2013 was one of the toughest years for me and my family. Not only did the Philippines, my country, experience the negativity of 2013, I did feel the challenges and difficulties, too. It seemed to be a relief of some sort that I share the agonies and struggles of the previous year with most of the Filipinos. A shared grief has always a lessened impact.
This evening, I was able to watch ANC’s year-end report. They summed up all the biggest news in 2013. And I was saddened that most of the big happenings last year were actually very bad news. There were tinges of good news, but 2013 was dominated by negative issues. And I said to myself, “Indeed, I’m a Filipino.”
I decided to write this blog as an answer to a note written by Mr. Francis Kong in his Facebook page. Well, I can say that I am one of his avid followers. It is the new year, anyway—a great time to look back to the year that was and time to prepare for the year to come. He wrote in his note New Year Preparations a three-part self-evaluation and self-preparation in living a good year ahead. I thought of answering and listing down here all the responses to his questions there. So the moment I re-read this in 2015, I might be able to say if I did a really great job in setting and achieving my goals.
I. REVIEW AND LEARN FROM THE PAST
1. What was my greatest blessing last year that excited, stretched, and made me most grateful for?
I thought so hard of what really was my greatest blessing this year. At first, I wasn’t able to think of any, honestly. I know I am blessed in every little way. I am also aware that blessings come in many forms. So I finally realized that the recovery of my son from his two consecutive hospitalizations really made me most grateful for. My son is the most precious gift I have from God, therefore, anything that harms him, harms me a million times more. Those times when he was ill were the most anxious and burdensome times of my 2013. And with his fast recovery, I was able to breathe well again. I am so thankful for all those who extended their help in any means.
2. What was my greatest achievement, accomplishment that really paid off and made me proudest last year?
Raising a child and having a complete and happy family that stays together is always one of my greatest achievements in this phase of my life. I always say that it is never easy to become a mother and a wife. Aside from that role, I also regard my personal competence as one of my accomplishments. I decided to leave my career and pursue a full-time housewife status in 2012. But towards the end of that year, some opportunities came up and I grabbed them. I became a licensed financial advisor then. I know that was a good choice as I can work in my own time, no pressure. But in 2013, I once again decided to enter the workforce in full-time. I thought I am really honed to be a career woman. But of course, being a mother and a wife will always be my priority. So I tried to apply to several job openings where I am qualified. And I once again proved that my personal competence is still my best weapon. I consider passing and qualifying in all the positions in all my job applications my greatest achievement this year. This gave me more confidence that I can be a good contributing member of a good institution. Though I did not pursue any one of those opportunities, for some important reasons, I am optimistic that I’ll get what I really wanted in 2014. No more job mismatch nor wrong expectations for me!
3. What are my three most important mistakes?
This question may be the most asked in my head, all through the years. Yes, I always ask myself whenever I face difficult situations. In 2013, I can say that the three most important mistakes that I made and helped me realize a lot of things evolve in friendship, personal choices, and parenting.
On friendship: 2013 was a tough year for me and my circle of best friends. Last year, I chose not to associate more often and bridged a gap with one of my best friends. I had my reasons. That was hard and emotionally draining, too. I thought, after the turnout of events later, that I might have been too harsh on her. She might not have read and understood my signals. I thought that was it. But there’s more. A huge misunderstanding broke my friendship with one of my closest friends, too. Until now, I did not know how it all started. But all words were said, and we decided to part ways. Where did I go wrong? I may have trusted too much. I may have opened up everything to them too much. And I may have tolerated that kind of relationship with them. Who did I offend? I am not sure if I did. But in all honesty, I never thought of offending any of my friends. Where did I miscalculate? I may have hoped that what happened will soon be fixed. But I was wrong. And I already accepted that fact now. I may have thought that our issues will be talked about in a way everyone can speak the truth. But I was still wrong. And what can I learn from this experience? A lot. But being me, I can always forgive easily. And I can also forget. But I hope that when I forget, I may not forget who my true friends are and those who don’t matter. Because I tend to forget the past and history repeats itself. Lesson learned the hard way.
On personal choices: It is all about my career moves this year. I somewhat wasted some of my energy, time, and money. I applied to different prospective employers, and fortunately, I passed them all. Yes, all! They wanted me. That’s not to brag, but that’s the truth. But when the offer was given, I was disappointed. I may have expected too much. Maybe because I’m in a more rural region of the country. Maybe because I was used to the glam and promises of the corporate world in the city. So I guess, it was me. Anyway, those experiences boost my self-esteem and confidence more. And I just told myself, “charge to experience”.
On parenting: Because I was too preoccupied of finding a new career, I might have missed taking care of my son delicately. And so he got sick and was confined to the hospital twice in 2013. With that, I promise him that I’ll take care of him more. I’ll cook for him more yummy and healthy meals. And I’ll have more quality time playing and learning with him. No more sickness in 2014!
4. How would my spouse, my best friend, my mentor look at these things? What would they say about last year? How would they evaluate my successes, my mistakes, and the things I’ve learned?
Well, these mistakes did not happen the first time in 2013. I almost always do these in my life. I may be so stubborn that I do not learn from my mistakes. That is why these things keep on happening again and again. As what my husband always tells me, I should know how to be more frugal in emotions with my circle of friends. This is in order to guard myself from being hurt, backstabbed, and taken advantage of. I was too kind and too nice, he said. And I know that any thing that is too much is also bad. With my best friend and my mentors, I know they know me so well. They never run out of words of advice for me. I appreciate that a lot. As to what these important people say about my 2013, I can tell that they sensed that I had a rough year. And knowing them, I’m sure they are all proud that I was able to once again face and surpass this challenging time of my life. 2013 is over and I am so ready to leave all the “negativities” behind. And sometimes, lessons are learned the hard way, mistakes are made repeatedly in order to fully come into senses that enough is enough.
II. PREPARING TO ADVANCE
1. How will I enrich my life and my family this year? How can I make my relationships more fun, more intimate, and more loving?
One of my most-lived mottos is ENDURE WHEN YOU MUST, ENJOY WHILE YOU CAN. I also believe that in order to live a happy life, you must live to the fullest. I am the type of person who doesn’t really care about what others will say. I always live my life according to my own perception and own decision. This is my life, anyway. And to enrich my life more? I will continue to become an adventure-lover person. I love to discover a lot of things, even at my own risk. It is also my trait not to stay in my comfort zone. I always seek for new and more worthwhile experiences. For nothing can substitute experience. I will spend more and more enjoyable quality time with my family. Seize every opportunity to be happy together. And to make my relationship more fun, more intimate, and more loving? My mom told me to become my husband’s wife and mistress at the same time. Also, as I always do, never forget to take care of myself to look perfectly beautiful in the eyes of my husband. In that way, he’ll keep on drooling and wanting me. (LOL) But seriously, in order to keep your man, you should be everything he wanted and needed. Everything. And for my friends and family/relatives, I will always give them the gift of time. Time given is a part of yourself given to them. Time is the most precious gift we can give to our loved ones. But of course, make that time a quality and unforgettable time.
2. What would I like to add, change, or eliminate in my daily routine this year? What tolerations must go? What joys and ordinary pleasures will I add to my schedule starting today?
The first time I read this part, my mind almost crowded with a lot of answers. First things first. What will I add? I will exercise more. I swear I badly needed some physical workout. I am more of a mentally-active person rather than a physically-active one. I can read books all day, or write anything the whole day. But I can’t withstand working out for more than 5 minutes. I feel so tired easily. And this year, I want to be more physically active and get back to shape (fingers crossed). I would also like to challenge myself in reading more challenging materials. I find learning really fun. I am always hungry for new information that can fill my not-so-filled head. For the things I want to change? Maybe I want to lessen my coffee consumption. I drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day. And sometimes, I palpitate so hard that I can feel my whole body shaking. I am almost addicted to coffee. And so I want to lessen my consumption into just a maximum of 2 cups a day. I would also want to have more sleep. I am so insomniac. I cannot sleep early. I want to have a lot of sleep and beauty rest. I should be sleeping before 10pm, and not to sleep at 2 or 3am every single day. That is the main reason I am so iron-deficient and anemic. For the things I want to eliminate, I think I should stop eating a lot of sweets and junk food. This year, I am turning 30 and I want to take care of my body more. I want to start a healthy living. No more fatty, salty, and sweet foods for me! For the joys and ordinary pleasures that I will add to my routine starting today, I guess more hugs and kisses for my boys will complete my day. I will hug and kiss them more the moment I wake up until the time I sleep at night. Their hugs and kisses are my best comforter at all times.
3. What financial goals do I have in 2014?
Everybody dreams of becoming adequately wealthy in their lives. I do, too. I am not asking for so much wealth. All I just wanted is a little bit more of enough. In that way, I can give more and be a blessing to more people. As a registered financial advisor, I want to help educate more people who need financial literacy. It is not a valid reason to say that your earnings are not enough. Everybody can live a better and more fruitful life with just the right attitude, discipline, and thinking about handling finances. For my financial goals, I would like to stay optimistic that my future and my family’s future is becoming more and more promising. In 2014, I would like to save more and invest some more. Less spending means more savings.
4. What will I do to maintain my health?
In 2013, I can say that I became reckless in taking care of my health. Gaining several pounds of weight is one indication that I lost control of myself. Though I started some physical activities, I also ended them so soon. As what I’ve said in the previous section, more physical activities for me starting this year. No more excuses. I should get up and be on my feet at all times. Laziness aside, I should start more exercises and eat more healthy foods. Here’s to a healthier and new ME!
5. Intellectually, how will I improve this year?
I always find learning so much fun. That is why I read a lot of articles that I find beneficial and entertaining, too. This year, more readings, more materials. Also, I want to learn new skills this 2014. I always wanted to learn how to bake. So I guess I can start this year. I also want to enroll in a financial program online and enhance my financial knowledge more. I would also want to continue working for a good employer that I can be a good contributor to. It is because I want to have more experiences in life. If I broaden my horizons more, I can grow more and be better. Honestly, I want to do a lot of things. I always want to. But for some reasons, time is not enough. That holds true for everybody. But anyway, I will just do more as I can with my limited time and resources.
III. DREAM BIG DREAMS
1. Where am I going in the next 10, 15, or 20 years? What will I achieve?
As a believer of Chinese zodiac, my sign, a Capricorn, says that I am an extremely ambitious person. That is so true. That is why when I dream, it is always big, and people will say it is almost impossible. Almost. But still, possible. I will not state here what my BIG dreams are. There are actually a lot in my list. But when asked where will I be 10-20 years from now? I see a happily contented woman having everything she needs, helping more people, and successfully fulfilling her purpose on Earth. What will I achieve by then? Real happiness and contentment in life. I prefer to be generalizing here and keep the details of my dreams to myself, because that would take me endless hours to finish narrating. What’s important is that I see myself in that stature, in the flesh, a solid picture, not just a vivid dream. I will be who I wanted to become.
2. What are my major values and purposes for the next phase of my life?
People always tell me that I can give sound advice and words or wisdom. Credits to my life experiences. Without my past, I will not be as learned as I am today. I may not realize these things if those never happened. And many new-found friends and acquaintances always say that I am an inspiration to them of some sort. By just telling them the story of my life, I was able to touch their lives and made them realize a lot of things. With that remark, the urge of being an inspiration to others grow in me more and more each and every time. I am not a preacher, but I can be a good counselor. And for the next phase of my life, I would like to touch and inspire more lives, for their betterment, too. I would like to help more and more people as much as I can. I don’t intend to have a monument when I die. I would just like to be remembered as someone who is not a saint but is willing to give a helping hand to any extent. I am not a selfish person who will wish all the best only for myself. Because I know that we are all better off when everybody is living a better life.
3. If I could do only ONE BIG PROJECT in my lifetime, what would it be?
With a heart of a philanthropist, one of the things in my DREAM BIG list is to have my own foundation. I may not be that wealthy enough at this point of my life to found my own charitable institution, but I hope to build one when the right time comes. Again, the word HELP is my principle here. I know how good it feels to share your blessings with others. It is achieving the highest form of need in Maslow’s hierarchy: Self-Actualization.
To sum up all my responses in this three-part New Year Preparations, it all boils down to one thing: BE BETTER, DO BETTER. The past year is over and done. The new year has come with a promise of new hope, new beginning, and new life. We will not advance in this future if we will carry all the negativities of the past year nor if we totally forget the lessons the past year taught us. It will always be the best to look back, just a glance of the past, and keep moving forward. As for me, I have never surrendered in any battle that life had given me. I can say that I have experienced the “downest” of the down moments of my life, the saddest of the sad experiences, and the “toughest” of the tough moments of my existence. I never gave up. And I never will. Because I will always hold to my truth that THE BEST IS ALWAYS YET TO COME.
Happy 2014! May we all be blessed with a pure heart and a better life this year. The New Year is a gift from God so may we use it for the betterment of others and for the betterment of ourselves. Cheers!!!