I looked at my room. Then I remembered that I hadn’t even disposed of the trash inside my computer’s recycle bin. It was an apt analogy.

While tinkering with my PC that night, I noticed that my computer files—both used and useless—were piling up. My computer has slowed down more than just a bit, as if deteriorating due to old age. And I swore I heard a wallowing grunt from the CPU (it was just the creaking internal CPU fan, though).

Remember the dictum, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”? Well, the sad state of my room (including my computer) tells me that I lack the discipline (and the decency) to pick up the clutter that I’ve accumulated over time.

* * *

Again, I decided to go through garbage (this time, not really intending to learn something). But fortunately, I did. Garbology 101 was rewarding since I had the chance to look through my own past. Luckily, there were no nasty bubblegum stuck somewhere inside the garbage heaps, literally, in my room.

First there were old handouts, some dating back four, five years ago. I remembered high school and how I thought I’d never make it through college. And then in college, I thought I’d fail every subject, ultimately, even my future.

Then there were old, neatly folded newspapers about the recent Southeast Asian Games and several high-profile murders last year. I recalled the ruthless on-the-job training, which were required for my Journalism course.

Next, the books stacked up in another corner seemed dustier since I bought them and placed them there. I promised to read them all, though.

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Suddenly, I realized that I had been procrastinating. Where have I been all these years? I presumed that I’ve been living too much in the present. So much that I forgot to look at the past, which shows me who I am; and the future, which tells me who I want to be.

* * *

Being a writer, I try to pay heed to verb tenses because they hold the key to telling the correct idea of a particular sentence. Similarly, who we are is always shaped by what we were and what we want to become. It is neither a question of fate nor a submission to destiny because the present “us” is fleeting. But unlike words and sentences, life, once written down, is permanently inscribed—carved into those heaps of garbage that I still needed to sort out.

And as I reflect on my past, my future becomes less blurry. I made a mental note that after I clear out the clutter in my PC and in my room, I would take my mother out on a date to thank her for taking care of me. After all, I have had my fair share of dates with other women.

Surrounded by those garbage—hills of paper, books, scraps, scattered CDs and buried socks—I was told that I have taken for granted the privilege and responsibility of being a child to my mom, a friend to my buddies, an uncle to my nephews and niece, a citizen of this country, and, most often taken for granted, a servant of God.

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