This Is How You Remind Me What Truly Matters

Dear God,

You really have a strange way of making me understand my life, my journey. You don’t want me to think that the choices I’ve made are purposeless. You want me to see everything clearly, find reasons, know the answers to my whys.

I’ve stumbled upon this website called: instant street viewer. I’ve known it before, used it before. Whenever I’m missing a certain place, I’ll just visit the site and type the address of where I want to be.

I chose the place I lived for 8 months. I didn’t exactly know why. I just felt like I wanted to revisit it, and made myself feel like I was there again. I picked the part where I’d go down from a bus stop and walk home. It was so funny that I still knew every single direction to my apartment. It’s as if I could navigate my way even when my eyes closed.

The feeling was all TOO familiar, as I passed through the street using the cursor, instead of my feet. Immediately, a sense of longing and nostalgic poured inside of me. Everything felt so near, yet far so away. I remember all the details that I saw. I can’t believe that part of my life ended abruptly.

I used to walk on those streets every day of my life, and… it was disheartening how I took those moments for granted, not knowing that one day they’d soon end. I wonder how many times I walked on the same cul-de-sac, how many times I smelled that distinct odor, how many times my heart fluttered as the wind brushed my hair.

I remember how lucky I was to be living somewhere different.

But then, when I was on my halfway through my old apartment, I realize how the park in front of me reminded me so much of how young I was at that time.

I remember how stupid, and ignorant, and emotional, and weak I was. I remember all the reasons why I should not look back. I rolled my eyes and contemplated whether I should close the screen. But then a part of me wanted to finish what I already started. So I pushed through.

10 minutes to the building. I saw the grocery store where I bought my snacks on late afternoons. I saw the car shop — I used to think how amazing it would be to work there, because my place was close to it. I saw the spot where I dropped my phone. Everything was still fresh in my mind. It was only less than a year of me living there, yet I couldn’t forget all those memories that I experienced.

I tilted the screen to look up at the sky. This was the part when I said I wanted to go home. This was the part when I was so crushed on the inside and nobody knew or understood why. Nobody wanted to know or care. This was the part that I asked You why.

5 minutes to the building. Those establishment I saw on both sides of the street were old (this website wasn’t updated). I saw men in their traditional dresses. They used to frighten me in the beginning. But they made me realize that the world is actually a safe place.

I was below the building that I lived. I couldn’t go inside. Guess they left that part for privacy reasons. I looked around. Turned around and round. Checked the sky. The street. I was here. I used to live here. I’ve made lots of choices. LOTS.

I admit I missed everything. Ugh. Too much emotion. It was getting hard to explain.

I moved on to the main street where I rode a bus to get to work. Again, I knew the direction by heart. I saw the big grocery mall I went into — even at 11 pm. That was such a fun experience — midnight grocery shopping. Think I should write about that one day. That was such a movie moment experience.

A long stretch of road. I saw the bench I sat on a late summer afternoon. My body was sweating and I was unable to cry because I was SO dehydrated. (Middle East problem)

I saw the city mall. Again, I missed it.

I’ve had enough. It was too much time, too much memories, too much looking back.

Towards the end of it, I felt okay. I have learned that my emotions are confusing me a lot of times, especially during this age. I wanted one thing and then hated it. I left one place and wanted to go back again. I admit that sometimes, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know where I want to be.

I’m hot and cold. I’m young and impulsive.

But I guess that’s what You want me to learn.  You want me to learn how to control my emotions. And maybe one day I will. I’ll just have to give myself time.

Some days I missed the cities that I left. But as I closed the window on my computer, I knew in my heart that I was happy with the final decisions I made. I’m happy with where I am. I’m happy to be with the people that I love, and who love me.

I get confused once in a while, but I think that, what You’re wanting me to learn is — knowing exactly what’s really important to me.

And ultimately, this is what is important to me.

Amen.

You can find new beginnings

The odds of turning your dreams into reality are always optimistic, so never say never.

Even the people you look up to so much or the celebrities who you thought already have everything in their lives also experience moments of downfalls. The truth of a matter is we all make wrong moves at one point in our lives, and there’s no guarantee that it won’t happen again. That’s exactly the purpose of life — not to get a perfect score but to always strive to make things right no matter how long it takes. Give yourself a break for all the bad decisions you did in the past and don’t let them prevent you for selecting bold choices in the future. Fear only exists if you allow it to enter inside your head. Your dreams 8 months ago might not be the same set of dreams you will desire 2 years from now. So be open in exploring what you truly want in life. Say yes more often. Don’t be scared to walk through any doors that open before your eyes.

Your dreams are ever changing and you can always find something new to hope for. Look at the sky every day and see how metaphorical it is to every single chance you will undertake in your life — clear and endless.

You will fall in love again, it will take quite some time, but one day you will.

It’s so rare that hopeless romantics get their happily ever after in just first attempt. So don’t be jaded by the woe that transpired in your life. Don’t let the person who threw sticks and stones to your journey of finding the one dim your bright perspective of true love. You might have convinced yourself that solitude works best for you but just give yourself time to restore the broken figures that collapsed inside of you. Your questions of why she broke up with you or why he cheated on you will make sense sooner when you’re ready to accept all the answers. God has a reason why He is separating you to the one you think is the right person for you. He has a bigger purpose we might not understand yet. So have faith in perfect His timings. For all you know, someone better is coming along your way. Open your heart as much as you can and only guard it when it’s necessary. Give yourself second chance to love again and allow someone to love you again.

You are a diamond in sand and one day someone will find you and appreciate how wonderful of a gem you truly are. Look in the mirror and love what you see. You are beautiful inside and out. Go say it and convince yourself.

There will be days in the future when you will meet strangers who will easily become your best friends.

Not everyone is going to betray you. There’s still good left in humanity. You can trust with all your hearts again. You will meet friends who will be happy with what you have achieved and encourage you to do more. That even though you don’t speak their first language or have the same skin color or grow up in the same culture, you can still understand them in some ways through their actions. You will find people who will be in the same page of insanity with you. That buying snacks at a 24-hour grocery store in the middle of a night and driving with headlights off on the outskirts of town are already sense of adventure to them. You will come across with your future best-friends who will make a huge impact and forever change your life. That being each other children’s godparents will become a norm and a yearly summer vacation will be the most look-forward-to-date of the year for all of you.

You have to believe that you’re destined to make acquaintances with sisters’ from another mother or brothers’ from another father. Look for the possibility that people can become part of your family.

You can find new beginnings and magic to the city you will encounter in the future and to the places you will decide to put up a temporary shelter. You can find new beginnings in evolving yourself to the most lovable version of you so that when the right time comes, you will be ready to commit in a love story again. You can find new beginnings to the strangers who will become your life long ally.

Life doesn’t stop for anything or anyone. It moves in a fast-pace that sometimes we can jive into or slip behind. It gives us a new day every twenty four hour to start over again. So be fearless in finding new beginnings.

4th month

There will be days when you feel like you’re running through dead-ends again, seconds when you think you’re almost behind everyone else, minutes when you somehow lost the passion to finish a wonderful project, hours when you realize you’re so far away to start living your dreams it makes you sad.

There will be chilly nights when you look outside your window, look at the dark sky, and feel terribly lonely. There will be moments when you get to remember the part of your life you place your heart to someone’s hands until he crashed it and dropped it. There will be times when you finally admit to yourself that you fell in love with the wrong person at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

But then…

There will also be days when you feel like binge-watching a TV series on the couch while eating your 750 ml worth of ice cream and a bag of Cheetos. You will sit down on your bed and not let yourself be side-tracked by your comparison thoughts and instead focus on your ultimate goals. You will wake up one morning after a refreshing 10-hour of sleep and feel energized to pick up the pieces of that project and start again. You will pursue a hobby that’s going to make you appreciate the present and make your dreams less than far away.

There will be nights when you listen to a current pop song, sing and dance like crazy, and realize why you’re better un-partnered. You will grow up and be wiser in choosing people who you’re going to trust with all your heart. You will look back objectively and know that even in alternate universe, things wouldn’t still work out between you and that person you fell in love.

There’s going to be dull dark moments in the same way that there’s going to be blissful happy moments. And you know what? That is okay. God didn’t promise us Utopia or road which is smoothly traveled. It makes our journeys more fun and interesting.

What’s comforting is knowing that one day you will be given second chances to start your dreams again and redeem yourself against the mistakes you did in the past. You will find a better place than the one you left behind and be surprised to uncover why leaving does you only good in the end. You will meet a guy you like so dearly who’s going to respect you and tell you how much he loves you.

The night is still young and there are so much crazy things to do. The future is just short distance away if we’re willing to be patient and work hard. Because there will be mornings or nights one day when we find something as equal as gem that’s going to make us fall in love, look at the sky then smile, and whisper to ourselves, “We made it.”

24 hours

The last 24 hours have been filled with overwhelming information that drive my emotions to different uncharted territories. Memories that’s supposed to be buried deep somewhere else, never to visit again yet they come running back. Stance on decisions that’s been simmered down with finality, now given an opening with series of doubts.

Late morning with only the sound of rain since 1 am and a woodland pine scent that covers my entire room to soothe my mood, this is what I feel like for the past 24 hours.

I believe that if we truly do not want to give past a power to show up with a tight smile in front of us, we should not be asking history-related questions to certain people. But curiosity, as always, gets the best of me.

First strike was when I came to a full understanding that I didn’t get the same help that the other person received when we were in the exact same situation. Either I didn’t deserve it or I was underestimated — point is it’s long overdue.

Second strike was kind of heartbreaking. See, sometimes I make a decision that I thought was only best for me. I never realized, not even in my wildest dream, that my “then-strategic moves” would inspire other people or provoke them to follow the path that I didn’t expect I lead. Sometimes I was so narcissist I failed to see my slight power to influence other people — that in tiny ways I was a symbol for them to hold on a little longer, that if I pull myself out they might as well pull themselves out.Should I’ve known this would have happened, I might have changed that 20 minutes part of my life. Maybe, just maybe, things would have been the same for all of us.

Originally I was supposed to make a film about these two amazing strikes last night but due to my severe weekend laziness, I changed my mind last minute and slept at 9 pm. This morning I woke up with another information that made my web-sharing desire stronger. A year ago today, I was proclaimed as a CPA. A year ago today, I became a household name even for a day.My achievement resulted into a start of a really great adventure that, as you know, ended up abruptly. I asked myself what have I done with that title? Sure it made me score interviews very quickly but other than that I’m afraid I don’t have much to answer.

Times like this my problem is I keep revisiting my past and everything that I thought I wasted. I believe the root cause is I never feel like I’m totally satisfied with my life so far, everything is in slow-mo and I just want to fast-forward to the day when I can tell to myself, “I made it”. I’m probably in desperate need of support-system from my fellow millennials about this issue.

I’m allowed to make mistake in my early 20s and I learned that my recovery process is as important as my learning process. If I open my eyes wide enough, I might pick up everything that I’m glad I have. Like rainy Sunday morning in my bed under a comforter drowned with a woodland pine scent and Pringles to look forward to after lunch. Maybe the past 24 hours isn’t so bad after all.

The guy who grew a brave heart.

Remember the last time I wrote about you? I thought it would be the last. My friends were with me to back me up. I had all the support in the world. I was willing to move on with my life without you in it. But then, it only took one chat from you and everything began again.

 

You were like a tragic book that made me cry a little. I stopped reading you and stacked you in the bookshelf, never to touch again, because I just couldn’t go through the ending anymore. However my heart wanted to know how it’d feel like to progress in the story. So I went on and I did fairly enjoy the thrill. My guard was up, constantly waiting for the right time when you’re going to rip me apart again. It didn’t come so soon. I set a date when it should come. You decided it still wouldn’t — I was glad. And then one day you surprised me, without any prior notice, you crushed my heart and dropped it without hesitations.

 

I was floored. In fact, I lied awake up until 4 am in the morning deciding whether I should pop up some sleeping pills. I forced myself to sleep, told myself, “Fuck this, I’m too used to this.” But then it haunted me. I shouldn’t have gone through your Facebook profile at that point so I could have postponed the found-truth that you deleted me. I felt like I lost mainly because growing up, I always wanted to be the one leaving and not the other way around. You won the game and it did upset me horribly because I didn’t expect you’d be willing to play that dirty. I guess I wasn’t always right about people.

 

Two days before that we had the most fun of whatever relationship we had. I was ready to tell you my goodbye and I was okay about that. You promised me it wasn’t a goodbye yet, there would be one more. What I didn’t understand was that why did you have to remove me completely from your life? Sure I was aware I said something stupid in the day that followed but weren’t we clear about the fact that we’d still keep in touch no matter what?

 

It’s not in my discretion to tell what people they should do. And so be it. You opened the door and had your way out. I was ghosted. I didn’t know what it meant before until now. I’d still stick to the plan to use our experiences together in the book I’d write in the future. Unlike you, I’d fulfill my promise to cherish and remember the memories we shared. It was the closest thing I had in romance Azam. I wished I could have told you that.

 

I wasn’t the guy who went home crying with a broken heart anymore. Instead, I am the guy who grew a brave heart. The guy who can easily differentiate between what love is and what love is not. The guy who knows exactly how he should be treated and what his heart deserves. And most importantly, the guy who learns his best lesson in a painful way.

 

I guess I can start over now, wake up tomorrow and set my mind in a different perspective. The question about why I let you continue to be part of my life after the second meet-up is something I’ll try to find an answer to. But I’m trying to be okay now. Soon, I know I will totally be. There are so many better things that will come along in my way and you can’t be part of me by the time I’ll get to experience them. So it’s me saying goodbye after all.

Certified Public Accountant

This is insane. I mean that’s definitely a wrap for five and one half years time. A huge chapter of my life has closed and to be honest I still don’t know how I’m going to start the next journey at this moment. Well I have this basic plan and timeline in my mind but I’m still kind of shaking my head with what just happened – I’m finally a Certified Public Accountant now.

I could still remember the time when I was 14 years old in my Junior Year High School; I had no idea what the heck would I do in my future back then. I really couldn’t picture myself who I would turn out to be in few years from that point. Now it feels like time flies so fast that when I blink my eyes I am already sent in this situation. Somehow I think I’m still that 14 year old kid sitting in a classroom wondering what life could be for him.

I was constantly told a year ago that having a professional license was something that I could carry forward until I get old. People pimped me into getting it like it was a symbol for beacon of hope; everyone made a big deal about it and maybe that was why I didn’t really care much about having a license at first. I don’t want to do something just because everyone made it appear like my life would completely depend on it. I’m a rebel of my own. So taking the exam, I set my mind into thinking that I have nothing to lose, that I was only doing it because of traditions and expectations, that even if I failed I could care less because I know for a fact I would land myself a good-paying job. In the end I guess my preconceive notion worked. Maybe if we just take it easy and coolly we would eventually get in the destination we set for ourselves smoothly.

History can give you a predetermined basis for the future. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change a thing about your dark history. I was a little bit confident about my track records when I signed up for the board exam. I graduated like this in Grade School, like that in High School, and achieved some major recognition in college. However as soon as the game started, you couldn’t really use your achievements in your advantage because it’s everyone’s game; anything could happen while taking the exam so you couldn’t really be overconfident. Just because you failed a lot in your past life didn’t mean you couldn’t make something right for the first time.

I begun feeling good about becoming a CPA then I got tired and sick about it then I achieved it. Right now I’m kind of clueless as to what I would do about my license but I know for sure it will give me a good fortune. I’m still going to write and balance it with practicing my achieved profession. I think it’s good to do two things at once. I’m happy with what I’ve become and I wish I could tell my 14 year old self to relax and know that he would turn out to be the kind of person he’s supposed to be.

Leaving Manila Entirely.

When I was sixteen years old I had nothing but excitement to finally experience what it felt like to live in Manila for a very long time. All my life before I’ve only been in this super small town and I hadn’t really been elsewhere so you could imagine how astonished I was for a significant change in my life.

The first few months turned out to be a constant amazement for me to witness the city and learned the dynamics of how people live there. I was happy to be living on my own without any parental restriction whatsoever.

However that magical feeling only lasted for a couple of months. The city that I was dying to live in ended up the city that I would come to hate.

I think it was in my second year of college that it did dawn me how ugly Manila is. It was like looking at a person from afar and you thought he was good looking so you were intrigued to have a glimpse of him but then when he got closer you realized how wrong you were in the first place. That’s the simplest way I would explain Manila to everyone.

Manila was over polluted, over populated, dangerous, and disgusting. With only a drizzle of 30 seconds the whole city would become a traffic jam going to hell. With only 30 seconds of walk in the streets could cause you to sweat a three days worth of exercise. And nope I’m not exaggerating. I lived in Manila for 5 and half years so I basically have facts to support my arguments.

But regardless of these dilemmas laid out in front of me, I had no choice but to stay for another 3 and half years because of college. I would remember going to school early in the morning cursing because I was already upset just 5 minutes that I got out of my dormitory. Sure there were a lot of advantages that you could point out by living in Manila like easy access to the malls and cool night life but you could only feel great about those things for a while because they were nothing but artificial. Next thing you knew you were too used going to the same place over and over again.

I am aware that Metro Manila is a vast place and there are still elite places to hang out such as Makati City or Taguig City. I wasn’t able to totally experience to live for a day or two in these cool places and the fact that I only got to stay at a bad spot in Metro Manila could give a crack about my statements but Makati or Taguig weren’t a good representatives of samples to draw a conclusion about Metro Manila. I believe if you’re going to see Metro Manila as a whole you can easily notice how bad it really is.

Now that I am entirely abandoning Manila, I don’t think I would totally miss the place. I know I grew a lot by just staying there for five years but Manila isn’t really a good place for me. I am the kind of person who doesn’t want to be stuck up in a single place and wants to keep moving and explore so leaving Manila for me is such a huge relief. A lot of young people dream to live in Manila and I understand them for that. I mean, I’ve been there. The chapter of my life in that place is now closing. And thank you Manila for all the contributions to my learning and growth.