2017: A year of appreciation

2017 was full of ups and downs, as every year should have; I spent most of mine in solitude, ruminating on what I sincerely wanted out of this life. As for someone who constantly shifts from interest to interest, I had to be a bit more firm this time with my personal goals, both short-term and long-term.

For a fresh start, I decided to highlight the things that made me happy in 2017. I’ve become more appreciative of who I am, what I have, and where I’ve gotten. I am the person I got to know best —my inclinations, desires, and limitations. I may have narrowed down the paths I will take for myself, but I’ll always be testing the waters, trying out different things, leaving no road less traveled.

I’m looking back at a year that answered the question, “What makes you happy?”. There’s a fine line between being happy and thinking you’re happy. Glad I’m able to figure it all out before I reach my twenties.

UpStart in Ateneo

I love how, like a startup, I’m constantly searching and growing through value-adding experiences. The highlight of my college freshman year? Definitely UpStart. Out of the seven organizations I signed up for, UpStart was a second home. I’m so grateful to have been appointed Associate Vice President for Content Management on my first year. It’s only been a semester, and I’ve learned so much more in this org than I did in my classes. (I don’t have my majors yet!)

I admire the startup culture’s versatile nature, where nothing stays static. In a community where collaboration is valued over competition, networking events are always around the corner. Not only do we connect with other aspiring entrepreneurs, but also learn from the best in the industry. I have never experienced such a welcoming and amiable atmosphere, where I can just casually mingle with anyone. I never understood why it has to be so off with other people; it’s made me feel a bit awkward with starting conversations on campus these days.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) followed by food trips!

Half of my summer was spent on exercise and food trips with my aunt. We’d attend HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) at Elorde in the morning, then pig out somewhere in the afternoon, defeating the purpose of our workout.

I gained some muscle real quick on my biceps because I didn’t want to look like a wimp on my first session with my 5 lbs weights, so I jumped to 15 lbs, which eventually backfired on me; all that muscle turned into fat overtime as I stopped working out for an entire semester.

As for abs, I still got ’em! They’re just not as visible as before because I haven’t had training in months. It’s as if all the food I eat goes to my thighs anyway.

There were times when we’d miss the 9 am session, so we’d stay at Tokyo Bubble Tea for some sushi and milk tea. My aunt’s the closest I have to an older sister, so she’s one of the very few people I’m comfortable sharing my unpopular perspectives, odd thoughts, and random gimmicks with.  We’ve been spending a lot of time together ever since she became a tita at age six.

The day wouldn’t be complete without a few games at the arcade. We’d start with massage chairs, then onto Piano Blocks, air hockey, and other games with guns. She’s won three huge teddy bears with all those Timezone points!

Exercise and heavy meals do cancel each other out, but hey, they’re two great ways to relieve stress in a day.

Spontaneous day trips

Staying at home during the day quite upsets me. Don’t get me wrong, I find much comfort in the cool and homely interior of our bungalow, but aren’t we all hungry for some adventure? It feels rather refreshing to be away from home for a while. Like yoga, a day trip is a form of momentary detachment, which helps me achieve inner peace.

Anvaya Beach and Nature Club

My first time at the beach! Hooray for sandcastles and body positivity. For the past seventeen years, I’ve been wearing rash guards to resorts and I’d feel so embarrassed because I looked like some huge twelve-year-old who runs around pools and leaves the shower area dirty. It felt so freeing to just sit my ass on the shore, let the wind embrace my skin, and feel the wavelets brush my feet.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Moments of solitude (and caffeine)

MA+D Manila

I like settling down in coffee shops by myself a lot with a warm cup of mocha ; it’s part of my self-contemplation, other than strolls at the park. Commercialized cafes like Starbucks and Bo’s don’t work for me because I end up forcing myself to be productive, when all I plan to do is look into the view of the streets and think. Some would term it as basically, “doing nothing”, but so what? It’s what soothes me when the stress builds up.

Mocha, Pacific Coffee

Ironically, I’m aware of the placebo effect coffee gives me; it’s come to a point where my head aches without it. I’ve noticed how my mood shoots up after a few sips, for no concrete reason. I guess it’s all in the aroma, body, acidity, and flavour. I like my coffee with milk because it gives a thicker mouthfeel.

Dirty Latte, Tyler’s Cafe

Simple moments like these make me appreciate life more. Nothing gets cozier than sitting by the window with a book to read and coffee to savour.

Friends and family

I don’t love a lot of people, but I cherish my friends and family.

Notwithstanding that I am comfortable meeting new people and keeping the first conversations flowing, I personally find it difficult to maintain deep-seeded relationships with anyone. Maybe I’m not made to be someone’s lover nor someone’s keeper, but one thing’s for sure, I make time when I’m needed. 

A huge thank you to Samme and Lans for being the two friends I can confide in and (still) share anything with, including my repressed thoughts and pent-up frustrations. They always seem to relate, but even when they don’t, they listen. We go a long way! Many more memories to come, alright?

And another thank you to the tatas and all the other friends I’ve met in my first college semester! At some point in 2017, you each made me smile and kept me company.

I made it clear to myself that I would repay my family one day for all the great things they’ve done for me. They deserve the biggest thank you for providing me with the basics. Mom’s always whipping up the most sumptuous home-cooked meals and the best baked-goods! Dad brings us to restaurants and makes sure we have what we both need and want. Tyler fills in the silence of the house and takes nice photos of me, hehe.

Baking

How I spend my weekends at home? Getting fat with all my cookies. My personal favourites are the Almond Chocolate Chips and the Snickerdoodles! I used to sell these at school for 10 pesos each, just to add to my coffee allowance. I’m planning to sell brownies and cookies (for their actual price) this year once we hire a chauffeur.

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking helps me get my mind off of things, and it also gives me a sense of productivity.

Anyway, the truth is that 2017 was also pretty stagnant, which is why it took me two days to do some recalling and writing. It’s hard to blog about something you’re not really feeling at the moment. It’s frustrating, but the process made me realize how blessed I am to be enjoying healthy, delectable meals everyday, refreshing trips, and a comfortable home. If there’s one thing many people lack, it’s appreciation.

Well, here’s to a year that was. Have a great 2018!

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