16 Things I Learned in 2016

I know, I know, this is late for 2016 but better late than never!

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I saw this idea from Kalyn Nicholson from YouTube and I thought, “Hey that seems like a good idea!” (and totally not because I’m the greatest sheep in the planet..:P I’m just kidding). Besides, it’s a nice evaluative technique that I can employ to just see if I did learn a thing or two in 2016. Much to my relief, I had plenty of things that I learned and I was able to fill up the sixteen slots. Haha! Mind you, I’m not trying to be high-minded and all that shit but I did want to summarize what I really learned from the seemingly, phew, tedious year that is 2016.

1. Acting strong will only get you so far.

There’s nothing wrong with acting strong but pretending will only get you so far. You have to sit down and contemplate what you have to do to get out of this certain situation or difficulty that you are having, whether it be a reading rut, a writing block, etc. I’m not saying acting strong is bad, what I’m trying to point out is that you have to have that time when you have to recognize that “Hey, I have this problem and I cannot run away from it anymore by acting like I have everything under control so once and for all I’ll sit and down and pin down what this problem is and plan my way to finish this.” Recognizing that I had a big problem in 2016, especially in the first quarter of the year, made me handle my life a little bit better.

2. Sometimes, God has to break you.

For me, this happened to me because I was so out there feeling like I have everything under control. I was wrong. God had to break my heart all over again and in that process I realized how utterly human I was and that I had no ability but all is His. It was the only way for Him to make me get back down to earth. It was also the way to shake my world up because I had this plan, oh trust me I had an intricate one. But again, I failed to incorporate Him to that plan. I was wrong all along and He made me recognize that while I was kneeling down gathering the pieces of my heart together. He had to break me to make me recognize that I’m nothing and He is everything. Everything. It made me a lot stronger–both in the faith and as  a person. It made me recognize how limited I am. And that He has the full control of my life.

3. Forgiving yourself is easier said than done.

I had a battle of depression in the first half of the year. It was crazy how when my mom and I were talking about a relative who had depression I just scoffed and said, “Are you sure she’s just not going crazy?” I hate myself now for saying that. I didn’t realize then what depression meant, or what it did to a person. Succumbing to this dark chapter of my life made me feel for my distant cousin and it had been really humbling. It didn’t really help that I was a person that has trouble on forgiving myself for all the mistakes I’ve done in the past. I often see these inspirational messages that says that we ought to be good to ourselves, too. But how am I supposed to do that when all my life I had been striving hard on everything? How am I supposed to do something that feels new to me, nevermind it being something that I actively don’t like the ring to? I like pushing myself further everytime. As of now, I’m still trying to learn giving myself a break when I need it. And trying not to beat myself too hard when I commit mistakes.

4. Failures seen in a bad light will haunt you.

Following the point I said in no. 3, I had trouble cutting myself some slack when committing mistakes. Failures I have had in the previous years followed me around, haunting me on random times of the day. Actively deciding and reconciling to myself that everything I have done was in the past took me a copious amount of time but it is easily one of the best things that have happened to me. Sometimes you just have to let it go and just move on. I love this comment I found in 9Gag saying that we should not be looking back so often because that’s not the direction we’re going. And honestly, it’s not easy just letting it go especially when those failures you have had made you invest thousands of hours on them. But sometimes you just gotta shrug it off and go your way.

“…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Phil. 3:13b-14, KJV

5. There are times when sleeping on your fears will stop being the solution.

I know it seems stupid of me to think that I can run from my problems by sleeping. It really seems silly now upon looking back, but I thought that by escaping the reality through dreams and all would magically help me land on my feet again after waking up. But more often than not, I get more anxious after.

6. An intellectual space will help you more than you will ever know.

I think I have underappreciated my little home office because it is literally where I do all things especially when I need the focus. It’s true what people say that doing work on your bed would not help you–I always ended up taking a nap after an insanely insignificant time working. Having an area where you can just focus and throw ideas around–somewhere bright is preferred–would be magical for the work you need to get done.

7. Having a creative outlet is very important.

Although I may not be the greatest soul to be blessed with creativity, I try really hard to get my creative juices to be flowing. I write some useless things no one will read in the future, I draw cringe-y doodles (drawing sundaes is a real delight y’know haha), I try to paint color things, etc. No matter what it is, kicking back with a specific activity certainly helped my otherwise too grey a year to be a little more colorful.

8. Coffee makes me sleepier.

I don’t know, man. It’s just something I have observed. Now, I don’t drink coffee for late nights but rather drink more water.

9. Powering through is a hit-and-miss thing–never trust it.

I have found myself multiple times waiting until the last minute to write some portions of my thesis and I am not proud of it. The rush certainly makes me write a little better and makes me shed all the bullshit, but at the same time it makes me feel hurried that I often have really barely passable things. It’s a double-edged sword that seems to be inclined to wound me rather than my enemies.

10. Underestimating yourself will take you nowhere; Overestimating yourself will take you nowhere.

My self-esteem was not really stellar this year. However, there were times when I have kept my head too high that I oversee most errors that I have had which consequently makes me get whooped in the ass. (Exhibit A: My thesis defense. :P) Underestimating myself led to me doubting myself while overestimating myself filled my head with unnecessary (and often false) hopes. Just trust yourself the right amount and you’ll be good to go.

11. There will be plenty of lonely nights.

Sometimes in a room full of people that I love, I can feel so utterly alone that it makes me wonder why. Some nights I lay in bed looking up and I just feel lonely. It’s an inevitable occurrence for myself that comes and goes…and no, it’s not just because I’m getting my period. I am mostly a solitary person but there are just those times when you need someone–whether it be friends, family, etc.

It doesn’t really help that I don’t get to see my friends a whole lot of times because we live so far away from each other since almost all are friends I have met in uni. My bestfriend lives twelve hours away from me. Yah, you heard that right, twelve hours. I cannot, too. Hahaha.

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12. Keep a notebook and try to write well.

Not neat, but well. I have proved time and time again that keeping a notebook, however scrappy or simple-looking it is, gets me through tough times. It doesn’t matter if it’s a neat notebook or one that I just jot random notes, it was a nice comfort for me that I can write down my thoughts anytime, anywhere. In the process of writing down most thoughts I have through the day, I have noticed that I have made the active decision to write better. I compared notes I have had from the start of the year to the latest ones and I can tell you that I have somewhat improved.

13. You don’t always have to plan.

I have always been that person who actually likes the process of planning. I’m a Monica and I am unashamedly so.

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However, I have also considered the forces that are not of my own. No, I’m not talking about paranormal stuff but rather those that are not really out of my control. I cannot foresee things so I have recognized that I cannot plan a day ahead complete down to the minute. I live my life one step at a time and, yes, it is generally good to have a plan but not always. 

14. Most of the time, you just have to shrug off people and their negativity.

Sometimes those people are your family or your friends or a person in social media. Whoever it is, you don’t deserve to take in all of their bullcrap attitude. You do you and you just gotta take the high road and shrug those people off along with their shitty footing in life. This is exactly how I learned to respect people along with their attitudes and opinion and shut my mouth when it is not really needed for me to speak. Most of the time it’s a struggle…it still is. But I’m happier when I decided that I’ll be shunning off these negativity in life–it felt like I was unloading a very heavy burden I had been carrying for no apparent reason.

15. Every suffering you have is building towards the greatest conclusion.

I may not have seen it in the forefront, but it certainly made my 2016 sweeter. Finishing my thesis may have been the greatest reward the Lord has blessed me with in the year. It never fails to make me smile regardless of the countless nights spent reading, crying, etc. Most of the time crying though. Hahahaha. My thesis is my baby that’s the fruit of my blood, sweat and tears. A lot of tears.

I learned that if I want my desired results to actually happen, I have to work for it and not just sit around.

“Success is not easy, and it is certainly not for the lazy.”

Samantha Berngard

16. Being kinder won’t hurt you.

I have a resting bitch face so in order to make friends I have to go out of my way to actually look like someone who is not going to snark on you on a whim. Being kinder–and I mean genuine kindness–won’t hurt you or anyone around you. Being a good person doesn’t hurt anyone. Being an asshole does.


At the end game, here I am in 2017 and I am hoping to learn more for the better. 2016 really has been a year of realizing stuff for me. Realizing that I am but a speck of dust in the world, that nobody really cares about your appearance, that your attitude and actions shine through more than anything else, that it’s better to be advanced rather than late, and many, many more. What a hell of a year! 2017 will be great not because it will be picture-perfect, but rather I know now that life is not perfect and that I cannot always plan everything. Life is meant to be lived one step at a time.


Gifs via Giphy

Faith Without Works

*Another post from my old blog archives.*

There’s no sense going on and on about something that was in the past.

What are you gonna do to fix it?

None.

You can do nothing.

So just move on, and find a solution to the mess that you’ve done.

Because all’s done is done.

You cannot unravel anything from what has happened.

If I could just turn back time and shout to myself

“Stop procrastinating you idiot!”

I would.

I would, every minute of every day

Until I get the point

And start writing like there’s no tomorrow

Start gathering data like my life depended on it

Start reading boring journals like it’s food for the soul

I will start and never look back.

But what’s done is done.

Now, how the hell will you fix this?

You did this.

So suffer.

Suffer the consequences.

Suffer the failure.

Suffer.

Suffer through it all.

And maybe

When you get the point

You’ll get back here

And say

“Let’s do this.”

And soon, with victor you’ll shout:

“Hey I did it!”

With victor you’ll shout:

“Correctly this time.”

Head held high,

You’ll conquer your irrational fears

One by one.

But let’s not get our hopes up too soon

This all shall happen

But not without effort and perseverance

Because “faith without works is dead”.

 


  Photo by Rowan Heuvel via StockSnap

Start Over

*Another one from my old blog archives.*

A guy once told me,

“It’s easier to resume something,

Rather than to start over.”

Thinking about it,

In the haze of a hot, summer night,

I think of his words.

I argued with him.

I said he is wrong.

I said fresh starts are easier.

I said they’re the best.

You get to start over.

But I forgot,

When you start over,

You start over.

You are back to zero.

You are back to nothing.

Nothing.

Now I stand here.

With nothing.


Photo via Negative Space

NEVER PLAY MATCHMAKER WITH YOUR FREAKING CHILD IN THE FUTURE–JUST DON’T.

Hey. So listen. I got quite a weird thing that happened to me today. I got quite disoriented. Don’t fret, it didn’t put me in any danger or anything. Haha.

I’ve mentioned before that the only thing I’m going to finish to graduate from my degree (hooray!) is my thesis. For that same reason, I’ve left my perfect apartment in my oh-so-lovely university (sob). Oh yeah, my uni is three hours away from my hometown. So now, every time I need to consult my professor/adviser regarding my thesis I need to transport all the way there. That’s six hours in transit! My god. RIP butt. Haha anyway yeah. It’s a good thing that I just go over there once in a while.

So today I had a weird encounter. Definitely the weirdest of all the things that has happened to me in quite a while. I was sitting at that spot closest to the driver. It was an hour-long ride. I should mention that I am not the sort of person that chats up random people while on the bus or anything. I am not one of those outgoing people, I just like to listen to my music and just have this look that emanates “LEAVE. ME. ALONE.”

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BUT. I am also a fairly polite person. Something that I actually pride myself in…hehehe. And okay, I left my earphones at home. So when the driver decided to chat me up, I politely answered. Curt answers. Answers that also emanated “PLEASE. I DON’T WANT TO TALK. JUST GET ME TO MY STOP.” But alas, he didn’t pick up on that. Rather, he delved onto his family life. And before I knew it he was asking for my details i.e. my hometown, if I’m still a student, where I study, what do my parents do, etc. I still politely answered and figured hey he might be just like my mom. My mom chats up all customers like they’re old friends. Oh yeah, I forgot, we have a small shoe shop. So, why do you think this encounter is weird? Hold on a moment and I’ll tell you.

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He then started talking about his son. And still, I was thinking this: “Alright. Sure. Sure. Go, Gem. You can do this. Small talk your way out of this.” Besides, we were five minutes away from my stop. I’ll get out of this whole small talk thing soon enough. But then, get this, he asked for my number. HE FREAKING ASKED FOR MY FREAKING NUMBER. FOR HIS SON. 

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This is how it went down:

Manong Driver: I do hope my son help out more with our finances. But I do understand whatever decision he makes with his money.

Me: *nods, nods* Oh yeah well.

Manong Driver: I mean, I have no problem if he spends his money on his girlfriends. The last time he had a girlfriend I heard he spent 80,000 pesos on her. (Around 2,000 USD)

Me: Oh wow, that’s some lucky girl.

Manong Driver: Yeah, I guess. My son is working overseas as a seaman currently.

Me: Oh, that’s interesting.

*literally sees my STOP*

Manong Driver: So yeah. Uhm. Can I get your number? I will give it to my son. You seem like a nice girl.

Me: *super uncomfortable and just all around weird* Uhm. *thinks of an excuse…literally nothing…thanks brain.*  Okay. Sure. I guess.

Manong Driver: And also, can I take a selfie with you so I can show him your face?

Me: I’m sorry, what?

Manong Driver: *brings out phone* Smile! *Hands me the phone* Please put in your number.

Before I knew it. I was putting in my number. Well. My old number. The one that got stolen. I just hadn’t had the heart to tell him that I was not interested with his son. Nor do I appreciate him playing Tinder on his son. And I know, I know, that wasn’t really nice of me to hand in a fake number and all. But what’s a girl got to do? I did give him my real name. Now we wait for the Facebook notification. Hahahaha. I’m kidding. I hope he takes the hint. And I hope I won’t see him again. Otherwise, it would get so uncomfortable.

And also….who does this?!

I walked into my meeting feeling so disoriented and all around weird.

Note to self: Never, ever do this to my child when I become a parent.

Grabe si Manong, reto pa more. Whoo. Hindi ko kinaya.

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Gifs via Giphy

Dancy Tunes

That’s right, I’m doing some dancing right now because I’ve managed to turn up my submission on time for the deadline. I know you’re wondering what I’m blabbering about–it’s my thesis yo!! I’ve managed to survive the first level of submission for the chapters literature review (haha literature review, piece of cake! LOL just kidding) and the introduction of my study.  It seems as if doing legit literature review on published journals have proved to be so much more painful than reviewing fiction. Because, well duh. I’ve read soooooo many economic journals that for a time I’ve only been proficient to conversations about employment, poverty, and economic growth. (Anyone feeling a little underemployed?) I know it seems silly to blog about something so ordinary but hey! this is the first time in so long I’ve actually managed to submit in time (especially after me getting slightly down and out about this whole thesis thing). September is now in its second day and I hope the streak of happy days won’t go.

*proceeds dancing*

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Seriously guys, don’t you just love Joey? HAHAHAHA

 

 

 


*Gif via Giphy

Last

I was sitting right there on the steps waiting for somebody. It was a quiet afternoon. Nothing can be heard but the soft rustle of leaves that clutter the odd shortcut to this building. Some birds twittering around can be heard, too. I had nothing to do but just sit and wait, sit and wait. A gust of wind so strong passed by and the trees echoed its power by swaying back and forth, back and forth. As I sat, I stared at my surroundings, I listened to the sweet sound of the quiet. I looked around and whispered to myself, “This is my last semester in here.” I chanted it over and over. And for the first time in quite a while, I finally believed it. This is my last semester in here.





Image via StockSnap

I’m A Mess

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“This is gonna be my year–I can feel it.” 

But life, apparently, decided to not agree. 2016 so far, isn’t my year. Ever since the year rolled in, I got nothing done. I got briefly depressed. I got tired. I got side-tracked from this wonderfully planned life I was hoping for. I got ashamed to go out and meet and talk and just live with people. It seems as if it really wasn’t my year.

Now, with the year eight months in I look back. What have I done through the year? I haven’t done shit. The only thing setting me back from graduating from my university is my undergraduate thesis. A piece of paper that I have tried to write over and over but still end up failing. I guess, I lacked discipline.

And I’m so tired. I’m so tired to just keep existing. I hardly lived. I’m just here. The shell of what I am supposed to be. I’ve failed myself, I’ve failed my parents, I’ve failed everyone. And it’s all because I’m this lazy fuck who refuses to get off my butt. It’s August 11 already.

I wake up always panicking–what am I to do today? It’s been almost a year of just nothing. And again, I’m just tired. Tired of this self-pity shit I’ve been wallowing into. Tired of hiding behind my shadow. Tired of being such a coward.

Don’t get me wrong, I have implored myself to what seems like a million times to pick myself up and start over. But, how does one exactly start over? I have no clue. But I certainly want to.

I’m on my bed writing this at 9:15 PM in the evening. Trying yet again to convince myself to be brave. To take the leap of faith and just trust. What do I have to do next? Nothing but to move on and just stop looking back. Everything in the past can’t be changed. It’s not like I have a time-turner.

I’m done being this empty shell of a woman. I’m done trying to ‘find myself’ in places where I obviously can’t. I’m done questioning the circumstances in my life. This is my life. I’ll learn how to deal with it, one step at a time.

Much like this piece, I am a big hunk of a mess. But then again, who isn’t? Here’s to me just throwing the past behind and looking ahead and finishing my degree. This has set me back much too long. I guess I am having this weird resolutions thing in the middle of the year.

Who cares? It’s my life. And everything’s up to my hands.