To begin anew.

2010 is difficult to write about. Part of me is so eager to share its joys while the other is guilt-struck because there were genuine reasons to hurt this year. Coming home to Baguio helps sort these feelings out but as of yet, I have to face the messiness of life. Maybe in the next few months time will allow order back into my mind but for now, these are my immediate thoughts. This will probably be the first of two entries, the last of which will contain the best of 2010 in pictures. I haven’t had the privilege of owning a smaller hard drive to travel with so those 2010 photos will have to wait until I get home.

It’s only the second day of the year and already things are beginning to look bright and wonderful. I have my week lined up for me. We had lunch in the same place for January 1st but I decided to change my habits a bit and go for a massage. There’s this spa up here called North Haven and they offer a wonderful package called the Cordillera Bliss Treatment. It includes a foot spa (where feet are soaked in those electric foot machines, cleaned with a strawberry scrub, rinsed then massaged with lotion, soaked in paraffin wax and, when it hardens, the wax is smoothed off the foot until voila! Your feet look perfectly shiny and relaxed), full body massage (that feels like it’ll never really end because they really take good care to massage all your aches and pains away), a facial, time in the sauna and a shower plus the best ginger tea in town. All of this for less than a thousand pesos…can you imagine that?! What adds to the experience is that the things they put on you smell good enough to eat and are all natural. I could not have picked a better thing to do on the first day of the year. Today though, the temperature over here dropped significantly causing the arrival of a semi-sore throat. I hope it disappears by tomorrow morning because if not, my plans for the next few days will have to be postponed. Yet, despite the sick start, 2011 seems exciting still. As most beginnings go, this time of year is always ripe with possibility.

So before I digress, let me properly close the last year:

For the most part, 2010 was a year of beginning anew. All that waiting and the effort put into finding work finally paid off. Unlike the previous year, 2010 was kinder and more generous with opportunities. The problem was not a lack of work but an abundance of it which made me realize that some things just aren’t for me. It’s a good feeling to know what you want in life and be able to finally accept that you can’t do everything.

2010 was also full of weddings. Maika and Marc, Tito Danny and Tita Elaine, Tessa and Anthony,  Yvette and Paul. I think I’m missing a few more but these were certainly the ones difficult to forget. Maika announced her engagement two months before her wedding and it turned out to be beautiful. Tito Danny and Tita Elaine renewed wedding vows and it was a treat to see them happily celebrating a lifetime of being together. Tessa and Anthony’s wedding was also wonderful to witness because they proved that if you just wait and not settle, love will come marching through. Yvette’s wedding was the last for 2010 and it was very special because the vows were very well prepared for, simple and honest–and in many ways, I’m convinced that that’s all we really need to make relationships work. Attending these celebrations helped me heal and realize that despite the shit relationships sometimes toss at us, there’s hope and lots to be excited about.

2010 was also a year of adjustment and risk. I had for the past 21 years been so attached to my eye. It was a scar I didn’t want to live without because I knew that in many ways it was the one physical part of me that molded me into who I am…but it was also something I felt comfortable hiding behind. The decision to operate and have an acrylic one placed was painful but necessary. It was a birthday gift to myself, one that helped me see the value of letting go and letting God. When I turned 22 several days after my operation, it occurred to me that I had indeed grown up. Going to the doctor, making a decision and telling my parents about it after I had spoken to all the doctors I needed to have a word with seems like the most adult thing I’ve ever done. It was like buying a toilet and installing it as well. Everything was thought over, planned, decided and finished. How odd to grow up in such a short span of time.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. What does it mean to grow older and how do we deal with losing people whom we can never call back to life again? Several deaths marked the year and among those who passed away were an uncle, a dear family friend and several of my friends parents. The grief over my uncle’s death is well documented but I doubt if I can fully come to terms with it. I truly wish I could have been around to see him or at least hold my aunt for the many lonely months that followed. Our family friend whom I had last seen happy and generous with affection died suddenly as well. On the day I last saw him, I took my niece swimming at his parent’s compound. His sister was there as well and as blue as the skies and the pool water had been, neither of us knew just how blue we’d feel to have him gone. It was the last day his sister had seen him as well. Countless friends have also lost parents. The most heartbreaking for me was Tito Rod’s passing. I know I’ve written about it before but even that ache has yet to heal. He was such a jolly man with a huge heart and lots of laughs to share so you can just imagine how much dimmer the world seems to have become.

Bittersweet and yet still full of reasons to be happy is how I’d like to think of 2010. In the end, what balances the joy and the sadness is this unyielding sense of gratitude. This feeling that no matter what happens, I’m still here–allowed to witness it all and keep going. SO I WILL! YES, WORLD. YES!

So, to end part one, allow me to share this prayer from Edward Mays. It is something I pray for myself and all of you who follow me here:

Guardian of this new year,
I set aside my fears, worries, concerns.
I open my life to mystery, to beauty,
to hospitality, to questions,
to the endless opportunity
of discovering you in my relationships,
and to all the silent wisps of wonder
that will draw me to your heart.

I welcome your unfailing Presence
and walk with hope into this new year.

Happy New Year!

 

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