I had a very interesting bus ride yesterday. It’s one of those is- life-by- choice-or-is-it-by-chance conversations that I had with a passenger.
I was skimming through the pages of the photocopies for our first subject for our prelim exam when suddenly the man who sat by my side blurted out his complaints against the government. What triggered his disgust was the lack of immediate response from the 911.
A few minutes before, we passed by a motorcycle accident. An old man was injured and rescue hadn’t yet come as we arrived that spot. He said that 911 is in Sasa! Damn it! That would only take five minutes! Government’s useless! Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. He commented disappointedly.
As I was focused on cramming with my lessons, I couldn’t really get into discussions with him. As they say, don’t talk to strangers. But I guess I would die if I don’t speak so by and by, I would glance at him and nod my head and comment yes or hmmn or yeah or bitaw Kuya.
But as I can sense that he really needed attention and I’d like to be courteous plus he wouldn’t stop bugging his seatmate, I put my papers on my lap and decided to engage in conversation with him.
He was an educated person I discovered. He interviewed me about my Sunday school. How should one enroll? Should you need a college degree? Or are you just finishing it? I answered you needed to have a degree first in order to add the units then you can take the board exam and get licensed.
He asked where I attend school. He somehow slightly mocked as I mentioned it. He said it doesn’t ring a bell and it’s not one of those top schools out there. There are better universities in Davao! In Panabo? Are you ok?
I smiled at that idea because I really like NDC with their values-oriented system. I am also very grateful to meet model professors with some of them using revolutionary approaches to educate the learners.
I didn’t take it as offense though but rather answered that it’s the philosophy of teaching that I am after. Besides, it will only take me five months to complete the units compared to one-year offers in Davao. He nodded at the idea.
He asked me, why still study? Is it for money? I’m glad that I already blogged about the answer to this question here. I said not entirely. I would be hypocrite if I totally say no but it has been my dream and all I want is have it accomplished. He was silent.
Later on, he reminisced upon his classmate in college. He said he took up Political Science in UP. He mentioned about his batch which I’m not familiar with but it was more or less active youths during the Marcos’ regime in the 80’s. He said he was part of those young leaders.
Going back to his classmate, she was already 60 years old when she decided to go back to college. She was supposed to retire from the public office and it quite made an impression on him as she decided to enroll. She was by the way a public accountant.
He said to her that she should retire but she said that she was almost living alone. There’s nothing to do when she retires. All her kids were married and she just wanted to maximize her time. Besides, it was not too late. His eyes sobered remembering those days.
We were now entering Panabo City when I asked him if he finished that Pol Sci course. He said he did not. And pause. I somehow held my breath. Uh-oh! Did I trigger something?
He continued that he had a brother priest who encouraged him to continue with the degree. He said he refused it. Somehow he was really not sure what he was making out of his life. He was just confused. He was now old and age would take its toll and the like. How could he continue then?
An idea suddenly popped out my head! Why not share him compound effect?! Sir I read about a book entitled “Compound Effect.” The idea is that when you want to achieve something, you really need not take big leaps to arrive there. Just take small steps, one by one. Slowly but surely. Plus just be kind with yourself. Don’t be so hard and take it easy. I smiled like letter “D”!
I think he bought the idea by the degree of his agreement by that statement. He said it should be small steps. Yes, it’s correct while nodding his head. But, I think, he continued, I have been living my life by chance. How about you, he asked me, do you think life is a choice or is it by chance?
I immediately answered, It is by choice Sir! It is our decision to choose whatever it is we choose our lives to be. I was really optimistic. But he said, Nah! I think life is by chance! With amusement I just replied, Then that will be your choice! And we both smile. And just few seconds later, he stopped the bus and we said farewell! Then I opened my photocopies once again.