The Things I Could Do Without

This is the last assignment for the Writing 101 course and it was due about five days ago. After a lot of catching up, I would finally be done with the course.I just realized that I have been doing a lot of catching up lately. I am seeing a pattern now. I would have to change that. I need to change that. But I’m veering off course. Back to the assignment.

For this last post, I would like to share some of the things I could do without in the future:

In the future, I could do without art. I could do without crafts. I could do without using my hands to create something precious. I could do without sharing those creations with the world.

In the future, I could do without travel. I could do without getting lost and being subject to uncomfortable circumstances. I could do without breath-taking views and exciting activities. I could do without sharing those adventures with the world.

In the future, I could do without writing. I could do without the pressure of writing courses and prompts. I could do without the fun and freedom of expressing whatever I have to say. I could do without sharing those random mumblings with the world.

In the future, I could do without all these. The thing is, I don’t want to.

 
*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 20: The future

Beautiful Reminders

Once in a while, you come across beautiful reminders. Reminders to laugh, to love always and deeply, and to continue reaching for your aspirations one step at a time.

At times when you feel lost and drowning, they could mean everything. And when you’re just going through the motions of living life, they could be the breath of fresh air you need to put things in perspective. That is why I love and welcome these reminders.

And now, you’re in for a treat. I would like to share with you some of the reminders I got recently from some of the most amazing people in the blogging community:

  1. A reminder that your point of view is not the only one out there and not the only one that matters. I was inspired by how a fellow Writing 101 participant expressed this seamlessly through a scene in an emergency room.
  2. A reminder to be more carefree, and just do whatever makes you happy. If you want to read something witty, genuine, and refreshingly funny, check this piece about writing poetry.
  3. A reminder to believe that you can get through anything.  This giraffe has said it perfectly.
  4. A reminder to go after the kind of life you want even if that means something unconventional such as a life of travel.
  5. A reminder to love everyone in every way you can.

I hope these touch your hearts the same way they did mine.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 19: Feature a guest

Whoa! I got a C!

I got a C! But it is not what you think. It is not for English or for Math or for some other subject. I took a test in Lakbayan measuring how much of my beautiful and beloved country, the Philippines, I have visited.



My Lakbayan grade is C!
How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!
Created by Eugene Villar.

C! Not bad! It may mean just the passing grade or “good” but for travel, I will take it.

My family did not really travel much when I was still a kid. Sure, I got some taste of it during field trips and a few family events. But that was about it. I stayed home while people I know explore every inch of the country. I used to think that it doesn’t matter because I do not have much of a liking for travel anyway. I would rather stay in my comfortable home. From time to time, I would go out to eat with some friends, watch some movies or simply hang out in malls. I was perfectly okay with that routine.

All that changed after my first official adventure. After saying “no” a few times, I finally said “yes’ to my cousins’ incessant begging for me to join them on a trip. What can I do? They were desperate to have me on that trip. Just kidding. They just wanted me to enjoy for once.

In that adventure, I learned what real travel meant. You get lost. You encounter uncomfortable situations. You meet difficult people. You have to be on top of things most of the time, including staying within your budget. You have to be flexible with the “how” of things as long as you achieve the “what”. You find magnificent places. You discover exquisite food. You are forced to get out of your bubble and really talk with people. You learn more about yourself. You do things you never thought you could. You enjoy things you never thought you would. You are changed.

The word, “enjoy,” cannot even suffice to describe what I experienced. I was elated! I was enthralled!

Now, I have put travel higher in my priority list. I have been to a number of places and I have enjoyed every fun and challenging minute of it. However, there are still a lot of fascinating places I have yet to see. I haven’t even been to Batanes, Palawan, Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud, Sagada, Hundred Islands, La Union, and Surigao. I would not stop exploring more and more of this paradise I call home.

Give me a few years. I would push that grade even higher.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 18: A map as your muse

To Finally and Fully Let Go

It has been two months since I left my previous job and what can I say, I still miss going there. It was far from perfect but it was home. It was my sanctuary for almost five years and I am finding it really difficult to let go. I read this article from The Captain’s Speech about how he misses school and everything I miss about my job came fluttering back to me in an instant. Putting everything out here may be just what I need to finally and fully let go.

I miss two-hour lunches outside the office.
I miss scouring through the internet just to find a great place to eat nearby.
I miss picking a piece of paper with a name of a restaurant from a bottle we have filled with names of restaurants nearby.
I miss being disappointed at where we just ate and laughing all about it afterwards.
I miss ordering different kinds of cake for dessert so we could try each one.
I miss being the only one to prefer Jollibee while almost everyone else wants McDonald’s.
I miss how the time spent to call everyone to eat for lunch was longer than the time we actually spend eating.
I miss going to the nearby convenience store after lunch to buy all sorts of snacks for the afternoon battle of staying awake.
I miss seeming like a headbanger because the snacks did not work. Why was it so difficult to stay awake?
I miss finally resorting to coffee to wake me up.
I miss the 30-minute snack breaks spent foodtripping with fishballs, squidballs, chickenballs, kikiam, kwek-kwek (boiled quail eggs covered with a mixture of egg and flour and then, deep-fried), turon (banana wrapped in a wrapper made of egg and flour, covered in brown sugar, and deep-fried), sweet potato fries, instant pansit canton with egg, siomai, corn, hopia, bread, green mangoes and everything those kiosks with wheels brought.
I miss not even bothering to eat during those breaks. I miss just spending the time together to rest and rant about work.
I miss afterwork dinners because we just felt the need to unwind after being exhausted the entire day. Yes, even if those dinners meant eating yet again in the KFC on the first floor of our building.
I miss going out for a few drinks after those afterwork dinners.
I miss eating at KFC and watching my friends take advantage of the free gravy.
I miss meetings that run the whole day and provide free lunch bought from KFC.
I miss having eaten at KFC so many consecutive times that the smell of chicken from a mile away makes me run fast the other way.
I miss free donuts that just constantly appears in our floor and in meetings.
I miss getting a free taste of donuts that haven’t even been released to the public.
I miss receiving a piece of paper after free tastes and being asked for a review of what I had just eaten.
I miss free-flowing coffee and hot choco, brownies, baked products, dossants, pon de rings, donuts and all kinds of our company’s products during planning sessions.
I miss planning sessions.
I miss being so exhausted after planning sessions.
I miss planning sessions held in hotels and resorts.
I miss not being able to enjoy the pools and the soft beds because we were so busy we had to work well into the night, too.
I miss living just walking distance from the office.
I miss everyone not knowing I just live nearby so I wouldn’t have to explain so much why I was always late.
I miss Halloween costume parties. I miss creatively dressing up the office space according to a specific theme. I miss how competitive we all were.
I miss Christmas parties. I miss trying so hard to not be included in the representatives of the per department performances. I miss winning the weirdest things in the raffle. I miss the Kris Kringle.
I miss team buildings. I miss being so competitive in the games only to be told winning was not the goal anyway.
I miss company outings, all the funny stories of people getting drunk, and every funny mishap that happened in the games.
I miss out-of-town trips. I miss getting to know people from other departments and bonding with clients. I miss discovering something new about those people everytime and feeling proud I belong to such an amazing team.
I miss going on sidetrips after out-of-town trips. I miss spending a little extra time to explore the place more and do some exciting activities.
I miss jokingly greeting the newbies on their first day, “Welcome to hell!” I miss scaling down the rants so we wouldn’t scare them away.
I miss teaching the new hires about our department, what we do as business performance analysts, our reports, and some Excel formulas they pretend to understand and ask about again in the future.
I miss creating Excel templates and reports that help and amaze people in other departments. I miss creating the longest formula for just a single performance indicator.
I miss my laptop crashing because it could not handle all the huge files that were open.
I miss creating Powerpoint presentations for my boss and the million revisions we have to do when he is extra enthusiastic that day and all sorts of ideas are coming at him from every direction.
I miss reasoning with him when he’s being too much. I miss just forcing a smile when I have no choice.
I miss the adrenaline rush of having to finish a report right away.
I miss being constantly pushed to the limits.
I miss not realizing the time because I was so absorbed in what I was doing.
I miss learning something new everyday.
I miss company trainings and seminars.
I miss asking my colleagues for help.
I miss learning from hearing my boss, other directors, and the general manager speak or scold us during meetings.
I miss our weekly classroom sessions where we would have cases or exams. I miss exchanging papers for checking and finding out the correct answers.
I miss being recognized for my work.
I miss being thanked because of how much I have helped colleagues in their work.
I miss being part of how the company’s targets were met.
I miss the constant exchange of banter with everyone I was close with. I miss how those closest to me jokingly pick on me. I miss how we do the same to other members in our group.
I miss taking random group pictures and posting them on facebook right after.
I miss constantly annoying my seatmate all for good fun. I miss being constantly annoyed as well.
I miss disturbing the peace and quiet in the floor because we couldn’t stop ourselves from laughing.
I miss leaving our respective areas and seating all together. I miss having very little room to move because we have squashed five to six people in an area for two to three.
I miss the constant exchange of stories and jokes through Google chat.
I miss hiding out in meeting rooms just so we could work peacefully and without interruptions.
I miss being allowed to work from home.
I miss passing birthday greeting cards to be signed by everyone. I miss planning birthday surprises.
I miss passing farewell cards for people who are leaving. I miss planning farewell surprises.
I miss planning our very own department team buildings. I miss going out of town to just have fun and forget everything about work.
I miss our clients. They treated me like family.
I miss the bosses. They appreciated what I contributed in the company and they taught me a lot.
I miss my colleagues. They are some of the most genuine people I met.
I miss my crazy friends. Without them, most of the items in the list would not even be half as fun.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 16: Search your stats for a post idea and Day 17: Mine your own material

Nietzsche Was Right

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Yep, Nietzsche was right. I was not really a big fan of music. When we were younger, my siblings would endlessly watch Music Television (MTV) while I complain for them to change the channel. I did not really seek out to change that. That was until I was influenced by some friends. And I am pretty glad they did. I did not know how much music would make life more meaningful and fun. I found myself relating to the songs, inspired and touched or just simply compelled to move to the beat. It was a mistake that I did not start listening to it sooner.

And now, I would just like to share with you my most recent playlist.

1. Everything by Michael Buble

I can’t help but dream of my falling star, my getaway car. I can’t wait for that someone who would tell me when I am out of line.

2. Night Changes by One Direction

I would love to rock that red dress, drive really fast, and regret nothing at all. Wouldn’t you?

3. Rather Be by Clean Bandit

I could be a thousand miles from comfort but still just feel right at home with the one I love. I could have traveled over miles and miles of land and sea but still feel that there’s nowhere I would rather be.

4. Sugar by Maroon 5

Who doesn’t need sweet sweet lovin’ from Adam Levine?!

5. Photograph by Ed Sheeran

Loving does hurt. Loving does hurt sometimes.

6. I Lived by One Republic

After everything has been said and done, I want to say that I have lived. That is the goal, to walk through this earth having “lived” to the truest sense of the word.

7. Anything Could Happen by Ellie Goulding

I truly believe that anything could happen. I have been truly amazed at what God could do even in situations when I felt hopeless. So, I just hang on and let Him surprise me.

8. Heroes by Alesso

I believe that I can’t be one of those everyday people just doing everyday things. I just can’t. I want to be a hero in my own way. I know I could be.

9. Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon

Just shut up and dance with me already.

10. I Don’t Like It, I Love It by Flo Rida feat. Robin Thicke & Verdine White

Cause I am dramatic like that. I just don’t like something, I love it! I just don’t want something, I gotta have it!

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 15: Take a cue from your readers

100-Word Story: In An Alternate Universe

It was the first week of school. I was sitting with some friends in the cafeteria having just finished lunch. All of a sudden, a pair of cold, soft hands covered my eyes. My heart raced. It could have been just like any other playful and meaningless gesture. But for me, it wasn’t. It was much more than that. I broke away from the grasp, slowly looked back and saw a familiar face. I was terrified but I took those hands and we walked away together.

I could have chosen otherwise and I could have regretted it all my life.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 14: Recreate a single day

Where Were You, Lord?

When my siblings and I were really young, we considered ourselves pretty well off. We had really nice clothes and we stood out among our peers. We studied in one of the best schools in the province. And it was not cheap. We had the latest toys, the best that money could buy. We could afford all these because my mom was the vice president of a huge insurance company. Then, that fateful day came when my mom lost her job. Her name was dragged into a civil case and she was accused as an accomplice in embezzlement of funds from the company. We had to use all our resources to prove my mom’s innocence. We were left with very little resources and very little faith.

Where were you, Lord?

Help came in the most unexpected places. Relatives and friends offered help in every way possible. They took care of us and our needs. Aunts helped us with our tuition. Our grandfather helped with our daily expenses. We felt important. We felt loved.  It was much more than the clothes, toys and status could ever have given.

He was there. He was teaching us lessons on humility and materialism.

~

I was fresh out of college. I graduated in one of the top universities in the country. And I graduated with honors. I felt invincible. It felt like I could do anything! I would achieve it all! But I got sick. I went to several different doctors. They could not find what was wrong with me. Eventually, they found out that I had an autoimmune disease. I was told I could never work. There were a lot of times I cried myself to sleep.

Where were you, Lord?

My mom was there with me through every checkup and every laboratory examination. Even when giving up seemed like the easiest thing in the world, she remained strong for me. My family was there to make me feel loved and cared for. Friends, even those I haven’t seen or talked to for a while, came and spent time with me. I eventually got better and was able to work. But much more than that, I learned that achieving it all was not as important as nurturing the relationships I have been blessed with.

He was there. He was telling me to not take anything for granted.

~

I landed my first job in a government office in the province. I was doing okay. The workload was a bit scarce. The boss was lenient. The people were nice. I could do more but there was nothing much to do. Why change anything? I was comfortable and the office was just nearby. Then, the head of the office was replaced. Along with him, some people’s contracts were terminated along with mine. It was so sudden. I was devastated.

Where were you, Lord?

I got another job that was beyond what I wished for. It was far away from home but I was invigorated. I looked forward to going to work. Every minute of my every day was put to good use. I became exposed to a lot of challenges. I learned more in my first month there than I had in a year’s work in my previous job. And I realized that by not using them, I have been wasting all the abilities I have been graciously blessed with.

He was there. He was pushing me to do greater and harder things.

~

He was. He is. He will always be there.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 13: Compose a series of vignettes

100-Word Story: Just Like That

It was the first week of school. I was sitting with some friends in the cafeteria having just finished lunch. All of a sudden, a pair of cold, soft hands covered my eyes. My heart raced. It could have been just like any other playful and meaningless gesture. But for me, it wasn’t. It was much more than that. I broke away from the grasp, slowly looked back and saw a familiar face. I forced a smile but decided to walk away.

Moments you’ll eventually regret for the rest of your life can happen in an instant.

Just like that.

 

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 12: Play with word count

When I Am Not Writing

Early morning jog
Warmth of the sun
Round and round
Thrilled and energized

Romantic comedies, drama series
Animations and superheroes
Again and again
Moved and inspired

World wide web
Google, WordPress, Facebook
On and on
Intrigued and informed

Papercuts and paintings
Endless creating
Through and through
Engaged and absorbed

Any fun activity
Everything under the sun
By and by
Refreshed and ready

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 11: Writing and not writing

Catching Up Over a Wonderful Cup of Coffee

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If we were having coffee right now… I would pause for a while, take a huge sip, and savor my delightful coffee. You can never pass the chance to enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee.

If we were having coffee right now… I would ask how you have been. And I would listen to every word. I would like to know more about you, your family, your hobbies, your dreams, and anything you would like to share. You and what you have to say are important to me.

If we were having coffee right now… I would thank you deeply. I would tell you how grateful I am that you appreciate what I have to say, that you keep me on my toes, and that you push me to better my craft. I could not have done the things I had if it weren’t for amazing and supportive people like you.

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that I am enjoying this Writing 101 course much more than I thought I would. I would tell you that I am enjoying everything, actually. And now, I could not stop even if I wanted to.

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you that I am extremely excited. I would love to pursue my other passions. I would love to explore other forms of expression. And I would love to tell you more about them. I fervently hope you are willing to learn about them, too.

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you to finish your coffee. Mine is all out. And it is getting late. Who knew time could pass by that quickly?! I had an incredible time. I wish you did, too.

*This is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101, Day 10: Update your readers over a cup of coffee