16 things I learned this past year + goals

2016 has come and gone! Frankly, this year has been a mixed bag sort of year–a lot of sad, heartbreaking things took place, but a lot of good things have materialised, too! While I haven’t come out of it unscathed, the battle scars have helped me prove that I can make it through the rain (cheesy, I know, but it doesn’t make it less true).  These experiences, though, have taught me some precious lessons.

Please bear with me as there are some parts of this entry that might not make sense–sorry about that, guys! I really am amazed to see how I have coped and fought on towards the end of the year.


1. If it’s too easy, or too good to be true, it’s not worth going for. Because you are worth more than  you think you are. You are stronger than you think you are.

Let’s put it this way, I had a misunderstanding with a certain person I met earlier in the year. Initially, he was so charming, and swept me off my feet. Before I knew it, the guy had plans for a “future”–without so much as giving me time to process things. I had to say, I really liked him, but found him terrifying at the same time. That person–let’s call him O–thought I would drop everything and forget all my responsibilities for him, but I put my foot down. It wasn’t easy. O got upset and got really, really angry. At one point, he threatened to tell everyone what a bad person I actually am (the whole train of the conversation was actually worse–if I wasn’t so scared and upset, I could actually have him arrested).  While I was upset, I stood my ground. The people who know and love me best are my first priority. Nothing O can do or say will change that.

2. Sometimes, it’s best to have a self-edit button in your brain.

There are times that you’re not going to be funny. Sometimes you’re going to step on somebody’s toes, and someone’s going to be hurt because you’ve bulldozed all over that person’s foot. I’ve learned this a few days ago. Funny that it was a week ago–and a year ago. Anyway, not to digress, I have hurt a friend’s feelings about this. While mean little me would have something to justify what I did, sometimes, trying to be funny and witty all the time doesn’t cut it. There’s always a time and place for everything.

3. Excuses will yield no satisfactory results.

Anyone who has read my old blog will know that I’ve invested in a few workshops–both of them art-related. The first one was for a pointed pen calligraphy workshop. I had fun, and I did practice a lot. The same went for the brush pen calligraphy class–I didn’t, however, push too much weight with the brush pen calligraphy. I had a lot of excuses–my hand had a mind of its own–not being able to control or relax my grip properly. I was afraid of wasting paper and brush pens (the freebie pen I got at the workshop didn’t come cheap–let’s just say getting that pen was an investment).  So, what happened? Nothing productive.

4. You can, if you will yourself to do it.

The nearest and dearest to me will be the first one to tell you that I tend to panic and waffle about in times where presence of mind is a requisite. This year, I was put to the test. Some of you may know that my father has been admitted to the hospital for a handful of times this year. On weekends, it would be just me and my parents. My mother, by that time, would be plagued with a million and one worries so there’s really no room for panic. Someone had to be strong for her and help her in getting my dad and a lot of stuff ready for the hospital. I realised that in those times, I could do it. I managed to be calm while inside, I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off. Bragging aside, I can tell you that by the third time my dad was admitted to the hospital this year, I have almost become a pro at packing up stuff for a hospital stay.

5.  You don’t have to be strong all the time. Recharge. 

While this is contrary to #4 above, there are times when the well will run dry. It wouldn’t do to let my mother see how much I was worrying too–because believe me,  I was worried, and there are times when all I wanted to do was to sit down and cry somewhere. And I also realised that it’s okay to cry,  and that my feelings of fear, sadness, anger and worry are valid. While I feel bad whenever I ask my mother to allow me to go home after visiting my father in the hospital and leave her alone there (in the Philippines, it’s normal that watchers are allowed when one is admitted to the hospital), I needed that time too. My mother and I take turns in going home and at least getting some proper shuteye and a good, hot bath.

6. Invest in yourself. Really.

Whether it’s for a new hobby or skill, it’s always worth it. Remember that brush pen calligraphy class that I mentioned in #3? I finally pushed myself to practise at least thirty minutes to an hour a day. I find that I enjoyed it. It was also fun to get these brush pens (I totally swear by the Zig Kuretake Scroll and Brush pens–I’m not being paid to do this though, aha) and scribble to my heart’s content. And here’s evidence of progress–I’m not yet halfway as good as my type heroes, but I’ll get there someday! 🙂

Another thing I invested in was signing up for this awesome woman’s online workshop/masterclass on personal branding. Arriane Serafico helps individuals turn their passion into a profitable brand. She has also has a budgeting class for creative people too. Do check her blog out! I’m still in the process of answering the worksheets I’ve downloaded from her website, and I must say that it’s a great guide! I’m so looking forward to doing and learning more.

7. Punishing yourself for what you’ve said or done will not turn back time.

I do this, the hell of a freaking lot. And it’s not cool–because I worry a lot about the possible consequences, most of them being unfounded, anyway. As harsh as it sounds, what’s done is done.

8Trust the process.

When I first came across this phrase, it was scribbled in fancy letters by one of my typography heroes, Abbey Sy. If you haven’t seen her work, do! She’s totally fantastic, and if her work could be eaten like sugar cookies, they’re simply scrumptious. Not to digress, that very phrase taught me something. I should have more faith that slowly and surely, with prayer and hard work, my hopes, dreams and plans will come into fruition.

9. Asking for help does not make you a lesser person.

Probably it’s related to the events that transpired in #1, or due to another reason altogether, but during the second quarter of the past year, I went into a downward spiral. There were times in my life that I thought I had hit rock bottom, but I was wrong. This was it. At one point, I was pretty much suicidal, my work performance suffered (I’m still finding my way back). Basically, I was one first rate mess.

I love my job. It’s given me so much purpose and to not perform as well as I used to pains me. I knew I had to do something. So I asked my mother for help. It took me a long time to set an appointment with a doctor, but it happened. I also had the support of two friends who went through–and are still going through the same thing as I am. I’m not yet fully recovered, but hey, one step at a time. 🙂

10. Practice self care. You’ve got only one body, you’ve got to take care of yourself, take care of your mental and physical health.

Back then I didn’t fully appreciate the benefits of self-care. To be honest, I’m still a beginner where that is concerned! I’ll make sure that this year, I’ll make it a priority.

11. As much as possible, try to avoid interacting with people who stress you out.

I’m trying, really trying.

12. It’s not too late to take care of your finances–properly. 

Oh, so true! Being able to do so makes me evaluate if I really need to buy that new pair of shoes, or that new book that’s come fresh off the press to the bookstore shelves. Managing my own finances is a responsibility, and one that I’ll gladly take on. So to prepare for the coming year, I have downloaded budget organisation apps on my phone, and I will make a schedule as to when I will make my bank deposits every month. I am now thinking of applying for an insurance/investment for the rainy days. It’s totally exciting, to be honest. 🙂

13. Take time off work.

This year was a busy one at work, but that’s no excuse! This time, I’ll make use of my forced leave–I usually never do, as there’s always heaps to do–documents to be followed up, plus last minute requirements (hi, performance evaluation reports). Since I am planning to go back to law school, I will have to make use of my forced leave, so I could have more time to study.

14. Be a local tourist

The last time I was on a trip was more than ten years ago, and it was to the dreamy province of Bohol. This year, I’m aiming to visit at least one part of the Philippines twice a year. This will require intense saving up–and yes, travel buddies.

15. Keep on learning something new. 

I should really make time for this, even though I will be already in school by that time. I’ve only got to continue what I’ve been doing in #6. I’m really looking forward to attending that workshop I’ve always wanted to attend…

16. Put God first everyday.

Always, I’ve attempted to be faithful to my covenant where daily devotion is concerned. I was always distracted with something else, always getting sidetracked. This time, I’ve made my alarm clock alert in the early morning!

I’m so excited to see how the new year will fold out in the days to come! How about you guys? Hope you’re all having a good start to the new year! 🙂

Until then! 🙂

PS. I’ll be preparing for my return to law school, so I’ll be sharing my notes on my school-related blog! Excited to share them all to you guys!




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