Gratitude is a muscle

So like most of the people I know, I started the year with a new planner. I didn’t plan on getting the Starbucks one, but circumstances (hanging out at the hospital everyday at the end of the year for my dad’s gall bladder surgery) had me complete the stickers. I had a bullet journal with me, though, so the planner wasn’t exactly going to be useful to me.

But since I chose grateful as my 2017 word, and I missed being all artsy~ in my planners, I eventually figured it out. I got the idea from a friend, who used her planner as her gratitude journal, and I thought that was a great idea and decided to do it.

So January came, and I took the time every night to fill the day with something I was thankful for. They were usually simple things – easy commute to work, waking up on time, good breakfast, getting some time to exercise. Or sometimes, something special, too:  my two-year anniversary at work, crappy first drafts, finding dresses and discounts for weddings, going to musicals with friends. And some days, I wrote about the bad things, too: falling into sin again, worry about changes at work, annoyances.

I kept it up for a month or so, with the examen at the end of the day to help me keep still. I thought, “Hey, this is actually fun and easy, I think I could keep it up until the end of the year.”

The last time I touched my planner (other than this week) was February 14.

Of course this would happen. It always happens. I’ve noticed this in the past three years or so that I often lose track of my word and my theme sometime after January. What happens is this: I get distracted, I get a disruption in my schedule (in this case, it was the trip to Iloilo for the SFC conference), and then I find it hard to get back into the groove because life just got busy.

You’d think I’d be ready for these things, you know? Or you’d think I’d be ready to at least fight for what I’ve been trying to do a little. But I don’t.

Now we’re almost halfway to June, and I’m in kind of a funk. I’m not sure why or how or when it started, but I found myself complaining more, or ranting more, or just becoming cranky and impatient toward other people. I feel a little troubled with this, especially when I found myself dreading weekdays, and finding the days just passing me by without finding anything meaningful to make them count.

Have you ever felt the same?

Then I remembered: gratitude, just like prayer, faith, joy, courage, and love, is a muscle. You need to choose to practice it actively if you want to grow into that kind of person.

And I remembered, too, the blank pages of my planner that I didn’t fill with things and people I was grateful for.

And because I needed to do something about this, I thought: let’s exercise that gratitude muscle.

It’s simple: I’ll open my planner and write the things I’m grateful for everyday, again. But instead of just looking into me doing this until the end of the year, I’ll give myself ten days.

Ten days of gratitude.

Ten days of writing it down, of being mindful and intentional about being grateful.

I digress, sort of: when January rolled around, I told myself that I was going to change my physical fitness goals, because the “lose # lbs” wasn’t working for me anymore (did it ever?). I decided to change my “KPI,” and instead of counting the pounds, I decided to count the number of workouts I did in the week. That’s something within my control, and easier to track. My goal was to hit at least 3 workouts within the week.

And you know what, that worked. Granted, I didn’t hit the 3 workout counts every single week, but it changed my priority and made me less frustrated when I go for my monthly measurements. I knew that I wouldn’t see any changes if I didn’t work out a lot, and vice versa. It made me more accountable, and it made going to exercise more enjoyable, somehow.

So just like exercising my actual muscles, I’ll go exercise my gratitude muscle. Just ten days. That shouldn’t be hard, right?

I’ll be back to write about it again. If you want to do this with me, comment below? I’d love to hear your journey, too. :)

All These Things (10): Hello Again

Just last Friday, I thought about this blog again. It’s obvious that I haven’t been here but I’ve been around here and here. I haven’t exactly disappeared, just on a different persona online.

Which isn’t really a different persona, too because it’s still me.

But yeah, last Friday I thought about this blog, and I thought of how it’s been my “home” for those turbulent times in my life (I’m looking at you, 2013-2014). It goes to show that I blog and think about things when I going through something, so this means I’m not going through anything that warrants all the blog posts about things, in love and life and all that.

I kind of miss it, though. Not the turbulence, but that I had all these things to write here. To pause and gather my thoughts about life, the ones that don’t make it in my current work-in-progress, and write them down. It’s getting harder to do that lately – to sit and pause and be intentional about something, to reflect and look back and be thankful. I get too caught up with work, and the writing progress and the TV shows that the days just breeze by and before we know it, 2017 is ending.

So here, let’s try to slow down again, and let’s start easy.

Right Here, Right Now.


Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James. I finished my first Julie James book last weekend, and why did it take me so long to read her? I don’t know. I’m reading her books partly for research because my next book is going to have enemies-to-lovers trope and I have no idea where to start with that. Hence the research!


My next book! I’ve actually started writing it sometime last year but I keep on stopping because my characters weren’t moving the way I want them to. I hit the same wall a few weeks ago, so I decided to stop writing for a while and just do some free-writing while I talk to them in my head.

I think it’s more challenging this time for me because unlike my first two books, this one doesn’t have a NaNoWriMo source. So in essence, the writing for this is really me starting from nothing. I’m still targeting a September release, so wish me luck?


Home by Reese Lansangan. Love love love this song.


I want to write but I have work. (But look I’m blogging haha) I’m hungry and there’s chocolate here but I’m supposed to be cutting back on sugar. Do I need to prepare a presentation for tomorrow’s meeting?


Coconut from this coconut-lychee flavored Timtams. It’s…strange but also okay?


That the words will just flow when I start writing. And it will be the easiest thing I will be writing (haha right).


This pretty blue and white dress that I always wear when executives visit our office, and black blazer I got yesterday. I should be in heels but I’m not. Maybe tomorrow.


That my parents are home. :)


Mangoes. There are mangoes at home and I look forward to having that later after dinner.


To stop obsessing over the book planning and to start writing. You’ll figure it out, self, don’t worry too much!


Happy that the work day is almost over. :)

I can’t promise that I’ll be posting as much as I used to, but I will try. Tell me what’s up with you right now? :)

Thirty One

Years ago, whenever March would roll by, the countdown would start. Actually, sometimes, the countdown started as early as the 17th of February, when it was exactly one month to go before my day. I’d post wish lists, make plans, and start using hashtags when it became the thing – #goodbye27, #hello28, etc, etc.

It stopped this year.

Well, kind of. I still used the hashtag, but I barely thought about turning a year older until it was finally the birthday week. I was busy with work, with writing, and other things to really think about the fact I was turning a year older. Then when my birthday this year finally rolled around, what did I do?

I went to do some grown-up things by paying bills.

Maybe this is growing up? Not that I’m less thankful for my birthday passing, but it just becomes a steady, pleasant hum in the background, because I don’t have time to be all

Am I becoming less fun now? Haha.

But yeah, I turned 31 this year, and the younger me would have had a post ready a few days after the 17th. This year, I had to remind myself to do this. My 31st birthday, was, as I mentioned, spent paying bills and eating and playing with my nephew, and the rest of the weekend was full of art, friends, and family. I was exhausted, so much that I had to go for a massage on Monday to get rid of the knots that I felt formed on my back.

If you’re freaking out about getting to this age, don’t. It’s fine. Whatever you feel like you lack now, it’s just you being hard on yourself. :) You are enough, you are valued, and your age doesn’t define you. It’ll all be okay. :)

But if anyone asks, I’m just 27. :P 

I hope you guys had a splendid March. I apologize for not being here often, and I honestly still don’t know what to do with this blog now that my writing is eating a lot of time, but I’ll figure it out eventually. :)