DE S02E01

How are you all doing?

Me? I feel mostly the same but somewhat different. Though to be vey honest, I can’t identify what’s with 2022 as it feels very similar to 2020 and 2021. I know, I know, most of you might feel hopeless as we still can’t see the end of this global pandemic. But personally, I think that we need to live with it. It’s close to impossible to zero out the new cases as we encounter new variants. Living with it is the best we can do to continue living the new normal.

I’m writing this post after waking up from a phone call. I got my order from Shopee! I’m so excited as I got the wall decors of the other five members of Exo. From my previous post, I well-said that they saved my 2021 so it will be better for me to see their faces everyday with the wall decors I bought. It gave life to my little room. The driver got lost finding our address so I waited for about ten minutes and when I got back to my bed, my body refuses to sleep again. So, I picked up my laptop, opened my spotify to listen to J_ust (listen to this South Korean singer!), and decided to have a new entry to my online journal.

Truthfully, I still don’t know what 2022 will be like for me. Right now, I’m just praying that all goes well as we plan to celebrate Christmas and New Year in London with my sister. My January and December are already filled up. My sister is currently here and the best part of it is that I’m working from home so I have more time with her. We are also getting a tattoo on the 23rd which I’m very excited about. I’m not sure why I’m so worked up with it but I guess I’m just in the process of knowing myself more. Speaking of that, I’m happily having a different journey as I traverse my 25th year on earth. Well, in terms of career, I am not quite sure if my current job will land me to a place I desire or whether I want my future to be similar with what I do now. But in terms of knowing myself as a person, I think I’m going into the right direction. I now have a new goal which is to buy a house and lot of my own.

Yes, I do have a house now but I want a place where I can live on my own. I think I can learn so much when I have no one to lean on and do everything by myself. This is a tough goal that requires tough decisions – which makes it worthwhile.

Another thing that goes around my mind lately is about living intentionally. I subscribed to “Malama Life” in YouTube and I love how calming her vlogs are. It grounds me to the life I actually want. A simple, quiet, slow, and peaceful life. I’m starting to give away a lot of clothes, simplifying the things I have, and just buying those that spark joy (inserting Marie Kondo).

Living outside the metro for almost a month changed my outlook. I’ve always been a “city guy” and I can remember writing in this blog (search up “Tiny”) how I badly wanted a condo around Mandaluyong or Makati. I thought I can’t get used to a less convenient place. But I was proven wrong by this place I’m currently living in. The next house and lot I want to purchase is also around here. I’m just not in the state where I want to stay within Metro Manila. Not now, for sure.

My day-to-day life has been slower lately. And I’m not complaining. It’s a complete opposite of how much I wanted to end 2021 every single day. I simply don’t care that much what day are we in. I’m just living life one day at a time. Though I still want to do something everyday – okay, okay, it’s time to plug! I waited for this. Lol. I’m just kidding. Please like https://www.facebook.com/koreanbes on Facebook! I’m a co-editor in that page. I found this as a way to make my 2022 different from 2020 and 2021.

As I get ready to take my morning shower (this is the first agenda of my everyday, I don’t feel good waking up and stepping out of my room without taking a good shower), I am planning to do three things for this lazy Sunday: 1) Finalize my tattoo designs, 2) Make a post in Korean Bes, and 3) Construct financial goals for 2022.

This is the end of this blog post. I hope you also find a new courage to live life despite seeing no signs of betterment with covid. This shouldn’t stop us from living – our time here on earth diminishes everyday – and I wish you good health while planning out this new year.

this group kept my sanity.

2021 is f*cking grueling year. I can’t remember any year that pushed me so hard that I sometimes thought I already fell off the cliff and just trying to live because I am still breathing. This time, I don’t know how to explain what I feel, I just know I barely survived. I’m actually surprised that I’m still alive.

With all the hurdles I met, I helplessly went for the hands of my special someone, close friends, and exo for survival. If you read my posts last year, it was bts who saved me. Now, it’s my first love. It’s EXO. Call me crazy. But these boys who don’t even know my existence helped me in many ways that I couldn’t fathom how I will thank them someday.

With D.O. – It’s good and bad that he isn’t active on social media. Bad because I can’t get enough updates from him, but also good because when I get an update, you know the feeling of getting a surprise package? That’s it. Plus, he has been busy with films – I guess I won’t miss him once his works are all out.

With Xiumin – He’s my latest bias. I just can’t with his skin and his “baby-like” features. I want him as a friend, as a brother, and okay, as a husband maybe in my next life.

With Sehun – He is just so cute. He never fails to make me smile.

And with Lay – I want his job. Juggling work in China and South Korea, he really is that busy. And if I were to manifest something, it is having a job that needs business travel so I won’t be based on one country for every year.

I can go on with each member but I’m gonna stop here. From having heavy baggages carried by my heart before starting this post, I am now smiling just by choosing a picture I will use for each of these incredible boys.

Magic is what it is. I don’t know how but I know that without them, I could’ve been more bruised at the end of this year. I will still have them as my part of my support group next year. And here’s to hoping that 2022 will be better for all.

To you who might be going through difficult times, hold on to any glimpse of light your eyes can see. No matter how small it is. Regardless how crazy you think you might be. Not all can find hope in the midst of emotional storm. So if you do, don’t let it go.

We are now down with the last two days of 2021. I can’t wait for my calendar to recognize 2022 as the present. I can’t seem to feel at ease. I would be very thankful if nothing bad happens in the next two days. But since I will be going through the days anyway, I’ll think of how can I put posters on my room filled with exo. Funny, I don’t know where to buy or if there’s something available online. 😁

But nevermind, just the thought of filling up my mind with doing something related to exo makes me enthusiastic. And I will hold on to this. I will hold on to my glimmer of hope.

my mind’s a mess

I just wanted to decompress my thoughts here. I’ve stated many times that this wordpress account will always be my safe space where any thought is safe to be out. But now, I can’t even identify what I want to think. It’s overwhelming and most of them aren’t good. Maybe that’s why my brain is protecting me by not letting me focus on anything because I might dig my own grave and find it hard to crawl back to life. Nevertheless, I will do my best… for my sanity.

Melatonin tablets have been my friend for quite some time now. I am really trying my best not take them daily as my body might become dependent on them but I can’t help it. Sleep is a temporary escape from reality and I don’t plan to spend hours to go into that temporary refuge. If there’s a shortcut to go there, I will take it without second thought.

But you know what the downside is of not sleeping with a peaceful mind? Not even a sleeping pill can help it – you don’t wake up nicely. I can’t remember the last time that I woke up with a refreshed mind. I miss that feeling. I am a firm believer that your first mood affects your outlook for the rest of the day. Not always true, but saying “Good Morning!” genuinely hits different. I don’t to explain it further, I guess you already know what I’m trying to say.

Speaking of not sleeping well, you most probably know what mainly causes it. Stress. I often wonder how a peaceful household looks like. A home where harmony is felt, day in and day out. I didn’t have a rested childhood. My teens aren’t different too. And you got it right, adulthood is the same for me. One toxic family member can ruin everything. This is why living separately is a move that I will definitely make one day. I’m even being impatient at times by looking at sites that sells property and even renting options. I want this to end but I don’t know how to. There are just people who chose to be hopeless.

I’m also being hopeless. I just live each day of my life with the best effort I could put. Wishing for that one day, that one peaceful night, and that one refreshing morning. I recognize that whining over this won’t be of any help but it’s mentally healthy to release negative energies at some days. And this one of those days where I choose to be not okay.

To any one who’s feeling the same way while reading this, I hope this won’t push you to the underground further. I want to make you feel that you’re not alone. We will get through all of these, but just let ourselves grieve for today.

Now, I’m quite better. As I end this post, my brain lost a little weight of heavy negative thoughts. A little help is still a help. I actually think that my screen is very good listener. It absorbs what my mouth can’t utter. But my mind’s still a mess. I might even take a sleeping pill later. So, I still won’t wake up nicely tomorrow.

But hey, it’s Monday tomorrow and I have work. Not that I’m excited or motivated, it’s just fine and better to think of something else than drowning with thoughts I have now.

DE S01E06

It’s been a while since I got my energy back to write a new entry in this “diary” series for 2021. And it took some time because my mind was so busy thinking of ways how to divert my attention to new things after I finally moved on from a hard chapter of my life career-wise.

So, what’s new to me? I started investing! It was an enjoyable process for me because of a YouTuber named “Nicole Alba”. Search her name and you might also enjoy her vlogs. There were topics that seemed too complex for me before, but she explained it in a much easier way. I’m ashamed to say this but as a management accounting graduate, I honestly am dumb for anything investment-related topics. But that was before. I can share something now after watching more than ten videos of Nicole and other content creators who cover the same topics.

I now have this very simple dream in terms of salary – enough money for savings, expenses, and investment. I don’t need a lavish lifestyle, it isn’t for me. Just waking up without thinking of any financial problems is already an achievement. Growing up not having too much really makes you appreciate financial freedom or independence in a whole different level.

I also mentioned earlier that I went through so much career-wise this year and I want to finally open up that I went through problems with the house that we are building. Thankfully, the finish line isn’t unattainable anymore but the stress it caused was traumatic. My savings were also affected. I needed to shell out money to push through with the damages brought by our previous contractor who used our money for his personal reasons. I understand that he was left with no option but it isn’t our fault that he had problems. We had problems too, and the money we gave him are hard-earned and we aren’t rich. A few hundred thousand pesos is already too much for us. We then found a more trustworthy worker to complete the rest of our new home. But you know what, thinking of all we went through for that house, I really am certain that my second home is a condominium unit. I don’t want to go through all the processes of building a home, I just want a finished unit that I can transfer once I paid the required downpayment.

Owning my second home (the house that we are about to finish is also partly mine, I share the property’s name with my brother) is actually my next big goal. And I’m also happy to share with you that I’m typing this blog post in my new MacBook Air! This is the most expensive gift I gave to myself. Ironically, this is not a gift because I achieved a lot this year. I achieved more in the previous years. But as a working adult, 2021 is the year I endured the most. I also had covid last September. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I was really challenged. But still, I am here. Thriving, struggling but surviving. So I rewarded myself for that fact. And to tell you authentically, it felt so good. I was elated to receive my package from apple. I will strongly suggest that you do this too. Reward yourself for hanging in there especially during this pandemic.

Looking back, I never really gifted myself anything expensive. It took me five years of work before I became comfortable spending this much for a single purchase. It felt like a small version of “Now, it’s about me” because ever since I started working, it’s all about sustaining a life for my family. I can really say that days are getting better. And I have this newly found hope that the years ahead of me will become brighter. For anyone who’s losing patience with life’s hardship, hang in there, work hard every day, and you’ll just see and realize one day that you are already far from where you started.

I smiled a little bit now and I stopped writing while having a thought of making a blog post in 2026 – using this MacBook Air while chillin’ in my newly bought condominium unit in Mandaluyong or Makati. I’ve been told of the power of manifesting so I’ll think everyday that my vision will become a reality. I’ll just keep on grinding in any job that’ll provide me the means to live and to dream.

That’s all I can share for now. I hope you’re all healthy while we are hopefully seeing the end of this dark tunnel that we started walking through in 2020. Take care!

Remembering some summers in this rainy season

It was summer. No classes for two months. No plans yet but you just don’t want the restful days to end. You wake up, eat breakfast or lunch or brunch, and then play computer games, watch anime in the afternoon, eat snacks, and dinner shortly afterwards. That was a routine – a boring one as I look at it now – but I wonder how did I manage to get through those days? Phones back then aren’t that smart, I just remember sending group messages to my friends twice or thrice a day.

And sometimes I do send a group message intended to a specific person just because I want a response and start a conversation – this is flirting before messenger and other social media apps became a huge thing. I know I’m not the only one. Come on! 🙂

I had no money back then aside from my small savings from my weekly allowances. Yet, I found ways to enjoy life. I can recall those moments when I looked forward to afternoons because I was close to almost all the maids that we had and we often go out to buy street food. Since it was summer, halo-halo is the best one to buy. My mom usually gives me money but sometimes I get treated. I have no specific plans for this post, it just happened that I can’t sleep yet so I will try to remember ate “Alona” who worked for us for over a year, I guess? She was the closest I have ever been with. And my fond memories with her mostly happened during my summer breaks.

She sings well. That was the first thing that came to my mind. Whenever there was an event in our house, she would sing a couple of songs in the karaoke and I remember how pleasant her voice was. She’s very caring too. She wasn’t a pain in the ass type of maid and we all treated her as someone equal to us. She was very respectful and I can clearly remember how I spent a lot of time in our terrace. Ate Alona did her ironing of clothes in the terrace and I would go there voluntarily to talk about anything. I usually asked everything about her boyfriend and the one that I remember the most is asking what their theme song was. I was a child back then and I honestly thought that every couple should have a theme song. Well, it isn’t that cringey – it can be sweet too.

Speaking of sweet, there’s an ice cream store near our house that you can reach within a five-minute walk. I always wanted to go there because I love ice cream so much, until now actually. Naturally, I would buy the ones that didn’t cost a lot but I was always craving for “banana split” and other products in their menu which were expensive for me back then. I was very vocal to my ate Alona that I wanted to try them but she also can’t give me that because as you know, maids don’t earn that much unless you work for Kris Aquino or Sharon Cuneta. Kidding aside, I understood why I can’t always get a treat from her. But one day, I was wrestling with the pillows on my parents’ room (I am a huge fan of wrestling and actually dreamt if becoming one in WWE) and she called me: “Gor tara, punta tayo ice cream store”. (Let’s go to the ice cream store). I didn’t think I knew that it’s gonna be a special day. She treated me with the more expensive options in the menu! I finally got my banana split! It happened once and I’m so thankful for my brain that I can still reminisce that moment. It was nothing special until I’m writing this.

Normally, my mom would allow her to go back in their province to celebrate Christmas and New Year. I understood that she needed to go to her family but I didn’t hide the fact that I was lonely. I talked to her more often than my siblings and parents. I found comfort. I think I can say that I had a friend in her. I was around 11 or 12 years old and she was around 18-20? I genuinely think that my bond with people older than me started when I was young. Right now, my closest friends at work are at least five years older than I am. Okay that was a personal trivia, going back – I patiently waited for the day that she’ll come back to the point that my family teased me about it. But I was really excited because my days will surely be brighter with her around in our house.

I can’t remember the exact date that she decided to marry and leave our home. Though I am quite certain that it was in my second year in high school. I didn’t have the chance to personally say goodbye as I woke up early in the morning to go to school and she was also busy in her last day of doing household chores. That made me sad. I didn’t realize how sad I was until I received a text message from her saying: “Gor, alis na ko. I’ll miss u.” (I am now leaving. I’ll miss you). I’m honestly feeling a little bit lonely remembering that moment right now. That was our last conversation. It wasn’t even in person. I’m thankful though ‘coz I might tear up and be embarrassed right away. But that was really our last conversation.

I didn’t bother to know her surname. I had no facebook back then and I had literally no idea that social media apps will rule the future and will be a tool for reconnecting with old acquaintances or friends. After this, I will try my luck and search for her. I can still remember her face. But I’m not getting my hopes up. I am just happy that I will be putting my memories with her by writing this post. I cannot trust my memory as I get older so I’ll be going back to my blog every time I want to relive my moments with ate Alona, especially those summers with her.

i got my turn with covid and we dated for two grueling days

You read it right, I got the covid-19 virus and thankfully I feel much healthier now and my symptoms went away last Friday, September 10. Per medical assessment, they counted the start of my symptoms on September 1 when I first had my night shift fever (I’m okay by the day but heating up at night) but I think it all started with stomachaches and diarrhea during the last 4 or 5 days of August.

I thought it was just because of my online deliveries from food panda – I was enticed with this store that offered free delivery and discounted prices. Who wouldn’t? When I healed from those stomachaches, I stopped ordering from that particular store but I did not stop ordering from other shops available around my area. And there were times that I got lazy wearing a mask while receiving my food from several drivers. As we all know, these drivers have a nature of work that requires them to go around different places. I think that’s where I got the virus. The last time I went out before I felt something with my body was on July 19 when I got my first dose of astrazeneca. So, clearly it wasn’t because I went out and left our house.

On the night of September 6, I was literally like a girl on fire. My fever was at its worst since the first of September. I willed my way through with biogesic capsules and tried my best to sleep and let my body get some rest. When I woke up the next morning, I had this urge to spray alcohol at the palm of my hand to test my sense of smell. And I did not smell anything. That was alarming knowing how strong the scent of alcohol is. The next that I did was to taste the gummy bears I have in my room. I chose the strongest flavor but I wasn’t able to taste the fruity strawberry burst. I immediately went to my mom and told my situation as calmly as I can. I gave her instructions, again as calmly as I can.

I started isolating on September 7 and I was just getting my food through a chair where my mom puts it and then knocks on my door to let me know that my meal is already there. In the afternoon, I transferred to another room. My current room had no comfort room so I needed to go to my brother’s room if I need to. That would be unsafe and a hassle so we decided that I occupy my brother’s room so I can freely go to the comfort room without needing to go out. I got tested on September 8 and as expected, the result was positive.

September 7 & 8 were the dates I struggled the most. Even though you read so many articles as to how you can prepare yourself when you have covid, it still feels different. It’s like having a good rehearsal but still struggling when the actual event takes place. And as I tried so hard to look calm and collected, I failed to influence the people around me. I understand them. If I were in their shoes, I would probably show signs of panic too. Hopefully, it just lasted for a day and my family accepted what happened and thought of what to do in the coming days. I still had my night shift fever until the next day. September 8 was my most emotional day. Why? I wasn’t aware that there was a mandate by the QC local government unit that all covid-positive patients should be transferred to health care quarantine facilities to avoid the spread of the new variants.

A lot of questions popped out of my mind. What kind of care will I receive in those facilities? Would it be better than being taken cared of by my own family? What do I need to bring? With all those confusion, I decided to pack clothes, hygiene kits, vitamins, gadgets, and anything I thought that I needed. I cried when I was lying on my bed thinking of how long will my days be in the quarantine facility I will be assigned to. My siblings also got worried. My mother also shed tears but understood the medical attention that I might need. That was hard for me. I’m not used to being the one they need to worry for. As a breadwinner for almost a year, I’m more comfortable thinking about them and not the other way around.

The following day, September 9, people from our barangay went to our house for contact tracing. All my worries disappeared when they said I don’t need to go to a quarantine facility anymore. Stating the reasom that my symptoms started on September 1 and they usually keep patients for 10 days. If they would still get me, I would just be staying for two days and that would just be a hassle and there might be no benefit to get from it. The people in our house so got tested the following day and thankfully they weren’t experiencing any symptoms at all. The test results aren’t out yet but hearing that they don’t feel anything wrong with their bodies made me feel better.

Looking back, I can say what I did wrong and my reasons behind it. First, I started having fever and fatigue since the start of this month but I thought it was just a normal flu. I didn’t have colds or cough. If you feel sick, be on guard already because you will never know how your body will react to the virus. On my hardest days, I feel tired with simple physical movements and speaking just one sentence tires my already. I can breathe fine when I’m at rest but I just don’t have the energy to do anything. I was late in getting an oximeter but thankfully, my lungs got better. And you know what was also difficult for me in my journey? Starting August 31, there wasn’t a single day that I did not see a death news of my facebook feed. Some of them are natural causes and life-threatening illnesses but most of them are due to covid. I feared for my life and thought that seeing those news every single day might be a premonition that I might be next. I was scared and being isolated while feeling all that is something I would never want to experience again.

As I survived this virus, I felt like I’m given another shot at life. This I think is my third, my second was when I fell on the floor and a part of head needed to be stitched. I was only around two years old at that time. And now this my third life – I’m carefully thinking on how I should love my body more. How I should take care of my overall well-being because covid for me wasn’t just a physical battle, it was psychological too. I will be finishing my two-week quarantine period on Tuesday and I can’t wait to live how I was before this roller coaster ride.

I never expected that covid will come at me, but I’m at peace with the thought that there are reasons why it hit me. I may not know all of it now, but I guess this is a good sign that I might need to love myself even better moving forward. I can’t wait for my second dose next month, but for now I get this temporary immunity with the antibodies that I developed after winning this battle.

Covid-19, I just defeated you and I’ll be on my guard in case you visit my peaceful life again. 😉

DE S01E05

At last, I felt bad with not being able to do anything new this year. I was forgiving myself since the lockdown as I prioritized my mental & physical health but the effect has been reversed. I’m not mentally okay with not learning nor trying anything crazy as my days/months went on.

Since I’m a survivor of my own anxiety attacks & depression, this time I quickly made an action. First, I made an IG account to put on K-Drama reviews so I can share my thoughts. And second, my impulsive mind at midnight bought a stylus after I downloaded a sketchpad app on my phone. I opened more outlets for my busy and unpredictable brain – a blog, an IG account, & digital sketchpad. I’m hugging myself right now. A small win, I guess?

This past few weeks, I also am not physically healthy as I was usually. I had diarrhea on the last week of August and then recovered on the first day of September. I also experienced sporadic mild fever that goes away after resting. You see, I am not 100% okay physically & mentally – did I fail myself from my goal last year? I think so.

It may sound uncomfortable to hear but I think of the days I wake up as bonuses for my life and I’ve been feeding myself good food lately. For as young as I am, some may think I’m weird to think this way but I stand by my realistic view that a day may be my last. And it clearly doesn’t help that we’re still tirelessly fighting with this pandemic.

As I am writing this, I am enjoying my calamansi juice (I told you, I’m looking after myself well) and easing my mind of some compressed thoughts that I just shared here. Three more days and we will be having new guidelines for the quarantine and I’m fervently wishing that our city will have more loose restrictions as I’m dying to get a whole body massage. My back is killing me. I’m not joking, it’s getting uncomfortable especially today. Do you know any remedies if I can’t get a massage this September? Thank you in advance.

In about 20 minutes, I’ll return to my bed and call it a day – looking forward to open my eyes for another chance at life. Good night!

In another world, in another life

As much as we want to own the life we are given, I just have this strange thought of wishing a life we want in our next lives. What if we can actually drop a coin in a mysterious well that can grant our wishes? The only catch is that, we will only get the answers after we die. That’s only when we can realize if the well made our desires come true, when we are reborn in a different body.

I know it’s hella strange of an idea but it’s midnight so my mind isn’t in its normal state. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of his own personal desires when confronted with problems rooted from circumstances at birth. One good example, I wished that I was born in a different country and from an affluent family, and as a daughter. I want to be born in a country more developed than the Philippines, I want to grow up in a family where money is never an issue so I can take up whatever course program in college, I want to be a girl just so I have a wide array of choices for clothes to wear on several occasions.

Those three things won’t guarantee a better life and it’s not what I expected either. I just want to live differently, and then go to that well again to wish for my next lifetime.

I’m honestly not sure how will I own this life I currently have. I feel like I’m not using this gift while my time here on earth is ticking. Each day I wake up is less then a day I’ll live. That thought frightens me to the core but I’m more frustrated that I can’t even move my feet to do something about it. I just want to go out and wander around, no direction or map to follow, but just let my feet go somewhere so I can feel that I’m spending my time with a little sense of reason.

As I’m writing this, the world is still in disarray. For us, we seemed to be moving forward but we aren’t. My bank is ready, my bag can be packed in a day, I am wholehearted to explore, but then I still can’t move a step. This is how frustrating it is. I have ideas in mind on how I can deal with my unfriendly thoughts but the universe won’t allow even a single move.

In the following months, I bet we’re still stuck. Our house frankly looks like a prison. Just a better prison with enough food and water to sustain decent living. And behind prison bars are inmates spending longer days than the rest of the world. People around me are saying how fast days pass by, but I feel otherwise. I’m itching to finish every single day. I’m now like an inmate inside the rooms of our house.

And like all the prisoners who spend countless hours thinking how they’ll live after their sentence, I also consumed an unhealthy amount of time thinking and questioning. What will I be like in another world, in another life? Would the way I live in this lifetime affect the world I will be born in after I reincarnate? Or will I have it worse because I haven’t done anything purposeful yet?

Difficult questions, right? I’m not seeking for answers for now. I’m just hanging in there and hoping that my days aren’t numbered yet – so maybe in this life, in this world, I can be someone who did something before he left.

Celene

“I mentioned in one of my recent blog posts that I will be sharing fictional stories that I have in the corners of my busy mind. Here’s the first one.”

Soft waves from the ocean, fine sands, a beer can, and a journal. These have been my accomplices in the past few days I’m here on a foreign land. I’ve been enjoying the life I blindly followed after leaving my work with no concrete plans. Many were astounded when I submitted my resignation letter, I was ambushed with a lot of whys and faced interrogations from people around me (mostly outside work). Because that move, at that day, was not the Celene they know.

I was always a fan of methodical approach in life. I’m comfortable planning ahead, everything being calculated, and every move is designed for my main plan. But people can’t remain the same in different circumstances, right?. For many years, I longed and waited for that day. I woke up with liberation – from the responsibilities I didn’t ask for but willingly took. When I realized that the freedom I’ve been yearning for is now in my hands, I wrote my resignation letter while drinking my morning cup of coffee. I also checked my bank account and I felt relieved. “At least I have a million”, I said to myself.

I went to the bathroom and opened a newly bought vanilla-scented body wash. I took my time ‘coz I wanted my skin to be soft. I made sure I get to apply my skin care products thoroughly and with ample time. I then selected my favorite work clothes, something very flowy and comfortable to wear. When I was all dressed up, I opened my laptop to watch a makeup tutorial on how to look naturally fresh. You know, how Korean celebrities look like when they appear in public. After that, I looked at the mirror and talked to myself. Silly enough, I just said “You’re so pretty” to the person I’m seeing for good five times. You see, I was feeling myself and claiming that the day ahead of me will be a wonderfully different one. Before I went out, I picked up the Gucci bag I never used. That’s the only designer bag I own, and I deliberately thought of the first time I will be using it.

Even before getting into my first meeting, I already asked for a quick catchup with my manager. I’ve done it not because I wanted to make a big news on a Monday. I just wanted to do what I had in mind before everyone gets busy with work. As usual, I got asked why I wanted to quit suddenly. The news then got into the knowledge of my colleagues. I wanted to have my lunch alone because I was welcomed with many questions like a celebrity, but I ended up skipping lunch because I eagerly wanted to plan how my work will be allocated to those I will be leaving. Luckily, everyone got busy in the afternoon and I got my “work best friend” to have dinner with me to talk about my decision.

That’s how it went. Only one person knew the real reason why I decided to quit. The last 29 days were spent doing all the trainings and handovers. They didn’t bother to ask me while having sessions, maybe because they’re also loaded with work or maybe they felt I didn’t want to give them my reason. Whatever it is, it worked to my advantage. On my last week, I was given a small farewell party and I saw tears from the people I worked with in the past eleven years. I also cried because it felt like leaving my family for good. That’s how I saw them, a family. Objectively, it was an easy decision to make but being an emotional human being, I still cried a river when I received their farewell messages.

A month after, I flew to Hawaii packed with uncertainties and certainties. I didn’t know what I’ll do after closing a long chapter of my life, but I knew I wanted to close it. I wasn’t sure of the career I’m building, but I’m sure that what I had was not my heart truly desired. For some reason, that balance made me calm.  At least I wasn’t more uncertain, that’s how my mindset was. Optimistic, isn’t it?

I’ve been bringing my journal every afternoon at the beach to think of what I should do next. I can’t carelessly enjoy all the days because my bank account will surely run dry. I’m spending dollars every day and my savings are in pesos. Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly enjoying my time here. I waited for many years to get this “pressure-free days” so I trained my mind not to worry about tomorrow to the extent I have been doing in the past. When nothing really came into my mind, I decided to talk to other solo travelers. Maybe I can get inspiration from our conversations.

Days passed and I had chats with I guess more than ten travelers but none of them were in the same situation like me. When they go back to their home country, they’ll gear up for work and wait for another approved vacation leaves. See, they all have plans after spending delightful days here. I went back to my hotel room and I checked how many days I still have before going back. I still had two. Actually, I only had one. The last day will be spent on preparing on my travel going home. I wasn’t expecting anything on my remaining free time but that’s when I had the most unexpected conversation I can ever picture out.

Who would’ve imagined I will be seeing my last manager in the same place? She told me that she also submitted her resignation letter on my last day at work. I lied to her when we she asked me why I suddenly chose to quit. But she said that she knew I wasn’t telling the truth but chose not to bug me anymore because she perfectly understood what I did. And interestingly, she did the same ten years ago. I then asked her why she came back to be a corporate slave after taking a break – she answered, “I’m running out of money and I still wasn’t sure of my next steps, so I needed to survive”. That’s how simple it was. Then I followed up, “Are you taking a break again because you wanted to breathe and find yourself for the second time?”. “No, I left because I now know how to find myself”, she answered.

Her answer left me speechless. Maybe it was a blessing that I met her that day? Look, I may be falling into the same trap she was in, but I got to talk to her and saved years of my life. For days, I was specifically finding who I am hoping it would magically pop out from my mind then to my journal.

Knowing who you are is not a linear process. It’s not something you will know just by taking a break. It’s a lengthy process in a rocky path. And I think my manager was right, I should be taking things slow and gradually learn who I am. I further lessened the pressure I put to myself, I lived my days thinking what I can do to make me happy no matter how small it was. I even went back to our province and talked to some of my relatives and asked what I always enjoyed doing when I was a kid. I had that routine for the next eight months before I decided to get back to work.

You maybe thinking that I failed and went back to my old day job. I did not. Neither I am saying that I found my true calling and now working on my dream role. I now work multiple blue-collar part-time jobs here in Canada. If there’s one thing that I knew about myself is that I don’t want to spend nine hours in an office chair five times a week. I wanted a job that moves almost all the time – it meant physically now in my part-time jobs as a waitress, dishwasher, and house cleaner.

This is Celene, previously a corporate girl, now a happy blue-collar worker. It may sound like a downgrade for some, but they have no idea that I’m happy with where I’m at. I’m not sure where the next years will bring me and that’s fine. I did learn that I don’t want my office job when I was working in an office, who knows what I wouldn’t want while I’m working here in the kitchen while washing a mountain of plates?

185/365

I hear Jose Mari Chan silently humming his ever famous Christmas songs. In less than 60 days, “Ber”months will be waving at us. In our country, Christmas starts in September. But I didn’t feel it last year. Would this year be any different?

I went to a mall after being stuck in months at home around September last year. I was supposed to feel elated to be out but when I saw few people while jolly Christmas songs are being played in SM, I felt uneasy and unusual. This isn’t the Christmas season I was used to. I hated it back then because I don’t like being around with so many people. But when the situation went full circle, I found myself missing what I hated.

Fast forward to this day, the 185th day of the year – I am wishing for a different season. A happier one. I guess we can quite celebrate with increasing number of people getting vaccinated. I registered here in Quezon City but I also have one with our company. Vaccines before meant a sword to normalize covid like a flu, but now it means more layer of comfort when going out. And I’m all for it because the walls in our house are slowly looking like steel cages.

I’m still spending a lot of my time watching Korean dramas. I’m still at awe whenever I get to encounter stories that give me hope in life, in general. Those dramas were a source of entertainment at first but now I watch them for the lessons I will get. I’m actually thinking of doing a review or making another site for K-Dramas. Should I?

I am carefully living my days before getting my vaccine. I feel like I’m in a crucial period of my life wherein I need to win over covid until I get my first and second dose. And so far, I am winning.

As of writing, I’m on my 185th day of winning.