22 THINGS I LEARNED WHEN I WAS 22 YEARS OLD

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Call me self-absorbed, self-obsessed or Dorian Gray-ish but my birthday is the official start of my year. Nope, it does not start on the first of January or the start of the Chinese or Nordic calendars, it starts on March the 26th of every year. So in my hierarchy of holidays, my day is first and my favorite. And trust me, when March is the month, everything is put to a halt despite my busy schedule and the high level of prioritization for a particular activity. It’s the only time of the year I get to have some real R&R, chill, party and be a HEDONIST.

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Without further ado, I would like to give you a glimpse of the things I learned in my 22nd year being a fabulous human being sashaying planet earth. Ha, ha! Here goes!

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01. Lost my job, lost a boyfriend, lost a friend

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02. Did well in my Public Management classes, was done with the first year of my masters and began working on my baby, my thesis, my entry into the academic debate – Working Title: “A Take on Corporate Social Responsibility in a Philippine Consumerist Landscape”

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03. Went through depression. I knew it was a phase so I had to accept the phase and dealt with it head on. It was good though because it made me a movie buff thanks a lot to the sleepless nights watching movie after movie with spoon and tub of ice cream in hand and a big bag of Lay’s waiting to be opened.

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04. Like a pheonix, I rose up from the ashes and dusted myself off. A fresh new start. I moved on smoothly and yes, life welcomed me to its better chapters. My faith was restored, I started praying and going to church again, listening to the sermons and finding peace inside it in my time in between classes. I read self-help books, now some would say these books are only made to acquiesce profit for its writers but hey, they’re called self-help for some reason. For those books, I would like to thank my mom for the book shopping session we had at Rockwell when we hoarded the self-help section.

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05.  This was the year I learned how to play a lot of beer games, probably because I was too heartbroken that I had to drink that much. I hold the title of “Beer Pong Queen” and yes, I beat a couple of fraternity guys from University of the Philippines in the beer chugging game they had. I am now a constant visitor to their parties and I have their vouch for my law school applications. (Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol…)

06. Me being me, I dated a lot of guys. I WAS BUSY. My girl friends are giving me a pat on the back for levelling up a notch with the “types” I date. I decided that I would not date none of my exes again so I met a lot of new people. Hot ones. The football player slash endorser that I am still seeing on a regular basis. The engineer. The doctor. The business man. The lawyer. (Just as I am writing this article, the engineer SMS-ed me telling me he misses our intellectual conversations… Yaaay!) One thing though, I still never stayed for the awkward breakfast after, still the type who zaps out wee hours in the morning — maybe find the person I would share breakfast with this year?

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07. I will reiterate that I never really thought that I would last sans beau but I am faring quite well. I am getting well used to the single life and would really prefer it this way maybe until I’m complacent with reaching my goals. Besides, my schedule is too busy, I can’t settle down just yet without first ticking off accomplished tasks and goals. I’m one of those people convinced that love and companionship can be studied, and I read something that says that you should find a partner either on the same income level and stability or a higher level than your own for compatibility. The longer the wait the better chances you end up with the right person.

08. Moving out – I was 22 years old. Something about American culture that strikes a chord in me, I felt the need to move out of my parents abode, I was overstaying. I need to learn how to handle life by myself and let mom and dad enjoy the house without a brat asking them for this and that. So comes my decision to relocate life and pursue my dreams in the Big City, my birthplace – Manila.

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09. Viva la Independencia – Finally, October 20, 2012 is the official day I start my residence in the big city. Although we have a pretty snazzy house here in Manila, I rented out this small room near mom’s office in the airport so that I could visit her weekly and yes, that meant paying rent and taking charge of my stuff and closet avalanches. I had to clean my little room, dust it here and there, manage my laundry, ant attacks, and the space constraint since I have so many things that are moving in with me. Also, being alone and not having the time to cook for myself on a regular basis, I have to manage my budget for food and stop being prissy, I have to learn how to eat the yucky but cheap food for a change.

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10. My life as a regular commuter – Yes, transportation bills could really pile up, and cab rides in a big city could be a pain in the pockets. So I cut down a lot of my expenses by riding the jeep, the bus and the train. And it is relaxing for me, I get to see different people, observe the surroundings, problematize the world or just flip open my book or tablet on a long bus ride. I also get to enjoy the tunes I just downloaded but there’s one thing I hate. RUSH HOUR. It’s that time of the day when fishes in a sardine can would have more space and I have to push and shove and smell sour smelling body odor from other passengers on the train or on the bus. Precisely the reason why I always bring an extra pair of flats for running around.

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11. BUDGETING 101 – I am no financial expert despite my background in business and my said “graduate” degree. Ugh! You have no idea how many times I have watched Confessions of a Shopaholic because I relate to it so much. I am so materialistic since I was a younger brat, I would take to the counter whatever with only my whims to guide me, a very bad acclimitization. There was this time in a mall that my purpose of going there was really to check out prices for a repair when I passed by a boutique that sold dresses and yes, I spent half of my salary on clothes and shoes plus the P300.00 frozen yogurt I found on the way. You could tell I regretted that. Recently I downloaded this app on my tablet called Daily Expense Manager and keep the receipts of my purchases. I also have to bite my tongue and wait 10 – 15 minutes to cool down my urges of buying something. It’s working out well, I’m saving some of my funds, finally.

 

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12. The need for HOME. There is indeed something about adjusting to this new life that makes me realize the need for a cozy home and fulfilling my womanly functions. I know, I know… It’s a 360 degree turn from the love / marriage cynic I always was (but I would still retain my POV on some aspects such as divorce) but you get to that age of maturity where you realize that “Hey, who takes care of me when I’m old and strapped to machines to keep me alive?”. Really now, you would look for that person who you could hold hands with on the street and laugh with, talk with and share the rest of your years with. Naturally I would wish for a caramel skinned Brazilian with abs but realistically speaking, just a companion I could stomach seeing the wrinkling skin and graying hair every morning. Call it harsh but I just imagine the visuals, it has someone you still would find sexy even with creaking bones, it’s not a very pretty sight to have every morning. Here’s my cynicism kicking in but I compare it to seeing an unflushed toilet bowl when you have to do your necessities in the morning. (Whatever, cringe as you please…) There are times I feel that my ovaries are doing a fertility dance or maybe it’s just the pressure of my batchmates and friends getting hitched, I’m no monk or priestess so this would be finding a space in my list of goals quite soon.

This also might be brought about by my perceptions of a conventional family, people my age watched Disney princesses and American suburban families and as much as I like defying convention, here is one of those conventions you would like to keep because it would keep you happy and feel like butter on warm toast each waking moment. Domestic harmoney is very important and is directly related, parallel, to living a happy life and reaching success.

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13. LOADS OF MULTI-TASKING – Work could sometimes be a drag in my day, eight hours or more straight of number crunching and financial technicalities. So I bring in my school work and books to keep me company and also blog when the tasks are not too heavy. Just like right now when I’m blogging but I’m due to finish a couple of company modules by the end of the day. I also do my make-up on my desk when I had to rush in order to clock-in in time. Or when travelling from Point A to Point B here in Manila, a bustling metropolis with heavy traffic, I bring out my tablet and read a journal article or article and use a handy note-taking program to record my ideas.

14. Cooking with friends could really strengthen your ties. There is something about making a meal together and eating together that strengthens the bond between me and my friends. I learned that I have a knack for cooking, my creativity with thing kicks in and makes a simple meal taste extra special like my “Devilled Eggs” or “Signature Sinigang”. Ha, ha!

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15. Despite my old school ways, being a pencil and paper kinda gal, I cannot be dead on pop culture and technology. There are a lot of benefits if you use it properly anyway and I like writing about post-modern cultural phenomena and post-modern art that would make history in the years to come. Maybe I just didn’t appreciate it because I am a part of this epoch.

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16. SERIAL WRITING AND BLOGGING – Heralding my first year of officially being a blogger is 2012, I’ve been busy with a lot of research and writing for official purposes. The academe is really hard training me to be a reseasrcher slash academic writer but this really ain’t my thing, I’m more of the creative writer. Writing directed by the direction of my whims and emotions, thoughts and opinions, not some rule book. In a day, a book on thesis writing advised me to write at least 300 words but I don’t really get to achieve that goal, I stall when I think of my paper, I divert it here on this blog and I feel I have accomplished a lot more than when I write a boring scientific paper.

Serial writing = writing constantly, this is an acquired habit. When you blog, it’s like there’s a voice inside your head that tells you what to write and there’s an upsurge of blood in your veins that makes you want to write it, or take a snap of it on your camera and put it out for public consumption. You see the world in a different way, you see it the way you would want your audience to see it and how yoiu would be able to translate it in a consumable blog post.

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17. I learned that faith is a voice within ourselves, it is not external, and that despite being an agnostic and a critic of the decaying institutions of religion doesn’t make you any less faithful. What I like about my freedom of religion, as a right that I practice to the fullest, is that I could learn about different beliefs and choose the best teachings and practices of each and practice them rather than sticking to only one and adhering to extremist ideals. I don’t like to force things down my throat.

Whoever said that “when reason ends, faith begins” spoke the truth, a lot of things this year tested and renewed my faith.

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18. Sleeping less means success. I’ve been reading this eBook on success that I downloaded, I’ve been trying my best to require less sleep time. The book claims that many successful people do not require that much sleep.

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19. I have to admit that I have a pretty big appetite for food and that I do have a man’s appetite, I gained some weight here and there this year and I’m not sure if I really want to lose them. Maybe I’m close to finding out if it’s true that being older means a wider waist line.

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20. Patience. There are many things and many people who tested my patience this year. I'm not a very patient cat. I want things done PRONTO, I want that new bag A.S.A.P., I want to be this and that NOW. It also has a good effect on me reading Mr. Grisham's fictional character and professional assassin Khamel in "The Pelican Brief", he gets the job done because of his patience and chameleon abilities. Khamel could wait quietly in a dark closet without any sound or movement for hourse and wait for the perfect timing to fire those bullets in the target's head. I'm still working on patience and lessening my impulsiveness. I like fast driving, walking on the streets fast and getting to my destination without unnecessary delays. But hey, with all the stress and pressures, I learned to walk slowly on the streets and admire the high rise buildings and store fronts, maybe admire that cute corporate guy walking past and the gorgeous blonde who gives me a big smile as she walks her dog on a nice afternoon. Or the slow bus rides where I could read a book, gather my thoughts, feel my freshly downloaded Angela Bofill or The Twinz tracks among many other things.

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21. I’m not getting any younger so I have to be more mature with my decisions and make better choices. Despite the age, I feel like I cna still pursue and do anything I want, maybe it is because I was never affected by the age-ist and sexist society that I dwell in. My soul is virile and endlessly young, there is no stopping it.

22. Time to move forward, 23 is my new lucky number. =)

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I GUESS I’LL SEE YOU NEXT LIFETIME…

I GUESS I’LL SEE YOU NEXT LIFETIME
By: Maan “Maggie” Villar, The World According to Maggie V

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I dedicate to you a song – See You Next Lifetime – popularized and composed by one of the greatest hip-hop and R&B artists of all time, Erykah Badu, and feature you as promised in an article starring you – a real star. In the grand scheme of things as Nicholas Sparks would have written and described it, fate has a way of playing with two people, of making them meet and borrow a portion of eternity, making it a memory, a beautiful story.

I am no story teller, I have a knack for writing, putting ideas, thoughts and emotions on paper, making it worthy of public consumption, but between us two, you are the story teller. You have a way with people, of triggering their interest, innate charisma and charm and I sulk only in the background – I’m the one who would play with the orchestra, document life as it happens through a pen and a paintbrush, who would keenly dwell on the details and tinker around it and you are the center piece, the angelic gift of voice accompanied by the orchestra, one sought after by the masses, the one written about, the muse to an artist, an Adonis, larger than life. We meet, I hidden behind my glasses and thick books and you incandescent and an adornment, a light and a gentle breeze to whichever pocket of the city you grace with your presence – a demigod. You deserve this title more than any of the other men I have called demigod. And maybe, with my writing about you I could tell a little of “how we came to be”…

Just when I stopped believing in man’s nature to cohabitate with the opposite gender and grow to love as a natural instinct, you came along. I was in the darker of my days coming from the prison despair has trapped me in, breaking away from the habit. I never noticed you nor cared to do so, but you came to me and held my hands the first time, asking me what I want in a man. You are reverse of the typical male species I would be gravitated to. In fact, you are more than them which is why I would not even attempt. You are a prize, a trophy but I never saw you as such because you are you, the frailty of human and the perfection of god-like attributes you possess. The balance. And what do I want in a man? Intelligence, good heart, and something that is easy on the tangible aspects. I discover this in you as we traipsed along this time we have together.

Have you not noticed how much time we have been spending together? Seeing each other every day, going places together, eating together, forming a habit and a timetable of our day together, even dreaming together… but wonder I of those dreams and promises if they would ever see the light of day… given the consternations of our reality. We are a power couple if we ever became one, we look perfect together, everyone gives us a twice over even when we are shielded by the dark tints of your car. Our beauty together is magnanimous but it is so because it is forbidden. You are married, legally and incorrigibly, and my role is either the one who would cause chaos or fix the institution in which you are the constant.

What do we make of that which we founded together? Should it just be forgotten, be shoved into the deeper recesses of our memory and life story? Because we know that this brief brushes we have would soon end, only the current variables allow us to hedonistically pursue the sin, to have a bite of the luscious blood red apple from the forbidden tree of paradise. I fear the day when the variables change, and we have to part, make it just a portion of the broad time spectrum we have still to traverse.

Ah!

But your eyes are piercing and endearing at the same time, my heart is at peace when I am with you, I can laugh again, feel the warmth of sunshine on my skin again and smile when I am reminded of the times we had together… the wild times, the happy ones, the good ones, even the ones when we were frustrating to each other…

The way I know that despite your power over people, your natural charisma, you prefer the lonesome and quiet at times and that you could be just that with me. I know that you too picture the beauty our life could be if only we could be together… but… a star “needs to shine”…

The soon disintegration of what we found, the sweet melancholy of us knowing that we would soon part, it is why I live for the moment while you are still there. With my natural apt of getting what I want, of living my dreams and having my desires at the palm of my hands… make me want you enough for me to have you, to overturn the given or else, I’ll see you next lifetime…

Delusion Angel (Milkshakes) from Before Sunrise

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Delusion Angel
– David Jewell

daydream delusion
limousine eyelash
oh baby with your pretty face
drop a tear in my wineglass
look at those big eyes on your face
see what you mean to me
sweetcakes and milkshakes
i’m a delusion angel
i’m a fantasy parade
i want you to know what i think
don’t want you to guess anymore
you have no idea where i came from
we have no idea where we’re going
lodged in life like two branches in a river
flowing downstream
caught in the current
i’ll carry you you carry me
that’s how it could be
don’t you know me
don’t you know me by now.

One of my favorite movies, Before Sunrise featured this poem by David Jewell made for the film in the scene when Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) was walking along the Danube Canal as they are approached by the man who instead of soliciting alms, makes them a poem with any word of their choice in it. Jesse and Celine chooses the word “milkshake” and was presented with this poem, representing a major theme of the movie.

I think this film represents love beautifully, not many romantics would like this as it does not promise eternal love or that which ends up in marriage. It defies that but at the same time speaks of love in its truest sense. Love is borrowing a brief portion of eternity and in the movie, it is only twelve hours. It is also set in a different country which both the major characters are unfamiliar with for the reason that people are more confident and willing to take risks and go against their usual habits and drives when in an unfamiliar environment. The movie is simple, it is meeting a stranger, finding about that person, talking and taking in the beauty of the world around and finding a romantic connection even if it is meant only for that brief period in time.

It is so heartbreaking, and the possible events after the meeting of the two protagonists leaves a hanging question in the viewer’s mind, whatever would happen to them?

Five stars.

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Recent Ramblings

Random thoughts:

I have been spending a lot of time at work recently, 12 hour stretches. I miss my friends badly, I miss going to parties, living a life without any pressure, without anything to worry about. Days when I can let my hair down, wiggle into that hot dress, and just let my hair down, look hot and party hard. Those were the days…

Not that I am not enjoying this, I like working, and I like it better when I’m overworked. I am at the point when I have to earn my own buck and pay my way around. Responsibilities.

This is a big step for me, I could just nestle in the abode of my folks, they are loaded and they pamper me a lot but I have to make a name for myself.

Take ownership of my dreams.

There is just so much stress right now, maybe the three-hour sleep time is taking a toll on me. I feel groggy, and when I touch my cheeks, it’s sunk, and my eye bags are big old luggages under my eyes.

I honestly want to take the time off just to finish my thesis, process my law school applications and review for the LSATs, but I can’t because I have to give a stellar performance at work this month…

Another dilemma is that I was offered the Fullbright Scholarship and I have to choose between that and law school…

My heart is really gravitated to law school, that’s what I told my mom last night, maybe Fullbright can wait…

So much on my mind really…

And so much things I ingest that are bad for my liver: energy drinks, coffee, alcohol and more coffee to keep me perked up…

Later on I have to pack my bags again because I have a trip to Laguna early in the morning tomorrow…

And I have some journal reading to catch up on later tonight, some reviewing to do as the semester is about to end…

I’m just so glad that my mom took a lot of load away from my hands when she volunteered to have my tablet fixed, the tablet I love so much that I accidentally stepped on… Clumsy…

I swear, when the busy weeks are over by my birthday, I will relax, go to the spa again and let my hair down…

Drive around town with my friends and feel the Manila heat on my hair…

I missed sleeping, partying, and just chilling…

Good that I’m single, no one would rant for my time…

Maybe I should keep it this way until I am stable and I reach that point when I ticked off many items off my list of goals…

I was also reading a couple of good blogs in between the demands of the bank and my dog-eared and torn copy of the scarlet letter, gosh! If I had more time for my blogging and shutter-bugging, I could make my blog better than theirs…

So many things I still need to accomplish…

Ah! How time flies!…

Tête-à-tête

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“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”
– Aristotle

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tête-à-tête
noun
1.A face-to-face meeting, or private conversation between two people, usually in an intimate setting; a head-to-head.
2.A bench or sofa that allows two people to talk face-to-face.

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My love affair with coffee is a known fact among my peers, lovers, acquaintances, readers, colleagues and the masses. There is something with the perfect cup, the aroma of brewing beans and the awakening taste in coffee that loosens the tongue. “En vino veritas” as the old Latin saying goes, but the truth comes out for me with caffeine, wine pushes the snooze button on me anyway. The conversationalist and thinker is awakened, put to action with a few sips of the potion and although I enjoy a good portion of my time alone at cafes with the company of a good old book, the papers, work, my tablet/laptop, but definitely the best company I have for coffee are my fellow intellectuals and closest friends.

Many issues have been discussed, solutions to the world’s problems tackled, arguments, a good banter, life talk, love talk and random things that were on the spotlight. Maybe if technocrats and those in position and those who control the goings-on in our economic and political life would hear what we were talking about, they would be enlightened, and the world would be a better place. That’s how good and big the talks I have are. Because the conversation is that deep and filled with substance, it is filled with wit and good humor and backed by sufficient and valid knowledge – our opinions could make a newspaper column. Sometimes I would really want to purchase an old tape recorder, record our conversations because there is just so much to glean, so much to learn from the great minds I sit with. It is an honor. I know that like myself, they would make it big in this world, and be a voice that multitudes would heed.

On lazy days, I would dress up in my shorts, a loose polo, or maybe just a maxi dress, loose sandals, big sunnies and a canvas bag, bring a couple of books and have an iced coffee or tea al fresco. Lounge around for a good number of hours and after listening to Crossover (www.crossover.fm / 105.1 Crossover, no bias on this one, it really is good radio) or Radio High to absorb the mood even more, I would meet up with a friend or two and fill the afternoon with our laughter, gossip and intellectual conversation. I would gage how close I am to a person when I talk to them about my love life, my life, my childhood and some of my secrets. What I relish in the brief meetings I have with them is the portion of their life they share with me. When they tell me of their deepest secrets and their life stories. I like asking them about it, pretending to be Oprah, Tyra or Ellen when I ask them about things. Just like the books I read, they take me to a whole new dimension, these are good stories, good patches that would make a good life, I could be their biographer and that would be a privelege if given the chance.

The circles I move into are that of fellow artists, musicians, law students, young politicos, business men and professionals, it makes me proud to be within that circle and flexible because I found out more of their expertise and specializations that I am able to diversify my own. On the long stretches we are together and our mutual closeness and appreciation of the company, we do crazy things – that which would never fail to give us a good laugh even after a few years.

Sometimes, these coffee dates really make me think that I could fare through life alone, I don’t need to marry anyone us societal and traditional conventions would dictate. I have my friends to keep me company and yes this phase of my life made me discover that everyone is willing to make friends, you just have to open up your channels and your mind… In the most unexpected nooks and crannies, there are friends waiting to be discovered.

Over parties, alcohol, a big group and bong, I would prefer a good cup of coffee and a smaller company or a tete-a-tete with a good cup of coffee. ♥

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This inspires me to write about these “Conversations over Coffee” on this blog, look out for that new category on my blog roll soon! ♥

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BREAK MY HEART TO PROVE IT’S THERE

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In “The Scarlet Letter”,

Hester Prynne,

Its impassioned heroine said:

“You don’t have to break my heart,

To prove that it’s there…”

 

And would you even dare?

After I have laid my aces on the table,

When in your life I had always been there,

All I need for you is to be fair,

Handle me with care…

Because it is with you my life I would share.

 

Whisper me those words again,

That you want me in your life forever,

I need the reassurance,

Or maybe not anymore,

Because anyway,

You are my safe harbor…

 

Humor,

Candor,

Power

Amour…

Your deadly mixture…

 

You and me together:

Fireworks,

Talk,

A nuclear bombing….

Silence,

Love,

Calm,

Sunset…

 

You have the keys,

You opened the door…

Live with me in bliss,

Good is what life has in store…

 

Love me,

Never leave,

Trust me,

Always believe,

Live with me,

Eternity,

Ecstasy…

Because you don’t have to break my heart,

To prove it’s there…

Dimuendo

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DIMUENDO
By Maan “Maggie” Villar
Saturday, March 2, 2013

As a student of music, I never really figured out even in the past what “Dimuendo” meant. What I mean is that, by definition I know what it means, it means to gradually diminish sound, soften it, take it a little bit slower, until it fades… Dimuendo… I guess I just never really translated it in my playing.

Music progresses prallel to the troubadour’s life and here I am immersing myself in the feeling, the romance, the sentimental mood, the reference to the love the dimuendo echoes as it is played – expressed… All because you came along…

My life as reflected in my music is fast-paced, upbeat, presto, headstrong, vivace, fireworksm a Rachmaninoff composition, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, or Jupiter’s theme.

And you came along…

Somewhere along the way I stumble over you…

And spring turns into autumn…

Falling leaves carried away by a soft breeze…

Dancing with the clouds as a backdrop…

Everything becomes calm and all things now show its meaning…

A balance between presto and dimuendo…

Because dimuendo is love.

And you are my dimuendo…