“How would you spend 2015 if this year were to be your last?” (Apaka morbid na tanong! =))

Sounds more of a beauty contest question rather than a pessimistic view of the coming year, isn’t it? One could have initially responded with “Thank you for that wonderful question!” (with a dashing smile and wave of hand), but life needs a more straight forward answer than a sugar coatedly idealistic one coming from a pageant.

Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. If Gandhi still lives, he could have slapped me with “righteous indignation” while saying “you never listen to me, lad, do you?!”

62-mahatma-gandhi-live-as-if-you-were-to-die-tomorrow

True enough, when I look at my life, it is as if my breath would have not reached its last. It was spent with no direction, unaccomplished plans, unfinished life projects, splurge here and there; what is more to regret on our death beds than wasted time? I was always that careless creature who lives by the minute and take full advantage of my special “Ningas Cogon” skills as I thought every new year means new me, new life, second-third-fourth chances, another day to celebrate life with, more time, but I had not touched base on the idea that there is also a concept of “it’s too late”.

“THREE Months are all that’s left for him to live”— This was what the doctors said 5-years ago before my Father died of Kidney failure. As slowly echoing as it was, it reminds me of these lines from a book: “That day crystallized within me. It makes me remember of Earthquakes, things that shake your foundation. This event made me stretched every boundary I knew. I wasn’t king of my universe anymore. In fact, I felt helpless, useless… pathetic. I had no control, and my scramble to regain some made me realized that God is to be both loved and tremendously feared. And the balance between the two is what it’s all about.”

The year that passed before he died proved that doctors’ verdict couldn’t always be reliable. I’m just glad that we’re already passed the stage where we don’t even know what to do, where to go, how and when not to give-up, and where to search for an answer to all the why’s that we could think of at that time. We were really helpless. But even if everyone seemed to have passed the adjustment stage, coping-up seems to be a continuing and endless process. Especially remembering him say, “ pagod na pagod na’ko , ba’t ‘di nalang kasi kunin kung kukunin din lang eh.” ..Makes us bounce back to the day when we had rushed him into the I.C.U… back into the long, agonizing day of crisis.

2009 was his new and last year. I’m not quite sure how he would have answered the question I titled this article with, but surely it could have been a blast as he spent his last year with a completely checked bucket list. Reuniting with all his 7 elderly and younger siblings (out of 11: since 3 already passed away) and childhood friends would have been barely possible since it has been more than 50 years and each lived in different places now, but God has his divine ways and still made it happen: A grand reunion to complete his last year…to complete his life. Last hug, embraces, “kamusta na ba?”, and reminders before he took his last breath.

dear past

That moment made me realize that our happiness, like any other good things, are made up of small moments that don’t last. At the evenings of our lives, the worst regrets are not the things we did but those we didn’t do. So if you feel that something would make you or your loved ones happy.. go for it without any hesitations. I knew the word Goodbye is inevitable, but aside from death, people never really leave; their roles in our life just change; we take a part of them with us and leave a part of ourselves behind.

Having said these, 2015 appears in a very different package for me now. “Be happy for this moment; this moment is your life” has been my 29-years of existence wrapped-up into a quote. Every year, I faced life with the ever vicious cycle of “just come what may”, but this year my bucket list evolved into a more specific new year’s resolution; That of someone’s viewing life as if it were his last.

We are not to come-up with new years’ plans without taking a glimpse of what made us stumble and fall from the year/s that has passed. Here are a few:

1. Bidding Good-bye to the Call Center life: It has been almost a year since I left the lime-life of shifting schedules, vomitable adjustment with all possible time-zones in Cubao or NLEX, catching up with rocket high AHT (Average handling time), unachievable FCR (First Time Resolution), old and grumpy wife with her drunk husband as irate phone callers, metrics that are patterned to the skills not that of agents’ but that of God’s (si Lord ba kami para ma-reach ang combination ng AHT, Sales and CSATs all at the same time para pumasa?), and all other toxicities from my past life. I admit, it made me a stronger, tougher and more flexible living material than a stress ball could be; I was more (stress) absorbent than it was (and yes, that’s a positive note =)). Being with my current company is like losing gravity, floating into the air and reaching the heavens. It was an almighty freedom. Thank you Lord! =)

2. Broken trusts: Time and distance are not the only things that drive friends to change, so as broken trusts. Remember that keeping friends is not a question of who we could still be friends with, but of who we could still give our trust to. Thank you for giving me the greatest lesson 2012 has ever taught me: “The word ‘friend’ is always tricky. Not all ‘friends’ are worth the trust.”

3. Ridding your life with people who never really cared for you: I wasn’t born to live up with their expectations in the same manner as they were not born to live up with mine. It’s sad that they were the first one who’d let go. At the end, if people unfriend us, it’s for no other reasons than making us everything but ‘friend’. and it doesn’t make them bad people.. it just means that we have to let them go, they could’ve stayed if they were really meant to stay.

leave Here’s what’s on my bucket list come 2015:

1. “Balik friendship Project”: As there were people who you need to let go, there are also few you need to do consious effort of reaching out with. They are the ones worth keeping. You don’t need to know the exact reasons why you have to do it, but you know that it’s the right thing to do: Talk to them, catch-up, reach out. You know, fate also has its mood swings sometimes. So if it gets bi-polar again and take its erratic detour, I just want to say “SORRY” to all I’ve unintentionally hurt and “THANK YOU” to all those special creatures God Blessed me with, to those I have seemingly taken for granted, I owe you a date this 2015.

2. “SAVE SAVE SAVE”: I know this might contradict the idea of “living life as if it were your last” since if it were really my last, there is no point of saving, as there is no more time. It is more expected for you to spend more and splurge; living life to its fullest. But we got to make sure that we are not becoming “billionaires for a day” and exhausting everything until nothing’s left. Thanks to our dearest friend in the office who have “recruited” us to invest on “PAG-IBIG” Fund’s MP2 retirement plan. Now I am sure that there’s a more worthy outlet to spend our money on.

3. “Balik sunog Kilay (at buhok sa kili-kili) project”: I hope to be re-acquainted with my long lost self who eagerly wanted to go back to school and improve my stagnant-rusty self up. Education is investment and a human asset so they say, but it’s difficult to walk the talk when there are a lot on your plate that you need to balance your life with. My mud-burried Open university experience might have already burned this desire but I got to keep things moving next year.

4. “Fit is the new rich”: Knowing that our blood line is intertwined with a clingy Diabetic history and other ugly genetic aberrances, lifting up weights and going for some cardio would be a sure hit this year.

As we start to take our leap of faith in facing the new year, let’s also start to re-examine our life (Huwaw! Anlalim! =)), of what we did and didn’t do in the past, of where we really want our lives to go to, of how we want to run our sails come this year. As king Solomon once said, “There’s a time for everything”, and you know, unless we just want to leave it all to chance, the moment to be happy is here, the time to do it is NOW. =)

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At your Dashing Mid-life Crisis: “If you were to meet with your younger self, what would you tell him?”

“If you were to meet with your younger self, what would you tell him?”

“Tan-tanan mo nang kawalan ng pangarap sa buhay, tingnan mo tayo ngayon, pariwara! Tulog ka kasi ng tulog! Sarap mo kutusan!” =))

Joke lang. Baka ‘Pag kinutusan ko s’ya, tumagal yung bukol at umabot yung kirot hanggang sa’kin, bilang ako yung future nya. =))

It’s December again. Time to meet up with your younger self and review that same crappy lists of what you both wanted to accomplish out of your messed-up life from the Months (years) that passed, to create another crappy list for the next year. End of year review kung baga. And the vicious cycle goes on.

But This December is entirely different for few of us. It’s the unveiling of the “Mother of all life reviews” as you gradually embrace your early 30’s next year. Yes! Your Early THIRTIES. (BRB, Let me just get a tissue. Ang sakit-sakit nito sa dib-dib! =))

When you look back to when you were just that care-free you, who has no other things to think of but baon, school and school trips, it would be hard to imagine waking-up one day and being estranged to that person gracing you on the mirror. You might take a second or even a third and fourth look on who it is, since he doesn’t even reflect what you thought yourself should still be. It’s a paradigm shift of reaching Eric-ericson’s deadline. Your sweet mid-life crisis. And you come to realize the good reason why it has been called “CRISIS”.
grade four
Before I yelled freedom from College, I listed down all those beautiful “Castles in the air” kind of goals. I wrote that I wanted to pursue another course (since there’s really no money in my first one. Mag-didildil pala kami ng asin sa course na’to. Lech.), the usual buy this and that when I reach 25 and be this and that come the year after. But, true enough, I built beautiful “castles in the air” that flew off and did not even leave any signs of actualization today. They were blown out by the rapid passing of years. (Puro drowing lang kasi).

When you stop counting your birthdays at the age of 21, your “friends getting married and inviting you as a ninong” forces you to make that accurate re-count of what your age really is. That clingy feeling to the genre of the 90’s; the hair follicles bidding “goodbye!” and hair lines/wrinkles on your brows saying “Hello!”; All these slap you with the shear reality that you’re not getting any younger.

And now that you realized your lapses, that imaginary Calendar would show-off, beat that buzzer and stop you from picking your broken self up, as it tells you that “Oops, time’s up! Game’s over for this round!” Epal lang di ba?

But I guess, the game has just started. It’s just that there are new rules and the battle ground has just been a little messier. This time, “trial and error” is no longer at play as there’s not much time to be care-free.

This time, I would like to do something that my younger self would come to appreciate. He might look at me in awe and stand there with not much to say as he has always been timid, but there’ll be this ‘AHA’ moment when he would grab me by the hand and say “GOOD JOB! NO MATTER HOW A LOSER YOU WERE, THIS TIME, YOU STILL FINALLY DID IT!”.

We all have regrets in our lives. Some of them are still workable; yet some, you could no longer do anything about. We sometimes blame our younger self of why he was not able to do this instead of that, but when you reach 29, you suddenly feel the need to come to terms with your past. If my 29-year-old self were to meet with that 12-year-old boy who had written the first “castles-in-the-air” bucket list, I would have to tell him these:

1. “Thank you for not being any more “pasaway” than you were. But I hope you could have been more decisive and consistent in knowing and achieving what you really wanted to do in life. It was OK to be run-in-the-mill and went off with a happy-go-lucky mantra, but there should have been times when putting your goals into perspective and seriously putting substance into them could have been more helpful for me as the present you.

2. Save up at least P10 a day. You wouldn’t imagine how much of help it would become in the future.

3. Cherish those shiny, wavy hair. You would have to inevitably bid goodbye to them no matter how you hold on to that hopeful creed of “save the hair follicle foundation”. =))

4. Take pictures of your loved ones and friends. You wouldn’t know when they may opt to go out of your life or when fate would take them permanently away from you.

5. You could have been a hard-working teacher. A fulfilled professional. But, that’s all there is to it, hard work. I wouldn’t blame you to deviate from your vocation as you had no choice. Good Job on being flexible and coping-up with any given fields you thought would be more suitable not with what you think your calling was but what your needs financially are.

6. This is my most important advise to you young man! Be friends with your pimples. Like the ones you love, they are not to stay there forever. But if you fight them off, they would have to fight you back with full force.

7. I would like to say more but I guess, I would have to let you be, since I am still thankful that had you known all these, I wouldn’t be who I am now.

How about you? What would you have told your younger you?

-JMDC =)

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