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People of my year 2012

It feels so surreal that a year had already passed since I wrote the ‘People of my year 2011’. Actually it’s still almost a year if I base it on the date the entry was published. Even so, it reminds me how fast time flies and before I knew it, here I am again going down memory lane; reminiscing what had transpired this year.

It had been a busy year for me with so much traveling and more responsibilities at work. The saddest part is having to bid farewell to friends I hold very dear as they embark on a new journey. But the best part is being home twice, seeing friends I have not seen for ages, and my –what they call Youtubic — engagement.

To continue the tradition I started last year (inspired by Bianca Gonzales’ blog), now is the time to pay tribute to the people who have made significant difference in my life in 2012.

They are a group of different individuals bound by their love for mountain climbing. They showed me that true friendship can also develop in the workplace where office politics normally thrives. I have always admired their friendship even if I only hear their stories from Omar. I finally met them in June when they surprised me with a well-choreographed proposal. I was embarrassed at the thought that they all did it –spent their time practicing, preparing the props , making sure the event is well-documented, editing the video – but I was more in awe at how far they can go for a friend. It’s amazing how they organize activities not just recreational but also to help those in need such as cleaning and arranging the house of a friend who just moved in. I just love them all to bits.

Olesya Kochkina
She is my Russian colleague who joined our organization in July. The silly bit is that she’s the only one who had me eat a bowl of vegetable salad which I liked. I hardly eat vegetables but the one she made was really delicious I keep craving for it everytime I want to eat something healthy. What I admire about her is her strong fighting spirit and optimism in overcoming challenges. She taught me not to dwell too much on a certain situation but rather look at the bigger picture and see what really matters in the grand scheme of things.

Clara Capala and Jonah Lyn Soliva
They are among my best college buddies. I have many close friends but the three of us developed this special bond that stayed strong through the years. We had our petty quarrels but at the end of the day our love for each other prevailed. They taught me how to be a true friend; through forgiveness and acceptance of each other’s weaknesses. No matter what happens and where life takes us, we will always be a part of each one’s life. Early this year I had a heart to heart talk with Jytjyt where I saw the beauty of her heart and the inner strength she possesses in facing life’s trials. I was able to see Clara after 3 years when she came to visit me in Bohol. Clara is the one who taught me how to be a friend not just in words but more in action. One of the best part of my vacation was being with her. And these cute little pugs represent the happy trio who endured the test of friendship 🙂

Cute pugs

Charivic Abello
She is my younger sister. I remember she once told me she got too much pressure from being compared to us, her elder siblings in terms of academic achievements. She got it from either family members telling her to do well in school like us or my former professors telling her “ask your sister how she did it”. I worried that she would carry this pressure with her and negatively affect her studies and morale. She wanted to become a policewoman but we did not allow her. Instead, we asked her to take Agribusiness. She did not want to let go of her passion so she took the ROTC training to become an officer and went up to convincing us to let her join the firing camp where she was able to use an M16 rifle and hit the target. Now she ranked third in command of the Corp group. This little sissy taught me not to lose sight of my passion and to never let other people’s expectations hinder me from doing what I really love to do. Proud of you always CLTC Charivic H. Abello 1CL.

Chamika Angeles
She is the daughter of a very dear friend Ate Weng. Mika had been bedridden even before I knew them. She left us this month to be with our Creator in heaven. Her death is our biggest lose this year. We’ve lost the angel who had been a great part of our journey because despite being ill most of her life, we can still feel that she’s there praying for us. May you rest in peace in heaven little angel. We love you very much.

My former boss
I have worked with him for 2 years and in those years he has molded me to become a strong woman. He may not be that famous among his staff as evinced by the high turnover rate but I did not give up on him. Many staff didn’t like him because he was tough but I tried to show him compassion because I didn’t know what he has gone through in life and what painful experiences he has to endure in his past. I do not have the right to judge him of what he has become. I cannot do anything about his past but I believe that simple acts of kindness would remind him of the goodness in his heart. Through him, I was able to test myself on how far I can show love to the most unlovable person. Through him I learned how not to dwell on the bad side of a person but rather see the wounded heart inside. Through him I learned not to give up on love and believe that love and compassion can change even the stone hearted.

Avash K.C.
As early as the start of the year, I already knew Avash will make it to this list. But little did I know he will take up this place; the one who has made the most impact in me this year. It is rather strange because our only verbal conversation was when he asked me for a copy of the audio file I was recording. He added me on Facebook so we got to talk once in a while. This year had been challenging for me because work was very hectic and there were many changes in both my work and personal life I had to cope up with. But his mails to me, although seldom but long, sustained me with inspiration to get going. While many youth parrot about how they want to make a difference, Avash was out there making the real difference that others can only utter in the wind. He is a very smart and talented young man and has all the chances to go abroad. But he chose to stay and serve his country, worked with the youth sector and reached out to the poor children and marginalized groups. While other youth brag about the little things they did, Avash remained silent and humble in his accomplishments. Instead of lurking online or resorting to vices, he spends his time and energy in far-flung communities –talking to deviant youth who had been rebels but are in the process of starting a new life, celebrating his birthday with poor children – or in school doing his MBA or producing TV shows that discuss various societal issues particularly those affecting the youth. He showed me that making a difference just takes a spark that will be illuminated by our actions. But above all, he taught me that genuine service must come from the heart.

People of my year 2011

We always have people we look up to; people who inspire us to pursue our dreams or overcome the hardest obstacles life has thrown. More often, the people we try to emulate are those who have made their names big and known. But, the ones who have actually made a difference in our life are those who have always been there. At the end of the day, it’s the ordinary people who can make our life extraordinary.

Looking back, I can say that 2011 was a year of inspiration for me. The journey was a little tough but if I would have to live my life over again, I’ll still chose the same path. It was the time when I got to revive my passion, test my strengths, go over my past to reflect on the lessons, recognize the things that truly matter, and challenge my values against the strong tides of a material-driven world.

I am grateful of what the year had let me experience but I am more thankful of the people who have given me wonderful memories to cherish. Below are some of the very few who made a huge impact in my life in 2011.

Angel Oo
She is the elder sister that I never had. I’ve spent a lot of time being there for others, even those not really close to me — be it through providing a listening ear or financial support, granting “favors”  or helping them out in any way I can – and there are moments when I get so tired and feel so empty. Angel or Marlar as I call her, despite working sometimes until 8PM (not because she cannot finish her job on time but because there are just so much load) still manages to volunteer every Sunday teaching English to Burmese kids. She showed me that one will never run out of something to give. With love, the well of abundance for things to be shared with others will never run dry.

Fr. Bonnie Mendes
I’m very fortunate to have a priest mentor. Fr. Bonnie is a very simple and happy man. Even if he was at the time the Regional Director of Caritas Asia, still he was so down to earth and doesn’t act like someone “important”. Silence is precious for him. He taught me to let go of luxurious things and live a simple life. He doesn’t preach, instead he let his teachings go with a joke and it’s up for me to delve into it. He shared his all time secret of staying positive and focus and that is to spend at least 10 minutes every day to relax, disconnect from everything and just free your mind while listening to a calming music.

Julissah Evangelio
She is a picture of a truly gifted woman complete with wit, beauty, creativity and good character. If there is someone who has shown me what true love is in its profoundest form, that will be Ate Bing. She has showed me that love can endure not just distance, the test of time but more than anything, FATE.

Khan Thongduang
I have so much respect for this woman. Blessed with a sexy body and a beautiful Asian countenance, she works as a model and poses for no less than FHM. Perhaps, she can easily be judged by others base on the kind of work that she does but for me she is a living legacy that our work does not always speak so much of the kind of person that we are. She works hard in her job but she works harder at home as a mom to the cutest baby girl Pim. Despite the challenge of making ends meet being a single mom still she didn’t forget to share to the poor. On Pim’s birthday, we all went to visit the disabled children where she has kindly brought food and donated money for them. She is indeed a beautiful woman inside and out.

Neil Anthony Rusia
Like I told him more than once, I guess Neil is my male version because we are on the same wavelength most of the time. We support and encourage each other on our passion especially our love for arts. Our friendship started in college where we shared so many ups and downs in both our academic and extra-curricular endeavors. We’ve seen each other trying hard to keep an impeccable manner in the eyes of the other students simply because we were seen as leaders. Then we saw each other fell apart, gave in to the child within, let out the trapped silliness and suppressed expressions, going against the society’s norms not caring anymore how we are perceived by people. 2011 was a heavy year of self-discovery for both of us but we’ve made it. Now we are ready to face the world again.

Apparently, I don’t know her complete name. We are not really close as she only works part-time in our office so we don’t get to talk much. Her impact in me was rather something that transpired in just a few minutes. We were talking about her ill mother then. She said her mom had various types of cancer. Although she didn’t share much, I felt that she was really having a hard time. I don’t know what to do so I just wished her more strength that she may be able to surpass those trials. She gave me a genuine smile and said “that’s life, we have no control on things so we might as well accept it and move on.” I need not say more.

Omar Jayag
He simply is the man that every girl would want to have. He is very simple, intelligent (well, being the top 5 of the Agricultural Engineering board exam in the whole country is enough proof I guess) and God-fearing. He loved me even if I don’t comb my hair and that I just wore a t-shirt, shorts and slippers when we strolled around town back in our college years. He always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Distance didn’t hinder him from providing me support and love. At the beginning of the year, I broke up with him because I wanted to be on my own. Despite the unfairness of my decision, still he lovingly granted my wish. I just hope that someday, I will be able to convince myself that I deserve him and that I may be able to give back the love that he has unselfishly given no matter how unworthy I am.

Tammavit Tasnavites
We are like the human form of Tom and Jerry. We fight over anything our silly minds can ever think of. Most of our discussions don’t really make any sense but when he says something sensible, it would really hit me to the core. His words are few but very deep. Knowing him is like seeing what I have been missing in my life all this time.  Most of the people close to me supported my will to help others but he is the one who reminded me that I should also live for myself; to let go and just let the tides take me. He brought back my appetite for food when I almost forget how they taste like; although I’m still not that adventurous to try most of them. He was once bored, doodled a man’s face and dropped it on my table and voila! I remembered that I used to be happy when I draw. Well, I managed to sketch 3 faces that year and that’s really it; they were such a fail though ‘coz I abandoned drawing since I was I guess 10 yrs. old and the only time I sketch was 5 years ago, once, as a requirement for our visual communication subject. If I have to choose one person who has made the greatest impact in me in 2011, Art would be it. He may not have really given it any thought and is rather not aware of it but his normal self (that others would call strange) and simple, natural ways has given me a new perspective. I will always look back 2011 with much gratitude for granting me that short span of time to know him, the person who has given me back what I’ve lost for a long time, my  dear self.

Reviewing my week changes my perspective of tomorrow

Working in a non-profit organization for over five years taught me the importance of setting concrete goals and establishing a monitoring and evaluation system to help us keep track of our progress and steer us back to the right track should we veer, among other things.

In one of the workshops I’ve attended, I learned about the Theory of Change and the process of identifying a specific goal, how to break it into long term and short term plans, and how to create a timeline on a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily basis to ensure that what we do every day will contribute to the realization of our ultimate goal. I thought then that such process can also be applied to our personal goals. But since I decided to not think about ‘big plans’ yet at the moment because I still don’t know what it is I really want, I will instead focus my energy into making sure I spend each day doing the things I am passionate about and hopefully in the process I will be able to figure out what ‘big project’ I want to pursue.

The ‘big project’ I was referring to is something in addition to becoming a lawyer. Becoming a good lawyer requires one to study diligently so I make sure that each day I also allocate some time reading law books and cases aside from doing my other passions.

Now, here’s the thing. Some people don’t even know what they are passionate about. I am the opposite. I enjoy taking pictures, writing/blogging, reading, knitting, cooking, baking, meditation, yoga, video editing – a lot! That’s why it can also get frustrating trying to identify which one I should focus on. So instead of asking myself what is it really, I will just attempt to do them and see where the process will lead me. Thus, being mindful of how I spend my day is the first step at ensuring that this year will not be another wasted year spent mindlessly.

So how do I know I am on track? On January 1, I began to journal my daily activities, learning and realisations. Sometimes I would write whenever I feel the urge particularly when something came up that I didn’t want to forget but most of the time I would write before going to sleep. The first time I did it on new year’s night, I was appalled to see how little I accomplished that day. The nights that followed were filled with the same dismay at how I was not able to maximize my time. I was particularly disappointed when most of my day was spent on delays – when I had to go through a delayed boat departure, delayed van departure, or long queue at a mall counter.

What are you tracking if you don’t have a specific goal?

It’s not that I totally don’t have a goal. I don’t have specific goals such as opening a business venture, publishing a book, winning a Pulitzer award or what have you, but I do have a goal and that is to mindfully spend my day doing the things I am passionate about. My daily journal keeps track of this. Am I doing the things I am passionate about? Or did I spend the day slacking?

I then came up with an idea of having a weekly review of my activities. This is what I meant when I said in my previous post that it’s not necessary to make grand plans for the year because identifying one’s goal is a process and being mindful of how I spend my day is the beginning of the process. True enough, when I began to be mindful of my day, I came up with ideas I would not have thought about before and one of them is to do a weekly review of my activities. The weekly review is designed to help me celebrate my little victories, identify my weaknesses and assess areas for improvement.

My first week of January 2018

I am happy to report that I successfully avoided soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. I plan to continue not drinking them for the whole year. What happens next year is yet to be determined. Vowing never to drink them until the end of time is such a huge goal which will only make me too overwhelmed and overwhelm leads to failure. The key is to make short-term achievable goals first then cross the bridge when I get there.

I was also able to read 40 pages of civil cases on New Year’s day! This was such an accomplishment given my tendencies to avoid work or school work during a day of celebration. And because I was able to do that on a special day, I was able to encourage myself to spend time reading law books every day no matter the duration.

Unfortunately, aside from those two key wins, my week was uneventful. There are definitely more areas to improve. I did yoga just once – for only 30 minutes – though this was also because I was feeling sickly for three days. I felt nauseous then better the following day then suddenly hit by a cough the day after. In fact I was supposed to do my weekly review yesterday but my body felt extremely heavy I ended up sleeping most of the time. I wrote just one article. Did two sessions of 10-minute meditation which was a total shame! And I didn’t finish reading a single novel; I’m not even halfway done!

Overall, my week wasn’t fully maximized. My study time fell too short even though I knew I could have spent more time on it. The same with meditation where a 30-minute session in the morning and before sleep would have been totally achievable but I just didn’t do it. The yoga failure I can forgive because I was really feeling awful though I have to give myself some credit for being mindful of what I eat and drink.

Hopefully this week I will be physically healed and will be able to spend my days better than last week. One thing is for sure, this weekly review is very effective at drawing my attention to how lazy I was, how I’m not able to fully appreciate the time I was gifted to spend; it is a good motivation to keep going and to keep changing for the better. I knew I’ve been good at wasting my time in the past but reviewing my week like this gave a whole new perspective. There’s something about it that gives me that needed boost to actually, really change.