grub + travels + perspectives

Things I’m Happy I Tried and Learned Before 30

My previous birthday posts are always in the form of wishlists, things I must absolutely do in this life time, celebrations (mainly food trips haha), and the different lessons life has taught me, with me usually looking back at the challenging parts of my existence. For this year (and since I like making lists so much), I'm going to switch it up a bit and enumerate the moments that I've experienced in my life (good and bad) that I am truly grateful for which helped me grow and be where I am right now.

I survived a break up. Here's the thing why it was a big deal to me: I've only had one relationship and it lasted for 8 years. In all honesty, I thought he was the one. But things took an unexpected turn and we had to let it go. The break up made me realize that I wasn't happy, he wasn't happy, that I needed to work on myself, look at the grand scale of things, and get out of my comfort zone.

I failed... a lot. My family had high expectations of me academe-wise since I've always had good grades as far as I can remember. I was always in the honors list and my parents didn't doubt that I'd still continue that when I went to college. Boy, I was so wrong. College was harder in so many ways I couldn't even imagine. I endured a lot of failures in those 6 years I was in Mapua. Pride kept me going but eventually I fell out of love of Chemical Engineering. I hopped jobs until I landed where I'm working right now. And finally, I am happy.

I had a bad girl phase in college. I'm not really proud of this one and my mom would perhaps kill me if she found out about this. But there was a moment in time when I would skip class, spend afternoons of most days of the week drinking and sleep at different people's friends' houses. I had tons of fun, I'm not gonna lie about that, and I met my college best friends during this phase in my life. I guess it's good that I got that out of my system. Haha.

I moved to the city and lived independently. Okay, I know independent is a pretty big word to describe my living conditions right now but I still think I'm qualified to be called that. I've lived in Makati for 2 years, in Taguig for 1, and residing in Quezon City right now (all with friends). I still come home to my folks in Cavite most weekends and spend holidays there.

I've lived with people that are not my family. But they're all no strangers, of course. Living with my college and high school friends and now, colleagues from work taught me a thing or two about dealing with different types of people.

I've stretched myself thin for other people. I've learned through the years that I am a people pleaser to a selected few -- friends, family (sometimes) and relationships. I don't easily make friends but when I do, I go to great lengths to be a friend. So yes, sometimes, I wouldn't  mind being on the short end of the stick just to give in to favors. I have this habit of not saying no. Still working on it.

I chose my people. Yes, you do have a say which types of people you want to surround yourself with. I had an episode in my life when I was too afraid to let other people in. I have this notion that I cannot be too open because whatever they learn about me, they can use against me and that all friendships will eventually come to an end. But some people do actually make room for you in their life and prove all your worries wrong and you will meet a special few that you'll spend your entire life with and never get tired of.

I survived a friend break-up. Meeting the right people still doesn't change the fact that not all are meant to stay. There are these rare times that no matter how you thought the pieces fit, you outgrow and you let go.

I got myself inked. I currently have three tattoos: First one I got was the phrase, "the other half of the sky" at my back; second one were asterisk symbols on each shoulder; and third one is the word sehnsucht on my right rib cage. Because why not?

I fell in love and settled. I tried so hard to be everything that this person needed but all efforts were futile because in one way or another, I was not enough. I was madly in love for a long time and though I had the knowledge that I deserved so much more, I stayed because I was afraid of being alone. At times, I thought that that was it for me, that was as good as it's gonna get.

I fell in love and took risks. Because sometimes there's no other way but to jump. Cautiously wading into the water is out of the picture and you're left with nothing but to dive in headfirst. No more putting theories into practice or any form of hesitation, and the only way to get things done was just to go ahead and do it. 

I fell in love and held back. There was once this person I met that I believe just... gets me. Each and every time. It was easy at the same time, hard. No matter how compatible you think you both are and no matter how much you enjoy each other's company and you have this voice in your head that continuously rejoices because you found someone as weird as you, as if the universe conspired and all the stars aligned, you have to suck it up and hold it all in (though 9 times out of 10, you're bursting at the seams with happiness) because it would mess everything that's in order and you have to do it for the greater good. Timing's a bitch!

I participated. I was an introverted homebody that spends all of her free time at home and didn't see anything wrong with it. Then I met the right people that eventually got me out of my shell. I explored until I was exhausted, devoting my weekends going to gigs and musical festivals, museums, hanging out with strangers, meeting new people, movie marathons and cook-offs with friends, tried out Tinder and got to know interesting people, I volunteered and attended all workshops offered at work to continuously educate myself. I had and am still having the best time. The world is my oyster!

I enjoyed being alone again. I was a loner back in college (loner doesn't equate to lonely or loser, k?) I was used to doing everything by myself until one day, I realized that I cannot. After my relationship, I have to admit that I was afraid going to places alone -- eating out by myself, seeing a movie or going to events alone. I was used to having a companion. But then giving myself time and attention made me learn more about who I really am, that it's not the end of the world. I even watched Wanderland by myself!

I traveled a lot. I never thought that I would get to travel to a lot of places for the past 3 years. Never would my 20-year-old self imagine she'd be going to exotic destinations in the Philippines like Palaui Island or Camiguin, snorkeling at El Nido, attend music festivals on mountains, make going up to Baguio an annual thing, much more spelunking in Puerto Princesa and Sagada!

I committed to blogging. I had so many opportunities given to me because of this blog (and got to know some awesome people too!) and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Sure, I have off days when I can't write anything with sense even after staring at my blog for a considerable amount of time but I always get over it. Always. I always find my way back. And here I am after all this years, still going.

I never stopped believing in kindness. No matter how shitty life gets, I know there's something good that will come out of things. I never really get the point of pranks and all that crap that other people pull and how they find some sort of sick satisfaction with that, but I've always made sure to be kind: to myself, to the people that matter to me, and even to those who don't deserve it. It's the easiest thing to do for yourself and for other people. A little kindness always goes a long way.

I invested in quality stuff. I was the ultimate cheapskate back then! I never saw the point of buying shoes that were more than PhP 1,000. I settled with those 'buy one, take one' footwear that, let's face it, I needed to replace after a few months. I found it ridiculous to spend money on clothes and bags in the mall when I can go to thrift stores (nothing against people who still do it but I've already gave up on that). But now I've learned to be more generous with myself (because I damn deserve it!) and buy stuff that actually last long.

I got myself some insurance because future. I made it to 30 years and time just flies so freaking fast these days, before I know it, I'm retiring and retreating to some remote location with my husband and our dog/s (children optional), and of course, I need moolah so I can live a comfortable life until I see the pearly white gates.

I learned to accept and love myself. I've ceased putting my happiness and worth in the hands of other people, and being emotionally dependent. I've appreciated my bad parts as much as the good. I came to terms that this is me and no one else would value me and respect me more than myself. I made mistakes and life doesn't always turn out the way we plan and that's okay, there's still a long way to go. 30? Can't wait for more adventures ahead!

This post is inspired by this article by Nylon. Digital collage by me. Collage kit from Rookie.