Season Finale: Ending The Battle

The past three days may have been the most meaningful 72 hours I've had this year. If my life was a sitcom, that would've been the season finale.

Two days ago, I got a call. This teacher was looking for the father of "Noel" which is my nickname when I was still a kid. I told the teacher that I was Noel. She hung up. I contacted her a few hours later asking what the call was for. She said it was because she was looking for the father of her pupil named Noel. Apparently, I was the emergency contact and the kid was having a fever at school.

I froze. Did I have a kid I didn't know about? Did the mother of this kid name the child "Noel" so the kid still has some sort of connection with me? Funny thing was, I didn't know who the mother could be. I was wild a few years ago, and I don't even remember the names of some of the women I've been with. It sounds awesome, but I don't want to come back to that life again. And now with this Noel kid I thought it had come back to bite me.

I called the teacher again, I had to ask her who the kid's mother was. She gave me the details and I've never met the woman. Turns out it was all a coincidence. The kid sharing my name, the age of the kid matching the timeline for when I was still active in the party scene, and the wrong number. A sigh of relief. It was a dangerous coincidence with a valuable lesson.

It was around this time last year that my life began to shatter. I can't share the details, but something happened that made me on edge and anxious almost everyday since then. A lot has happened: I got engaged to my girlfriend of three years Daphne; one of my best friends Zack Griset visited my country and made this awesome documentary; I got to spend a lot of time with my old friends and met new ones; then me and my girlfriend were on the rocks for a while; and then I've had to face new responsibilities. A lot of things happened this year. Some life-threatening. Some are out of this world.

I was aimless for months. I was depressed. I was trapped in an endless cycle of staring at the wall and being lonely. Back then I didn't believe in depression. I'm a Psychology graduate, sure, but I never got to experience such things and thus, I couldn't empathize with anyone feeling depressed. I didn't like people who were unproductive. I believed that everyone should work even on days that they weren't feeling good. Karma? Me getting what I deserved? I don't know. I guess this was the Universe's way of teaching me.

Maybe it was an early mid-life crisis. Maybe it's the pressure. I had to decide what my path was going to be, and the decision was going to impact me for the rest of my life. Is marriage and parenthood for me? Or should I just go my own way and focus all my energies into achieving all my plans? It was me needing to decide if I want a life of meaning, or a life of happiness. It was analysis paralysis.

I couldn't understand why I couldn't have both. Then I realized it was all because I changed. I didn't feel like the old "Darius the Great" or "LegenDarius" as my peers and colleagues used to call me. I used to feel unstoppable. No obstacle, problem, or challenge will ever make me sweat. I was crushing it at everything and I was always confident. I knew I could do anything and never fail... and I never did. I felt like I could do anything because I could quickly learn any skill. It sounds extremely arrogant, I'm sure, but it was that mantra that got me far in life early on. However, I may have lost that power during my battle with depression.

Me and my girlfriend got back together, and I decided that no matter what I was going to be strong for her. She was there when I was at my lowest, when I haven't done much yet, and supported me on my journey. She never gave up on me despite my faults, and she was always fighting for us.  I'm lucky I have a girl like her. Three days ago I made a pact that I'm going to marry this girl, give her kids, and I'll always choose to love her. She deserves the world and I'm going to give her that.

Of course, a day later I thought life threw another curve ball at me. For a few hours, I thought I was a father to some kid I don't know. Me and my girl just got back together, and there's this new revelation I had to give her. I dreaded it. I couldn't help but laugh when I realized it was all a coincidence, and I realized a few things too. One, I could never ever go back to the party scene. They say a man reaches his SMV (sexual market value) at age 38, and that's eleven years from now. I could be single, enjoy the wild ride for more than a decade. But then again, it's an empty life that could lead to dangerous consequences. That coincidence could've been foreshadowing of what could happen if I had come back to that kind of living. Two, I also realized that I was prepared to support the kid if it was really mine. If I could take on that responsibility, why not do it with the girl that has sacrificed everything for me?

It all helped reinforce my decision but I was still feeling lonely and sad. I felt like something was missing. The past few weeks I searched for pets, a robot companion called the Anki Cozmo, a new hobby, and more. I knew I had to buy something for myself because I never do. Martin, a very close friend of mine, taught me that, and he was nice enough to help me look for whatever pet or item it is that could fill in this void. Rendel, also a member of my crew, was offering to help me find exotic pets of different sorts. I wasn't sure what I needed but I also knew I had to put something in the empty space I kept staring at when I was depressed.

Yesterday I decided I was going to buy a collectible at the mall. I wasn't sure which one. My friend Eph wanted to come with me. To my surprise, Pia joined in on us. Eph and Pia didn't buy anything for themselves. They just wanted to accompany me and help me find whatever action figure or toy or plant that I needed. They put a lot of effort walking for hours with me and giving me advice on what I should buy. I'm grateful for friends like that.

We decided that buying the huge Funko Pop! Thanos was the best purchase I could make. It reminds me of what I used to think of myself: inevitable and unstoppable. It also gave that look that says "you can do it!" and "you can't give up!". It's also badass and iconic and coincidentally matched the Avengers Endgame poster I've edited that features me and my friends. In Infinity War, Thanos also once said "the hardest choices require the strongest wills." and this year I know I was strong enough to make huge decisions that would impact me for life.

While we were walking out of the mall, Pia said that I'm smiling like a kid with a new toy. I did feel like a kid again, and I was very happy.

funko pop thanos

We decided to head to one of our favorite bars. We frequent a bunch of places, but this spot had karaoke. Soon after, Tam and Clyde joined in. We talked about the hardships of life and our plans for the future. I even suggested that if Pia and Tam ever had a girl as a kid, and me and Daph have a boy, we should set the kids up. I just know that these people are my lifelong friends. I knew that my friends cared a lot about me, and I love them. We've been hanging out for a decade now and I know we're all gonna be in each others' lives in the decades to come.

Me and Clyde drank beer until the morning. I was running on only two hours of sleep, but I didn't get drunk. Clyde puking in the bathroom floor while I was singing outside. I knew he wanted to go home but he stayed to help me out. We also got to talk about life, the people in our lives, and I was able to get a lot of things off my chest. Some secrets I have. The things that I used to not share with other people because I didn't want them to think I was weak. Clyde is one of the wisest and smartest people I know, and the advice he always gave me comes from his own experiences. It's never theoretical. The effort he put in analyzing my problems and me (I'm my biggest problem) only reinforced the idea that I'm lucky to have him as one of my closest friends.

I came home, showed Mom and my brother Mark my new toy. I put in the exact empty spot where I stare when I'm thinking about my problems. Now, I only see Thanos. An individual that's extremely determined to get what he wants. A cold, calculating genius. An inevitability that can't be stopped. Basically, what I used to think about me.

And then something in me clicked. I've already collected the Infinity Stones I need to make all my plans and goals happen. I have a future wife that's always been loyal to me and will never leave me. I have friends that will also go above and beyond for me. I have a family that loves me no matter what. I have newfound wisdom from all the experiences I've had this year. I have people all over the world that are rooting for me. I've also gained a lot of new knowledge from the time I did a lot of self reflection. Now, I feel like the most powerful person in the world with my loved ones behind me. I can feel the power surging and all I have to do is snap.

I'm excited to see Daphne. She's my bestest friend and special one and I've got a lot of stories to tell her. I'm excited to tell her that I'm no longer the sad, unproductive, emotional wreck I was the past twelve months. I'm excited to tell her that I'm not the guy that I used to be a few years ago, the cold person that only thought of chasing greatness and achievements. I'm now a good balance of the two. Emotionally balanced but driven. Smart, but one that can empathize with people. I'm ready to make new games, learn new skills, and conquer more of what life has to offer. Law school? New businesses? New journeys? I'm excited to tell her that not only am I back, I'm better than ever. I've finally evolved and I'm ready for the next season.

Nothing can stop me now.


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