Sunday, February 17, 2008

Multiple Lives

Meet Professor Rey.

Professor Rey was one of my professors in college a not too long time ago. He outlined to me to the concept of multiple lives, which I already had an inkling of from being obsessed with Batman.

Professor Rey enumerated being a keyboard player for an acid jazz band in some watering hole in Mile-Long (which has since closed down), a lawyer, and of course he was sitting before us as our professor for which subject for the life of me I could not remember. Three roles, he said. Three roles that afforded him release to different aspects of his personality.

I admired this concept of multiple lives and dragged my best friend to that run-down bar and rediscovered my annoyance for the genre of acid-jazz. Of course, through this all I also saw and acknowledged the talent of the musicians involved. I never knew how he was as a lawyer, but I supposed he couldn’t make any sort of claim without actually having that attorney’s license or whatever it is they call they document. And yes, he also reported for class. He relished in this, and probably passed it on to me.

A decade and a half hence, I find myself living multiple lives, along with a handful of other half-lives that live on only in my head. I make a living running a small advertising agency, which branches out internally into other multiple roles. I also perform a small function of serving the creative requirements of the family retail business in Baguio City. I am also a relatively active member of the Manila Jaycees. I am a frsutrated saxophone player who tortures my wife on not-so-quiet weekends. To top all that off, I am also a husband, and will soon be a father.

The Manila Jaycees are a curious thing. It asks one to accept and/or create obligations. These obligations are gladly met for various reasons. Some wish to make friends, some want to try and learn something new, some want to impress, some really feel the need to make a difference, some have them stuffed down their throats, and some just have way too much free time. Such is the fate of a Jaycee, whether of Manila or any other chapter for that matter. We accept the prospect of living these double lives and take on the baggage that comes with them.

Sometimes, when things happen at the same time, I find myself bemoaning how I seem to be pulled in different directions threatening to dismember me rather violently. But check this, for the most parts, our various so-called lives care little about how we separate them as long as we fulfill our commitments to each and every one of them well. If and when we make commitments, we are obligated to fulfill them. If not because we are Jaycess, but simply because we are reasonable and honorable human beings.

I have done my best to turn down certain projects and memberships in various committees. Not because I don’t like my potential teammates, but simply because I am afraid of not fulfilling my commitments and obligations to the degree I believe they deserve. I do not want to not fulfill them, but I have other so-called lives that demand for my time.

At some point, it must be said that turning down certain things should be forgiven, accepted and respected. But whenever these commitments are made and these obligations defined, they must be met and fulfilled to the best of one’s abilities in the spirit of not only a Jaycee, but also of honorable being gentlemen.

(oh, and a big wave to Professor Rey Olaguer in the one in a gazillion off-chance that he finds this.)

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