Independence and The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man’s body.The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?” 


Man’s primary instinct is to always find a better life for himself. With that I reflect, what entails a better life for me, at 24? My family has always been, if it could, my number one priority. But we have been separated by the different courses of our lives, we try to keep in touch as much as we can.  My mother is running a resort business in Antique whilst promoting the eco adventure spots in that region of Visayas. ( My sister has her own thriving career as an assistant manager of a renowned cafe in San Diego,California and my father has long since passed away due to lung cancer when I was only 13. I am left on my own in Manila working for real estate sales which I truly enjoy. I do however question if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This kind of job requires not only hardwork, marketing your products and selling yourself to your clients but you need luck as well.

Luck is on my side that I have been given a career I could focus and put my mind into. The sale is yet to come but fingers together with all body parts are crossed. My job distracts me from being alone. Although pangs of lonliness sometimes seep in, I have to remind myself:  Being alone does not equal to loneliness. Aloneness is an acceptance and simply the act of not having anyone around. It can connote the state of comfort just being by yourself. Lonlieness on the other hand is an emptiness. It is the absence of attention and love.  I do not blame any of the people I love, particularly my family when times of depression sink in because everything that happens is the best possible thing that can happen as Chris Prentiss puts it. (Zen and the art of Happiness – a great read if you want to attract positive vibes). I am growing older and more mature (I genuinely hope so hehe) and I have to learn to be independent in all aspects, financially and most importantly emotionally.

In Milan Kundera’s “Unbearable Lightness of Being” (I highly recommend this book for all 20 something women to read) Tereza’s character reminds me of myself.  She felt lonely and wanted to get out her small town in Zurich so badly to find a better life. A ticket out was by a chain of “6 improbable accidents” or coincidences she created in her mind that led her to meeting Tomas and falling in love with him. She grabbed the opportunity and decided to leave her hometown to  follow Tomas in Prague with all her belongings to stay with the man whom she decided would take care of her and love her forever. Tomas loved Tereza and allowed her “salvation” by him to happen. The following analogy of Tomas’ loves and situation with Tereza  which he stated in my book, I find so fitting with my own.  He  was The Egyptian queen and Tereza was Moses that was sent down into the river by his mother in a basket in hopes that a good samaritan would provide Moses with a  much better life than the helpless mother could give. I do feel at many times like the baby Moses. A stray kitten left to fend for her own, a rotten spoiled kid that has never learned to correct the horrible habit that was instilled in her growing up.

I am of age and writing these things make me realize that Moses wont be a baby forever. A kitten will turn into a cat and this 24 year old sometimes vulnerable girl will learn to be an independent woman that will grab life by its hands. Nearing my quarter life I will take life’s wheel and drive it myself. If obstacles and flat tires happen to befall me along the way, I have  first and foremost myself to rely on, then  a family that will always be there for me and give me unconditional love that no other lover or “missing piece” can.

Here are the most striking quotes in my opinion by Milan Kundera in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”:

“Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.”

“Anyone whose goal is ‘something higher’ must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” 


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