Let me start this update entry with a rather heavy confession.
I once posted on Facebook some years ago that I’m good once I reach the big 3-0. By this, I meant that I was ready to die anytime after my 30th birthday. What’s the use of trying to carry on when nothing awaits you at the end of the road, barely making it after three decades’ worth of effort?
This was back when I was 22, and seven years have passed ever since then. A lot of things surprisingly turned out right but at the same time, my fortunes also reversed. Now that I’m 29 — three more years before I get kicked out of the calendar — I’m reconsidering that decision. One more year and I’m 30, and the winds aren’t in my favor. But still, a birthday is a birthday even though nothing is worth celebrating anymore. Here’s how I celebrated mine.
I watched Joker two weeks after its initial release in Philippine theaters. This Todd Phillips flick, starring Joaquin Phoenix, won the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Film Festival alongside a standing ovation. It also created a security concern as US authorities looked out for any potential shootings that the movie may inspire; involuntary celibates (incels) were openly expressing their admiration towards Arthur Fleck, Phoenix’s character in the film. I honestly found the movie VERY cathartic and I related to a lot of things Arthur experienced – from his work-related troubles to his relationship with Sophie (Zazie Beetz). Phillips intended Joker to be a standalone movie, but I think it meshes well with other movies in the Batman universe that feature the Clown Prince of Crime as an antagonist (e.g. The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan, Batman 1989 by Tim Burton.)
Material things are no longer on top of my birthday wish list as I grow older. However, I gave myself some leeway for buying new articles of clothing this time around. First up, I bought this pair of New Balance 373 trainers during Planet Sports’ 20th anniversary sale at Shangri-La Plaza Mall. It’s similar to the classic “tito shoes”, chunky trainers the older generation would prefer. Boomers and Gen-Xers usually pair these kinds of shoes with straight-cut (baston) jeans and a polo shirt tucked in. I originally aimed for a black-colored pair, but unfortunately – there was none in size 12. Thus, I got the 373 with the burgundy and navy blue colorway as my size in that model was in stock.
I also purchased a long-sleeved dress shirt in white from H&M. This cost me around P760, a 15% discount from its original P900 price. I managed to avail of the 15% discount by exchanging a full bag of used textiles for a discount coupon at any H&M branch, as part of the Swedish clothing retailer’s “Close The Loop” campaign. The dress shirt was in XL Asian size, coupled with a slim fit – so I didn’t have to worry about having excess fabric at the sides. What’s more, the shirt was made from an easy-iron fabric that made pressing easier. The only minor issue I have with this would be its use of removable collar stays (the shirt came with two pairs). You have to remove them before putting in the wash, and they always come in pairs so you have to make sure that there’s always two pieces.
My birthday celebration this year did not have any ostentation in it, compared to last year in which our family had lunch at a restaurant somewhere. If anything, we kept it simple and intimate. We had curacha (spanner crab) in Alavar sauce for lunch, cooked with both of my parents working together. Dad received the curacha from a friend, while Mom bought the Alavar sauce during a work-related trip to Zamboanga. For those who might have heard of Alavar sauce just now: it’s a mix of coconut milk, crab fat, and spices. Alavar sauce is a home-grown specialty, sold by the namesake seafood restaurant. Dinner was equally simple; I bought two boxes of pizza from Domino’s Pizza, while Mom made some baked macaroni. Not a bad way to celebrate 29 years.
Putting those aside, I met with my friend Wil to catch up after some time of being off the radar. The last time we met was during the screening of Avengers: Endgame early this year. He was supposed to invite me to watch Joker, but I already watched it by myself. One Wednesday, I decided to go to his location to catch up instead of him going to where I was. We talked about future plans and how his love life went, and planned to meet again in December.
Another noteworthy thing to mention would be how births and deaths bring a family together. In this case, a close relative’s passing became an opportunity for me and my younger brother to meet some cousins we haven’t seen in a long time. It also helped that they were Ateneans too, which served as a common ground. We also met another cousin from UST, set to be engaged to his long-term partner in a few months.
Ah, love life. Meanwhile, how has mine turned out so far? Well, after my failure with dating apps and unfortunate logistics when meeting new people in real life – I focused on Reddit for now. But even the place proves to be dismal with outcomes such as these:
As an appropriate denouement to this entry, let me share one quote from the Joker movie that perfectly applies to my life right now: