After New Year’s Eve, we always look back and survey the time that has passed, be thankful for having been through the last 365 days even if it is not an entirely smooth ride. Especially for us.
There was a doctor’s recommendation for the operation on my feet that would cost almost a hundred thousand for each foot, an introduction to cancer, a distancing of relationships that continued to stretch further as the days go by, a death in the family, a reappearance of people whose names alone make you sick to the stomach, an instance of flooding in the house that happened twice in a month, and much more that are still difficult to fathom.
It is a heavy way to start a year in review, yes, but this is to underline the sharp pinpricks of light in the darkness, the bits and pieces that remind us about the good: A decision to venture on a path I never knew I could do, a second chance in life during that trip to Sagada last February (I should be on that Florida bus that fell off a cliff and killed numerous lives, including local celebrity Tado, when I changed my mind at the last minute and took a van-for-hire instead), a recognition of a handful of people you can trust and hold on to, an epiphany on the need to burn bridges that go nowhere, a time to be healthy and fit (no alcohol in the last six months, hurrah), a return to the appreciation and creation of art and the occasional literature, a oneness of siblings despite the distances, a mother who makes this lifetime more beautiful and bearable, and a whole lot of blessings in different forms and interpretations.
Indeed, 2014 brought a sense of clarity like no other year has ever revealed: That every act has its place in the order of things, that one’s idea of right and wrong is as unique and different to another, and that one has to get up from where one has fallen with humility as immense as a prayer.
There’s always the distinction between what’s necessary and what’s not, and it is an imperative to recognize this at the soonest time possible. In short, all’s a matter of choice. People hurt you? It’s their choice. People are happy? It’s their choice. People love you? It’s their choice. And it is your choice to respond to their responses in a way that does not demean you but exalts you, makes you stronger and respected no matter how clichéd it goes. Remember, you are not born to harm or to be maltreated.
There are details though from both distant and not too distant past that jolt you up in an ordinary day, but one must keep calm. Especially when it comes to love and its intricacies. What I know from knowledge and wisdom is that it tends to bring remembrances, sinking the anchor that is nostalgia and rekindling what has been and what could be. That is why love can be painful; at times it drags along or clings to the past. If, and only if, that love has always and ever been true.
Though it takes dedicated will, one can break free from the shackles of this very subjective norm.
Last December, while cleaning up the mess in the basement caused by the first episode of flooding, I found a watercolor and ink illustration on board under heaps of paper and rubbish. Based on a note posted at the back, I apparently made it for a project in Physics under a Mrs. Pizzaras last September 26, 2004. That’s exactly a decade ago, when I was once an idealistic, overly optimistic and ambitious 16-year old.
Funny how such mementos could creep up on you at the most unexpected time, bringing you to how things have changed but not entirely so. I kept that high school Physics project, and from that moment I reminded myself once more it’s the good that ought to be remembered.
So this 2015, what I can wish for anyone is to be content even with the littlest of things, to be more honest, kinder, and happier not only for others but for one’s self, and ultimately to wake up each morning and say, “This day’s going to be good.”
To family, friends, and loved ones who stayed, remained modest and truthful, thank you for sharing with us your time and comfort in that trying chapter of our lives. Let’s wake up to new beginnings each day. The sky is never the limit.