16 Things for 2016

Right before I went on holiday break, I was trying to think of a year-ender post and realized that I actually had enough to write 16 things for this year. Maybe I was a little bit lazy in 2015, or maybe 2016 was just chock full of stuff, both good and bad but I need this little reminder to keep myself grateful for the following year.

But let me be all cliche for a while: I can’t believe it’s almost 2017.

So let’s start – some 16 things for 2016.

1. 2015 started with an intense longing to leave and maybe, quit. Haha, okay, so maybe this isn’t so positive? But there were several things that I wanted to end at the start of the year, partly for cleaning up, and partly because the environment wasn’t so healthy anymore. Without really going to detail, I did manage this — with some actual cleaning up and letting go, and with some decisions to stay. It’s funny when I look back on it now, but I realized that yes, decisions to leave or stay shouldn’t be done when you’re emotional.

2. Singapore! First SFC International Conference in an international setting. My first out of the country trip for the year, and also quite adventurous because of our airport shenanigans on our way back. Was terribly sick this time, though, but it was a good trip nonetheless.

Weee excited for tonight! #SFCUnstoppable #iamSFC

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Then I went to Singapore again later in the year for a business trip. My first out of the country business trip was very productive, and made me feel quite…mature? It was fun!

See that chili crab? I couldn't eat that crab, huhu. But yay, lovely dinner with the Ascender Global Marketing team 🦀🔶

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3. I turned 30. Funny how I was more scared of turning 30 when I turned 29 than when I actually turned 30. I turned 30 quietly, with my family, in a comfortable bed with wine and cheese on the side. If you’re almost at this age and you’re freaking out — don’t. It’s actually quite nice. :)

 

4. Switchfoot x 3. My third Switchfoot concert! I will never get tired of watching them live. :)

 

5. #AprilFeelsDay + #FeelsRushInHow do I describe this? Oh, I already did. This is a happy day in the middle of a hot summer and pre-election madness in the Philippines. Kilig is the answer. :P

 

A few months later, we had #FeelsRushIn, organized in 10 days by the awesome girls (wasn’t hands on with it so much because of school). It was just as fun, discovering new talents and observing the crowd and all that. A preview of what’s to come? :D

 

6. Speaking of elections…talk about toxic? Still toxic now, but the bright spot was always #romanceclass and how we all managed to find the kilig in everything, despite the madness. Like that fic we wrote because of a picture and a ship we formed. The fic remains unfinished, because we couldn’t take reality. Sort of. :P

 

7. Finished school! I started a Certified Digital Marketing Course in 2015, and finished it this year! I took up Social Media Marketing in April which I enjoyed immensely (and learned that I have been underestimating social media marketing a bit) and took the final Marketing 360 course in July. Both of my defenses were on the day before Feels Days, haha. But I am now certified, so yay. Studying is fun!

Kristina Ana Matanguihan, CDM 🎉🎉🎉 🍾

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8. Lost a dear friend. This year was also the year that I faced grief from losing a dear friend to death. It’s surprising and sad and I still miss him terribly, but I am glad that I had good memories shared with him. Thanks for everything, Chief.

The last time we saw each other was the first time I found out about your writer life. You told me you were a UP National Writers Workshop fellow and I was so surprised – in the 5 years I have known you, why didn't I know this? Haha. And then you asked me about my next book and I told you that it was almost done. Then I apologized because your name was supposed to have a cameo in a scene but I took it out. "Manginginom sa kanto kasi si Kuya Erick sa kwento," I explained. "Kaso parang di bagay sa pangalan mo. So next time na lang." You just laughed and said it was okay. Little did I know that it was the last time I would ever see you. And when you left, I almost thought of putting that scene back, if only to remember you, but I realized that you deserved to be in a better spot, where people who know you will have no problem knowing that it's you. After all, we did meet at the WYD that was all about standing firm in the Faith, so it seemed right that this book about faith will be dedicated to you. :) Around this time five years ago was the time you asked me about my prayer intentions for the WYD vigil and it would be one of the things that sparked that fire that brought me back to SFC. It's been lonely without your bright soul here, but it's not so dark what with the many tiny fires that you have sparked in all the people that you have met and loved. :) And it's comforting to recognize you in them. 🔥 Will always miss you, Chief. Estad firmes en la fe. 😇❤️

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9. Published books 1.5, 2, and 2.5. After a book and writing that is 2015, I made up for it this year! I finished and published It’s a Match last May, Keep the Faith last July, and Five Minutes Till Midnight, part of Make My Wish Come True in December. It was a challenge to keep pushing words out because I still face a ton of self-doubt but the accomplishment of seeing it out and having them read is satisfying. So yes, I’m still here, still writing and not going anywhere. :)

 

Special mention to the Christmas anthology because I organized this, and like I said, it was fun because it wasn’t so hard to organize it with a bunch of talented writers. :) ♥

 

10. So much theater. I think it was in 2008 to 2010 that I thought I was a theater person because I watched some shows but those years were lightweights compared to 2016. I was in the theater 10 times this year: 3 Stars and Sun, Godspell, Rak of Aegis x 3, Love/Sick, Ako si Josephine, The Tempest Reimagined x 2, and Mabining Mandirigma. I credit these theater experience with #romanceclass, especially Tara, who kept on organizing feels trips so we could support our friends. Definitely going to more shows next year. :)

 

11. Romance Lectures. Learning doesn’t have to be boring, and kilig is always the answers. I wasn’t able to attend the previous #romanceclass discussions in 2015 because I had other commitments, but this year we changed it up to  being paid lectures. We did 2, but that was because the second one was kind of the peak? Haha. Not complaining, because hey, I never thought I’d meet Atom Araullo in the flesh until #romanceclass came along. ;) (I already met Champ through a friend years ago, but I only discovered his LI factor during the rockstar lecture. :D)

 

12. Conference Sharing, Part 2. I was blessed to go onstage to share at the TEACH Expo in 2014, so when the opportunity came again this year for the SFC Metro Manila Regional Conference, I said yes. And man, what a journey it was to write my sharing, polish it, and then deliver it. It was my sort of coming out to SFC Metro Manila about my writing. :)

 

13. #romanceclass x Manila International Book Fair. Talk about dream come true. Every time we were asked if we’ll ever have a booth in MIBF, we always say no because it was too expensive. But BDAP generously offered us a booth, and we took it and it blew us all away. I wasn’t there for the first few days but news of our books getting sold out was crazy thrilling, but it was even more crazy when I got there on the weekend. Probably the first MIBF I attended that I didn’t get to buy books, but the most memorable of all MIBFs I have attended. Thanks to everyone who bought my books! ♥

Thank you, friends, for dropping by and hanging out! 💖 #MIBF2016 #romanceclass

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14. New stuff at work. So the earlier part of the year had me struggling for things at work, which was a usual struggle of staying or going. I held on to opportunities to be poor in spirit, and held on to God’s work, no matter how slow it can be. Later in the year, so many things changed at work that left us breathless, but has introduced me to more doors than I can count? Really getting by with God’s grace, and still getting by with that in the coming year. :)

 

15. FeelsFest All Feels days are specials, and this one was extra special because we had a lot of time (well, a month hehe) to prepare for it, plus there were so many feelings this day! And new books! And other things! I posted a longer recap here, but my favorite part would be having my favorite scene in Keep the Faith read by Gio and Gab. ♥ ♥ ♥

 

 

16. Lots of family time. I had a lot of out of town (read: Tagaytay) vacations with my family this year, and it’s always extra fun with my nephew around. This Christmas, I was all set to celebrate with them via Facetime, but God was gracious and gave us time to be physically together for the holidays until the year ends. :)

 

2016 has had a bad rep, and in fact, I’m nursing an allergy attack right now so it’s really a hassle. But it’s so easy to focus on the bad and make us feel bad when in fact, there were good things that happened this year if we just care to look, and if choose to be thankful. Despite all the darkness, despite all the craziness in this world, let’s not forget: gratitude is always an option. :)

See you in a bit, 2017. :)

To get yourself a new life you’ve got to give the other one away

Change is happening at work right now, and it has been happening since a few months ago. I’m no stranger to it – I’ve witnessed change happen several times in the course of my career, especially in my previous company, but I guess I wasn’t totally affected by it until my last career shift. Now we’re in the thick of it, and I have a completely different set of responsibilities to handle it now. I’m not directly affected, but I have this responsibility to help in making the change easier for everyone else.

It’s sort of funny, how all these changes at work sort of paralleled the changes happening in my personal life. They weren’t exactly life-shattering changes, but still, they were pretty major, and it shook my otherwise comfortable world. And I didn’t like that.

And it’s also a little funny that sometime a year ago, I was experiencing the same thing – except it was entirely different than it is now.

Let me be a bit cliche here for a minute: change really happens everyday. Our new CEO said that during the first time we met him: who you are at this minute is different from who you were five minutes ago. Sometimes we choose to change, and that makes us (painfully) aware about things, but often times, change is thrust towards us, and we have the choice to be agile and jump in, or be in denial until we have no choice to but to move.

I remember sort of going a bit meta a few weeks back when I sat down to look at all of what’s happening in my life. I remember smiling at how things seem to be unfolding, because really, it’s not so bad. But I’m a creature of comfort – so when I went back down to focus on what’s in front of me, I resisted, again. 

I think what scares me – and everyone else, for sure – about changes happening is how it has the tendency to leave us uprooted. I felt like I was losing so many things that I have painstakingly built, everything and everyone that I had invested in because of these changes, and of course I didn’t want that. I deserve these things, I thought. These are mine. I felt – at least, as far as those personal changes were concerned – that I was floating up, up, and away, and I didn’t know where I will end up. I’ve got half the mind to just allow that to happen to me – to go with the flow, so to speak – and see where it will take me.

Except.

The last time I felt uprooted like this was almost two years ago, and it was terrifying in a lot of ways. Looking back at all that, I realized that while there was uprooting, I didn’t exactly float aimlessly. In fact, it was the opposite: I had simply changed direction and I was firmly in the middle of God’s plan.

I am not aimless. It felt like it was, because I didn’t know what was going to happen. But it was never aimless. It might not even be floating, actually. God has me firmly in His hands, and even in the midst of this changes, He has never let me out of His sight.

You know what? Maybe it’s not even really uprooting. I think that I am still rooted – deep in His love, as He had intended it to be. But I think that the changes that came in my life recently – both personal and professional – is some sort of pruning. It’s painful (because hello, you don’t prune without scissors and cutting something), but it’s necessary. Because if you don’t prune, then how will it grow?

I was never aimless.

True, sometimes things at work feel a bit shaky sometimes, and frankly sometimes I still don’t know what to do. But like what my manager tells me, I can take all these by the hands and make deliberate steps to push myself forward. And I believe God is telling me the same thing: after this moment of pruning, I have the ability to move forward and grow, trusting fully in Him who had stitched me together with His love. :)

 

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. :)