My name is Monch Puentebella, and I’m the owner and administrator of The Monching’s Guide – this blog you are reading right now. You’ll find a lot of food-related posts, an occasional product review, and a sprinkling or two of my thoughts about life. However, let me digress from those things on this instance to share something that has changed my life recently—and can possibly change yours. If you will remember my post last year about my final visit to Ateneo, I wrote that I may not be able to visit the place after that instance. But apparently, that wasn’t the case.
I chanced upon THIS BLOG ENTRY. And I quote the main points for those too lazy to click:
Back then, I was afraid. Afraid of facing people, afraid of not achieving anything, and afraid that I ended up a disappointment. In short, I was afraid that I would end up a nobody. But here’s the thing; those who have nothing have nothing to lose. Either I take the leap of faith, or I let my fear hold me down like manacles. And kill that fear, I did.
The chance to kill that fear came one Saturday. I volunteered to do photography work for an event in which our company participated in, and it was held at the Ateneo’s Rizal Library. Of course I had hesitations at first, but after some deep thinking – I threw them out of the window. It’s a rest day overtime so I’ll get paid. I have an alumni ID I can use to enter the campus, not to mention having a vehicle to drive. I can converse in Filipino, English, or Ateneo conyo and not be ashamed of it. I arrived there early, and listened to my fear. Then I defied it, and the day went on smoothly.
Occasionally, I walked around the campus to see whether I would bump into a few batch mates of mine from years back. While walking, one of the security officers asked for my identification – and I gave him my alumni ID. He then struck a short conversation with me, asking why I had a long face during that time. I told him that I was sad because I might end up a failure despite being a graduate of this prestigious university, while my other peers made it in life.
Sometimes, you get the most unlikely advice from the most unlikely people. Little did I know that this security officer was Ateneo’s legendary constable Kuya Resty Robledo; he was much talked about for inspiring students who felt down and out in their lives. I thanked him after the conversation, keeping his words to heart. We parted ways, with me returning to the library to resume my work.
Four days after my duty last Saturday, I received a comment proving how much I had changed for the better. This came from our college’s department secretary, someone who originally saw me as a student who didn’t care about anything else other than graduating. I parked at Ateneo to pick up the younger brother who was there for his orientation seminar and, as fate would have it, I bumped into her while walking,
In all honesty, I appreciated her comment. It meant one thing; I’ve went far, lived my life, and turned the tables around. I’m on the right track.
Let me share something before I end this one. If anybody here remembers The Twilight Zone, and I mean the 1960s black and white version, raise your hands. The show has an episode entitled Walking Distance, which involves an advertising executive named Martin Sloan returning to the town of his childhood and finding his younger self. At the end of the day, his father appears and tells him an important lesson: that the past is best left in the past. CLICK ON THIS LINK to watch a memorable scene from the said episode that has left a mark on the hearts of its viewers past and present.
Just like Martin, Monch Puentebella has realized that he can’t stay in the past. Yes, my summer is over. The blank-faced, lost, and apathetic college student that I was before belongs to the old times—not in the present. I failed. I screwed up my chances. I didn’t do things properly years ago. I can’t turn back time to change everything.
But here’s the thing: I should look forward. I’m taking the advice of Martin’s dad to heart. Maybe the merry-go-rounds and band concerts are right across. Maybe they aren’t merry-go-rounds and band concerts. Maybe they’re restaurants, weekends, and a lot of other new experiences that await me. Well, who knows?
I had nothing back then, yes. Now—I have a girlfriend, a well-preserved 2004 model Toyota Revo that I drive, and a stable job. Things truly turned our right for me. I’m not coming back as that old student who was afraid of ending up as a nobody. I may not be able to join the legion of Ateneans who have become famous in their respective fields in my lifetime, but I’m returning as a man happy with what he has and what he got—through working hard and keeping his head up.
Kill the fear that holds you back to the past, and move forward to better days.
Until the next post, stay positive everyone.