Or more likely, eternal suffer(ing). From all the feels the show gave me.
Two years after Free! Eternal Summer aired, I finally able to finish watching it. In one sitting. Yep. I was too late in the swimming game.
Tbh I have watched it a couple of months after it ended, but I somehow never got around in finishing it. I still have this habit of waiting for a series to end before I could watch it, because I prefer doing it in one (or two) sittings. Just like when I watched Monster for one whole week during my birthday, eagerly anticipating whether Kenzo Tenma will actually kill Johan Liebert or not. Yes, I spent my birthday week off work to watch an anime. Yes, I am a boring person.
I finally got the motivation to finish it now, primarily because there’s still a shitton of anime I need to watch, plus (yaoi) mangas to read, as well as lots of books quietly gathering dust on my shelves. I’m already 28 years old. My body is not really in its tiptop shape, I already have love handles, heel spurs, back pains, chest pains. I might die anytime, blah, who knows. I want to read and watch more stuff while I can.
I really need to keep myself together. I just noticed I’ve been spending the last two weeks just working, then sleeping, then waking up just in time to go to work. That’s kinda fucked up, I thought..
I know that I’m not an active person ever since, but just working and then waking up to work again, every single day? What the actual fuck. I still remember, when I was still studying, that this was the exact thing I said to myself that I have to avoid. I even told myself to buy a book at least every payday so I can build my own personal library. So I can have a lot of books to read that will last me through my lifetime. Since I’m not the traveling type of person, might as well read a load of books. That was my equivalent to traveling. But what am I doing now with my life?
After watching this show, I suddenly realized that my life was really boring. Not really realized, but it hit me. Like a truck suddenly barging right in front of my face.
During those episodes where Haru has been evading questions about his plans after high school, I saw myself in his shoes. Well, unlike him that does not have money problems (lol) and actually has talent in something, it’s still quite relatable. I totally understood the feeling of being lost, of being pushed into doing something that you’re not even sure of doing, being pushed into the reality of life that you cannot avoid. In my case, I was pushed into doing something that I don’t want to, but I don’t have much of a choice.
I have always been wanting to go to this particular university, and even until now I’m envious of those who were able to make it there. It’s not the best university in the world, but there is a certain appeal to it. More like students who get to study there are truly intelligent, because it’s a national university. You only have to pass the difficult entrance exam, and the tuition fee’s a lot cheaper compared to others. But despite that, the expenses are still too much to my parents. Both my brothers are studying in a private school, and we are paying for two houses that time (one that we’re renting it, and the other will be the one that will be transferring to). Even if both of them stopped going to school and we stop paying rent and mortgage for the two houses, and not eat and pay the bills, my parent’s salary won’t still be enough. Studying to a different university with a much cheaper tuition fee elsewhere is not feasible because I’d have to rent a room, and that still costs money.
Instead, I ended up studying in the same school where I studied during high school, so in the end I got stuck there for eight years. Eight fucking years. The professors knew me well enough that it’s hard to skip class and even the librarian knew that I am skipping every time I opted in to go to the library and read instead of attending PhysEd classes.
Meanwhile most of my classmates had studied in other schools, and several of them went to my dream school. I felt miserable every time they visit our school, because I felt was stuck there while they had moved on with their lives, so I ended up avoiding them. I have never felt so desperate in moving out, getting away as far as I could from that place.
In this scenario, some people might say to the me back then, “why not get a scholarship?” or “have you tried being a working student?” My answer is: for the scholarship, ever since I was not the type to mull over too much and study. I am naturally curious, but not studious to the point I’d study so freaking hard. I study at my own pace. I never really studied per se, like how you would see students in anime and shows, memorizing stuff and shit. I just read casually, wrote a lot of notes, then not reading them until the day of the exam. With my level of intellect, I was quite sure that I can get some scholarship, but maintaining high grades until I graduate is another story. I can say that I’m a fast learner (but not on Math), and my parents and relatives think, ever since I was a kid, that I’m quite intelligent. So they never pressured me to study like it’s a serious freaking business. They never told me to “always get a 100% marks on all subjects,” or something like that. If I got high grades, my parents tell everyone how awesome I am. If I get less than stellar grades (especially as I grew older), they never grounded me. They just stopped caring about the numbers, as long as I graduate (without cheating or something). So I grew up enjoying learning, but not quite enjoying the education system that I grew from. Forcing myself to study and memorize shit was never my cup of tea. I’d go insane if I tried.
As for being a working student, I knew myself well enough that time that it’ll be difficult for me to study and work at once. Surely, I’d fail on either one of them. I knew it too well, because when I decided to study again while being a full-time worker five years ago, I almost failed several of my subjects due to lack of sleep and poor time management. It did not help that during the first two years (it took me four years to finish it) I was travelling from home and work and school A LOT, like a total of 5-6hrs a day, just to travel back and forth. So I ended up renting a room near my office so I can rest and study more. I was just lucky enough to have kind classmates that would help me, and supportive professors who understand my situation well enough.
While my experience in that school back then was far from the ideal (I never believed in the saying that “high school is the best time of your life”), I never hated the people there. Well, there are a handful of professors that I absolutely detest and loathed until now, but overall my high school and college life there was good. It was not too bad, and not too happy. Just plain good.
As if I have the right to complain. It’s just a state college (not even university), but I am damn lucky, compared to others, that I was able to study and finish college without me spending an arm and a leg for it. I was able to study full-time despite us being poor, unlike some of my college classmates that had to work part-time just to continue studying. The tuition fee that time was so cheap, but still, not everyone was able to finish their studies. That’s just how poor some people are.
But after finishing the show, I looked back at what happened in my life after I left school seven years ago. Overall, I’m still lucky compared to others. I’m still single, I have a decent job, and even if it’s not the best paying job out there, basically I’m free to do everything I want. But, am I still like Haru in mid-series: stuck in a rut and just avoiding the fact that he’ll be leaving the school soon and not knowing where to go, what to do with his life? Do I really have to work every single day, in and out, until I grow old and die? Is this the life I really want?
I know that there are people like me out there that despite being an adult, seemed at loss on what to do with their lives. I just realized it’s kinda embarrassing to admit.
But it’s not too late to change things, I guess. This show had shown me exactly that.