Last week, my batchmates in high school and classmates in college were all shocked to hear a very devastating news: our batchmate, Jerico Tolentino, passed away. Jerico and I weren’t really close, for he was a man of very few words. Very few. And you all know how much of a chatterbox I am. But looking back, I realized that we shared so many things together: we were classmates in high school, we were in the COCC together, we used to share a jeepney going home (because I used to live in Forestry in high school just as he did), and we were even blocmates at UP. He was the sort of guy who keeps to himself, and someone a bully would leave alone because there was nothing annoying about him. Absolutely nothing. He’s someone you would respect, and whose rare smile would also make you smile. He passed away in Hamburg, Germany, where he’s been working and living for just two months. Like many others, I am also curious when his remains would be brought back home so I could pay my final respects. So I visit his Facebook page every now and then.
I have read many touching messages/wall posts to a dearly departed on Facebook. But none of them stuck in my head the way Jerico’s wife’s wall post did:
What struck me most there was that in their six years of being together, they never fought. My kneejerk reaction to that was that it was so unusual and seemingly abnormal. But when I read further, I understood:
“You said life is too short to dabble in petty things.”
Like Jerico’s wife, I, too, agree. I feel that life was so unfair to Jerico, for he passed away too soon. Too soon! He’s my age, for crying out loud! At this point, my constant prayer is always for Randy and me to live long enough to see and play with Raviv’s grandchildren. Life, despite and in spite of everything, is still too beautiful to leave behind quickly.
Perhaps Jerico felt the same way—that life is beautiful. But he was wiser. While many of us would want to be like a phoenix rising from its ashes when we are slighted (and then take our battle to social media to elicit sympathies and perhaps make our complaint go viral), Jerico decided to keep quiet and remain…happy. He just wanted to laugh, cry with happiness, and get smothered in love. And I guess, most people would prefer a short life like that than a long life full of hatred and bitterness.
But oh, if we could live long lives full of joy and love and peace, wouldn’t that be pure bliss?
This philosophical side of mine was brought about because I had the urges of exploding today. One of our helpers (the one who complained so much about our former “mayordoma”) left on Sunday without any word. I was more annoyed when I found out she brought with her my charger! I wanted to report her to Maid Provider (since she’s still under contract and we paid good money for her)—the agency where we got her—but I knew they’ll just tell me that since it’s been more than a month they cannot replace her, or if we get a replacement we have to pay again, or offer a higher salary, blah-blah-blah-blah. In short, I don’t think they’ll actually empathize with us. And that will get me riled up, just as I did every time I called them up in the past because the maids they give out were not what they advertised to be.
So my decision is just to bear and grin it. That’s a huge accomplishment for me because I’m not a very patient person. When I feel there’s an injustice—from inefficient service to honest mistakes—I’m not one to keep my mouth shut. I’m always “Give me my money’s worth or else.” And by being the angry person on everyone’s behalf, I feel like I’m doing humanity a favor. But I’m now trying to stop that side of me.
Shrink-wannabes may tell me that it’s wrong to keep my emotions bottled up. Yes, I agree. But the change I want to happen isn’t about suppressing feelings. Like now, I’m angry. I acknowledge that I am angry and I feel bad. But instead of stalking that helper’s whereabouts and making Maid Provider realize that they’re really no different from the other fly-by-night maid agencies I’ve encountered with before, I’ll stop at just acknowledging my anger.
Am I planning on being a doormat? Hell, still no. But I’ve decided to choose my battles. Petty concerns that can’t be solved should be shelved. I will no longer spend a huge part of my day obsessing about annoying things and people, and I’ll also stop being excited to gossip about them.
If Jerico were still alive today and he learns of my situation, he’ll categorize this situation as a “petty thing” and not worth my time and effort getting riled up. The time and effort I could spend hugging and kissing my son and husband, chatting with friends, baking a delicious treat, or even going shopping or going to the parlor to make me feel pretty. All of those sound sooo good versus giving someone an earful, don’t you think?
So by being “positive”, have I stopped doing humanity a favor by saving them from incompetent people? Maybe, but maybe not. But what I’m sure of is this: by refusing to get caught up by my negative emotions, I’m doing so much favor for the people who matter by not being cranky and infecting them with my negativity.
And I’m doing myself and my existence a favor by noticing all that’s good: fun friends, persevering and loyal employees, wonderful family, pretty bags…so many things to be happy about!
Before I go, let me dig up this old Youtube video of a very appreciative little girl:
Bye, you all! Let’s make happiness infectious!