Monday, October 6, 2008


Monday, October 6, 2008

Carla and Leah--two of my closest friends--and I had dinn
er at some Cajun place last Friday night. It’s been more than a year now since we last saw each other that we needed some serious catching up. With the slightest hint of poignancy, our conversation revolved around how we’ve aged and how we’ve remained the same. At our age, we can’t help but assess ourselves against our peers. In our high school batch, made up of around 70 students, who has made it and who has yet to make it?

So who has made it?

  • Those who now live in other countries earning in just one month the annual salary of their counterparts who are still living in the Philippines
  • The well-traveled ones whose countless travels are photo documented in their personal web pages
  • Those whose names are preceded with titles such as doctor, attorney, engineer and professor
  • Those who have earned graduate and postgraduate degrees and reaping numerous academic accolades
But when you think about it, are these the real measure of success?

I know of a classmate who, with the above measures, has made it. She has traveled to all the exotic places, married and now living in a foreign country and holds a title and a graduate degree. But despite all these, she is regarded with disdain and even revulsion by most of the members of the batch. Her accomplishments have not redeemed herself in the eyes of our classmates. They still see her as that girl they hated and made fun of in high school. From how they view her, she hasn’t made it at all.

And how about the single mother who is bringing up her children on her own? Or those who chose to settle down and raise a family and by doing so have made homemaking not just a vocation but an art? Isn’t that an accomplishment by itself? Or the classmate who chose to retreat from the rat race and lead a more sedate, laid back lifestyle despite his being considered as the best of us all? Is he being an underachiever of just living the kind of life that makes him happy?

It pains me to say this but no matter how we decry materialism and claim that a person’s value is not measured by the trappings of wealth, people would still judge us by how much money we have in the bank. It is not how much we have contributed to society, or how long we spent doing service to the nation, or how content we are with our lives despite our lack of accomplishments, or how we really do not give a damn about being successful or not. Success is a social construct. Success is success only by how others define it.

With chastened acceptance of my failures and llimitations, I know I haven’t made it. And, well, I’ll keep on going anyway.


Kayni said...

I used to envy former classmates who were earning much better, owned houses, and traveled farther than I did, but I do think each person has their own pace. You're right that success is a social construct, and how you're viewed depends on the outside. But, always keep your own voice and that no matter what the others say, you are a success in your own right.

shweepea16 said...

isnt that the truth... everything and everyone is soo different from where they were in highschool.. (spoken like one of the few outsiders in highschool) haha..

artemis said...

'success' is a state of mind, i'd say.. :-)

d_d_d said...

who's to say a person has made it or not? at the end of the day we live with our self,nobody else. if we're happy then all is well. no point if forever obsessing on what people (who are probably not even part of your life now) think (whether we've made it or not or whatever)- get on with the program- "live, laugh, love" =P

Angeli said...

i agree. :)

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