I graduated yesterday. The Tagalog word that was used was “Dalubhasa”.  What now?

The past two years went by really fast. The opportunity came and I embraced it right then and there. A graduate degree was always a possibility, of course, but when and how, I did not know, I was too busy working and being mom. What I do remember is walking a lot and feeling light-headed and optimistic, knowing for certain something good was coming without knowing what it was going to be.

And then my colleague at the office told me about the journalism fellowship. Just like that, the fog lifted and the plan was revealed. Months later, I rejoiced upon getting into the program. 

Yesterday was nice because all four kids were with me and we went to the event in a rented van. I wanted to be sure we would all be comfortable so we can focus on the good things. I also wanted to make sure every minute we spent was spent on our own terms – what time we were leaving, what we would talk about, where we would celebrate, modestly, after. We are cliquey, those kids and I I. We don’t just let anybody into our circle.  Just the five of us, with our individual quirks and corny jokes and even the occasional conflicts.  I work hard to give them roots and wings. I should tell them they give me the same. 

Yesterday’s ceremony reminded me why I was an Atenean, after all. In truth, I felt guilty for always grumbling and being bitter that a lot of people giving less (if anything) of themselves to society, and who have not hurdled the  same difficulties I had been through seemed to have it easy.  Materially, that is. In contrast, despite my ideals, my work ethic, my sense of balance and order, I am still struggling. Broken, to use an overused term in yesterday’s speech.  However I remembered why I chose this profession and this field in the first place.  

Today, Day One, I still choose it.

I want to show my children that purpose and meaning are rare things and that they would be blessed to find these in the work they would eventually end up doing, whatever it is.

So I woke up at four AM, opened my laptop, went back to work and wrote tomorrow’s editorial. Back to the old grind, and it’s a grind I love.