December 28, 2016

Around this time last year, I promised to be more diligent in updating my blog and to fill it with as much compelling content as possible. A few months into fulfilling that promise and I impulsively decided to delete all the entries right at the moment I realized they were all singing tunes of the past. Writing has always been my outlet but sometimes, it tends to hold me back, most especially when I zone out and unknowingly allow myself to be carried by the current of past experiences. During more serious conversations on life and learning, I always reiterate how essential our past experiences are in shaping us. However, it’s quite different when, instead of looking back with fondness and gratitude, we instead become restless and dwell on what could have been done and how the present would be had things transpired differently. That is precisely why I decided to wipe out everything and start fresh. For the nth time, I am starting with a clean slate. Isn’t it beautiful how we have countless opportunities to begin again?

To celebrate wonderful beginnings, I put together a small list of what I realized, learned, and accomplished during what is now referred to as “the worst year ever.”

I have a close-to-perfect family, not in terms of our possessions, social status, and image (we don’t really care for those things and besides, none of that matters, does it?). I wake up every morning to the sight of my two brothers fast asleep on the bed, remembering how incessant they were the night before in trying to annoy me (and they always succeed, go figure). I trudge down the stairs, met by my sister’s cheerful, “Good morning!” as she cooks breakfast and goes back to conversing with my parents. My parents. My entire world. My strength. Their smiles, their mannerisms, their hugs, their kisses … at twenty-seven years old, I crave those more than ever. I find indescribable comfort in knowing they are near and even when they are not, they make me feel like they are. During the rocky, colorful transition between being in a relationship, to getting engaged, to planning a wedding, they have always been by my side. Every single moment matters more because of them, and that’s what made me realize that I do have everything I need. I have the entire world cramped into one, crazy beautiful household and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Love takes work. A lot of it. A friend of mine once said, “It takes a lot to make it work but relationships shouldn’t feel like work.” There were so many rough patches. There will be more. No relationship is perfect, even when it seems that way to the rest of the world. What strengthens it are the simple essentials most of us overlook: communication, patience, faith, consistency. My fiance and I are both guilty of neglecting these factors at times.I have my not-so-good side and so does he, but at the end of the day, we both know that we want to be in this together and that it will always be worth fighting for. It’s the little things that matter most because at the end of the day, they are what make up the bigger picture: a lifelong commitment to be taken care of day in and day out. I am glad we had numerous reality checks and wake up calls, that there were certain people who’ve come and gone taught us to love ourselves more because they couldn’t, that we can try and fill the spaces and never allow each other to feel alone and unloved ever again.

When you put your hope in God, beautiful things unfold before your very eyes. God’s ways are different and we keep forgetting that. What we can do, however, is to keep reminding ourselves of His steadfast love. In a world corrupted with evil, clothed in darkness, stifled by indifference, we have God. It may seem difficult to still have faith but it is possible, it is important, and it is everything. There are far too many instances of God’s mercy and how He has moved me towards better things, but I hope you find it in you to keep looking to Him for strength and grace and know that it is all you’ll ever need to get by.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Also, aligned with this list are a few items I can file under #NoteToSelf such as:

  1. According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Truer words were never spoken.
  2. There is no such thing as too many books. Read as much as you can.
  3. Simplicity speaks volumes. The clamor of society should convince you now, more than ever, to take the road less traveled and deviate from the “must have more” mentality. Less is always more.
  4. Laugh often, find more reasons to smile, and pass it on. It’s what this broken world needs – a little dose of happiness to fill an otherwise mundane day.
  5. Be always present and make your family and friends feel loved and appreciated even during your busiest moments.

My goal is to continue filling each void I come across with laughter and love. I just know that this perennial list of lessons and reminders will prompt me to be better, to see the light in everything, to be the light when needed (it is always needed), and to craft a life worthy of retelling.

If you’re still reading, I hope you know that I wish the same wonderful things for you, too, stranger or no stranger. May the Force be with you.

 

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