I like to say that being a reporter is my dream job, but that is a lie.
Previously, I have wanted to be (sometimes at the same time):
1. A lawyer
2. A National Bureau of Investigation agent
3. A lawyer-policeman
4. An archivist
5. A seaman
6. A soldier
7. Very briefly, a porn star
All this was while I was in college. In high school, I wanted to be a diplomat and ticked European Studies on my Ateneo college exam form. I passed but we couldn’t afford the fees, so I went to UP instead and proceeded to squander my inheritance, but that is a story for some other time.
But being a reporter is one of the earliest dreams from my childhood. I used to write short stories on my day, stick them a wall in our house, and sign them Reporter de Santos. Simple stuff, really, and probably libelous. Like my brother wet the bed (he was a baby) or broke the electric fan, or fell down the stairs, which was pretty self-evident when it happened. I didn’t even know what a reporter was at the time. I mean, not really. But that was the dream.
And that’s why even though I’m poor and alone, and owe the Quezon City government tens of thousands in real estate tax, I’m thankful that I am where I am. Which, admittedly, isn’t much compared to what I could have been. I could be with the Inquirer, or Star, or some other paper that people in Manila know about. Since we’re dreaming, I could be writing for The Economist and wowing grad students with my knowledge, but I’m not. And that’s probably a little disappointing, but not really that much. I regret not being famous or having perks and gadgets, but that’s about it.
The bottom line is I’m a reporter for a paper (or, all right, a web site) that people read. I have a relatively stable job with minimal hassles and colleagues who can go toe-to-toe with any team from any of the other papers (except probably in actual combat).
Yeah, it could be better. But for a fuck up like me, it could be a whole lot worse.*
* I used to transcribe game shows for a living, so.