I’m officially in my late 20s now. “How does it feel?” asked a friend. Without missing a beat, I said, “It feels great!” And it’s true. This is the first birthday since my debut when I felt like I’m maturing and growing into adulthood (That also means I feel like I’m about 18 years old right now hehe!).
So just as a gift to myself on this special day, I’ve listed down 28 things I want to appreciate from the past year.
- Today. The first birthday that I was able to celebrate with my whole family in about five years. ‘Yun pa lang sulit na sulit na.
- My nephews and nieces and inaanaks. I don’t see them too often, but they bring such joy in my life. The simple experience of seeing them enjoying their drinks or laughing or trying to negotiate the stairs in our house is always a wonder. I often wonder how these little beings can inspire so much love and joy in my life.
- Siyempre, matik na sina Mama, Papa, Inna, Evan, Shayne. Sa iba’t ibang paraan, basta!
- Pagkain and movies, especially “That Thing Called Tadhana”. Masaya na ako doon eh.
- E-books. Because I can carry my entire library in my Android.
- Oh, and FB Messenger and Instagram and Skype and Viber. Makes everything easier and more fun.
- Yoga. Because relaxation.
- Shiatsu/Swedish/Thai/combination massage. To ease up the muscle pains huhuhu.
- Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation. Because this is where I learned about Greatness of Spirit and this is where I knew that I want to work in the development sector.
- Habitat for Humanity. For the sheer joy of working for its mission. I didn’t even knew that it’s been more than six months already. So much has happened, and I’ve learned and grown so much because of Habitat. When I told Mama that it’s already been that long, she said she is happy because never in all of those months had she ever hear me say that I’m tired or complain of anything about the organization. This is as close as I’ve come to the adage that says, ‘Do what you love, and you never have to work a day in your life.”
- The opportunity to meet so many good, smart, big-hearted people from different walks of life, and the constant realization that they are so much smarter, more experienced, kinder, better at me in one way or another—that there’s a whole universe of opportunities to learn from each of them. The best part of that is discovering that most of them are so open to sharing their talents and gifts.
- Serving the people of Nepal after the disaster that struck their country.
- Travelling to Thailand for work. And then for leisure.
- Returning to Japan with Nina. I’ve said it before and I will say it again—Japan is a beautiful country that is such a study in contradictions. It’s fabulous to take this trip and not be on such a tight budget like when we were students on a summer program. And of course, there’s something to be said of a friend on a stressful trip (hello! getting lost in every other place we visited!) a week straight with no one else to talk to, and come back from the trip still liking each other a lot and still believing each is a great travel companion. Cheers, Nins. Isa pa?
- Returning to Boracay. Adventures and misadventures from a trip taken entirely on a whim.
- The fantastic, memorable El Nido vacation. Braving a storm, hiking through a rain-soaked forest, distressing from work, and being able to say, “We found friendship in hopeless place.” Homayghad. Isa pa. So we can better appreciate El Nido.
- Cordians ’04 high school reunion. To re-discover the people I grew up with, and realize we have all become mature adults, that there’s no more insecurity or cattiness. To relate to them on a delightful way that we get to talk about things that make sense.
- Thanks to long-lost old friends, most especially Dez. Because time and space separated us, and yet here we are. Closer than ever.
- Speaking of friends… here’s to the many loving voices that helped me through my very stressful first relationship. Thanks to the supportive voices, and the more cautious ones; to the ones who willingly gave their motherly/brotherly/crazy advice; to the ones who rallied by me when on that long lonely stretch when my heart was breaking.
- Romance and love. Sabi ni Padre, ‘Lundagin mo, baby!’ Ito ‘yun. To take the leap and finally decide to commit to someone, to let myself feel the joy, to share what love I can give, to know that it can be wonderful. To fight for that love, to be vulnerable, to understand that I can be strong. To realize that it was not meant to be, that it had to end, that I could be broken. To understand that this is part of life, but there can be something beyond that love.
- The gift of healing. When I realized that I can be shattered, and that I can heal. That being hurt does not mean hardening my heart. Instead, it means I can re-arrange myself to accommodate new experiences and realizations, and come out different and stronger, and better.
- The promise of a new love; and the realization that love is everywhere. ‘Yung deep inside feeling ko ang panget-panget-panget mo kasi nga durog ka, that the world is a dark, dark, place, pero hindi pala. Ang saya!
- Completing the Simbang Gabi. Achib!
- "Truly, we are made for abundance. God is preparing us to receive His blessings, to be prospered once we are ready to receive His gifts.” – Words from 15 Dec. 2014 that I think is just so so real in my life.
- Pope Francis in Manila. There’s nothing quite like that feeling. Wow wow wow! And hearing his words of compassion is just… it’s a great push towards becoming a better person.
- The Feast. To meet young Catholics and to worship together in the midst of a busy week. I should have discovered the fellowship sooner.
- Learning about tithing. And suspecting that hmmm…. Parang achib din.
- Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus. No need for more but His name. When I was at lost and couldn’t find the right words to form my prayers, I clung to His name.