The New Normal

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A few days ago, I woke up and felt unsettled.

This was new, because the past months have probably been the calmest I’ve been in since 2013. There wasn’t a rush of emotions, thank God, but there were twinges – and those twinges were the kind that gave a warning, like maybe if I keep them unchecked, I will spiral back to where I used to be.

It didn’t scare me, really, but I felt a little confused about these feelings, the ones that I didn’t expect to come. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and I felt that all this had to happen now, during the Holy Week, for a reason. So I sat down and tried to unravel it all.

* * *

A few months ago, after Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines, I asked: how can you go back after all of this? The Papal Visit was one of the most amazing weeks of 2015, and it was only January, and as I packed my things from the press headquarters, I felt nostalgic. Sure, I was about to go to my new work by then, but the glow of the Papal Visit weekend has overshadowed everything. How is life supposed to go back to normal after this?

But maybe it’s not meant to go back to normal.

That answer came to me soon after. Maybe it’s not about going back to normal after something life-changing comes your way. Maybe it’s all about making a new normal, you know?

* * *

But the thing is, new normals are out of our comfort zones.

The thing about life is that when we have learned to live with what we have for a while – be it happy thing or not. Resilience has taught us that, how to live with what we have against not functioning at all. And with this resilience, we become comfortable with what we have, and when we’ve finally moved to something better, adjusting to it is a whole new thing.

And sometimes, we’d rather be where we used to be because we’re comfortable, even if what’s being offered to us is something new and better.

* * *

It was in the middle of cleaning my desk on Maundy Thursday that I finally understood. Nothing like household chores to give you clarity with the things that bother you.

“I think I just missed being where I used to be. It was comfortable and I knew how to deal with it. Now I need to navigate through unfamiliar waters and a part of me wants to regress.”

I wrote this in relation to that little twinge of feelings that I felt last week, but I realized later on that it applies to all the things that has happened in the past months: a new job after seven years, new projects, new responsibilities. Old and new friends, restored relationships, and new memories. All the things that has come and will come are a part of the things that make this new normal that I have to learn to not just live with, but enjoy. :)

“I guess what I want to say is instead of looking back to how I used to deal in the past, I should just be thankful that I am given a chance to have another set of normal. That God loves me enough to give me this so I might learn to see how He works in my life.”

“This realization earns me plus points in self-awareness,” I told my best friend via text message, smiled, and went back to clearing my desk.


Twenty Nine


I turned 29 today.

I was honestly too busy to start counting the days to my birthday in the past weeks. I stopped the countdown last year, and the days leading to my birthday this year was just filled with too many activities that I hardly thought of writing, or documenting anything, or counting, even. Before I knew it, it was the 16th of March, and I fell asleep before midnight and woke up – I’m already 29.

Every time I think of that – I’m turning 29, or now, I’m 29 – I get this freaked out feeling inside. I always thought that age was just a number (and it still is), and I never thought that I’d be the kind of person who’d stop counting at a certain age…but really, I’m sort of freaking out. I’m almost at the end of this decade of my life. I’m almost thirty. I mean, it’s still a year to go, but I’m twenty-freaking-nine. How did that happen?

When my friends asked me yesterday and today about my birthday wish, I was at a loss. I had…nothing, really. I got just a little bit worried. How can I not want something? But I don’t. I mean, yeah, there are some things that would be nice to have1 but it those nice-to-haves aren’t really deal breakers.

I am happy now. I mean, I was happy before, but now I don’t feel like asking for anything anymore. My 28th year was, as a friend described it, “…a year of surprises, of mending broken fences, of accomplishments.” It was a year of silence, of trying new things, of forgiveness, of transitions, embracing my crosses, and consecrations. It was an eventful year, and now it feels like all of those have finally settled down.

I’m actually content.

So what now?

Most of the readings for my birthday in the past year were exhortations about blessings, and running the race, and being filled to overflow. This year’s readings were just a little bit different. First, the Gospel was about the paralytic man who stayed by the river for 38 years, waiting for his chance to get in to be healed. Jesus came, saw him and talked to him, and healed him by saying:

“Stand up, take up your mat, and walk.” – John5:8

It felt like a marching order of sorts. My 28th (and 27th) year(s) were very eventful, and I felt like they were the years where so many things happened in my life, in work, and in my relationships. It was a crazy ride, so to speak, and now that they’re all over, I still find myself still looking back, and kind of revisiting and reliving some of them. Now don’t get me wrong – it’s okay to look back. But maybe…not so much. I think it’s time that I stop lying there, waiting for something, because really I have been forgiven and healed, and I have been so blessed, that it is time to pick up my mat, and walk.

Walk towards something new. Walk towards what God has in store for me. Walk into where He wants me to be.

I take it back. I actually have a birthday wish. This came from today’s first reading:

“Wherever it flows, life abounds.” – Ezekiel 47:9

I never paid attention to this one before. This was the kind of first reading that didn’t really make sense to me, and I never really appreciated it. Interestingly, I found that I had highlighted this passage early on, and reading it now, on my 29th birthday, this suddenly made more sense.

I want to be someone where life abounds.

I don’t know if I said it right. But in my 29th year, I want to be the kind of person who gives life. Not physically, as in giving birth, or you know, suddenly going into medicine so I could save lives. I mean it more in the spiritual, maybe emotional sense. I want to be someone who’s so full of life that sharing it is the only thing to do. I want to be the kind of person whose words and actions give life to other people. I want to be someone that God uses to bring life and light to everyone I meet.

Truth be told, this wish, and this “marching order” of sorts kind of makes me nervous, on top of me freaking out that I am one year closer to 30. But time and time again, as one of my best friends always reminds me: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. :)

So thank you, to everyone who made this day special despite me being at work and really not having plans. Thank you for the 28th year, and thank you to all the people who journeyed with me. I am grateful. ♥ I wish you love and joy, as always.

I leave you all with words from Pope Francis, one of my favorite messages during the Papal Visit last January:

Allow yourselves to be surprised by God. Don’t be afraid of surprises. They shake the ground beneath our feet and make us insecure, but they move us forward in the right direction.

Here’s to 29. :)

  1. I will be honest here – a love life would be nice, haha. []

All These Things (4): January-February edition

Here I thought I’d have time to blog more come 2015, but look, it’s already February. Scratch that – February is almost over, and I just sat down to finally blog. I promise, I really wanted to write last January, but I went through another round of transition then, so I had other things I needed to focus on.

But don’t worry, it’s good transition. And by that, I mean I don’t feel as lost now as I did at first. :)

So what has happened to me so far in 2015?

  • Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines – I will write another blog entry about this, but this is definitely one of the experiences I will never ever forget. What a way to kickstart 2015.
  • Work, and lots of it – This isn’t new, but there was a lot of work only because I filed my resignation last December, so most of this is transition stuff. This means…
  • I have a new job. :) This wasn’t in any of my plans at all. I had other plans, really, especially since this opportunity came to me last year but I ignored it the first time. Then when I asked for it, someone else got it, so I figured it wasn’t for me. Lo and behold, I got a message by December if I wanted to go for it again. So I did, and I got the job. I’ve been in the role for one month and it’s been fun so far. The tasks and responsibilities are quite daunting, but I’m also having fun and I actually like this stretch. (So much that I actually went to work yesterday – a holiday – willingly, how about that.) Lots more to come for this, and I’m quite excited for those things. :)
  • SFC International Conference in Palawan. My fourth SFC ICON, my second time in Palawan, and thanks to the generosity of some CFCs in Palawan, we got to visit El Nido on a budget (like, really awesome budget). What an amazing, amazing experience, and I really, really hope that I get to write about this soon.

There are many things that I need to write about (part two of the Bangkok-Siem Reap trip, for one), and I’m really going to try harder to do that soon. I mean, I have a lot of time outside of work now. I think I’m just sort of adjusting from all this free time now. Ever had that dilemma? You know, having almost no free time to suddenly having so much free time that you don’t know what to do with it now? Yeah, that thing. But let’s not waste time, right?

Here’s one thing I know, after the first 51 days of 2015: it’s been a blast, so far. :)

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