Worn out shoes; kindled soul
Rence Paolo R. Pinoon – CPA, CMA (U.S.)

I will not say that I was born without a silver spoon. But rather, I would say that I was born into a life that has never been easy but, taught me the most wonderful things that I could ever imagine.

In the year 2012, I’ve started taking up my college degree in Mapua Institute of Technology-Makati Campus (now Mapua University) under the program of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. Although my parents did not have jobs during those times, I pursued my degree because I’ve always believed that education is one of the greatest equalizers that we could ever have in this world that is full of uncertainties. My parents’ pocket might have been empty, but their hearts were always full of hope that their children’s future will be brighter than theirs.

I had my P.E. classes on the first year of my program and to be able to move actively in our activities, I needed a pair of rubber shoes. But we didn’t have the financial capacity to buy one. Still, I thought, I was there in the University anyway to learn and not to wear a fancy pair of rubber shoes.

One Sunday before our classes officially started, my parents told me that we would be buying a pair of rubber shoes. As a teenager, I was very delighted and excited to finally own a new one without asking them how they have got the money to buy it.

It was during my second year in college that I came to know that my parents decided to sell my father’s medicines for his blood to his co-patients in the dialysis centre. He took off a week so that he could buy me a pair of rubber shoes. Since then, my eyes were opened. I had studied so hard because I wanted to give them the medals that they deserved once I’ve finished my degree. I’ve received awards and recognitions in our university, and I’m sure that it made my parents happy, especially my father. I’ve also discovered that the funds that was intended to be accumulated for his kidney transplant was used for my college fees.

I’ve made it! I’ve graduated with honours and proudly walked onto the stage, ready to receive the medals that I’ve worked hard for. But during that day, I’ve noticed that someone is missing and after receiving the medals, it has finally dawned on me that my father died a week before our graduation. Thankfully, I still managed to smile and be happy during that day because I wanted to show my mom and my sister that I am strong, and I am now ready to become a provider of our family, even though the pain was really excruciating.

I’ve kept the shoes for years. I’ve worn it during the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant examinations as it was a subtle reminder about how my parents loved us and how selfless they were. The shoes served as a symbol that there are people in my life who taught how to be strong and not just to live life for their own selves, but to make sacrifices for the people whom you love and who have supported you along your journey. It also helped me to change my ways and do the things that matters to me not out of obligation but, out of love and passion. Throughout these years, it has served as one of my motivations to continuously strive to become a better individual and to never stop pursuing the things that scare and excite me at the same time.

This experience taught me to climb the mountains outside of my comfort zone. It shaped me to become the person that I’ve always imagined. Instead of just going through this rocky road, I have learned how to grow through it. I have faced a lot of disappointments; a lot of failures; and a lot of shattered dreams. But I’ve learned not to be afraid and face all of them bravely as I consider them as an opportunity to build my character and create a strong foundation of my values. It also taught me to treat failures and triumphs equally and to never let my achievements and failure define me as a person. And the most profound thing that I’ve learned from climbing mountains is to never be afraid to go down from it and search for another mountain to climb again.

Tatay, I wish you could see us right now. The three of us promised that no matter how hard things will be, we will never give up in living the life that we have always imagined.

I might have failed to prolong your life, but I will never stop lengthening the name that you have given to me.