A Sad Look Back

lookback
via Google Images

Looking Back, 2014 was not a very good Year for Us. Not-so-good things happened that may have made me Question things. Though I feel like I have fostered better Relationships to my Family, extended family, to God and even to myself, I felt I ran out of luck and had to start anew on so many aspects and on so many levels. Or maybe, so I thought.

I started the year being Sick. I lost 20 lbs. due to measles and was on bedrest for about two weeks. In a long time, it was only this year that I felt too sick to function and had to totally rely on my wife and on myself to be better.

I left my job of 8 years to try my luck on a Different Career. Experienced rejections applying to Jobs here and there when for five years, I would do the rejection and the accepting myself. Realized that I didn’t have it all, that companies would not brave storms to have me as part of their organization, that I am not that good on so many fields. Career was on an upside down that I questioned my skills and competencies; if I would in fact be able to start a New one, and prove that I still have what it takes to advance and redo the Victorious cycle that I had with my previous employer. 2014 was all I needed to Know that I’m not super. That I am as thriving to survive career-wise as anyone else.

With that comes the realization that I, we, are not economically ready to make big decisions in Our lives. That sometimes following your heart doesn’t mean making the right decisions. I don’t have any regrets, Honestly, because I would not have that feeling of freedom and control right now had I succumbed to my doubts. Just maybe, if I took the right timing, things would have been a little more seamless. Sometimes, one just has to go thru that to realize his mistakes and sadly that has been our case.

So now, we have to Accept that the next months, even the next years, are not going to be the same as the previous. That we have to have a case of good resource Management. That we need to put value in everything that we spend. And that we have to see the benefits of saving.

It was also this year that I discerned that my folks are not anymore as young and as healthy as they used to be. For the longest time, I have viewed my mom as a superwoman – never gets tired, never gets old. Since Time immemorial, she has been the only person who financially supports us and makes the most major decisions in our family. I have always thought she’s clothed in an armor – strong, invincible, dependable.

She’s not.

And now, I have to accept that things are not always going to be like that. That as much as I grow, mature and make myself of a man, she too, gets old, Weak, vulnerable to sickness and would eventually need to rest. Story of all of us. The inevitable end to all of our struggle.

She got sick this year and now has to have maintenance for high blood pressure – that I need to be in the process of accepting. My mom, who has been strong for me, needs me now to be strong for her. She needs my support more than ever. I have to be with her in every step of the way. Things are starting to be on the opposite side and moving forward, and I have to be ready.

I just want this year to be over and see things at their Zenith in 2015. I am hopeful. I am yearning to be more Positive. I have to start having an X-ray vision of the future to prepare in the present. 2014 may not have been good. But I will make sure 2015 will be far better.

Daily Prompt: Zoltar’s Revenge

My daughter recently aced her Kumon diagnostics test and is well on her way to taking pre-K math sessions in a couple of weeks. This excites our household as, outside of Christian Kids’ Church she attends to every Sunday, this will be her first experience of school – ish really, because Kumon is principally an after-school activity, but still. We figured this will prepare her and in one way or another, make her one step more advanced than others as she enters PreSchool.

This makes me think of my own early school days too, and somehow I would think that what if, say, my 31 year-old self would enter fifth grade in the body of a 12 – year old, how should I survive?

via Google images
via Google images

Hmm… 

Math – long division and multiplication of vulgar fractions and decimals, ratios and percentages, maybe even pre-Algebra. I think I’d be quite okay as I have my engineering background. But when I think about it, I barely survived my bachelor’s course with a calculator, so I don’t know, maybe good luck? And to be truthful, only the word vulgar got my attention, so yeah.

Language – Oohh, grammar. Not that I’m bad at it, I just have this occasional unfortunate encounters with verb tenses. Nineteen years ago, I passed that school subject so I don’t think I should worry, right? Or maybe, I have passed it?

Physical Science – Well, hello there states of matter! I took 6 years of nonstop elementary and advanced chemistry right after high school! So step aside lowlives, here goes Einstein!

Wait, there’s a fourth state of matter? And a fifth too?

Music – Nerd alert! I am skilled in recorders (flutaphone, I know I was a super dweeb, don’t judge)! Want a sample of Titanic’s sob score instrumental?

Health Education – The birds and the bees, the stork carrying cute little Corey? Everyone knows 12-year olds buy these, but really? Birds?

Daily Prompt: The Mirror Crack’d

You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?

There are days when I would always find myself checking for changes as to how I look. You see I’m not getting any younger, and when you’re in your thirties, the fresh vibe of you ten years ago start, or in some cases, have already started, to diminish. Change, ahh. Soon, time will come when I would need to start dyeing my hair. Or worse, maintain a haircut so short no one notices I’m already without it.

Then again, when I think about it:

My eyes. Black. Pitch-black. Dark as the night. But apparent. Undimmed. Luminous. Pleasant.

My brows. Bushy. Like my Isabelle’s. Inspecting. Agog. Curious.

My nose. Flat, like most my countrymen. Frequently hypersensitive. Everything irresistant. Struggling, but functional.

My lips. Full. Sometimes vocal. Always expressive. Hymns praises.

My hair. Wavy. Rippled as the sea, but calm. Black with few silver linings. Maturity. Wisdom.

Flabs here and there. Not muscular but strapping. Not-so-good posture but confident. Sanguine.

I figured not much has changed, and really, not much ever will. So mirrors, not really a necessity. Courage, faith and love outlive vanity.This same man will live his future days as if they’re his last. This same boy will enjoy that happiness he gets from piano ballads and RnB soul. This same husband will love his wife to his core, and will adore his daughter to the ends of the earth. And this same believer will trust his God no matter what the odds are.

Daily Prompt: Head Turners

I was away for several days because I lost my grandmother (actually my wife’s grandmother) to coronary artery disease and we just really needed the time to reflect, grieve and think of perhaps, one of the most challenging phases we had to face as a family.

Here in the Philippines, our culture strongly dictates close family ties. Our parents would prefer that we stay with them as long as we can, have their grandkids around whenever they feel like wanting to be with them, share homes, unify budgets. I mean, yes at some point, our parents would want us to be our own selves, but to them their involvement shouldn’t be limited to weekend visits, birthday lunch outs, christmases and other family holidays. I guess it’s different in other parts of the world where moms and dads encourage their eighteen year olds to leave the house and try their luck somewhere else, on their own; where living out of your parents’ couch when you’re on your thirties is a slap to your reputation and sense of individualism.

Despite a culture that encourages familial connection, fall-outs are still rampant among Filipinos – especially when the kids get to have their own families, search for their own professional and personal ventures, make their own niche in this world. Visits to the ‘rents go rare, calls too seldom, how are you‘s almost never. 

Funerals, to me is never effervescent, of course. Who would want their loved ones to depart and pass on? I think the only consolation during these events is that families come together, make a stronger bond and tend to be closer to each other. Locally, funerals become a bit of a reunion of families. Members who live in not-so-close proximity make an effort to go home and be with everyone, share the grief, tell stories of the past.

Funerals shouldn’t be about feelings of disagreements and estrangements , but rather a celebration of life and gratitude, don’t you think so?

While having breakfast after a long and tiring wake, we heard my wife’s uncle talking to his wife on the phone. I don’t know why he might’ve forgotten to turn off the speaker option but the woman’s voice was just too out in the open. And it was ugly.

She was concerned about her husband’s and kids’ name if they were included in the ribbons pasted in the casket window (tradition/superstition to show love to the deceased); she was almost shouting asking how much her husband had spent so far, in helping out with the finances; and worse she didn’t have a bit of concern addressing the dead as “your dead”, obviously excluding herself from everyone else. Though I didn’t hear the rest of it, parts of it were very disturbing and my wife was shaking with anger I had to comfort her and keep her calm and composed. I know my wife’s family and her uncle’s family had an ill past but I didn’t think that up to this point that somebody as significant as the family matriarch died, hatred and loathing is still the dominant feeling to some.

A couple of days after, when we were given a chance to say a few things about Lola (Filipino term for grandmom), we were enlightened on why she was like that. She spoke and honestly admitted some of the things that she disliked and we were just relieved that after everything, she still loved her and wanted nothing more but for everyone to be in good terms.

Sad thing is, for me, the person’s already dead and you know, the proverbial, “hug them when they’re still there, love them while they’re alive”, applies in this situation. It took someone’s death for everyone to be okay and I just can’t help but think that things could’ve been a whole lot better if reconciliation, forgiveness, and love are expressed when everyone’s still alive and can express gratification for such. This happens everytime and I just don’t understand why people never learn, really.

via Google Images
via Google Images

Pain and Balance

As I was skimming through my old stuff one late afternoon, I came across our company newsletter (News From the Cubes) with this poem:
 
Great God
I sometimes wonder how strong you are
what awful cosmic tension
throbs inside your restless brain
why in the scheme of conception
did you include pain.
 
If we could meet on even terms
man to man
you stripped of power
I of fear,
I’d lift my shirt and show you scars
wide as the moon, black as the tears
 
If only we could meet
in the ghetto or in the street
you stripped of the Power of Death
I of it’s fear,
I’d go away from you
and you would cry to have me back
Perhaps I shall return to wipe your eyes
for we could not have a God that cries.
 
Oftentimes, I too wonder why God, in all of His greatness and wisdom, had to include pain in creation. Why man, in his search for a comfortable life would have to endure hours and hours of work and labor. Why man, in his quest for his one true love would have to go through a series of heartbreaks and lies. But my wondering would oftentimes end in cliche because my mind would argue that without pain, there is no victory. Cliche, yup. 
 
I guess we all go through pain in all forms and sizes. Some may experience the same hurt, the same guilt, the same intensity, but we react to that pain differently. Either way, the pain doesn’t subside that easily. In my experience, I think you would have to confront the pain head-on. You know, realize that it did happen, you were hurt, your pride was shattered, your heart was broken and now all you have to do is stand up and start all over again. Hell what? Who cares if you were depressed over something that no one really cares about but yourself, right? This world is nothing but an undying circle. We win some, we lose some. The important things are the lessons learned from every experience. And I believe from every experience, no matter how painful the outcome had been, there are still memories to be cherished, memories that can be always be remembered and memories that serve as reminders that not all of life is sweet and happy.