Category Archives: Blessed

What’s so great about being 30-something anyway?

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I saw this college student. There was nothing special about her. Just your regular kolehiyala. But for some reason, I suddenly told myself: Thank God I’ve graduated from that phase in my life. It was such an unexpected thought that I realized that I am much happier with where I am now, and that includes my age.
 

So it got me thinking: what’s so great about being 30-something anyway? I’ll tell you. A lot! These are just my personal experiences and thoughts. Of course, every 30-something adult has their own lives to live and circumstances to face and so the following points will not be applicable to everyone. And also, let’s face it, adulting can sometimes be hard and totally not fun. Even so, being 30-something for me is a great time to be alive because:

1. I am now earning my own money. And not just any money, but more-than-enough-money-that-I-can-be-a-blessing-to-others kind of money. Money that can buy not only what I need but also what I want. Having an ATM that doesn’t reach 0 pesos is awesome and a blessing (which should not be taken for granted).

2. I know myself better. I now know what I want in terms of the kind of job I like, the relationships I intend to keep, how I enjoy myself, activities that I really want to be a part of my life, where I want to spend my time, how I dress and all these things. I guess when I was younger I didn’t exactly know which direction I wanted to go or what I really wanted to do. I don’t know everything, I don’t have answers to every question, but I know myself enough to get me through the day.

3. I have chosen my closest friends wisely. When I was in college, I tried to fit in this group of friends simply because they were my batchmates. They were awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt I didn’t fit in. I tried to keep them even after I graduated college. Once, on a road trip, they started doing marijuana. Nothing against (medical) marijuana but during that time, I was really uncomfortable with the idea and so then and there, I decided to cut them out of my life. I haven’t seen them since (though we still keep in touch somehow because hey, they are really nice naman). I guess as you grow old, you tend to keep those friends who are precious to you and have known for such a long time plus those others whom you just click with. The rest, I cut out from my life completely.

4. I don’t feel guilty anymore – doing things that I love, ignoring toxic people, spending my money the way I want, living my life the way I want to live it, staying at home and doing nothing, saying no to people. When I was younger, I’d always feel guilty if I didn’t fit in this mold that society or the media or my family or my well-meaning friends had for me. I missed one church service? No worries, it happens. No family yet? I don’t care and so should you. I don’t drive my own car? I hate driving. I just bought another bag? Hey, it’s my money. All these cookie cutter expectations don’t bother me anymore.

5. I have learned to ignore. 2010 for me was a year of learning and one of my favorite truths then which I have taken to heart until today is this: no matter what you do, someone will always have something negative to say about you. Heck, even Mother Theresa has bashers. So why would I expect not to have any? Thus, I have always reminded myself of this basic life truth and ignored those kinds of people or negative comments that come my way. I don’t like back stabbing or bad mouthing other people. But it happens to me. Since I cannot control what other people say about me – whether based on truths, half-truths or just plain gossip – what I can control is how I react. As long as I know that I didn’t do anything ‘bad’ on purpose, I choose to react by ignoring them and by just being me.

6. I have more exposure. Because I’ve been in the workforce longer and because I am able to travel both for work and pleasure, my eyes have now been opened to more experiences and problems of the world and seen more places and known more people from different backgrounds and cultures. It really does change you because you know that there’s more to this world than just the Philippines and the Filipinos. Full disclosure: because I’ve ‘dated’ a number of foreign men, Pinoys now suddenly bore me. Haha!

7. I understand that the world doesn’t revolve around me. In connection to the above, gone are my emo days when I would drown in self-pity because of this and that. This life that we have is much bigger than you and I and I have learned to embrace this truth.

8. I acknowledge the fact that I will die. Maybe in 30 years or in 5 years but also possibly next year or tomorrow. No one knows. As a youth, you think you’re invincible and don’t usually think about death. But now, this is something I constantly remind myself so that I don’t take things for granted. Or so that I’ll stop being sad or upset or depressed or angry because those emotions, though valid for a limited period only, are just wasting my time.

9. I now have a routine. Which I like because I’m a routine kind of gal. At the same time, this is also the perfect age to change that routine and completely do something else. Especially for singles, being in the ‘middle spectrum’ of life, it’s totally possible to do a 360 degree turn and pursue something else that you want.

10. I do what I want. Under the premise that I am not doing anything illegal or hurtful to other people and the like. I know that I am still bounded by the rights and wrongs of society but still, I realized that I only have one life to live (which might be cut short, see item #8) so why not live in a way that I want to live? It’s not always easy, it can get frustrating but really, I’ll eat that donut if I want to even if it has 500 calories. I’ll hold his hand because it feels good. I’ll go to that country because I want to see a part of the world that’s totally different than mine. I’ll ignore that annoying text even if the other person is waiting on me. Let me be.

Given the above, I am not saying that I have everything figured out. I’m just trying to live my life to the fullest – in a way that I think is best for me – and not waste what was given to me. I’m still included in that group of people who are still grappling the meaning of their life. But now with more class and poise.

Blessed: Reminder to be thankful

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I keep saying that I do feel blessed with my life right now. It’s not perfect. Probably not where I thought I would be. Definitely didn’t expect all the blessings I’ve received so far. But really, I feel grateful, blessed and content. Or at the very least, I keep reminding myself of this.

For my recent Georgia trip, not only was I able to visit such a gorgeous country sponsored by the organization I work for, what made this extra special was that I was able to save a 6-digit figure from our daily allowance provided by my work. This is on top of my salary. Last time in Pakistan, I only got to take home about $1,000, which I used for my US trip, since our allowance then was small but hotel was expensive.

But this time, so blessed to have taken home a fairly large amount. I know for some people a 6-digit figure is nothing but to me, that’s something. So what did I do with this amount? I didn’t spend it all, if that’s what you’re thinking. I gave to my tithes at church, increased my financial support to some missionaries and deposited into my investment. Of course, I also know how to balance my money so I bought something for myself too – a maroon bomber jacket, a floral jacket, a royal blue winter coat and a green blazer (yes, all outerwear).

There are times at night when I’m alone, I look around my room and think, “I like where I am right now.” I’m not saying this is how I feel everyday, all day, 24/7. Sometimes I get sad or lonely or frustrated too. But more often than not, I really enjoy being who I am in the current situation I am in with the people I am with right now.

But you know what? Sometimes, I’m afraid that I’ll suddenly wake up and everything would change for the worse. I don’t mean this in terms of suddenly losing my money or job or house. My security isn’t there, since I know in a snap all our material things can be taken away from us. I always say I can live on kangkong and galunggong forever. Haha! But I’m more afraid of something bad happening to my relationships – family and friends – or to me personally, particularly, my health. Things that are out of my control and are not easily replaced. It’s been awhile since my last tragedy in life (read: my dad’s stroke then death). Like, I’m living such a good life right now that something bad is bound – or is supposed – to happen.

But I know I can’t be paralyzed by this fear or any kind of fear – bomb threats, terrorists, assholes you meet – for that matter. So I guess the best way is simply to live my life – my own life – and spend time with people who matter the most and of course, pray.

Family time is always the best

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I always say that my family will always be my top priority. I believe in the saying that work (or even friends) won’t love you the way your family loves you. This is why I try to spend as much time as possible with my mom and siblings. 

This weekend, spent my lazy Saturday with my furry babies, also part of my family: 


Then Sunday was in Solaire, where my aunt was staying for a conference. Just look at the view from our room:


Then again at sunset:


Gorgeous! Both my brothers, my sis in law and my nephew visited us and it was a super fun chaos in our hotel room! My nephew is so fun to be around with as he is so smart and very sweet. Dinner was at Dampa, where we bought fresh seafood and had them cooked by the restaurant. 


Then back to the hotel for some more family time! So fun! So blessed! Thank You Lord for my family! I miss them already #Sepanx

Blessed: Pros and Cons of traveling for work

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As much as I love traveling, I could never be a flight attendant nor did I ever want to be one. Aside from the fact that I could never imagine myself taking orders and bringing blankets and coffee to total strangers and being at their beck and call and basically being a highly paid server (no offense but we all know it’s true), I think excessive and constant traveling for work ruins the whole “traveling part” for me. I could never be like the character George Clooney plays in ‘Up in the Air.’ I don’t want to live out of my suitcase and a big part of me still needs to “go home” and recharge, in the arms of loved ones, including pets.

But, I have no qualms traveling for work every now and then. So far, my work as part of an international development financial institution for the past four years has brought me to Guangzhou, China; Melbourne, Australia; Bangalore, India; Bangkok, Thailand and Islamabad, Pakistan.

On one night during my Bangkok trip, as I laid on my plush hotel bed and feeling content (hahaha), I realized that I did like traveling for work once in a while and so this post was born.

Based on my personal experience, here are the pros of traveling for work:

1. Business Class Seats. I ain’t even gonna lie. This is THE best part. Because I would probably never be able to ride Business if not for my work, which is under our travel policy. This was what I looked forward to during my Pakistan trip. Haha!

2. Fast Track at Immigration. Related to item #1, business class travelers usually have a designated lane at immigration which as expected, is faster. I saw once before in NAIA that there was a lane labeled as ‘Business class’ and I actually hated seeing it because it seemed as if you can just ‘buy your way into a country.’ I haven’t seen it again, I guess they changed it. In other airports, they label it as ‘fast track.’ Other people who can use this lane are usually the diplomats, those in need of assistance and APEC card holders.

3. Business Class Airport Lounge. Still related to item #1, what better way to wait for your flight than in comfortable cushy chairs in an uncrowded room with unlimited food and drinks, clean restrooms and free wifi? Other lounges even have massage spas and shower rooms.

4. Daily Subsistence Allowance. On top of my pay, we are provided daily allowance to cover our meals and accommodation. Plus points that we can actually have cash advance, unlike other companies that would require their employees to pay first then they’ll reimburse later (which is, if you think about it, really unfair for the employee. What if he doesn’t have any cash to spare?). Thanks to my substantial DSA and awesome budgeting skills, I was able to buy my Longchamp Cuir and Herbag, without shelling any of my personal money.

5. Hotel Accommodation. We have a list of accredited hotels and so in effect, we only stay at some of the best hotels around the continent. Since we have mid to high level meetings there, a 4 or 5 star hotel is a must.

6. Rewards Points. A thousand more points (a lot actually) and I could actually buy my mom business class tickets, which is one of my short term goals (but don’t tell her). Because everytime I fly a certain airline, we get points. Hopefully I get more work-related travels so I can reach my goal. On the other end, one of my hotel points can now actually be converted into an ipod, which I am seriously considering doing.

7. Passport Stamps. The more stamps you get, the easier visas are approved whenever you apply.

8. Exposure. I think this is the best part career-wise. Exposure in the sense that you get trained on how to deal with different kinds of scenarios and people in different countries and cultures and learn from it. Being part of an overseas meeting will always look good on your resume.

9. Meeting people. As introverted as I am, I do enjoy meeting people and seeing and observing how they are. Meeting people from all walks of life from all nationalities and cultures is something I consider as training for my career, similar to point #7.

Cons of traveling for work:

1. Work. Duh. Haha! Of course, you’re there to work so basically, that’s the major bummer. At the end of the day, you can’t 100% enjoy your trip since you have work to think about. Except maybe perhaps on your way home. But I think this part is manageable since I work with such great people. Speaking of…

2. Thinking about other people. Since I usually travel with my colleagues, I have to keep them in mind. Example, I’m a fast walker but since we’re in a group, I have to slow down a bit so they could keep up. Or the fact that we do group check-in, which takes more time as compared to if I was alone. Or deciding meals to eat, wherein I have to take their preferences into consideration.

After all is said and done, I am super grateful to be working where I am working right now with my current colleagues. I like how my work brings me to different countries to meet different people in different settings. It’s not too much that I don’t have time left to spend at home but enough for me to have exposure as well as sneak a bit of leisure in it. I don’t think I could travel for work every week or even every month, but I know that whatever or wherever my work brings me, I’ll make sure to try to enjoy it as much as I can, learn from it as much as I can and at the same time, deliver work excellently in the best way that I can.

 

31 in Pakistan

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Not exactly my idea of a celebration but this is by far the most interesting birthday I’ve had::
1. Spent the day with ADB President

2. Breathed the same air as IMF Managing Director

3. Rode armored & police escorted ADB cars to airport due to security concerns


Thank you Lord for your traveling mercies (& for everyone’s greetings!) So good to be back in my homeland! 

Blessed: Why I will never be successful as defined by the world

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According to Miriam Webster, success is “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” This is definitely not my definition of success. Simply put, my definition of success is honoring God and being able to live the life He wants me to live. Difficult, yes, and quite mystical if you don’t believe in God but I do and I believe that every single part of my life happens for a reason – mistakes and struggles and problems and all – only because God has a bigger and amazing plan for me (Jer. 29:11). I won’t always understand the ‘why’ but I choose to just simply trust Him instead (Prov. 3:5-6).
On the less ‘serious’ side, I acknowledge the fact that God has given me so much and that I guess for some people, I can be placed under the ‘successful’ category. But you know how society, your parents and even the church tell you that you’re destined to be someone big, like a leader or a world-changer, and/or be rockstar wealthy and known amongst the nations? I’m not one of those. I don’t want to be one of those. Can’t I just be a follower, one of those in the background, a simple passer-by? I know that’s what I want, unlike others who aim for fame and fortune, which is also ok if that’s what you dream of.

Aside from that fact, there are other ‘qualities’ that I have that aren’t exactly found in most ‘worldly’ successful people. I know I won’t be successful as defined by the world simply because:

1. I suck at networking. You know how they say that success is mostly based on who you know, therefore go and make friends with all the right people? Well, I am not a social butterfly. I’m more like a caterpillar that doesn’t reach maturity. Haha! I know of some people who can easily make friends. Ma-boka, ma-chika, ma-PR. I’m not like that (which is why I left Channel 2’s PR team). You know the type: “Hi. I’m Jacob and let’s be friends forever” and then they actually do stay friends forever. And it’s not that they’re even trying. It’s just that they are naturally friendly and have no problems in making the first move to getting to know you. I’m not like that. Sure, I can be friendly, I’ll small talk with you if need be but I don’t usually go out of the way just to network with officemates or bosses or whoever for “future use.”

2. I do not want power. Or responsibilities, for that matter. Spidey’s uncle was right in saying that “With great power comes great responsibility” or vice versa. I don’t want that. If I can help it, all I want is a simple life with the least number of complications. I’m not saying I am not responsible or that I can’t take on more roles. But I have no problem in simply following the leader or being part of a large group or living a simple, unexciting life.

3. I’d rather be in the background. Some people love being in the spotlight. I’m more of the ‘stay behind the shadows’ type of gal. Haha! Even at our church ministry, when they find out I signed up for the admin ministry which basically does everything behind-the-scenes, they would be surprised and say that I belong to the ushering team, those who are the frontliners during service. But no, I don’t want to be under the public eye (naks, feeling artista). I changed to this kind of person years ago, which in effect resulted in me no longer posting too much photos or info on social media as well as not divulging my life to acquaintances.

4. I do not kiss ass. I KICK ass, yes, but I’m no sucker. I don’t like lying. Some people have a talent for this. The type who easily praises their boss or colleague, expecting for a favor like a promotion or raise, even though they know their praise is not true. Sipsip, in Tagalog. I could never do that. I don’t easily give out compliments because when I do compliment or praise someone, I actually mean it. When I say you’re kind or amazing or pretty or talented, I really do mean it. I don’t give my words away. One time, my boss asked me if I was impressed with his presentation. I wasn’t but I couldn’t tell that to him, now could I? Instead of lying just to save my skin or get brownie points from him, I just said, “I think you and Mr. B make a great team.” Still a compliment and entirely true. I couldn’t bear kissing his ass just because he was my boss.

5. I do not aim to accumulate earthly things. I know what you’re thinking. What about all those bags and shoes and clothes and make-up that I keep on buying? Let’s just say there is such a thing as balance. As I always mention, I buy stuff not only because I want them, but also because I need them or they make me feel good about myself (case in point: make-up). And I choose those made of quality over mediocre items for its long term usage. I don’t plan on having 10 mansions, I don’t even want one mansion. I actually want to live in a bungalow with maybe maximum of 3 rooms and 2 baths. I don’t even want my own car (because I hate driving. Haha). I use my crappy phone until it’s already unusable. And so on and so forth. Because at the end of our life, we can’t bring all these earthly things to heaven or wherever you think you are going. I set my eyes on the more important things like family, friends and my relationship with God. Why should material things matter when all your relationships are crappy? Not easy to do but as I always say, I’m a work in progress.

6. I am an advocate of work-life balance. I’m blessed to work in an organization that encourages this. I’m glad that I can leave work on time so I can go to the gym or have dinner with friends or have fellowship with my sisters in Christ. But I think generally, those who just work, work, work, work are the ones preferred by the bosses, hence, they are the ones given promotions and raises. Though I want to level-up in my career somehow, I would never compromise my health or relationships for it. I’ve done that before during my Channel 2 days but where did it get me? I’d do overtime work for the extra pay but my health suffered. I’d cover events during the weekends but skipped on family time. What’s the point of that? I won’t be useful to God if I’m always sick and my work won’t love me the way my relationships do. As I said, I’m keeping my eyes on the heavenly prize. But not to misunderstand me. I don’t necessarily think that those who work overtime or over the weekends are bad because I know some of them really do enjoy working that much. Some people are wired to be workaholics, I guess. It’s just that it’s not for me.

7. I don’t believe that work is everything. Some people obsess over their work to the point that they get extremely upset or depressed if things don’t go their way. Some work hard for their jobs and building their careers that they would do anything to keep it, even compromise their integrity and belief. I am not one to do that. I acknowledge the fact that I work because (i) God put me here and ultimately, He is my boss (Col. 3:23-24); (ii) we are called to work and be useful in our society (2 Thess. 3:10-13); (iii) my work is simply a means for me to bless others (Eph. 4:28) as well as enjoy life (Eccl. 3:12-13); and (iv) my work is a form of worship to Him (Col. 3:17). 

I’m pretty sure there are other reasons why I won’t be “successful” but these are the ones that I could think of. All in all, I don’t think I’ll ever fit the ‘successful woman’ as defined by the world. But I do believe I’m successful in my own way. Hopefully I can post a list of those too.