On Serenity and Reacquainting with Old Friends


When all the world aspires to be great, to be remembered, to be significant and not drown in mediocrity, here I am in my early thirties with my entire life before me, wanting nothing more than to quietly and peacefully fade away into the serenity that seems to be eluding me for most of my life.

To say that my life so far has been very eventful is an understatement. Ever since I was a young child, my very first memory has been one of adversity. A shallow adversity on hindsight, but adversity no less.

I used to envy friends who seemed to have the perfect life. And by perfect, I only meant that they had the freedom to live their life the way they wanted to, of course with it the consequences of mistakes they’ve made (hopefully not irreparable mistakes).

As a married adult with a full-time career in a job that gives me more problems lately than assurances, I’ve been desperate to find my own quiet little corner of serenity and temporary reprieve.

To be realistic and honest about it, there’s no physical place where I can easily find it now.

My desk in the office is hardly one that lends privacy, for right beside my desk is the all-in-one multifunctional photocopier (courtesy of Canon).

I could go down to the smoking promenade area (a fancy way of saying the entrance of our building), but that’s hardly peaceful nor quiet, not when every now and then there are mobs of people rallying and angrily demanding to remove oil price hikes.

Going home could be a reprieve, but not all the time. When one is married, total and complete privacy and time for rest and recuperation (especially for a wife) is a rarity, if at all.

While I’d love to go out with my best girl friends for a cocktail or two to enjoy a quiet, slow and steady night – sometimes I avoid these because I simply don’t want to talk nor remember the things that I would normally prattle on about to those I trust.

A reprieve, an escape — is the hardest thing to find for a lifestyle like mine.

But lately, I’ve rediscovered and gotten reacquainted with an old friend.

It seems this has been my unexpected reprieve. While I’ve tons of other things to possibly occupy myself with to “escape” that are far more flattering to my overblown intellectual ego, I nonetheless do proudly declare that these old friends of mine have been the only thing that have gotten me through many nights when temporary escape from real life and the real world was all I needed.


It’s been awhile since I’ve indulged in the guilty pleasure of chick lit.

I discovered Judith McNaught when I was still in High School. I spent many nights laughing and crying, staying up til the wee hours of the morning with just a flashlight hidden under my blankets to finish reading these books.

Among all romance book writers, I’ve always had a partiality to my old friend Judith. Unlike other romance books (especially those featuring a couple in the throes of passion, with the lady dressed with almost no clothes on), Judith’s characters have always had depth, enough to make me really feel what her characters feel. So when they cry, I feel teary-eyed myself. When they’re happy, I feel happy too.

But more than this, I think I escape to my old friends because voraciously reading them gives me the temporary illusion of the promise of happily ever afters. I surmise many other avid female readers of romance books feel the same.  It was the escape into a temporary make-believe world when after all the scars and pains, every heroine would find her own paradise and piece of heaven.

I’m no longer naive enough to believe in happily ever afters. Not in the way romance book and fairy tales paint them.

But just being able to escape for a few hours and revel in the story of a fictional character who finds her own serenity… is my serenity.