Posted in Corner of Gratitude, Thoughts and Notions

My 2018 Review

“Life is an onion – you peel it year by year and sometimes cry.” ― Carl Sandburg, Remembrance Rock

It’s the last day of the year today. I still haven’t decided how to feel about this year. To be honest, it feels like 2018 happened so quickly that I am trying to figure out what happened in between. I was thinking that maybe, by writing this post, I can go back to the days of 2018 and see how it was for me.

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At the beginning of the year, I was just one month into my new job. The people were great, the job was challenging in an awesome way, and I felt grounded. I felt a sense of permanency that I haven’t felt in a while. Not having to travel far from home for work meant I did not have to put plans on hold to check whether there was going to be an out-of-town assignment or not. That meant that I had complete control over my schedule which meant a whole year’s worth of weekends to do anything I wanted to do.

Having so much time in my hands, I spent a lot of it learning new things. I started by making soap using melt-and-pour bases. I had so much fun concocting soaps, most of which were used at home or given away. It was therapeutic, watching soap bases melt and harden again, this time, scented with essential oils and decorated with dyes and whatever I could find in my kitchen.

I attended a workshop on how to make simple sandals and had a blast making footwear for myself. The sandals I made were eventually used when I sprained my ankle because they were the only comfy footwear that did not hurt my foot more than it needed. In the process of healing, I also learned about epsom salt and made tons of foot soaks for myself.

My inner warrior showed itself when I attempted archery for the first time. Now, this isn’t the type where you have a viewer to help you hit the target. This was traditional archery where you have to rely on your instincts. Oh, and I popped a balloon target while at it *wink*.

I was big on workshops this year. I attended one that was about caging crystals and making accessories! Despite not being a fan of jewelries and trinkets, I truly enjoyed the hobby so much that I bought my own tools and materials to make myself lots of baubles! On days when negative thoughts in my head would not let me sleep, I turned to my stones and wires to help me quiet my thoughts. They helped me a lot, to be honest.

I don’t wear my creations so much anymore. I guess I never was the type to wear accessories. I would still like to make trinkets one of these days to gift to friends.

Still on workshops, I attended two about tarot reading. Oh yeah! Being someone who enjoyed reading about witchcraft (the Harry Potter type only) and oracles, I was truly excited about tarot cards. I mean, it’s like getting you the answers you already know deep inside but cannot put a finger on.

These stuff, astrology and other forms of fortune-telling intrigue me. I don’t believe anyone can ever know what will happen in the future but you got to admit, these stuff are fun!

In the kitchen, I still suck at cooking. This year though, I established quite a relationship with my electric oven by making treats, most of which I only made for the first time. I learned how to make bread and I finally got to make corn muffins which I have dreamed of making since I was a little girl. Oh, don’t forget the cream puffs!

I also started bringing my baked stuff to work for my colleagues to try. I started with just my team but eventually allowed people from other teams to try what I bake. I think it’s my way of saying that I have completely opened up myself to them. You see, I only bake for people I have come to care about. By bringing my baked goods to work, I basically opened the door fully for them to be in my life.

I still have not decided whether to make baking a sideline to earn more money. For me, baking is something very personal and must be made with love. To bake batches and batches of cakes and cookies for people I have no connection or any established relationship with is a very alien idea to me. Still, I am not shutting the idea down.

There was not much travel this year unlike in 2017. Still, I managed to go to Hong Kong twice and got to visit Pampanga and Cebu.

I miss flying. To be honest, I did not want to have a desk job while I was growing up. It felt like it was going to bore me to death. So, in this new job, I have to admit missing the hustle and the bustle of the airport. I missed the excitement of going to unfamiliar places to meet people I only knew through their names on the company’s database. I missed the side trips on weekends like swimming with turtles or hopping on a zip line! I also learned to appreciate travel so much more now that I have to pay for my travels.

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Despite that, this new job made me feel grounded. It has given me a sense of permanency that my heart longed for after it has gotten weary of the constant packing of the suitcase and catching flights across the country. From 2016 to 2017, the house we’re renting felt so unfamiliar to me; so unfamiliar that it felt like the hotel rooms we stay in when out-of-town. I am much more at home with the place now. I bet that if I stayed at my previous job, I would still feel like a nomad.

I truly love Hong Kong! While I do not wish to live there, going there to visit my sister meant mini adventures that I always look forward to. There was so many firsts for me in Hong Kong like riding a cable car and going near a cow. I also experienced riding the tram and sitting at the upper deck of their double-decker bus. I enjoyed doing not-so-touristy-and-more-residently type of things there like going to the grocery or watching a movie.

Locally, I only managed to go to Pampanga and Cebu. Still, both trips were worth it because I got to spend time with friends and with relatives.

Speaking of friends, I am so glad that friends I have made from my previous work continue to be friends to this day. In fact, they still invite me to some of their events! I miss them a lot to be honest. That is why I treasure moments I get to spend with them because they have proven to be real friends through thick and thin.

I am also blessed with awesome colleagues at my new work. They make working so much more fun despite the workload and difficult conversations we have to make throughout the year. I am fortunate to be working with people who keep me motivated to do my best at all times regardless if it’s operations-related or not.

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When it comes to health and fitness, I went back to yoga this year. I admit I had to stop for a bit because of some complications due to my sprain earlier this year and heavy workload. I plan to be more consistent in 2019 because I enjoyed yoga so much. Not only was it good for my physical health, it was also good for my mental health as it allowed me to know myself in ways only yoga can allow me to.

Career-wise, there were a lot of changes that happened to our team that allowed me to show what I got. I celebrated my first anniversary with my current employer early this month and I realize that in a span of one year, I went through so many phases of personal and professional growth because of all the changes and challenges that the team had to face. That is why, even if it’s basically a desk job and is a tad bit routinary, I am far from being bored. There’s just always so much to learn, so much to discover and so much to contribute. That motivates me to go to work everyday, albeit some days can be draining and exhausting too.

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

When it comes to faith, I recently started going to service, although with a different church. It’s not a Catholic one which I grew up in. I still fail to go consistently, maybe because going to church was not something my parents made sure to make a habit for me and my sister. Still, when I manage to go, I always leave with answers and more questions.

More questions. Yep. This year had me going through lots of introspection and reflection, not only about faith, but about life too, in general. This is the year I really questioned my purpose and the reason for my existence, not so much because I was being emotional, but because of a true need to figure out where I am headed.

Yesterday Rizal day. Jose Rizal, our unofficial national hero, once said “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” What he means is that a person who does not know how to look back cannot reach his destination. I believe that looking back allows us to see where were got it right and where we need to improve. I look back at 2018 filled with gratitude for everything it has taught me about myself and about life. This year was all about growth for me.

I am excited to see what 2019 has in-store for me. I hope it will be a good year for everyone. With that, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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Photo by Martin Hauenstein on Pexels.com

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