Friday, August 30, 2013

To Live Simply is to Be Free

I don't normally get to watch TV these days. Save for some "feel good" TV shows, I don't get to hear and see local primetime news for a long time given that when I come home from work, I only want to do three things -- eat dinner, spend time engaged in short conversations with Mama and sleep. My source of news is normally surfing the Internet few minutes before I begin to work in the morning.

In a way, I am kind of aware about this Janet Napoles- Pork Barrel Scam issue that is making rounds in the news for weeks now. I may not have joined rallies or any kind of activity related to it but I'm furious and disappointed. I am a taxpayer too and just thinking that my hard-earned money is being used to fund someone else's irrelevant luxuries just leaves me enraged. For sure, no one loves the feeling of being robbed with something that they worked so hard for. It's like wanting to say "how dare you steal my money" to a snatcher when you see that person in the hands of the police. 

I may not be watching much TV but I am also familiar of the luxuries of this girl, Jeane Napoles. And honestly, when I try to figure out what she has in her plate, I can't help but feel nauseated. From those expensive bags, shoes, car, a lavish birthday party and a space in a posh establishment in the US, I can't help but feel dizzy. Seriously. And she was just 21 years old.  I was saying "Wow, this girl is indeed 'filthy rich'" at the back of my head. I could not imagine how a 21-year old can acquire such luxury at a snap of a finger. 

You can't blame me if I feel such. When I was her age, I never owned anything as expensive as those. I only have a second-hand phone which Papa gave me to replace my very old one, I don't own a house, instead, I live with my parents and while I do have a job working freelance at that time for one of the country's richest families, I was living paycheck-to-paycheck on an honest amount. And while it did not allow me to afford any luxury, it was enough to suffice. I remember back then I told someone, I don't want to be rich and she thought it was silly for me to say so because it's normally a person's utmost desire. My reasons were actually simple: being rich is stressful and in a way, dangerous. Being wealthy comes with a price. When I scored a job in an advertising company, I still did not see myself rich. Though the job paid hefty amounts, I lost time for myself and I could not spend much time with my family, and those to me are important. I realized that after a year, I finally had enough and I decided to quit. I cannot bear it if it was the cost I have to pay for the abundance I was getting. 

I'm a couple of years shy of hitting the big 3-0 and while some people my age are financially accomplished, if not wealthy, I am fine in saying that I'm lucky not to be "filthy rich". I'm still living with my parents and I own just the minimal things (a not so high-end phone, a couple of savings account on my own name from my salary and a job that which I truly enjoy devoting myself into and pays me enough to cover our needs, occasional wants and pay the bills) but at least, I am not lugging a huge burden of having to live in secrecy because I am not fearing for my own safety and that of my loved ones.

I may not have much for choosing to live a simple life. But I am living the life of a free man. And to me, having that is more than enough.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Quarter Life Cinderella...Not

Three years ago, I wrote a post about going through what they call quarter life crisis. I was actually done going through the said phenomenon when I wrote it down. The experience isn't unpleasant but I can't say it's something good either. In my case, it was a year's worth of confusion, uncertainty and "emotional turmoil".

Luckily for me though, I had well meaning family and friends, one of them assured me that things would eventually be okay. It's a good thing that I believed because eventually, things did start falling in place.

Now, you may be wondering what's the relevance of the pair of shoes. Just recently, I came across this article listing down the 8 signs that can say that the phase is over. It was not a waste of time reading it as I found myself smiling as I went through because I could identify to most of the points: from the practical ones like liking the job that you have, having your own savings account, to the things you don't expect to indicate it like owning a pair of dress shoes.

I am not much of a shoe person but when I first saw the pair of Softawalk shoes from the brand Unlisted (pictured above), I knew that later on, I would need to get one.While I don't have formal events all the time, sometimes, my job needs that I dress smart and a good, comfortable pair of shoes is included in the ensemble. Eventually, I realized, looking presentable at some days also adds a boost to my self-esteem. It's like giving me an accomplished lift.

I have worn this to church and to the office once. I'm actually looking forward to wearing this to an important event. A wedding, perhaps?  :-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gratitude in this Crazy, Scary Weather

Photo: Francis Malasig/ EPA/Yahoo Philippines News

It's another rainy day of August. I cannot say that it's the same as last year, because today, the torrential, persistent rains (running for three-four days now) is scarier than before. Manila is submerged in water, a lot of people are unable to go to work, others fleeing to safety against flood waters in their homes.

And I am among those who were unable to go to work, just like how it was last year. And if it was Mama who was sick then, this year's my turn. I did not risk coming to work given the flooding in Angono and since I am sick and entitled of a paid leave, I availed of an emergency leave given the circumstance. I have been unwell since yesterday (but I managed to go to work). However, today, I am staying home, cocktail of medicines ready in case the need arises.

But instead of complaining abut missing work, unable to go out, and the sick feeling, there are things to be thankful for: considerate bosses, kind officemates, food on the table, comfortable, dry clothes, a warm bed and a shelter above my head that serves as a refuge to someone else.

Let us all hope and pray that the situation will improve by tomorrow. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

There Will Always Be The Light

I was going through my old journal from 2009 tonight and chanced upon a note I have written with the same date as today.

It was around this month that year when I was diagnosed with glaucoma and had been undergoing treatment since. When I first found out, I was both in shock an disbelief. I have known that ailment to be something "only adults get". When the diagnosis came out, I was just 24. It was like going through a triple whammy of some sorts that year; I've lost a five-year relationship, I was in between jobs and the treatment, though available, was somewhat costly and it will be a lifetime thing.

Added to it was the feeling of being scared and concerned of getting blind at a young age. Yes, even without the doctor telling me then, I knew it's going to be the worst case. It made me cry for some time. I have a lot of things left unaccomplished and plans I wanted to do. If I would be blind, I knew that's going to be the (possible) end.

But when I look at it now, Mama was right. God is still good. He has blessed me with a job that not only allowed me to help my family, but it sufficed my treatment, thus it lessened the burden of having someone else to shoulder it. And my doctor told me not too fear. He assured me that I will not be blind for as long as I adhere to my medication.

Since that day, it has always been my prayer that God would not allow my fear to happen. I have been hoping and praying that God would keep my eyesight fine and working well enough so that I can enjoy my long-awaited trip to Disneyland, clear enough for me to see how happy everyone will be and how dashing my future husband is going to be on our wedding (who, knows, God might just grant that too). But more importantly, I still want to be there well enough to raise my future kids and see them to be the person they're supposed to become.

And in every morning that I am able to see light when I wake up, I continue to be thankful, because it means I am well. I am still okay and God's fulfilling His promise.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Lives Are About Relationships

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for. But do not use faith to live a life of complacency. Your regrets are not what you did, but what you did not do. Whenever you do something, treat it as if "it could be the last". You only get to that age once and  time once spent, cannot be regained. Life is all about relationships. If a person is important to you, you don't look for time, but instead, you make time for them."
 I missed two Sunday masses and just this weekend, I thought of attending the mid-morning Eucharistic celebration in our parish. But I ended up going to Megamall and hearing the 12:30 pm English mass at the mall chapel. As luck or should I properly say, Divine Intervention would have it, it was Fr. Dave Concepcion, one of my "favorite priests" who celebrated the mass.

Those written on top of this entry was an excerpt of his lengthy but meaningful Homily. Father Dave's Homily in each mass he consecrates always sends everyone laughing (which is good because it means no one is bored) but on the other hand they too leave the chapel enlightened. I'm thankful to have attended the said mass once more. For if I didn't I just knew I missed a lot especially these words:

"Life is all about relationships. If a person is important to you, you don't look for time, but instead, you make time for them."

And during the end of his Homily, he asked us, "what is it that you are hoping for? Raise them to God in prayer". I just knew what to tell Him and it's good (and even surprising) to realize that people around me were asking Him of that too on my behalf.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Los Chicos van a España

The guys are off to Spain!

It's been a long time since I last saw a basketball match and last night's game and eventual win by Gilas Pilipinas was one of the best games I have seen. I was just at home, the only rose among a brood  of macho guys (being my brother and his friends) but the adrenalin rush brought by the ballgame itself was something good.

With last night's win, I can't help but recall these words from boxing legend, Muhammad Ali:
"Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
And may I add to that last line, impossible is indeed nothing especially to those who believe in the power of their dreams.

The Philippine flag is about make it in the land of the ilustrados by 2014. How cool is that? Bring out the paella! Hasta pronto, España! (and it's the España in Europe and not in Manila!)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend with the Kiddie Scholars of Payatas

I know this one's another long overdue post but I've been meaning to write this entry about my recent adventure two Saturdays ago. On the same day my boss in Australia was celebrating his birthday, I went back to Quezon City not for work-related purposes but for another meaningful endeavor. I've always spent weekends at home but last July 27, I joined fellow employees as volunteers in an outreach program.

Our 20-member crew went to Payatas to meet the scholars from Payatas Orione Foundation. Those kids, from gradeschool to highschool are sponsored by the company I work for. More than just participating in the activity, one of the reasons I decided to join was out of curiosity. I have never been to Payatas and am only familiar of the place because of how it is being depicted on TV. And with my first hand experience of being in that place, I can say that while some things about it had changed, one thing still remains. The communities there needs all the help they can get.

The outreach involved activities and games for the kids, as well as the distribution of school supplies. Most of them, despite being thin and small for their age, are energetic (save some for the kids who belonged to my group as majority of them are shy-types). But they are not without dreams. When they were doing the group activity of illustrating their dreams, their drawings were simple, but shows promise. They are young but they have a clear picture of what and who they want to be in the future. 

I've always wanted to join our outreach activities but the previous ones did not materialize because of circumstances. This was my first and despite coming home kind of tired (well, that's part of growing old, you know) I enjoyed being with the kids. Indeed you never get too busy to forget doing a simple act of kindness to anyone and spending time with the kids, knowing them, playing games with them and knowing their dreams, you are never old to bring out the kid in you and be a kid at heart even just for a few hours.

(Photos from Microsourcing Facebook page)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On My Wall 365 Days Ago

"The things you expect the least are actually the things you need the most."

-Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever-

This was among the photos posted by my friend on my Facebook wall a year ago. Out of a bad hair day moment at work, just when I was looking forward to a "vent out session" with someone else about how frustrating the day was, this picture was later produced.

Within the year, a lot has happened, both happy and sad ones but then there are events that were pretty wonderful to think instead of being ignored. I surpassed one year mark at my job and I am still into it. He on the other hand, was granted another chance to serve the people through a new term of office. 

I finally learned the importance of life balance and forgiveness. I  was also able to finish an act that I committed myself into which started in June this year -- of going to completing 9 Friday masses not for anything but just because I wanted to do so. And it's a funny coincidence that the 9th Friday fell on a first Friday of the month similar to last year.

Who would have thought, while he "caught me at a disadvantage" that day, I would actually realize that this photo would remind me that I am able to rekindle a friendship with someone that I never thought could be possible.