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.
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!
01. Lost my job, lost a boyfriend, lost a friend
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”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. =)