Thursday, November 24, 2011

Walking dead

There are days you wake up to without being alive, at all. No matter how hard your brain tries to do the convincing, your body is just too damn exhausted to pay attention. Motivational quotes are useless; deadlines are invisible. You refuse to care about the colorful post-its staring right at your face. You would even gladly stage a walk-out if you only had enough energy to slam the door.

You remind yourself of the blessings. Count them, you tell yourself. But even those tiny joints in your fingers are too swollen to make the slightest movement. You want to give out a deep sigh. But even that natural activity pains you. You give up without even trying.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Some people do it on their birthdays. Others, a few days before welcoming a new year. Although, as much as possible, I try to reflect on those occasions, too, I feel a much powerful need to dwell upon my recent decisions when facing a life turn.

Tomorrow is my first day in graduate school. *grant me a few seconds to savor those words* It may not seem such a big deal. It may mean nothing more than having enough funds to pay for the expensive fees, or, in my case, having parents very much willing to grant me parental support. Graduate school may only mean shiny paper with the fancy letters M, B and A in it. Or a name three letters longer than before. In short, nothing more than a title to brag about. Although those are all perks of a Master's Degree, I would like to believe there are things beyond that, if you have the right intentions at heart.

Before I sealed this decision, a number of people asked why I didn’t apply for a scholarship. As Mother Theresa-ish as this sounds, I didn’t apply for one because I couldn’t imagine taking a spot at the expense of someone else who truly needed it. My parents shared the same principle, so they stepped in the moment I told them about my plans of studying again.

What I found more dumb-founding than that was people’s advise to just wait until my boss require me to earn such degree and then, ask for a firm scholarship. That sounds pretty logical, not to mention convenient. But that was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

In my years of education, I was merely following a pattern. Everybody expects you to get into highschool after elementary, and then to college after highschool. I didn’t have a choice. And I say that not to make it sound unfavorable. My point is, studying was the most natural thing to do then. After College, I got a taste of the real world. I dove into new responsibilities, dealt with everything unfamiliar and matured more than in all my academic years. It was convenient to go with the flow. Professional responsibility overwhelmed me that I merely focused into working hard, not knowing what for. Needless to day, I got swayed into a path I wasn’t sure was for me yet not entirely not for me. There was no time to look back and honestly evaluate whether I was doing the right job. Doing a good job and having the right job are two different things. I understood that fully in the past years.

You know that familiar line? I woke up one day and that was it. I woke up and felt I needed to re-evaluate everything. I realized I couldn’t keep moving without a specific direction. A lot of events triggered it but they all came crashing to me one day. It had been a long process since “that morning”, a process that took a lot of initiative. And I guess, that is the part I am most proud of.

I didn’t wait for someone to push me into taking a Master's Degree nor searched for a solid benefit I’ll get from pursuing it because I already felt the eagerness to learn and, more importantly, the drive to act on it. What else should I be waiting for?

Tomorrow I’ll tread on a new path. It wasn’t exactly in my roadmap. But somewhere along the way, I decided to follow a different signpost and give my career a new direction. This isn’t abandoning entirely what I have built the past 2 years. This is a detour, a bypass. This is me taking the earlier exit to a different highway, while everyone else is going straight ahead.

This is me taking a risk. It is scary. But it’s the good kind of scary.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Principle to Master

My birthday wish, summed up in a forwarded story:

Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

God has been beyond generous to me the past year. He granted me the right opportunities, answered my prayers and made this year the kind of transition I planned it to be. If He will still grant me a birthday wish, it would be exactly what the story above is about:

I wish for that kind of wisdom- the ability to focus on the things that are essential and let all other matters truly slide.

*written on November 6

Secret Mission: Accomplished!

It was never a secret that I picked Accountancy for my undergrad course not to be an Accountant but with a bigger goal in mind: go into law school. Somewhere along the way, plans changed. I realized my childhood dream of becoming lawyer doesn’t really fit the grown-up me. I couldn’t see myself being a part of that profession- no offense meant.

Standing alone, as geeky as this sounds, I learned to love Accountancy. It offered the kind of intellectual challenge that is very, very humbling. And I believe that played a huge role in helping me mature as a young adult. Then again, in my 2 years of being an Accountant (or Auditor, whatever), I am still not contented. There is that part of me that yearns for something more. Or something else, for that matter.

My job has been very challenging and I feel very fortunate because of all the opportunities that had been thrown my way this early in my career. Work is far from being easy but I appreciate that I get to manage engagements, handle people and train staff at this age. But, as I’ve written, I was craving for something else.

And that ‘something else’ is this: MBA (then become a Manager, instead of an Accountant)

I had been dropping the plan in any normal conversation with friends. Mentioning it wasn’t a big deal, especially during that time I still wasn’t qualified to take it. But when everything fell into place and I finally met all requirements, I started shoving it away.

I talked about it less and less. I stopped researching about it. I started reviewing for the entrance exam but never got as far as applying for it! In short, I chickened out.

First term slipped away. Not long after, application for the second term started. I re-evaluated my plans; I reflected if this is truly what I wanted. When I had all the answers, except for the one that can justify my fear of being rejected, I finally decided to go for it. Everything after that happened fast.

Wednesday: I submitted my application and scheduled my exam a month later. Registrar guy convinced me to take the Saturday exam, instead. I don’t know how he made me say yes!

Saturday: I took the entrance exam. The questions weren’t too difficult but the challenge was finishing it given the limited time.

Friday of the following week: Results were out! I passed! :)

Last week, I enrolled for my first 2 subjects. I could have been exempted from those but I opted to take them, anyway. I entered graduate school neither for the title’s sake nor because my boss required me to. I took my MBA because I wanted to learn, and I believe there are still things I could take- away from those subjects. (Mental note to remember this principle forever.)

I am exactly 6 days away from starting this adventure. I am, honestly, getting cold feet. So, instead of thinking negatively, I’ll take comfort in the words of a nine-year old shared by her mom in twitter:

Nothing worth doing doesn’t make you nervous. (So true!)

I am feeling a little scared because this matters a lot to me. I know, I know. Graduate school, don’t eat me alive, please!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pickung up a treasure...

..from my trash-filled recycle bin.

I don’t remember why I ended up deleting this piece. But right now, this sums up what I really want to write about. So, I’m resurrecting these words from the (digital) grave. :))

In the beginning of every relationship, we are generally inclined to possess an overwhelming feeling that this is all you have ever wanted and all you will ever want. You spend afternoons filled with deep sighs of gratitude while looking at the same direction. If this love is meant to last, that feeling never goes away. But at some point, it ceases to overwhelm you. Contentment transforms into its permanent state: an undercurrent source of happiness. Love grows, matures. You realize that love doesn’t bind you; it inspires you- to dream big, to do more, to reach your best version.

When I said “I love you” to the very first guy who captured my heart, I had that sense already. Thanks to my parents who always remind me that it is never selfish to do what you love. Years later, with a long list of accomplishments and a longer list of things to accomplish, I couldn’t thank the heavens enough for blessing me with a man who never considered trapping me inside his little world as a way for security, who never included individual dreams in our compromise list, who looks at me with confidence that is sincere but never commanding. I was blessed with a man who does his own thing, while I go around my way, experiencing new things, figuring out what I truly want, and patiently holds on to that certainty that he is a part of all of it- the biggest part, as a matter of fact.

My dad once told me that I should love a man that believes in me and because he believes in me, lets me shine. I guess I hit the bull’s eye with my very first throw.

To whoever thought of putting recycyle bins in computers, thank you for being a genius.
And to the man who inspired these words, thank you for touching my heart.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our kind of Saturdate

Because I was kind of pissed off about work and I didn’t want anything to remind me of it for the entire weekend, Makati was off limits for our Saturdate. Greenbelt and Rockwell taken out of the options, I was almost sure we will go to the Fort. Until the boyfriend suggested why not we visit, or should I say “re-visit”, Taft.

So off to Taft we went.

First stop: Flaming wings

I never knew this place existed when I was in College. It was behind Army Navy so not really visible from the main road. I think it opened around the time I was already reviewing for the board exams. During those gruelling 6 months, I only knew 4 places: Dorm room, Review school, Starbucks Taft and.. Jollibee! Jollibee was across Starbucks so when it hits dinner time, I ask manong Starbucks guard to watch over my table. I leave my review materials and head out for a really quick bite. Then, back to my review again. Ok. I’m getting sidetracked. Let’s go back to Flaming wings and their yummy......

Buffalo wings, what elese!

I was brave enough to try the spiciest dressing while the boyfriend opted for the normal flavored chicken tenders. Tenders! Where's the fun in having tenders???

Aside from the delicious wings, people visit this food haus because of a dessert called wicked oreos.

Second (and last) stop: Cafe Noriter

I wanted to re-visit more places but I really, really want to check out Cafe Noriter. I’ve read so many reviews about this place and I was dying to visit it and experience its unique feel.

The moment I entered the door, I knew we’ll be stuck there the entire afternoon.

Noriter means playground in Korean. That explains the sand box-ish corners, art materials and creative decors scattered all over the place.

Some places, those that have a certain“character”, usually bring out an uptight vibe. Like you have to catch up with the “feel” of the place. Cafe Noriter is different. It is a right mix of cozy and interesting. Perfect for long, lazy afternoons.

Lovely lazy date. :))

Work reached a different level of cruelty the past week. Unreasonable limits were set and rules were being imposed out of nowhere. I was beyond frustrated. I badly needed a breather. But this day turned out to be much, much better than just a way of getting over office drama.

It was a great Saturday, indeed.

With my let’s-talk-about-it-(and not talk about it) partner.

You truly know how to untangle the mess in my brain without having to use words. Apir!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I am always excited about November. For this year, though, this being my birthmonth isn't the top reason why.

There are so many things to look forward to this month, so much possibilities. I couldn't wait to wake up to the actual days when I'll get to check the few unmarked boxes in my 2011 to-do list. A blessed year, certainly, this one has been.

Cheers to the beginning of new adventures.

And here's hoping I enjoy the ride.

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