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Tomorrow is the first working day of the year. Traffic will most certainly be bad. Train fares have already spiked, and unless the working class is willing to shell out an additional five or eight pesos to get to their destination, I expect many to be on the road, taking buses which will all be stuck in excruciating gridlocks. People will be arriving in their offices tired and drunk from the whirlwind holidays that in hindsight seemed so hectic time literally flew by.

I’m already feeling homesick. It sounds juvenile but it’s true. I’ve written countless times how I easily get homesick after a long vacation, especially after the holidays. My body will be in the office but my mind will be stuck at home, in bed, recalling the books I managed to read during the Christmas break, the words I finally found the time to express, the family relations I had little time to engage with trying to pay my sleep debts.

We live in an age of anxiety where time is luxury and money has become an overwhelmingly powerful and inevitable currency. Happiness, like time, has become more fleeting. We seem to be always busy with something even if we are not. We seem to be increasingly outside home, caught in monstrous traffic jams, or spending more than we can afford inside products of capitalism. Holidays, once simple and honest, are now precious hours spent in hastened contemplation. After all, we have gifts to buy, parties to attend, dinners to make in time. The next thing you know, it’s back to work again, in front of our computers, fruitlessly multi-tasking.

During these back-to-work days and periods of adjustment, I find myself most prone to my vices. I smoke more than the usual. I drink more than I should. For a few minutes, the soothing menthol of a cigarette calms me, while the warmth of a glass of whiskey consoles. I forget about the world and my worries temporarily dissipate. But evasion is no solution. Once the cigarette is crush, and the alcohol runs out, the problems cascade back into place, making you even more nervous than before.

This life is so confusing and exhausting. It’s made worse when your passions have been diluted. So much of my life is now dedicated to my profession – and not my passion – that I am always in a state of dysphoria. I wish I could reclaim that zeal I once had when I was younger. I wish that vigour I once possessed would be restored. Only writing could heal, but now that even it has taken a backseat, returning to the life of letters seems irresponsible.

My only hope is that I find a better job, one that offers the much elusive work-life balance. I am incredibly grateful I am employed but when you’re constantly under the grating unreasonable bosses with unreasonable demands, you reach a point of saturation. I miss my old self. I miss my family. I miss the freedom I once though I had guaranteed with financial stability. But if not to find a better job, then I must discover a new passion to complement writing. Maybe photography? It’s been on my mind for a few months now and I think I am much more inclined to its creative stimulation. Maybe if I can capture my world in its sweet bitterness and beautiful contrasts, I can and will see things differently.

But tonight there will be no sleep. I will be tossing and turning in bed thinking about the dreaded Monday, and the blues which will hound me. I have never been good curbing my sentimentality and tomorrow, I dread, my emotions will be at their worst once again.