At 27

You know what it used to be like? I cared a whole lot about what everybody has to say. Reputation, public image – we even used a lot of terms for it. In fact, all I wanted was to look like the poster girl at the imported university brochures. Nice teeth, crisp clothes  and great shoes. Like she had it all figured out. Which is why when there is an important life event, I would say that we can’t afford to fail. Looking back though, it’s not just life events, it was everything… everything was such a big deal. It’s always the “big break”, the “this is it” moment, the “now or never” moment, the “adventure of a lifetime” and I could go on and on and never run out of things to call them. Despite all the sleepless nights panicking about all the potential mishaps for those events, failures did happen. But the world didn’t end.

Funny that we only learn to take life less seriously as we get older. I’m sitting in this room with clothes strewn atop the bed, bags and books scattered on this little table and I fully accept this testament to clumsiness. I can wake up and not go manic spring cleaning. Seen much less of social media for a year and I did not feel any less connected with the people who matter, except that it took me a while to know what #ootd and #tbt meant (seriously!). It just didn’t matter anymore. Family knows where you are. Real friends text, email or just find you anyway. You bump into special people all the time, even without Facebook. And the really special ones? They’re always around.

Since I’m on the topic of the lighter side of life, my metaphorical lone boat sailing in the ocean suddenly becomes a laughable thing. But I’m keeping it. 🙂 At 27, I’m still the chronic overthinker who likes writing lengthy self-gratifying gibberish littered with majestic figures of speech, long dragging sentences and unsolicited opinions about life.

That said, I’ll be riding the coming waves on a positive note.


San Juan, La Union, Philippines. December 2012


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‘Bout 13: The Good and the Bad

I’ve always thought it was amazing how a mere two-digit number can cause fear to a lot of people. Thirteen.  Buildings refuse to use the number on its elevator systems; when technically speaking it’s still the floor after the 12th. An entire horror movie franchise thrived on the coincidence of a Friday falling on the 13th. Some people actually have real phobias of the number. As I said, quite amazing.

So again, it’s time for recaps and reviews on TV for the year that was. As expected, all of them were saturated with images of recent misfortune and calamity… unspeakable acts of nature, sordid political squabbles and worldly disputes that remind us of the atrocities of human greed and recklessness. All of which brings to mind that, yeah, maybe the thirteen in 2013 is rather unlucky. But as most clichés say… there are two sides to a coin, there’s always two sides to a story, the Law of Inertia, the enduring concept of yin and yang, good and evil, balance in the universe. The seemingly inauspicious year has had a great run, in fact. We are almost at the end of the 2,013th cycle of the modern calendar (bet you those who invented it would have never guessed how long it would last). This has been the 13th year of being mentally and technologically sound as a society since the Y2k pandemonium and the first year after the 2012 end-of-days scare.

I believe we all have little year-end reviews inside our heads; a lot like those documentaries on TV but instead filled with personal reflections and memories. I have spent many New Years chronicling these thoughts by means of blogs. I’ve told stories about people – friends and ex-friends alike, experiences and feelings. Now let me share this year’s story.

2013 has been about:

Life and Survival. I would admit to being workaholic. I would work the job beyond paid hours, to the point of shying away from vacations and abandoning old hobbies. I would say it was to earn a living and build a career – to pay bills and get professional accolades as well. However, our means of getting by has a way of making us forget about life. The things about life that I can never describe: the reason why we dream again and again, ride rollercoasters, dance in the rain, carelessly eat lots of ice cream and scream at mountaintops.

Faith and Fate. Some people believe that the ending is written down somewhere. I can’t blame them, because when things go the right way, it does seem to come from perfectly transcribed words out of a grand storybook. I’ve heard people tell me, you’re “meant” to be this and that. Being the prosaic person that I am, destiny isn’t tangible enough for me to believe in. But I learned about having faith. My great ending is a sleeping dragon. If I think and believe in it hard enough, one day it might just wake up.

Love and Loss. I used to think that to love and feel loved is simply for gain. So losing is on the opposite side of the spectrum. But this year has taught me that love and loss happens at the same time, all the time. No one ever said this combo was going to be easy or pleasant; but that’s what makes life incredible.

So 2014. Guess what. I have a good feeling about this.

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Solo Sailing

The lone boat is still on its steady cruise to the unknown. The same scene of my life’s gigantic metaphor still attracts me wherever I go. And as this year begins, I find myself sailing against the current; expecting random waves and rainshowers to challenge my journey. Still I’d go on because somehow, I know there are nice little islands out there to dock in and bask in the sun.

View from San Juanico Bridge, Leyte, Philippines. November 2012.

View from San Juanico Bridge, Leyte, Philippines. November 2012.

Last year has been a slow, steady yet exciting sail. This change in direction is making me nervous but I shall ride the waves with caution. I may get capsized one of these days but I know my boat would come out in one piece, as it always has.

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Twenty Twelve

So the world didn’t end. If I were an ancient Mayan, I’d probably be having a good laugh right now.

Nevertheless I am glad that we’re moving on to another year. And happy to have had an amazing 2012 – of trusting relationships, knowing tough love, taking on challenges and feigning intimidation. This was the year of resilience. Quarter-life crisis, they say. Sacrifices. Hard work. Forgiveness. Repaired friendship. Exciting travels alone. Discoveries. Love.

A few years into adulthood has taught me that you can’t not have sleepless nights and nasty days. This year had a good few of them too. At the end of the day what matters is how we eat the crap, get our heads above water; deciding what to salvage and which ones to let go. Every fight is worth trying to win, but it never hurts to know when to throw in the towel. General rule would make you lose by default. I do think, however, that self-preservation is not defeat. Choosing your battles wisely is far better than throwing blind punches. Maybe I’ll throw in my towel for this one thing as the year ends.

That thought aside, I look forward to a beautiful year ahead. Hope will never be lost, my dear. Happy new year. 🙂

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Elusive Victories

I don’t know what it is with claw cranes at arcades. Some say they’re rigged to keep anyone from winning anything – either drop whatever it grasps or just have a really lousy grip. Others say there’s a fixed success rate with these things; that if you’re persistent enough, you’ll catch something after a predetermined number of games. Maybe it is random luck after all.

I’ve never beaten a claw crane. I tend to aim well and be wary with my choice of item, but I’ve got no wins so far. That’s probably why I think one does not beat the claw with pure skill. As in all things, chance can sometimes have the upper hand. By the time you lose all your tokens (and perhaps your marbles), you still find yourself empty-handed.

On occasion I would choose the atrocious Barney toy or the ugliest Angry Bird plushie just because they seem the easiest to catch. I am a strategist but sometimes frustration breeds mediocrity in me. Yes, a shame and yes, I can do so much better. I lose my games because the grips are flimsy, I take bad aims, hesitate at times or become careless. For the most part I lose because I’m not supposed to win yet.

Someday I shall conquer the pesky toy catcher. With flawless gameplay and auspicious timing, I must put an end to this cruelty of fates. I will win that elusive stuffed toy and I tell you it’s not going to be a purple dinosaur.

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Twenty Eleven

You know that amazing feeling you get when you get to do your laundry and you discover a considerable amount of cash neglected inside the pocket of your soiled jeans? That’s how 2011 was for me.

To sum it up: I found precious things in the unlikeliest places.

Welcome Twenty Twelve. You’ll be my year. 🙂

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A Choice

They say there’s peace on the other side; that I’m missing out on cookies and rainbows. But I still choose this side. I choose pain and insanity.

This is still, and will always be worth fighting for. I am not escaping to dreamland to chase butterflies in ignorant bliss. I will let my battle scars tell the tale.

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