Nines in ’09: Deepening Commitments

Posted on January 7, 2009

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For some reason I am up before dawn, not because I can’t sleep but more because I can’t wait to get up. I am filled with anticipation over the events that are unfolding in my life, and I am even more excited about the prospects for this year and beyond.

If last year was an absolute roller coaster filled with wonderfully high highs and horribly low lows, this year is meant to be a trek–a journey further into a path that I have chosen and that has revealed itself to me in the most serendipitous of ways. Each doorway leading to it has been filled with pleasant surprises and happy discoveries, and each street marker has been an affirmation that this is where I’m supposed to be. If it’s taken me weeks to write a proper reflection on the year that had just passed and the year that is now beginning, it’s because the Universe has been raining revelations on me, and I couldn’t write while I was soaked. Today, one week into the year, just before sunrise, seems like a good time to step back and take stock of everything that has happened, is happening, and will still happen.

In a few days, I will be plunging head-first into a world that has always fascinated me: politics. I can’t remember when I first fell in love with the idea of serving in government–maybe it was during my student council days in the Ateneo, or maybe it was imprinted in me on a subconscious level even before that–but I do know that every time I have an opportunity to engage in political game-changing and change-making, my heart sings a song. Politics and joy are strange bedfellows, to be sure, but in my universe they are happy comrades.

So I will be giving up the full-time freelance writer’s lifestyle not because I’m already tired of writing–I don’t think I’ll EVER tire of it–but because I’ve always known that writing was only my gateway to other things, bigger things. And while I have enjoyed my five-year stint working with clients of all shapes and sizes and with magazines that I love, I know that I must now deepen my commitment to change-making and take the plunge. And I will do it with a principal that I believe in and with a team that has made me feel at home even before we all realized that we were somehow meant to work closer together.

When I made the announcement a few weeks ago to an advocacy group that I’m working closely with, not a few eyebrows were raised. Why (??!!), they wanted to know. I can make a difference outside of government–why work for a politician? Why not stay outside the lines? Why must I “dirty” myself in that world?

My answer is simple: because I need to put my ideals and convictions into action and immerse myself in my advocacies, full-time. Because playing from the sidelines doesn’t cut it for me anymore. Because I believe that part of the solutions we need involve engaging political actors, not shunning them. Because political problems require political solutions that must be formed within the political arena. We can rally and protest and advocate all we want, but, ultimately, we will need supporters from government to see our mission through. If there was one thing that I’ve learned from working with my various organizations, it is that if we want change, we must be willing to engage.

And I am about to be engaged in a big way, that’s for sure.*

What about writing, what about art? Writing, art, my love for lifestyle and culture… these will FOREVER be a part of me, and I will not shed my skin just because I need to put on a new coat. Just as I will take the plunge in politics, so will I work to leave indellible imprints in the other worlds that I love. As I’ve been saying, this year is all about deepening commitments. I now recognize the path that I’m supposed to take, and I will, as a mentor of mine had exhorted me to do, walk completely into it with my eyes wide open.

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