It’s the end of 2015, and we’re okay

Earlier today, while doing some last-minute grocery shopping, my friend Isa retweeted this:

And I thought, Yes, this.

I admit that I have been putting off this 2015 recap for the past few days and was intent on doing other things (like writing) because I wasn’t sure how to go about this. I mean, 15 is a pretty big number to fill (maybe I should quit doing this numbers thing for my recaps), and I guess a part of me is a bit in denial that this year is ending now.

And perhaps there’s a bit of dread coming in, unlike the previous years, and it felt a little disconcerting because I love the New Year. I love it because it meant so many things: new beginnings, new goals, new everything – even if really, not all of them are new. Everything’s fresh and just brimming with possibilities, and I like to make January 1 always awesome so I could carry it for the rest of the year.

But the ending of 2015 and the start of 2016 is a little bit different. I admit that it’s also probably because I’ve been on vacation, and I am loving the fact that I didn’t have much to do nor work to think of and the new year coming meant I’m closer to going back to the office again. Haha. I guess another factor is that I’m turning thirty next year and how about that for some growing-up anxiety.

I mean, thirtyFriends who are already past that age tell me that it isn’t a big deal afterwards, but I bet you were also freaking out slightly when you were approaching that age. :P But really, I guess there’s that feeling that I should have a grasp of my life better now that I’m reaching a new decade. Like I should have this and that, like I should have a plan and an answer to some of the questions that I had back when I was 20, or 24, or something.

But you know what? Those are lies. No one has all the answers and no one has things figured out right now. And Stephanie Kay Sharp’s tweet reminded me that it’s okay not to be completely 100% ready for 2016 by the time this day ends, because who’s completely ready, anyway? I don’t think anyone really is. The best I can do now is reflect, be thankful, and pray for what 2016 has in store for me, for us.

Because 2015 is all about FAITH: being assured of what is hoped for; being certain of what we cannot see. 

Now that I’ve got that word vomit out (I just watched Mean Girls the other night, haha), I’ve decided not to the 15 things, because really, 15 is not enough, and also already daunting for this Tita to remember everything. ;) I think I’m the only one pressuring myself to do the same things I did in the past years. So, instead, an unnumbered list.

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For moreness

For moreness. My best friend coined this on the trip we took on the weekend before I turned 28, the one where I asked them to join me because as much as I enjoyed traveling on my own, I realized that I didn’t really want to spend the last few days of a wonderfully crazy year not surrounded by the people who have seen me through not just in last year but also the year before that. And the year before that. And the year…well, you get my drift.

So off we went to Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte with Travel Factor. For moreness.

From a sleepy bus ride to a choppy 2-hour boat ride that left none of us dry (and taught us an important lesson on waterproofing our things — don’t worry, my phone is still alive and safe from saltwater), the island welcomed us with this:

Long bus ride? Scary, choppy waves? Here, have a beach.

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A nationwide heartbreak

To say that last week was stressful is an understatement.

In a way, it almost felt like last week didn’t exist, with all the stress and devastation I saw on TV and online. But to bury it all and pretend that it didn’t happen feels like some kind of injustice — the kind that I promised wouldn’t happen to me because grace is not about forgetting, but knowing you can start anew.

In the midst of keeping myself up to date, seeing photos, checking which news articles to believe and fixing our own relief efforts in our book club, I came to this conclusion to what this feeling was, the one that bugged me and drove me to tears every now and then when I read news, see photos and hear stories.

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This thing that’s stirring our hearts? This isn’t just a simple sadness over what happened to our country. It’s not just sympathy.

It’s heartbreak.

I don’t think anyone’s a stranger to heartbreak. We’ve all had our hearts broken at some point — by a friend, a family member or someone you love. We’ve all had that, and while every heartbreak is different, it doesn’t make it less painful.

What we had last week, and what we’re still having now, is a nationwide heartbreak.

I wrote this last week, during one of those nights when I was feeling a little too much and thinking a little too much (but in a good way):

We are like lovers reeling from a fresh heartbreak, reacting in different ways we know how: lash out, rant, mope, judge. We wonder how people can be so happy and seem so apathetic by posting anything unrelated to the typhoon, while a third of our country suffers. We talk about sensitivity and inefficiency, we curse the people who continue to steal and lie in this tragedy, and make it hard for the people who need the relief to get what they need.

But some of us move, organize things, reach out, help. We move because not moving makes us feel the heartbreak even more, and moving makes it easier for us to breathe, somehow.

We have our own ways to cope because a heartbreak comes unexpectedly, no matter how ready we are, no matter how strong we think we are. Our hearts break, and we do what we can do to heal.

We move, and we wait for healing to come.

And it will come. We just have to wait a little bit.

If healing was fast and easy, then how would we learn the things we ought to learn in the face of heartbreak? If healing comes in a flash, how would we learn compassion, kindness, generosity, strength? Would we be able to appreciate the tireless efforts everyone is doing to heal from the heartbreak? If things become okay in a snap, would we even appreciate what kind of people we become after this heartbreak?

It may seem so far away, but I believe we’re slowly, slowly starting to recover. It’s going to take a while. A long while, probably. And this road won’t be smooth — definitely bumpy, and will probably mean more work for us. Possibly with tinier heartbreaks; small waves of grief that will make us cry again, and punch us in the gut.

But it will not steal our hope.

It will not silence our love.

The thing about heartbreak, I learned, is not really about waiting for things to stop hurting before you do something. A broken heart can and will heal with time, but for time to actually do its job, you need to move. Movement will heal you, free you. In movement, you will learn, and in movement you will be wiser. In movement, you will find people who will move with you.

And you will heal.

swirlOur nation’s heart is broken. But if there’s another thing I learned about heart break (and I quote1 ): Even when hearts are broken, they still keep beating.

Our hearts are broken, but it’s beating. Loud and strong.

P.S. – Not too late to make a difference! Keep on helping, keep on praying!

  1. From Corpse in the Mirror by A.S. Santos []