May 24, 2019

In my past birthdays, I have always written a list of things that I have learned in that previous year. I wanted to shake things up a bit this time around.

You see, when I was younger, I would always write down my dreams and goals in life in bullet points. This was a trait that I have adapted in my early adult life. I would write down my plans and goals in the years to come, then I would obsess about it. More often than not, these plans have changed. I might have lost my cool whenever these plans changed, but I have always tried to come up with other solutions. Again, listing down my new plans in bullet points.

But in reality, life does not work this way. It was hard for myself to admit it, but I have come to terms with it by now. It took me 23 years to get that, and on my birthday, I want to change and overcome this trait.

Sure, bullet points came in handy when you were a student. I will admit, it certainly helped me a lot. Funnily enough, I had so much paper pinned up on the door of my closet with never ending lists of things to do, places to go to, and people to meet. This kept me going, and it kept me focused on my goals. Et voilà, I have successfully finished my degree with flying colours.

But as I ascended into the real world, I realised that bullet points do not work at all. Well, for me, at least. There are a lot of things going on, and our focus, passion, and habits change. Mine, most certainly, did. When I was in university, I had wanted so badly to become a playwright. My bullet point plan looked a little bit like this:

  • Finish my degree.
  • Move to New York.
  • Get a job.

Funnily enough, I had done all three. But there were things that happened that I never would have foreseen. I had finished my degree, and had moved to New York. As soon as I got to the Big Apple, my preference in art had changed. I was more interested in filmmaking, photography, and motion picture. Leaving the thespian life behind, I had chased my new calling. I got a job that is nowhere near what I had in mind when I was in school. Life had played me, and I never even wanted to play.

In 23 years, I have learned so much. I had learned lessons that I never would have learned had I stayed in the Philippines. Heck, I now even speak four languages: English, Tagalog, French, and Spanish. I never would have learned these languages had I stayed at home. For all my travels, I am grateful. There are lessons that I needed to learn outside of my comfort zone, and problems that I needed to solve on my own.

I had lost my true identity in my dream city, New York, and in the most random town in the mountains of Africa, I had found who I was meant to be. Life, indeed, works in mysterious ways. Too mysterious for me to figure out, but I intend to live it to the fullest.

My life has been such a crazy ride, and I never would have made it if it were not for the people I love the most. To be honest, my family never really cared much for birthday celebrations. You never even get a hug nor a card. All you get is a text, and if you are lucky, a little post on Facebook with your photograph on it. Pathetic. But I guess all families are quite different. I was not unloved or anything, but they were just not keen on birthday celebrations.

I, on the other hand, am always excited when it comes to birthdays—especially my birthday. Unwavering, I am the first one to get a cake, a birthday card, and a birthday greeting to anyone in my family who is celebrating their birthdays. This is something I am hoping to pass onto my future family. I think it signifies that you are loved, and people are excited to celebrate your existence. But people do show their love in different ways, so who am I to judge?

This year, I would like to think that I am a wiser version of myself. There are roads I must take on my own, but also, there are roads that I must take on with other people. I am excited for the latter. It has been so lonely, at times, going through these roads all by myself. But I am not complaining, for this is the life that I have chosen to live.

For my birthday this year, I am only asking for one thing: for you to support me on my next adventure via Patreon. I am biking through Latin America on the summer of 2020 for women empowerment. There are more details on my Patreon page, and you may click HERE to check it out. I will be so grateful if you would do me this favour on my birthday. So, thank you in advance, friends.

For now, it is time for me to retire for the night and snooze into the abyss. As another candle is added onto my birthday cake, another year is added onto my life, and more lessons to be learned from this point on. I cannot wait to embark on my adventures in the future. Thank you for all of your support, and with this, I get to live the life that I love. Cheers, friends!

***Photograph is from Unsplash.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Galatians 6:7 NIV

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