A Late New Year Post

The year went by faster than I thought it would. I remember last year I was sulking over my family’s “misfortune” during New Year’s Eve and convincing myself 2014 would be better.

While some bucket list items remain unchecked and disappointments still hounded me at work and in love, 2014 proved to be better than 2013 thanks to the unwavering friendship and love from the people who matter most.

That Thing Called Friendship

Many friends and acquaintances were hitched this year. Two of my closest friends from college walked down the aisle in January and December and I was a tearful bridesmaid to both. Another used-to-be-close friend from college jumped into the wedding bandwagon this year and just as I expected (but honestly wished not), I was not invited to the occasion. I was rather hurt by the snub because I was still counting on that invite for old times’ sake because we were really close in college and even three or four years after graduation.

Eventually I realized that ours is the kind of friendship that does not last long, the bond not strong enough to endure changing personalities and opposing views on our, uhm, colleagues. Accepting and moving on from a broken friendship was the most difficult for me.

My Newfound Wanderlust

In January, while having an anxiety attack, a friend suggested that I try to focus my attention on other things…like traveling. Add my doctor’s urging to be more spontaneous and I gave in and got obsessed over this fad called traveling. In March, I went to Batanes with three girl friends, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Shorts, as we fondly call ourselves. A month later in late April, I went off to Bali for my first solo trip. It was after that 5-day vacation when I made it my goal to travel the rest of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia) in two years. So to get things going, I traveled to Vietnam in October where I had a 32-hour cross-country train ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.

And then Japan happened. I have been planning and cancelling and planning and cancelling this trip for years already and so when an 8000-peso round trip fare became available, I found it hard to let the chance slip. Again.

Fall in Kyoto during its peak was an astounding experience. No wonder the Japanese never grew tired of gazing at and admiring dazzling fall imageries. Forget the long lines at bus stations, the hundreds of other tourists photobombing my landscapes and my own stressful tantrums, the trip to Japan in November was beyond compare.

Since I started traveling, err, working, 2011 was unmatched in terms of the number of new places I went to (Grasberg mine, Jakarta, Singapore, the Colorado Rockies, Monument Valley and Page in Arizona, Downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco). This year, though only four new places were scratched off my world and Philippine maps, traveling suddenly had a whole new meaning.

It became my therapy.

A good friend, one with an insatiable wanderlust as well, was right about traveling—it changes you.

Gains and Losses

Our company had an episode of retrenchment in June and even the threat of closure was looming. Like going to Survivor’s tribal council, almost none of us felt safe as we anxiously wait for the results of our bosses’ lengthy and taxing deliberation. And then it came and some twenty employees had gone jobless by the end of June. Some found work soon after, others chose to make up for lost time with their families after years of being away because of fieldworks.

To us who were left behind, an unexpected blessing came our way. A new law was passed just before the year ended which raises the tax-exempted amount of the 13th month pay to P82,000.00 from P30,000.00. So anyone earning not more than the former amount can enjoy a tax-free 13th month salary for the holiday season.

The Objects Of My Affection

The quest for a new meaning of life also brought me an incredible bunch of guys, from lone backpackers to friends of friends. There’s one who I wanted to marry because he’s a really good-looking pilot and his Chinese last name would sound well next to my surname. Another one had me glued to my phone for hours on end, stopping only when we needed to take a shower or sleep. No, not one of those guys and I ended up together. Yet. Or maybe we never will. I can’t tell. It’s hard to tell. But it’s reassuring to know that not all good men are already married or in a relationship, that not all single men that remain are douchebags.

I know because I already met some of them. J

Rediscovery And Surrender

Somewhere between yoga classes and anxiety attacks around June, I rediscovered God. Being in a relationship with Him and making an effort to for it to work is harder than I thought and letting go of favorite sins and habits a formidable task. Our church leaders have the right of it; Christian life is not hard, it’s impossible.

Changes did not happen overnight. It took me several months from my first retreat in 2013 to when I started changing my perspective towards spirituality and life. It is a fearless move to surrender life to God and to constantly ask Him to lead you to where you ought to be. I still have a long way to go but my baby steps have taken me farther than I imagined going.

I hope to maintain my ‘in a relationship’ status with the Lord this coming year. I look forward to more travels and wish to finally meet the best souvenir from one of those trips. Or if we already know each other, I hope God will finally lead us to each other and, as the cliché goes, live happily ever after. I pray for good health and everyday safety for me and my uncle and the rest of my family, my friends and their families. I pray for my bosses to continue to be guided in decision-making and for them to be instruments of God to bless others. I also hope to welcome pamankins and inaanaks from my friends and, of course, more weddings and kilig love stories and reconciliations.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6 (NIV)

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