No more previews, please.

Doodles May 2014 (1)

I never liked watching trailers. And no movie, restaurant, book reviews for me either, please. They preempt the experience.

I get a high out of experiencing things raw, with no bias, no inkling of what’s to come. No one likes spoilers, but even previews are a no-no for me. I’d rather take the risk of sitting through a bad movie than being influenced by a friend’s takeaway from it.

But it’s not just the high that draws me in. It’s the mindset of taking things as they come. It’s another way of being present.

A pre-view is an initial look. A peep. Is there value in steering clear of this peeping?

When we don’t make room for previews, we let ourselves be completely open to engage what’s before us. Instead of anticipating the cute, sappy moments in a plot or expecting the climax or anti-climax, we just suspend everything and meet the experience face-to-face.  How exhilarating it is to know that we don’t know!

The same applies to life situations.

It’s become overused these days to “live in the now.” What does it really mean?

I’ve been preaching it (to myself) for so long, but it’s not as easy to practice it.

Last month I had a life-defining trip that made me decide to move to New York. I gave myself a year to tie loose ends in Manila before I would (and could) jump into the great unknown. Pursuing a creative life in NYC is as cliche as it gets, but it means much more than that to me.  Life in the raw streets, daily interactions with people so different (and also indifferent), having no social, emotional, professional/career crutches — this is what awaits me.  Put in there the possibility of finding a life partner (how can I omit this?), and voila — it’s enough to make one drop everything and jump right in. Or maybe do the exact opposite: to run the other way, fast.

In truth I have no guarantee of what is waiting for me there — does anything really wait for us anyway? — but what I know without a doubt is what I am leaving behind: friends and family and the warmth of shared everydays. To uproot myself and start from scratch in my 30s — that is scary as hell and it’s been taunting me since I got back.

Is this what it means to prepare? To anticipate? I got a preview of what’s out there, and now I feel as if I’ve been living my life on spectator mode: going through the motions of what needs to be done, to make straight the path. I get together with friends and in my heart, I’m already mourning the loss of intimate moments with them once I leave. I sit through dinner with my family and get nostalgic about conversations as we have them. I feel like I’m one step ahead, but not really.

I can’t keep living this way. Not for another year. It’s detached, like living in a catch-22.  It’s frustrating to be always pining for what’s nearly there but not yet, all the while missing out on what’s already in front of me. This is no way to prepare.

So how do I engage this preparation year?

I don’t know.  No more previews, please, at the very least.  And in this case, no advanced nostalgia either.

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