To Live is to be Grateful

I recently turned 40 and my journey was really harsh and bumpy. The year 2017 brought unparalleled amount of emotional turmoil that made me realise how extreme pressure and distress could break or make one’s spirit.

Life, they say, begins at 40. This for me is true and took in effect when 2018 arrived. Resolutions here and there were uttered to the moon and back. Yet for me, my ultimate resolution this year is my resolve to healthy living — physically, emotionally and spiritually. And while I am still OK in terms of health and well-being (thank God, I am not a frequent flyer, and don’t intend to be one anytime soon), something about “growing old” makes me value life and everything about it.

What changed?

I am a low maintenance woman, who, while I fancy pretty items in general, I always think its worth versus my current “needs” at a given time. But there is nothing wrong in giving gifts, or rewarding yourself every now and then. Truth is that I was too anxious with my life in general the past years, especially 2017, this year however, I bought myself a personal gift of a basket of unlimited self-awareness and me-time because of few reasons.

Health is wealth and paranoia is deadly

“Am I going to die?” was a scary question. I have had palpitations, shortness of breath and numbed feelings last September. I rushed to the doctor, had my blood chem worked out and a series of tests. My doctor thought I had anemia…turns out, my body’s iron reserve is way too high than normal. Thank God, my recent blood chem procedure was ok except from the few hiccups on cholesterol and sugar (nothing to worry about for now). I am on the watch now on what food I eat, maintain a healthy lifestyle and best of all, self-discipline and get sleep on time.

A lost loved one is just sleeping

Life is compared to a mist, appears for a day and disappears tomorrow. The vulnerability of life is more evident these days (yes, I repeat…the signs of the last days).

In 2015 my mother in law went home for good. That’s after more than 3 decades away from her loved ones as an OFW. The sneaky sting of death did not actually gave her an opportunity to be with her family.

In 2016, my annual vacation was spent travelling with her to the fish markets where we buy tons of fresh catch for the day, went to the beaches to enjoy swimming etc. When my vacation ended, she was with us in the Airport bidding farewell…made a promise we will see each other again next year. Little did we realize that that would be the last time we would embrace each other.

I just hope we were given more time to enjoy each others’ company, but then again, we have the promise of resurrection and I know I will see her very soon.

The domino effect of loss

Depression is a serious state of mind, anybody can succumb to it and not everybody can cope with it. Our recent loss hit us rock bottom, the family succumb to deep depression resulting to self isolation. For M, the pain was unbearable and we cannot do anything but to allow pain to pass through time. As the wise King Solomon said, there is a time for everything.

It was our time to weep and we let time do the healing. As for me, I realized that in order to survive pain, one must give way to another pain. I was in the verge of just letting go, to give in to the challenge and just surrender…I am still holding on.

Everybody is replaceable

What would happen when security of tenure was threathened, when the only source of your income just closed its doors for whatever reasons? Sweet talks of reliability, promises of “don’t worry, I will help you,” in the end, remained words. I was left clueless on what’s next because everything was beyond my control. This was a traumatic experience for me, for A too for sure.

All is given away

Paul mentioned and reminded us of the “happiness in giving than receiving.” However, over giving can turn everything upside down when the given has exhausted all the resources and when the receiver just keeps on receiving.

Indeed, there is nothing wrong in giving, and whilst I do not have any regrets for giving too much, I have made a painful realization that I gave too much to the point of personal sabotage.

Realize self and be aware

Clealy, accepting failures is never easy but realizing that you are in the situation is humbling. After all, I could never go back to those painful supplications, those sleepless nights and endless sighs of self-realization. I dare not to blame anyone because again, it is exhausting. Now that I know how it is really like to be alone and left out, I think it is just fair to re-evaluate my relationships because I am just too tired of:

  • Getting all the blames for others’ incompetence
  • Being treated a secondary “priority” (if that phrase really exists)
  • Being taken for granted just because I play fair and honest in my own ways
  • Getting frustrated because of trusting too much
  • Getting bullied because of being either too polite and politically correct, etc.

I can go all day ranting but I know going on with this will lead me to oblivion. Don’t get me wrong, I am a realist, not a bitter person. I have to continue living, therefore, I have to let go and unload the excess baggage in my life, pick up the pieces where I left and put back my life on track. Why? Because giving up life is really not an option and will never be.

Yes, it took a while for me to admit all of these but I know it is not too late to act on these hiccups. My note to myself: Be patient, be brave and be strong for yourself and for others who matter, who deserve your affection, trust and loyalty. Taking this note into heart reminds me of the beautiful sunset everytime I gaze throught it, in awe, in bliss.

If you too are tired of others problems and feel that you are being taken for granted, let them know that Neptune can welcome them with the coldest breeze ever, in case your cold shoulders are not enough for them.

How about you? Do you also feel that you are at the end of your rope? Do you want to share your stories on this page? Do you also want to be heard? My comment section is open for your valuable feedback.

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We Keep our Stand

Happy International Women's Day!Today is the 8th of March.

We recognize women around the world and their contribution to the society –corporate workers, social change contributors or leaders etc.

I prefer not to mention all the relevant social issues our women encounter on a day to day basis because for now, everybody is aware of women’s struggles globally. I dare not to even go through social stigma against women because we have tons of information and news on print and digital. This post is not about that, at all.

Today, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day under the campaign theme #PressforProgress, I celebrate the women in my life who never fail to amaze me with their super powers not just today but everyday.

I recognize their unyielding quest to safekeeping a household, their unconditional affection and support towards their children and family, their resilience against challenges, their uncompromising spirits to always move forward regardless. Their strength feeds the souls of those who depend so much on them.

My lovely women are very much so aware of themselves. They do not just yell just because they are pissed, but they fight for bigger causes than just blah blah. You will not see them spreading gossips around the corner because, let’s be realistic here: the tongue can lit a fire even a forest. They are busy living and keeping life in order. Yes, they are aware of their strengths in the same way that they know their positions in the society. They know who to tap to and channel their concerns.

Yes, my women wake up every morning and utter their graces for the day, thankful for the life given to them, and use their energy to continue loving and keep living. It is that simple. Let them know you appreciate them.

Feel free to share my post. Comment are of course welcome:)

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Repost: Advice That Sticks – The Passenger’s Guidance

imageEverybody has their own story to tell, some are good and some are bad. Yet, how often do we hear people regretting their choices in life in general? How often do we hear ourselves uttering the words “if only”? How much experience do we really need to learn from our mistakes? A lot, perhaps.

We are humans and we err.

At times, when failure is on our doorsteps and we are consistently living in denial, life knocks us down so we can see it from a different perspective. There is a turning point in our lives when we finally say “enough,” because we need to move forward. We cannot just stay in the mess and miss all that life has in store for us.

Life is a Learning Institution

They say, “there are no accidents” in life. Whatever mishaps we have right now could be the result of our choices – career failure, financial difficulties, relationship frustrations etc. All of these challenges can break us if we do not pull ourselves together.

Think about this: We are and cannot be the first nor the last person in the “Failures Department.” Have we not heard and read hundreds of articles, about leaders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and the like? Have we not learned how they went through their individual challenges, how they worked hard to succeed? Look at the people around you– your high school classmate, who is now a successful banker, a recently promoted hardworking colleague, or your stay-at-home neighbor who now runs her own startup company.

Indeed, there are people around us who serve as cautionary tales of how near we are to failing or losing it completely, if we do not embrace change. Moreover, when we reach the point of exhaustion with our personal disappointments, we are more likely to open ourselves up. Little did we realise that that is a perfect time for us to start embracing life’s lesson that yes, there is also a graduation day for our failures.

That Who Holds the Steering Wheel

For those who are learning how to drive, you know that your instructor sits right next to you in the passenger seat. Your ultimate goal is to pass your driving tests for you to obtain your license. Compliance to traffic rules and your adherence to your guide’s instructions are required. You may have the control of the vehicle but your passenger is leading the way.

You feel that you are doing the best you can but you still could not pass your final test. You have seen your scorecard. You thought that your failures are too simple to deem the whole exercise a failure. But is it really the case? Have you been listening to their guidance, no matter how simple it may seem? If you have exhausted all your reasons and believe that, their reasons for failing you are beyond logic, think hard. What is ahead of you is your life and other people’s safety: will you be able to protect yourself from causing or being involved in a road accident? Will you be able to drive safely?

Remember that there are and always will be people in our lives who are good at being passengers. They can guide us on the ways they know the best or the easiest way to reach our ultimate destination. Those who care deeply about us will guide us throughout.

Consider our workplace. Those who work full time in the offices, those who spend considerable amount of time with their colleagues, know exactly how it feels like to be down sometimes. Our colleagues’ simple advice becomes our guide in situations we feel we cannot or do not control. Like me, you may have received some insightful advices over the years like the below:

Speak your mind, do not be afraid to be heard. You too have a voice.

When we lost our confidence to share opinions, we have to remember that even the hearing-impaired communicate through sign language. So why keep a potentially valuable idea to yourself?

The day I stopped asking you about your work is the same day I stopped caring about you.

When frustrated with consistent follow-ups from your colleagues take a deep breath and evaluate the situation. Could it be that you are not giving your best, missing your deadlines and deliver mediocre work? Why not consider the possibility that compromised work delivery is a mark on your performance, and a blemish to the team’s performance as a whole? Would this make you feel good about yourself? Absolutely not!

Nobody is indispensable.

When complacency sets in, think about those who are unemployed. Hundreds of people want to be in your position. If you lack the initiative to do more than your regular duties and responsibilities and grow within the company, do you think that they would prefer to retain mediocrity or rather employ someone who shows the drive to deliver above expectation? If you were the Management, what would you do?

You are your own work.

A company is not a place for pettiness, that when competition is too high, one will give way to jealousy, a dangerous behaviour that could sabotage your career. If you are experiencing such an issue, it is imperative that you compose yourself and bring tap into your corporate maturity. Realize the fact that Management does not have the time to babysit nor tolerate childishness. Prove that they hired a professional.

So there you have it. There are indeed many advices we can take note of everyday. However, as drivers of our own lives, we have the opportunity to listen and follow our passenger guide’s lead. Take the advice on board or stumble through life making our own mistakes. The choice is ours. Whatever choice you selected, just make sure you learn from the mistakes – whether they are your “guides” or your own.

This article is initially posted on my LinkedIn profile.

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The Long Road Home to Happiness

IMG_3184While waiting for the bus to arrive, I was standing close by the tallest building I have known all my life so far, the Burj Khalifa. This structure never fail to amaze me whenever I gaze its beauty. Isn’t she a fine work of art?

I have had these lingering thoughts in my head which helped me pen quickly this post while waiting. Of course, I needed to polish this piece afterwards to make it readable, at least acceptable for this page and for you.

Moving on…my take on 2017 is no different from those who practice self-reflection every time the new year opens—the losses, the tears, the fun and the adventures, the mistakes and the failures along with the lessons. There is nothing shameful about this practice.  It is but normal to regress because we are who we are– humans who feel the complexities of life.

It is true that last days effect intensifies rapidly, there is no doubt about it. It will progress for sure but so does the promise of hope. From losing a loved one to economic meltdown, the year 2017 had given me so many reasons to bend my knees, reasons I never thought I would contemplate sooner than expected. It was also the year when everyone in my circle has exposed their truest colours because let us face the truth here, we always use our measuring devices in gauging people as to how far they would go with or against you in our journey. We measure people who matter because we want them to complement us in any possible way and vice versa. Continue reading

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Poem 101: No Time

Comfort begets comfort. Make time for those who needs comfort and assurance. Buy time when needed. It’s important.

Learn to team up with time, it will be the wisest decision you’ll ever make.

No Time

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Repost: Waiting for your Big Break

3.My Big Breakv2CWIn my last article, Advice That Sticks – The Passenger’s Guidance, I briefly mentioned how our colleagues act as cautionary tales for our own development. While it is true that everyone is replaceable, it is also important to note that it is in the best interest of a company to retain employees, especially those who deliver beyond expectation.

Getting hired means two things. First, your employer understands that your probationary period is a period of adjustment and learning and that they need to provide guidance for you to deliver quality results. Second, you have already taken your first step on the pathway to success and should continue on that path provided you work hard and fix your eye on our goal.

As we all know by now, the path to success is not as smooth as we would like.  There are numerous challenges along the way and your biggest adversary is time, a critical element that can either make you or break you. For those who have been working long enough, you may have met the two notorious bullies at any time in your place of work. Their powers are so effective that if you allow, you may lose your chance to succeed. Continue reading

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Under the Potipot Sun

20160621_052531 (1)We left home very early  on June 22nd for a road trip in Zambales to witness the sunrise, buy fresh seawater catch for the day and swim.

I was never a morning person. In fact, I love to sleep all throughout the day, if possible. Moreover, I only get to spend a month in a year in the country so I try to make everything count. Imagine my excitement to see the magnificent Philippine sunrise on our way to Zambales!

The picture above was taken at a petrol station in Subic. I could not remember the place but I think it is called “The Bar.” It was that time King Sun peeked through the cloudy morning. What a beautiful view! Continue reading

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