The Roadblock

I was once ambitious. I had the fire. I was willing to explore the highway. I told myself I’d overcome all the obstacles, climb the top of the mountain, and make a difference. But somewhere along the road, I took a detour and never went back to the path I originally wanted for myself. Somewhere along the road, I lost myself.

What happened?

I feel like I no longer have that fiery spirit one needs to succeed. I lost my competitive streak. The sad part? I was aware but I never did anything to bring it back. Or if I ever did, it obviously wasn’t enough.

I was an adventurer willing to venture into the unknown. But somewhere along my adventures, I came across  a comfortable zone that I didn’t know I craved until I was there. Unknowingly, I settled in and the  comfort was too great I couldn’t get out.

Or maybe I could but deep inside the recesses of my consciousness, I didn’t want to resist that pull.  Maybe during one of those short intervals wherein my fiery spirit resurfaced, I didn’t cooperate. Oh I did try. Many times, in fact. But not enough. It obviously wasn’t enough.

Maybe I wasn’t the determined adventurer I thought I was. Maybe the failures and mistakes I thought I conquered left wounds I never noticed and wore me out. As the path became more challenging with all its traps and barricades, did doubt in what I’m capable of creep in making detours more tempting? Was the blazing fire I thought I had merely a flame from a candle? Easily lit, but easily extinguished. Was I not good enough for the path I’ve chosen?

I feel like I’m stranded for a very long time now. From this small haven I call my comfort zone, I observed countless others fighting their own battles. While I was willingly trapped, I watch them take a step forward towards their goals and dreams. Become a beacon of hope and a role model to those who still have a lot of challenges cut out for them. Then I’d think, “Why am I still here? Haven’t I over welcomed my leisurely stay? Shouldn’t I be out there making my mark in the world too?” Finally, reality is slowly catching up with me.

From someone who detoured and chose to be a spectator as others traveled their paths, I realized that the road I was in isn’t even worthy of comparison to the roadblocks that tried to hold others back. I let a few tumbles stop me when others had to jump off a cliff. If their fire remained, why can’t mine?  If they were able to find joy in every step, why can’t I? Why did I choose to be happy in my comfort zone instead of being happy at the sense of accomplishment I’ll get if I participated in the race as well?

I let opportunities pass by because I was too comfortable. Why am I settling for less when I can have more? Why did I lose the competitiveness I used to love about myself? Why am I not as driven to better myself anymore? Instead of being a tiny flame that can cause a forest fire, I easily let a little bit of wind put me out.

What happened? I asked.

I happened. Somewhere along the road, I turned myself into my own roadblock. I was the one holding myself back, denying me of the life I wanted. I became the detour that trapped me into a comfort zone of my own creation.  Am I the only one suffering from this affliction?

I haven’t done anything because what time I was given, I wasted on the senseless while others have made the most out of theirs. Seeking out opportunities and turning obstacles into windows of opportunity. I chose to see my scars in the form of self doubt and insecurities instead of seeing them as a reminder that I can heal from whatever mistakes or failures I’ve been through. I chose to see a glass as half empty instead of half full.  I’m less because I allowed myself to be contented with less. I chose to spend my time on triviality instead of participating in substantial and life changing opportunities. Because of this, I haven’t accomplished as much as I initially wanted to. We’re a product of our choices and their consequences. In my case, I became a roadblock that I have yet to overcome.

Will knowing that I was at fault make me a better person again? Is wishing that I can escape the lesser self I’ve become enough? Will planning my escape from this roadblock I’ve created bring me back the fire I needed to make the escape  possible?

No.

What is merely a thought will remain a thought until they are put into action. It’s just then that they will start making a difference. It’s then that I can finally find again the path I originally planned on pursuing and become the better person I wanted to be.

A roadblock should be seen as an opportunity, not an obstacle. A chance to be better. Stronger. Wiser.

And now, there’s a new roadblock a few steps ahead. A new opportunity to prove something for myself. I’ve been thinking, planning and enjoying long enough.

It’s time to make a difference.

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Failure seems to be the hardest word.

The idealist in me had planned 5 months ago that a change in ways, manners, principles and outlook must be enforced and achieved. However, the results showed otherwise. If ever I did change, which was definitely not the case, it wasn’t for the better. Unfortunately, it was for the worse.

For a semester deprived of dance trainings every night, I was supposed to be performing better in an entirely different arena—the academe. The decrease in the number of distractions and consequently, the time allotted for such distractions should have resulted to an increase in the improvement of my grades. Logically, that should have been the case, but reality turns out to be the complete opposite. I don’t have a boyfriend anymore to share idle time with, no dance training every night or performance to think about. I should have had more time for pursuing academic excellence—as what our professors continuously remind us to do.

The plans my ideal self planned to achieve was a failure. The realist in me failed to live up to the standards, simple because I lacked the discipline, the will, and the enthusiasm to do so. My grades were mediocre. I was a complete and utter failure.

I often find articles regarding how grades should not define a person, how learning has ceased to be an enjoyable experience due to the stress that running after excellence has been giving, how being in a school for achievers has made grades the yardstick of success, how we became victims by trading our enthusiasm to learn for an uno. I often applaud such articles, for the simple fact that I can see myself in those words. Knowing that several others approve of such articles and relate to the predicament these articles voice out was a breather. It was like pulling a huge thorn out of my heart.

I was not alone.  Someone had the courage to write and voice out the situation that has inadvertently made me and several others see that we have become victims of the determination to maintain the cream of the crop status. A status that has forever been the light that we often find ourselves following and the light we enjoy immensely, despite its burning consequences, like a moth attracted to the light lamp, only to have its wings burned for being so near or aiming to be near, fascinated by the shine its light promises.

Being an emblem of excellence has promised us of a brighter future, one with success hanging unto every step we take and every word we say. Yet, how many college drop-outs and students with mediocre or failing grades had disproved that? Plenty out there, I’m sure. Somehow, this could be a suggestion that an absence of excellent grades in the transcript does not entirely equate failure, doesn’t it? Surely, there must be something else besides the grades, right?

Having such thoughts, however, does not make me feel better about myself. I was merely looking for an excuse for the lack of improvement on my part. I was desperately looking for an explanation that would remove the blame from me, and unto the system. I may be a victim of such circumstance, however, that does not justify that I should take these subjects carelessly, which I did. What a shame.

Somewhere along the years, I had ceased to enjoy learning just for the sake of learning, even for the things that I used to be interested in. I was a history enthusiast, a literature geek, and one who appreciated Science and all the wonders it offers. Yet, here I am, no longer able to read anything about History, of have the time to take a time for enjoying the Classics. Much worse, I have come to a point that I don’t want to learn anything about Science. Ironically, my course demanded me to love it, for I was a student studying Chemistry. The Queen of Science, they often say. Learning about her has been a very tough and rocky ride. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve shedded tears over her, whether it was for a failing score on an exam, the extensive laboratory reports, or the failing grades.

I want another chance to prove to myself that I can be better than that. I often wonder why I couldn’t even appreciate the number of blessings and chances that have been knocking on my door. I’m not even sure if I had ever allowed those chances to get the most out of me or if I had ever appreciated and put to use the blessings that has been pouring in, waiting.

I may have told myself a number of times that I would change. I sincerely hope that this time, it’s not only about telling but doing.