Quarter of a Century

It has been quite a while since I wrote something personal. Which is an irony in itself, actually.

I make a living out of words but I have neglected making use of these words to truly live.

Perhaps somewhere along the way, I lost the ability to piece them together.

Let’s just say I was too busy (although we know that if something is truly important, we make time).

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I am halfway through my 20’s.

I am letting this fact sink in for a moment. Along with the slight panic arising.

There is a certain psychological and societal pressure in turning a quarter of a century.

Because turning 25 also means re-evaluating the decisions you’ve made, the life goals you want to achieve, measuring their impact, and becoming more self-aware. This is ‘adulting’ at its peak.

I am not quite sure how to feel just yet. I have always been words and that I haven’t been able to write and articulate what I feel trouble me.

Interesting is the word that I could think of to summarize what the past year had been like.

I got assigned somewhere miles away from home. Experienced a painful heartbreak. Finished a big project. Ended my term as a technical assistant. Went back home. Joined a national organization. Turned down a job offer. Became jobless. Applied for grad school. Started school (again), started a new job – all in a span of a year!

Yet in between these narratives are little stories – ones that made me cry, laugh, and overwhelmed with joy. They are stories of struggles and of triumphs. Of goodbyes and hellos.  Of unpredictability and life transitions that I don’t know if I am ready for.

And despite a challenging year, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because damn it if I hadn’t grown so much from all of these experiences.

It was an emotional birthday. I cried a lot in between celebrations. I was touched by the heartwarming gestures and messages. I was overcome by so much gratitude and love for everyone and everything. It hasn’t been an easy year and I haven’t been the best version of myself yet people gave me a chance; they showed me patience, trust, friendship and love.

Turning a year older, I am allowing myself the freedom to become who I really want to be. I am becoming gentler with myself, more forgiving of my shortcomings.  The early years of my 20s were periods of adjustment. It was fragile, sometimes uncomfortable, but definitely eye opening. The truth is that it amazes me that I’m already done with my early 20s because sometimes it feels like I’ve only just begun and that the world is offering me a million and one opportunities – all I have to do is grab them.

But I also learned to slow down. To take in the moment. Getting older means acknowledging that sometimes there will be bad days but it doesn’t mean a bad life. Getting older does not mean vanquishing all the fears and insecurities that plagued me when I was younger but learning to deal with them.

I look back at the first 24 years of my life with a grateful heart.

On my birthday, I woke up hearing my dad and my niece singing me a happy birthday song; to my mom telling me how much she loves me; to my friends organizing my birthday salubong;  and to friends who took their time to greet me and remind me that they will always be there for me.

Someone once pointed out that as we get older, birthdays tend to become quieter and spent with fewer people. I guess to some extent that’s true. And I am perfectly okay with that. It is enough.

My wish as I turn 25 is that I do not run out of moments that will make my mouth sore from all the smiling and my stomach from hurting from all the laughing.

I wish for sunshine and travel and music and butterflies.

I wish for poetry and words and love.

May I always rest in the certainty that I am not alone; that I was never alone.  And that I am surrounded by love—more than I could ever imagine.

May I learn to trust in God’s timing.

May I never run out of hope and faith. May I continue to dream. And may I always have the courage to chase after them.

May I never lose that sense of wonder. And wander.

May I learn to be flexible with life but know when to stand my ground.

May I always see the goodness in everything and everyone.

May I love with a vulnerable heart for it is this kind of heart that knows how to love freely.

May I bloom where I am planted.

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I am still the girl who is trying to find her way into the vast expanse of the universe. And I plan to enjoy it – every bits and pieces of this life. Because it is beautiful and because it is mine.

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Perhaps I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked to because I was listening to myself.

And as I finally hear my own voice, I’m glad I listened.

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