My 15 Imaginary Lives

Ten weeks ago, I stumbled upon The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, a book that encourages people to make art and discover their inner creativity. To Cameron, everyone of us is an artist, and we are responsible to nurture that artist so we can create the ideal world that we envision. For 12 weeks, we are to do ten tasks each week to explore the playful child in us. One of the tasks requires that we list 15 imaginary lives. If we just allow ourselves to imagine, if we just allow our minds to wander, what kinds of lives would we want to live? 

Here is my list:

1. Travel Writer

To work as a travel writer means to never work a day again in my entire life. Imagine flying to far-flung places of Mongolian rice paddies, sleepy coastal towns in Portugal, secluded mountain hamlets in the Himalayas, or crisp French vineyards and writing about your travels in quaint coffee shops or on outdoor benches with a flock of turtle doves. To travel and to write? These are the top two things I am passionate about. And starting today, I shall make that dream come true. Gay Emami, the Pinay Travel Junkie, is already living this life. So, why can’t I?;)

Image by Quentin Long from Australian Traveller

Image by Quentin Long from Australian Traveller

2. Tour Guide

To be a tour guide entails a strong working knowledge about the history of a place and the culture of its people. Writing this blog is like guiding would-be travelers in their search for understanding and love, except that the preferred medium is the written language. Being a wide reader and armed with deep desires to discover places through culture, architecture, and food, I would probably have a chance to become a tour guide someday. It would be a very good opportunity to know what other travelers are thinking about or what questions are being raised by them. I think the most critical purpose of travel is to make people ask questions and, by becoming a tour guide, I wouldn’t run out of things to ponder upon.

3. Painter

When I was a kid, I often played with acrylics, watercolors, and oil pastels. In fact, my favorite toys were crayons disguised as superheroes. “Cornflower” would be the protector of the farmers; whereas “Periwinkle” was a mysterious sprite that guarded the mystic lake. I used calamansi (Philippine lemon) to imprint watercolor images on paper, and I would often “waste” acrylics on pieces of bond paper while waiting for my midday snacks. Is it too late to rediscover my passion for painting? I don’t think so. In fact, I am on my way to Sip and Gogh to take my first painting lesson while downing a glass of German beer.;)

4. Novelist

I love fantastic stories – those that can send me crying at night or laughing horribly or even meditating silently. I can imagine the lives of my favorite authors and the way they think by reading their literary works. Their lives must be very interesting (and worth living, too)! By becoming a novelist, I can dig deep into my imagination and have an encounter with my own psychological activity. Furthermore, I can be a wellspring of inspiration for writers and artists who also wish to grapple with the same artistic endeavor.

5. Musician

Singing is one of my artistic strengths but I wish to become a full-fledged musician so I hope to learn to play the guitar and the piano, too. And to learn to write my own songs would be a bonus that would enrich my musical experience. Sometimes, I dream of playing music and singing in a jazz bar or in a local music venue. Sometimes, I just want to go up the stage and rock the world with beautiful music. I want to be like Taylor Swift or Josh Groban. They sing, they play instruments, and they write their own songs.

Taylor Swift playing the ukelele during the 54th Grammy Awards

Taylor Swift playing the ukelele during the 54th Grammy Awards (Image from TaylorSwift.Com)

6. Poet

I might not have published any poem yet but I have already written hundreds of them. My goal? To read them in public, to join in local poetry readings, and to publish anthologies of my poems. Or perhaps I could start with a poetry blog? Hmmm. For anyone who wishes to be part of my poetry group, please click here. We hold monthly meetings to talk about poetry, books, films, and life. Be inspired now!

7. UN Volunteer

Volunteering at the international field while meeting new people from various backgrounds? Check! Traveling to places that regular tourists won’t normally visit? Check! Helping other people build their lives while you also build yours? Check! The world needs great people. To be a great person, one must do great things. This could be your spring board. I intend to volunteer for a full year in 12 monthly portions when I am 28 years old, when I have already finished my master’s degree and when I already have 5 years of solid work experiences under my wings. For now, I’m content with volunteering for other local causes. Were you inspired by this? Check out the website of UN Volunteers here.

8. Polyglot

A budding polyglot here. It started when I went to the US to study high school. I took up Spanish for a year and was accelerated by one level when my maestra remarked that I learned too fast. When I came back to the Philippines, I had to take up French in my senior year because it was one of the required classes. As much as I wanted it, the teacher was always absent. Then came college when my mentor encouraged me to study German. Deutsch was one of the languages I never wanted to learn until I actually showed up for the class and ended up as a top student. Being able to speak foreign languages is magical. One gains access to another dimension, another consciousness. Linguistic and reasoning skills are further strengthened, and understanding and appreciation of cultures are heightened.

P. S. I’m self-studying Spanish and, by September, I wish to take up formal classes at the Instituto Cervantes ManilaAnyone willing to be my study buddy? Leave a message here.

Image by Elizabeth Braun on Polyglot in Training

Image by Elizabeth Braun on Polyglot in Training

9. Dancer

Of all the imaginary lives I have mentioned so far, dancing is the only one I don’t have a natural knack at.  Well, I danced folk dances back in grade school. But hip-hop? Ballroom? Forget it. My body would easily surrender. But that’s the reason why it’s called an imaginary life. Perhaps, in an imaginary world, I could find myself dancing like Usher or Adam Levine. 😀

10. Professional Mountaineer

Yes, I’ve been climbing one mountain every month, but that is not enough to make me a mountaineer, or a professional one. I need mentors like Gideon Lasco of Pinoy Mountaineer. I need coaches to train me to become one. I need to be able to use ropes when assaulting steep rocks. I need to shake less when walking on the edge of death. I need to take up a basic mountaineering course, just like the one taught by the AMCI Mountaineering Club, Inc.

The author on top of the Rockies of Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas

The author on top of the Rockies of Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas

11. Doctor of Alternative Medicine

Need I say more? Western medicine has been so focused on treating illnesses and using artificial methods in managing health conditions. This will not give you the ideal health that you want. I believe the focus of medicine must be the fortification of the body and the strengthening of the immune system and not solely the treatment of diseases. Coughs and colds can often be prevented AND treated by taking virgin coconut oil or by drinking fresh ginger tea, so why rush to the pharmacy for a 7-day prescription of questionable antibiotics?

12. Mountain Biker

Because I love hiking and biking, I figured I could combine the two and be a mountain biker, too. 🙂

13. Epidemiologist

Wha wha what?? What is that? An epidemiologist is a health scientist who studies health outcomes and the factors that contribute to those health outcomes. Long ago, epidemiologists used to study diseases only, but modern epidemiology also focuses on health promotion and nutrition. The health field has always been my courage zone. Here, I always feel engaged and passionate. The life of a health scientist is my dream life.

An epidemiologist analyzing blood and plasma samples Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

An epidemiologist analyzing blood and plasma samples
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

14. Chef

As a chemist, I enjoy making experiments whether in the laboratory or at home. My family and friends have expressed their awe in my cooking, but I admit there are still a lot to know. Perhaps taking a cooking class would help and make me learn more techniques. Chemistry, after all, is one of the sciences behind cooking, and what better place to apply chemical concepts than in cooking! Besides, eating gourmet food everyday without spending too much on restaurant food is already a bargain in itself.

15. Martial Artist

I am not a fan of team sports, not because I am not a team player. Quite the contrary, in fact. I dislike team sports because it is often difficult to find people who would be committed to play sports on a regular basis; hence, I’ve always been doing individual sports like running and biking. Taekwondo is a good idea. I used to take taekwondo classes back in college and was one of those few who got accelerated by two belt colors after taking the exam. Busyness in school took away some freedom, but I guess there’s always a next time? Meditation, discipline, and self defense? The benefits are too good to ignore.

The post above is not supposed to make the readers think that there are too many things that I wish to do given the limited time. No, that was not my point why I wrote this. I am sharing this because I believe there are so many possibilities in this world and, to refuse to give ourselves that chance to partake in the wonders of life, we risk denying ourselves the possibility to encounter the right paths because we never allowed ourselves to open any doors in the first place.

What about you? If you could lead 15 lives simultaneously, what would you do?

I am very excited about your thoughts! Please share them here! 😀


Your Pinoy Joie de Vivre


35 thoughts on “My 15 Imaginary Lives

  1. eli says:

    1. Renowned surgeon
    2. Globetrotter
    3. Superhero
    4. Film Director
    5. Scientist
    6. Astronaut
    7. Graphic artist/Painter
    8. Photographer
    9. Novelist
    10. Model-Actor
    11. Linguist
    12. Chef
    13. Also a UN Volunteer
    14. Triathlete
    15. Businessman


      • Hey Ryan! It’s a nice way of catching up with you.. Haha so here it is.
        1. Pilot
        2. Race car driver
        3. Secret agent
        4. Writer
        5. Traveler
        6. Photo journalist
        7. Chef
        8. Musician
        9. Swimmer
        10. Painter
        11. Meteorologist
        12. Botanist
        13. A theatre actress
        14. Comedian
        15. Director

  2. 1. Freestyle Dancer
    2. Comedian
    3. Neuroscientist
    4. Supermodel
    5. Designer
    6. Photographer
    7. Capoeira Artist
    8. Gymnast
    9. Professional Volleyball Player
    10. Veterinarian
    11. Seaman
    12. Rapper
    13. Mangaka
    14. Librarian
    15. Dedicated Househusband

  3. Ajep says:

    If I weren’t a professional philosopher, I would have been a…

    1. polyglot/linguist

    I’m putting my interest in languages in one number. If given the time, I promise that I’ll learn a language, beginning with Italian.

    For the record, I only read and speak English and Filipino fluently. I studied first-level German (like you), but that needs review and practice. As a Catholic who’s interested in Vatican affairs and the Traditional Latin Mass, I’ve encountered Italian and Latin (and tried to read) here and there. I know the basic prayers in Latin. I hope I can learn more languages, especially if I venture into graduate studies in philosophy, which would require a foreign language (modern and classical), at least at a reading level.

    2. social scientist (anthropologist, psychologist or political scientist)

    This number would encapsulate my general frustration with the social sciences. I have deep respect in the field. I would minor in education, cultural heritage or political science if I have the time and means. I like how the social sciences study the human person, with their respective personalities, groups, and contexts, and provide empirical data for it. I would advocate for a philosophy that is in constant dialogue with the social sciences. (There are, in fact, many in the Philo Dept who do this. For instance, Dr. Gus Rodriguez.)

    3. librarian/historian/archeologist/museum curator

    I love “old” stuff. I share the personality of Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI. He wanted to be a librarian. I’m a lover of books, a book worm, a bibliophile, through and through. I love the feel of the brown pages and the “smell” of history. Historians do this all the time. Rizal Library is heaven for me. I like to be around books! In this other life, I would be an assistant in the Lib, holding, sorting, and in break times reading, books.

    Archeologists also do love “old” stuff. As well as museum curators. I would want to have a job where you do is sit and admire works of art all day, surrounded by masters’ loving art (remember this from The Da Vinci Code?).

    4. architect

    I did not do good in drafting during high school. And yet, my recent philosophical interests revolve around buildings, space and place, all discussed through architecture and design, although philosophy provides the fundamental questions. My first text of Heidegger, “Building Dwelling Thinking”, is a lecture delivered to architects. I’ve been fascinated with Heidegger ever since.

    I gravitate towards architecture books and magazines whenever I go to bookstores. (Now you know one of the many gifts you could give me.) My heart goes to all architects out there!

    5. veterinarian

    This shows my love of animals and pets. We have dogs in the house ever since, and I’m seen in my family as the one who always cuddles and talks to them. (I actually told to my family that I wanted to be a veterinarian in another life.)

    6. Conductor of an orchestra or choir/Professional pianist

    This is for my frustrations in music. I play the piano, and have started training on it. I could pursue my training more, and be a professional musician. Since I admire Mozart, Beethoven and Bach a lot, I would also want to conduct, preferably in front of an orchestra.

    7. chef/food connoisseur

    I can’t cook. But I would want to. I always help out my mom in the kitchen, and it’s always a joy in observing her, and in smelling what will we have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or maybe because I just want to eat. Always attracted to all those food shows in TLC.

    8. catechist/sacristan

    I have been in parish and school choirs before. But if I weren’t into music, I would have been a sacristan or a catechist. I wish to be a more active Church worker. I want to contribute to the vitality of our local church.

    9. Vaticanista

    I’m always interested in systems and rituals, and how they work. The Catholic Church has those things. I’m a Catholic, but let’s admit, the Church has a lot of wonders and hidden treasures on one hand, and secrets, idiosyncrasies and controversies on another. I want to know and make sense of all these all. John Allen is my idol. He said that the Catholic Church is the best “beat” in journalism. He said that the Philippines doesn’t have a professional Vaticanista, primarily because we’re far, geographically and culturally, from Rome. I would take up this challenge. Ask me anything Vatican, and I’ll try to answer. And I have always wanted to travel to Rome!

    10. traveler/culture/music connoisseur

    I share your traveling impulse, though mine is not that “activated” yet. I too want to maximize my interactions and experiences whenever I go to a place. Experience the local culture, food, music, among other things! This is why (and this is related to #10), I’m attracted to channels like TLC.

    11. lawyer

    Maybe this is a logical career move after philosophy. I’m not that familiar with the intricacies of law and jurisprudence, yet I’m not bored when I see law stuff in the news or in Facebook. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is very helpful in this regard. Perhaps why she’s so attractive to young people – she explains what the law says in many occasions. I’m so interested in how our government works (primarily the Senate, I’ve wandered around their website many times), and how arguments can be proved or disproved, reinforced or misconstrued, in court.

    12. hermit/lover of nature/mountaineer

    (This is related to #10). I am a lover of nature, perhaps why one of my philosophical interests is the environment. I would prefer to go and stay in a mountain rather than a beach. If I can, I would rent a “cabin in the woods” and live there, like Heidegger in his Black Forest cottage.

    13. film buff/movie critic

    I’m a frustrated film studies major. I’m not that much of movie goer (primarily because I don’t have money), but be assured that whenever I go to a movie, I will always find insights for it. I want to make this a professional activity. I would enroll in an “Introduction to Film” course. Whenever I watch a film, any film, I have an eye and ear (or two eyes and two ears) for the film elements, in particular the soundtrack and cinematography.

    14. journalist/radio segment host

    My frustrations in communications and journalism. I’m not bored when I watch and hear ANC, DZMM, or 92.3. I love the news – how they’re gathered, synthesized and expressed. I want my own radio show!

    15. artist

    Of course, I would want to be an artist – a painter, maybe. I’m dabbling and delving too much into aesthetics, might as well be a practitioner of art.

    [16. diplomat]

    I did not include writer and priest, because these are so close to my heart that I might always be one, or both. Let’s see.

  4. Ajep says:

    [17. NGO/development worker and volunteer.]

    Sorry for overstepping the limit, but I really wish I have more lives, or live in many universes!

  5. Ajep says:

    Wow, “The Artist’s Way” is THIS exciting, motivating and enriching?! Now all the more reason that I should read and do it after you. 🙂

  6. Luisa says:

    15. Shaman

    14. Human genome project researcher

    13. Assassin

    12. Crime scene investigator

    11. Non-fiction novelist

    10. Movie director

    9. Archaeologist

    8. Historical conspiracy theorist

    7. Someone who does historical facial reconstruction.

    6.Professional thief who specializes in international art and museum artifacts

    5. .Curator, National Archaeology Museum

    4. Biblical Research Institute’s top researcher

    3. Someone who has full access to Vatican Secret Archives..(maybe it’s the pope,but I dont even want to be a pope…)

    2. Pope.. just so I can live my imaginary life no. 3…

    1. Time traveler

    There you go! My 15 imaginary lives!!! 🙂

  7. Igi says:

    1. Stand-up Comedian
    2. Professional Theater Actor
    3. Medical Doctor
    4. Businessman
    5. Teacher
    6. Chef
    7. Professional Dancer
    8. Programmer
    9. Material Scientist
    10. Inspirational Speaker
    11. Adventurer
    12. Linguistic
    13. Professional Swimmer
    14. Cartoonist
    15. SPY!!!

  8. Ericka says:

    That’s very colorful and inspiring.. 🙂
    Mine would be..

    1. World Ruler
    2. Prophet
    3, Ninja
    4. Graphic Artist
    5. Guitarist of a Famous Band
    6. Best Daughter Ever
    7. Mermaid (lots of things to explore underwater)
    8. Book Enthusiast
    9. Wildlife Ranger
    10. Guidance Counselor
    11. Globetrotter is great but I’d say I Teleport!
    12. The Living Proof that nothing is impossible.
    13. Ironman (without villains after my life)
    14. Archeologist!
    15. Philosopher

  9. Mandy says:

    1. Musician, Singer
    2. Chef, Baker
    3. Artist, Photographer
    4. Doctor/Veterinarian
    5. Travelling Artist/Writer
    6. Archaeologist
    7 Pro Skater
    8. Astronaut
    9. Secret Agent
    10. Screenwriter
    11. Break dancer
    12. Superhero
    13. Animal Whisperer
    14. Entrepreneur
    15. Master of all Martial Arts in the Universe

  10. Very inspiring and thought-provoking post, ryan! I’m very motivated to do my 15 imaginary lives, too. I’ll think about it! 🙂

  11. Krisha says:

    1. Diplomat
    2. Geologist
    3. Archaeologist
    4. Historian
    5. UN women volunteer in Africa
    6. Accountant
    7. Book writer
    8. Polyglot
    9. Lawyer
    10. Political Analyst
    11. Radio jockey
    12. Professional Dancer
    13. Make up Artist
    14. Actress
    15. Manager of Jang Geun Suk 🙂

  12. Dominic says:

    1. Alchemist
    2. Veterinarian
    3. Professional Marketer
    4. Runway and Print Ad Model
    5. Business Tycoon
    6. Social Worker
    7. Traveler
    8. Actor
    9. Musician
    10. Psychologist
    11. Secret Agent
    12. Ballet Dancer
    13. Interior Designer
    14. Fashion Designer
    15. Responsible Husband

  13. Arianne says:

    1. Psychologist
    2. Movie director
    3. Painter
    4. Movie/TV actress
    5. Detective
    6. Forensic analyst
    7. Theatre actress
    8. Photographer
    9. Mind reader
    10. Billionaire
    11. Architect
    12. Computer graphics designer
    13. Novel writer
    14. Poet
    15. Traveler

    I had fun visualizing my imaginary lives! :))

  14. 1. Rock Icon
    2. Novelist
    3. Theater Artist
    4. Print Ad Model
    5. Philippine Ambassador
    6. Air Acrobat
    7. Sky Diver
    8. Astronaut
    9. Film Director
    10. Badminton Player for the Philippines
    11. Philanthropist
    12. Monk
    13. Surfer
    14. Comic Artist
    15. Wanderer

    Geez…these are actually my life’s frustrations. -_-
    I am a bit of each. Lol

  15. Nir says:

    1. Movie Actor
    2. Rock Star
    3. Journalist
    4. Politician
    5. Traveler
    6. Comedian
    7. Doctor (Medicine)
    8. Scuba Diver
    9. Chef
    10. Philosopher
    11. Talk Show Host
    12. Author
    13. Buddhist
    14. Football Player
    15. 100 Meters Sprinter

  16. 1. Novelist
    2. Actress and Model
    3. Martial Artist
    4. Business Tycoon
    5. Pilot
    6. Army General
    7. Scientist
    8. Psychiatrist
    9. Neurosurgeon
    10. Lawyer
    11. Musician (Pianist or Violinist)
    12. Pastry Chef
    13. Documentarian
    14. Prima Ballerina
    15. Olympic Ice Skater

  17. shawie says:

    1. Triathlete
    2. Teacher
    3. Soldier
    4. Blackbelter
    5. Professional Volleyball Player
    6. Guitarist
    7. Chef
    8. UN Volunteer
    9. Veterenarian
    10. Dancer
    11. Traveller
    12. Blogger
    13. Mother/Parent
    14. Businessman
    15. Ranch Owner

  18. Shine says:

    Very inspiring, Ryan! Here’s mine:

    1. Chef
    2. UN Volunteer also
    3. Professional dancer
    4. Triathlete
    5. Restaurant owner
    6. Scuba Diver
    7. Model/Actress
    8. Traveller
    9. Talk Show Host
    10. Painter
    11. Fashion Designer
    12. Newscaster
    13. Olympic athlete
    14. Billionaire and Philanthropist
    15. Mom

    This is fun!

  19. Lianne says:

    Ry, this is really interesting!

    Eto sa ‘kin:

    1. Neurosurgeon – You don’t know how badly I want to become one.
    2. VS Angel/Supermodel – haha
    3. Diplomat
    4. Psychiatrist
    5. Nobel Prize Winner
    6. Fashion Designer
    7. Musician/Professional Singer
    8. TV Broadcaster for CNN or ABC News
    9. Billionaire
    10. Healer
    12. Ballerina
    13. Black Belter (Taekwondo)
    14. IT
    15. Lawyer

    • Ate Lianne, thanks for posting. Yes, I do know how badly you hope to become #1. You told me about it when we were in UP, while chatting by the sunken garden! And I am sure you can be all that you wrote here if you allow yourself to live those lives. 🙂

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