Ramblings and Brain farts

Dream Again

Stitches & Words | Dream Again | Cinderella quote

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do you still remember how you answered this question when you were younger? I do.

  • Interior Designer
  • Architect
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer

Those were the jobs that I aspired for from grade school to high school. Pero ang totoo, kahit I never said it out loud as a dream job, I really wanted to be a performer. To act onstage or be on TV (hello, Ang TV!). I loved doing theater (also interpretative dance)!

I still remember the moment I switched from one dream to another.

It was a visit to an exhibition of Interior Design students that I got the inspiration to become a designer myself. I was very young then, 7 years old maybe? Parang ang saya kasi, seemed like such a joy to decorate rooms and spaces that would be appreciated by others.

Then I remember my Dad taking me to the still-under-construction building that would be their new office, and then having lunch with the Architect (or maybe he just told me about the Architect?). Hmm, I want to design homes and structures instead!

But after awhile, I realized that my drawing skills were very rudimentary. And I had a feeling I wasn’t creative that way – not creative enough to design spaces and structures.

But I could write.

A college Journalism professor told me so when I was 10 years old. She mentored us young writers aspiring to be part of the school paper. The school ran a great program while I was there: every start of the year, they would run a 1-day (or was it 3 days?) workshop led by her. She told us stories about her experiences, and also gave us an overview of what it means to write for a newspaper. By the end of the event, we would all have written something. Through our work, she and the school paper adviser would decide who qualifies and for what post.

I loved being part of the school paper and how we ran it. Those three years went by quickly. Sometimes I still wonder what would have happened if I kept on writing and cultivated the skill. I remember my Adviser (not the Professor who only worked with us during the workshops) believing in me so much that she came to our house one summer day to get my application for a creative writing workshop at the CCP. She also strongly encouraged me to stay in the paper for my last year (sixth grade, though she left the country that year), when I said I was switching to a different club. I wish we had stayed in touch.

Years later, when it was time to figure out what university to apply to, syempre I had to first decide what course I wanted to take. At the time, influenced by my involvement in the child rights movement, I thought I wanted to become a lawyer. A classmate told me that BA Psychology would be a good pre-law course. So I ticked that off as my first choice for UP Diliman. My next choice was Journalism.

Sometime in my first year at the University, I realized how much I didn’t enjoy going to school. Of course I loved learning, and I loved UP, I just didn’t like having to go to school. I never did. Or maybe it was traditional classes I didn’t like? And the idea of extending my years of having to be in school just didn’t appeal to me. I decided I did not have to become a lawyer to help others.

Fast forward.

To Now.

I am not designing, not writing for a living, not advocating for someone before a court of law.

It’s okay.

Posted with permission. EMM, Not Emma.

But I think it’s time to dream again.

Let’s Hit The Road!

Monday, June the 3rd, marked the end of my 14-year career in the customer service/outsourcing industry.

I wish I could say I had done so on my own terms. That I had made the decision of my own free will, because I was finally ready to move on to bigger and greater things.

But the truth is, no matter how long I have been telling myself that I wanted OUT of this job (mainly because of the hours), I hadn’t so much as drafted a resignation letter in the last nine years. I didn’t even setup a LinkedIn profile until a few days ago!

There were so many excuses to stay. Even after losing my own team two years ago, I had found reasons to convince me I wasn’t meant to be anywhere else but there.

  • I don’t have enough of a cushion to explore what I’d rather do for a living. How would we live on a single income while I figured out what I wanted to do? (Technically, we could. There’s just the two of us after all, plus 4 dogs (and two little puppies)).
  • I can’t imagine working for someone else.
  • I’d wait until I’ve built a substantial side hustle before I quit my day job.
  • Moving to another BPO would just be more of the same – same shit, different office.
  • My friends wouldn’t be there (wherever there is. Although I mostly worked alone the past two years anyway)

Late last year, I did some exploring into the freelancing world. I researched possible online side hustles I could do while employed which I could eventually scale to a high-paying gig. But because I didn’t give myself a deadline, I had one opportunity that was barely started (an online course), and another that I hadn’t yet truly pursued. Which means when the news of my letting go was delivered to me – I had no backup plan that was already waiting for me.

But, not surprisingly, I took the news quite well. Of course, it didn’t hurt at all that I was getting a decent send-off package for all the years I had been with the company (9). But it wasn’t just that. I felt relieved that the decision had been made for me. The decision that I had been putting off for quite a while.

And it could have been worse – a lot worse. I could have lost my job due to poor performance or loss of confidence, in which case I would have left empty handed. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case.

I do not envy the position of my bosses who had to tell me the news face to face – I believe it was a tough decision, and that they would have prevented it if they could. After all, I wasn’t the only one they had to let go.

If only they knew, that all along, they were setting me free.

What they had given me was the kick in the butt I needed to finally start on a new and exciting adventure. All that’s left for me to do is to take stock of all that I have learned, maximize my strengths, and hope for the very best. Oh, and to take action.

I am hitting the road, and I am excited to find out where it takes me.

I don’t like this picture!

I enjoyed our vacation in Taiwan so much – there was a lot to see, and we were in good company.

But I’m not LOVING this photo so much. Haha!

Here, we were about to go up the steps in Jiufen Old Street that is famous for being the inspiration for the animated film Spirited Away (not just the steps, ha). Somehow though, instead of igniting memories of sights and sounds of that rainy but FUN day, looking at this photo has me fretting over my not-so-crowning glory. Ugh!

But I am still sharing this photo. Why?

Because I realize that having thinning hair has been bothering me MORE than it should. I mean, of course I do worry about it – it could be a sign of some health issue (and as it turns out, of low levels of a particular hormone). And I am dealing with it.

But I shouldn’t let this bother me SO MUCH, and in THIS WAY.

Not SO MUCH that I wouldn’t want photos of me being taken. And definitely not SO MUCH that I see a photo and completely overlook the more important memories and experiences memorialized in that captured moment.

Sure, I don’t look perfect (ha! It’s not just the hair, hon), but I was having a GREAT TIME.

It had been raining; my hair, scarf and jacket were wet – so I was getting really cold. And I was thinking, I should have brought a backpack instead. But I didn’t mind. I just really wanted to keep walking and keep exploring. I didn’t care about how I looked right at that moment. It was the weekend and Old Street was teeming with tourists, stopping for a photo already meant blocking the way up. I didn’t feel the need to take the time to fix my hair and everything else right then. Besides, why be bothered NOW about how I looked THEN when all I’m supposed to be doing is looking back at that memory?

Of course, most of the time I would also try to look better when being photographed, just like every other person. There is nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t want to look good? I just also have to admit that I don’t look good all the time. Not Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy every second of the day. And I am okay with that.

This quick visit to Jiufen is one of my favorites of the entire trip because I felt that the place had a vibe like Sagada’s – it’s in the north of Taiwan, and the quieter street had interesting artisan shops and cafés. It is definitely a place I would love to visit again.

Over at the very busy Old Street, there was so much food and it was interesting to just stand back and witness all that was happening. Even watching food being prepared is quite the treat.

All that, and more, is what I should remember. And that’s what you should see too.

The next time you look at photos of a vacation, event, or even everyday life, and it sparks a good memory BUT also shows you in a funny or unglamorous light – choose to look beyond your perceived imperfections. Remember its context and remind yourself of the stories associates with it.

It is the 25th day of the year and already I can’t wait for 2017 to be over. Or maybe I should say, I am looking forward to the year to get a lot better.

You could say that I’ve had quite a time so far. My program is shutting down (but I still have a job), and I had an accident on Friday night. I crashed into another vehicle. Although I am quite thankful that neither the other driver nor I sustained any injuries, the hassle of getting my insurance to pay for the repairs on both cars is stressing me out.

 

Caterpillars 

It has been a TOUGH week at work, we’re in the thick of peak season and there is so much stress associated with it. 

Adding to the mix is 13th month payout week. We’re running the highest Absenteeism we’ve seen in the last quarter. 

My staff is also missing home. The Holidays tend to do that to you. Majority of my Support Staff relocated two years ago from our site in the South, and they have not been able to spend Christmas with their families sinceaa then. It’s been tough saying no to leave requests, but it is what it is. 

But coming home the other day, my little niece Alex was out and about. She definitely was a breath of sunshine. She made me feel better right away. 

She immediately said yes when asi if she would like to visit my puppy Chiclet. So up we went, but we stopped by to look at these other cuties:  First we noticed the one crawling on the pot. It was going round and round in a circle. Then we saw two others just hanging about! It was a sight to behold. It got me thinking about the beauty of nature and the circle of life. 

And all of a sudden, all the worries and stresses of work were washed off. 

I was told that Alex kept going back to see the caterpillars that afternoon. I was also hoping they’d still be there when I came home yesterday but they were nowhere to be found. 

Hope that when they gain their wings, they’d come visit again 🙂

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