Inception of Change

Sometimes I wish—a little too fervently, perhaps—that I could bookmark all the great insights I’ve stumbled upon in my life. I wish I could track down the exact point of inception of a positive change. A new habit adopted. Some random post on social media that got me thinking.

No one has confirmed this, but I believe this is actually a manifestation of some form of anxiety. There is no such thing as this much control over one’s life. I know that. And yet, there’s this part of me that craves it.

The worst part of this is knowing how fleeting change can be. You can always fall back into bad habits. In fact, you’re almost guaranteed to do so, because life will always be throwing punches at you, challenging you in ways you didn’t expect.

However, not all is lost. Even when you feel slipping back into your old ways, something sticks from your attempt at improving, even if only a little discomfort. You’re actually not the same as before—you cannot bear to be. You will try again.

So there is no single point of inception, I guess, but rather a series of small incremental ones, until at long last the desired change sticks for good.

I’m looking forward to that outcome. Obsessing over points of inception makes no sense without the outcome. The origin of nothing means nothing.

Here’s to the future—one where I’m proud of the discipline I’ve built. Let’s call this post the point of inception.


Blood on the Sidewalk

I was having a rough night—faced with an early deadline, I kept waking up constantly in the middle of the night, convinced that I had somehow missed my alarm.

At about 2:50am, a loud noise woke me up again. Or maybe I’d woken up seconds before it erupted. In any case, something broke the silence on the street and suddenly there was a man calling out for help. What struck me as odd was the fact that his cry was not the first sound that came from him—instead, it was his description of what was happening to him. He declared, in dispirited surprise, that he had slashed his hand and was bleeding profusely, and now there was blood all over him—or all around him—a disturbing sight, anyway. Then came the screams: Help! Help! And then an exclamation of disgusted disappointment over the fact that the street remained dark and quiet in spite of his distress.

Then, a car stopped. I know this because a blinking light filtered through the blinds, projected onto my bedroom wall. A female voice tried to check on the man, and he described his situation, but then he pushed her away. Maybe she had come too close to him. Then her voice came fainter from a different spot. Suddenly, the street started to glow in different colors. It was then that I decided to get up and try to catch a glimpse of this strange scene. A car parked by the curb, facing the wrong way. A colossal fire truck in the middle of the street. A policeman pointing his flashlight at the floor. Trees, like huge “[redacted]” signs, blocking out the rest. I moved out to the home office, partly because I wanted to try for a better view (no luck), partly because it was time to get to work.

I don’t know how it all ended. All I know is, at some point I realized I had been working in complete silence for a while already. Outside, the all-too-familiar darkness.

Now, see—there was a problem with this story. Throughout the ordeal, I had this strange feeling that the voice I was hearing might not be describing reality accurately. I can’t quite explain—something was off. I never got to see the whole thing, but the scale of the response didn’t seem to match the emergency that I heard unfolding. But who was I to tell—I was just a fragmentary witness.

The sun drenched the street in light when I went for a walk after completing the day’s work. There was no trace of blood on the sidewalk.


What Is Old

In my mid-20s, I met a man who was seven years older than me. He was sad and tired. He felt old. Well—he was old, I thought, convinced that in seven years I’d be old as well, and then I, too, would be sad and tired.

Seven years went by, and then a couple more. I am no longer in touch with the man, but every now and then I notice I’m neither sad nor tired. I don’t feel old. I don’t think I’m old. I’m so glad I was wrong.



One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that everything resembles physical exercise: if you stop practicing, you’ll eventually lose the hang of it. Talent means nothing.

During this long hiatus, I have lost my singing voice, my ability to write and draw, and pretty much my command of all the languages I used to speak. I became a technical translation machine, unable to write anything remotely compelling. Contracts don’t have to be compelling. Birth certificates don’t have to be compelling. My writing is now devoid of feeling. Proof of that is the fact that I haven’t written here in ages. I wonder, though—is it my writing that’s devoid of feeling or is it me?

I was recently asked to translate an advertorial into English. I failed spectacularly. The text didn’t make sense to me even in Spanish. All this empty hyperbole, this quest for sweet business-pleasing terms. I was left wondering where my English had gone. Had I ever learned those terms that had failed to show up in my brain? I used to consider myself an okay writer in English. I know for a fact this is no longer true. Perhaps the Internet is making me stupid. No, seriously. All these bite-sized easily digestible bits of useless information have narrowed down my ability to focus, let alone my vocabulary.

Still, I wonder if replacing my unhealthy reading/writing diet with a more wholesome one is going to improve my chances of succeeding at long-form advertising. But I guess that’s not the point. After all, I may never be asked to translate an advertorial—or any other form of journalism, honest or dishonest, for that matter—ever again. The point is, I’m failing at things I used to excel at.  And that’s a matter of concern.