydream about my children being all grown up and so successful in life.

I daydream about old age without regrets.  This means that whenever I look back, I will be thinking that all has been well and that I don’t regret any single day of my life.

I daydream about me— old but happy and contented.  I will be sitting by the beach, watching the sunrise from the horizon, and thanking God for another beautiful day.

IMG_9283 2

Oops…this isn’t the old me yet. But I will be doing more of this as I grow old. I love nature. I love sights like this because it calms me…it calms my restless soul.

Determination

It was in 1999 when I first came to Japan. My reaction: I was totally astounded by how clean and beautiful Japan is. (Well, until now, I feel the same way and I still think that I am lucky for the chance to live here.)

I was excited and happy the first couple of weeks.  But as the following weeks went by, culture shock, homesickness and the language problem had set in. I couldn’t read and speak any Japanese at that time so it was always a frustration to go out of the apartment to do anything.

It was the time when computers were not popular and the internet was nonexistent. My mobile phone was a small rectangular device that can only do two things: to call and to receive calls. Touch screen phones were still a thing of the imagination. So, in short, I had no way of translating anything instantly. My only help then came from a pocket-sized Japanese-English dictionary that was with me all the time. The people I knew were so busy to help me out that most of the time, I was left to do things by myself.

In spite of the frustration, I forced myself to be useful and to learn the basic. And as expected, experience (mostly embarrassing) was my best teacher. Like that one time when I didn’t know that I took the express train instead of the local one or that one fateful day when I went to the wrong train platform at the Shibuya Station. Of course, in both instances, I didn’t reach my destinations so I had to go back to the station where I came from and board the correct train.

When I did my grocery shopping, there was a time when I was supposed to buy salt but got the sugar instead. So just imagine how sweet my chicken adobo had become. Yes, I know what you are thinking…I made the mistake of not tasting it before I put it in the pot.

So to avoid these blunders…one day, I decided to stay inside the supermarket for as long as I needed just so I will remember which one is which. And when I was done memorizing the grocery products at the Tokyu Store, I felt this deep sense of fulfillment! Yay!

So many times, I had thought about going back home out of frustration. But I didn’t. I was able to surpass all the obstacles through determination.

If it hadn’t been for my determination to make a life in Tokyo, I wouldn’t have been here with a job which I realized just a few years back was the job that I really wanted: teaching kids.

So how did I end up being a teacher? That’s another story.