Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In A Nutshell

We can always look back, but we can never go back. That is why we have a heart that remembers - various good things that shall be kept and never be forgotten.  And it shall be lived each day as a part of who we are, because we are a mixture of our parents' genes and other people's influences .

We cannot rush for tomorrow and force the clock to run at a speed for our sake. Because today is a day that must be cherished. "Wherever you are, be there," as Francis Kong puts it. And so whatever the day asks for, give it with a kind heart. We are serving a bigger cause, not the one who we think we are serving for.

Even when others seem to pull your spirit down, remember Desidarata: Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. The bigger is your understanding, the more patience is expected of you.
– June 15, With Blindfolds and Handcuffs, with a Sweet Play of Violin Around

I had a deep, relaxing, and complete sleep. When I opened my eyes, I suddenly felt a real grown up. This line echoed on my ears: I am accountable for what I am doing. From that day on, I owned the consequences of my actions. I had no one else to blame for lost opportunities and chances. Likewise, I had nobody else to credit for all gains and pains. Everything was a product of my decisions and choices.

"During one of the chances that I had to speak, one asked, “Am I disappointed that I did not achieve the dreams that I originally had for myself?” I told them that there are other dreams to be made, there are there are other things to be accomplished. It doesn’t mean that if you fail to make your original dreams a reality then it’s the end of the world. You need to learn to dream other dreams and you need to reach for other things. We can’t all be Manny Pacquiao or whatever, we can be other things. You just have to dream other dreams, have a positive attitude towards life. Be the best that you can be and always be good to people regardless of your situation in life, it’s no excuse not be good to other people. You just have to be kind and fair."
- Juan Magdaraog, during our interview for Too Rare to be Noticed: A Documentary on Orphan Disorders (January 2010)

Graduation 2010
2010 was a ferocious year of transition. It was the year of my graduation, entry to service, and access to the professional world. It was the year of love and romance. I met new friends, rekindled friendships, and made a special friendship.

Apparently, what I have in mind right now is the feeling of having a good friendship with a good guy friend who I call my boyfriend – no more, no less. I am currently embracing each moment, each time that I get to spend with him because I believe God has given him to me to teach me something; consequently, I to him. We have been angels to each other – apart from I being a girlfriend to him, and he being a boyfriend to me.” 
– August 2, When I Told Papa I Already Had a Boyfriend

Desserting in Qoola after Dinner
I learned to embrace the present, at the same time, look forward for the future. Life is short to worry so much about what may happen or when things could happen. As the Bible says, “Today has enough cares for itself.” I learned to cherish every moment, every day, every night, every month. People come and go; enjoy new friends and treasure old ones. Love your family above everything else. But love God above all.

I would like to fill the bottom of my jar with the essentials of life. As of the moment, I prioritize serving God and building better relationship with my family. As for my ultimate dream, I trust in God for what we have agreed upon. In peace, I marked His words unto me, "I am giving the desires of your heart".

And I believe He will. I just could not let go of the peace, satisfaction and happiness that I feel now that I am serving Him. So I declared time's up and made a decision - with a sense of peace in my heart.”
– September 26, Time’s Up

I learned the importance of prayer. It changes lives, transforms dreadful moments, and vanquishes fears. It makes you accept things easier when everything else does not go as you planned it. It is the fuel of the soul when the heart is disheartened from the rejections and condemnations of the world. It makes you feel safe, loved, and secure. In the arms of God, nothing goes wrong. When you talk to God, He heeds every breath, yawn, sigh. He hears silent drops of tears and loud chuckles of laughter.

More so, I have got a powerful army behind me - saints, martyrs, fellow angels, even the legends of Greek mythology. I have my own line of communication with them that remains open 24 hours a day, seven times a week. This is the thing that mortals and angels have something in common: PRAYER, the only open line to Heaven. Thus, I have nothing to fear of. And you, mortal, yes YOU, you have nothing to fear of. Because rocking the Heaven's hearth is only a prayer away. Our names are etched upon the palms of these warriors and intercessors. And, I believe, God hears the prayer even of punished angels. That's how merciful He is, believe me. When you fear, you pray.” 
– July 4, Human Fear and Frailty, an Angel’s Plea

The Makati Feast Christmas Party 2010
Yes, I am accountable, but the clock of the world is not on my hands. I own my time, but I owe it from God. I may have my own timetable, plans, and agenda, but God has His own plan for me. Psalms put it more succinctly, “Everything has its own time and its own season.”

Anchoring TOMCAT's Thomasian News Bites for the A.Y's last episode
To this, I learned to never ever deny your dream. Shout out your vision of yourself ten years from now. And let them see the conviction in your eyes and the certainty in the tone of your voice that you are going to be it – ten years from now. As St. Paul told in his letter to the Philippians, “Therefore, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”” 
– August 25, The Denial of a Dream

With all these lessons, I claim abundance for the year 2011.

If we keep our eyes and ears open, our hearts open, we will find the place surely.  The phone will ring and we will jump not so much out of our skin as into our skin.  If we keep our lives open, the right place will find us." – Frederick Buechner 
– September 22, The Calling of Voices, The Hungering Dark (A Repost)

All Days are the Same

You see, yesterday is the same as today. The sun rises in the morning, stands still at noontime, and sets in twilight. The sky is bright in the morning and dark at night. Rainbows appear after rain; clouds unceasingly run on the heavens. 

What makes today different from yesterday is perspective. We believe in the concept of time. We set agenda for each day based on the calendar. Our ancestors have laid down holidays and feast days in different dates. Therefore, we celebrate Valentine’s day in February, Halloween in November, and Christmas in December. There is really no New Year, but the concept of time has made us believe that the year changes.

There is a thin line that separates yesterday and today. Once the clock sets at 12, calendar date instantly changes. Tonight, when the clock strikes 12, we say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011. 12:00 am of December 31 is the same as 12:00 am of December 30. What makes it different is our belief of New Year. Hence, we bang firecrackers and display fireworks to welcome another January 1. 

It is on January 1 that we try to start anew. Despite frustrations, heartbreaks, illnesses, losses, rejections, failures, and disappointments, we move on with our life. January 1 is the same as any other day, but because it is the beginning of another year, it becomes a stepping stone for changes, resolutions, and aspirations.

Our days are all the same. Nevertheless, they differ by the way we perceive and treat them. Thank God for the concept of time. We are able to start anew, and to move on from the dark memories of the past.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just a Simple Update

Now, what I want to do is sit back, relax, breathe, and listen to The Script. 

I had a simple Christmas celebration with the family. This was the first Christmas when I had given  gifts to my parents, goddaughters and godsons, lolas, tita, and brother - with my own money-spent. It really felt good to share blessings to people, most especially to your loved ones. I only had a measly bonus and salary, albeit thank God I was able to budget them well. The biggest bonus was this: my parents and brother really liked my gifts. Thank you Lord for the blessings!

Today, we heard Holy Mass, and we had lunch in Dampa. After that, we watched MMFF in Greenbelt. All cinemas were jam-packed. Avoiding the late-night full shows, we ended up with Si Agimat at Si Enteng Kabisote. As a whole, I didn't like the film. Anyway, it was a fun day with my cousins. And Nin joined us, so it was a real bonding. Great Sunday!

As of this moment, I am pondering of the year that was, and the year that is about to come. Many things came and happened - unexpectedly. Though I know all consequences were products of my choices. For all the successes, failures, must-haves, could-haves, probabilities, and possibilities - I was the one accountable.

For all the blessings, gifts, friends, and families - God, thank you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goodness and Evil have the Same Face

I remember Paolo Coelho saying in the Devil and Ms. Prym: “Good and evil have the same face.”

Tonight, on my way home, I saw goodness and evil wearing the same face.

Saturdays are supposed to be rest day for traditional employees. Nevertheless, I chose to go to work to clear my backlogs for the week, and to help our team beat the November 6 deadline for our first batch of articles. I finished our daily quota of eight write-ups at past 9 pm (the line “Life is a journey” lengthened my worktime because it could be found in other websites, however way I rephrase it). Eating a slice or two of Yellow Cab pizza, I chose to walk to Pasong Tamo for a short exercise before hitching a ride home.

Upon riding a jeepney in front of the Exportbank Plaza, I got a bill from my wallet and gave it to the driver. The driver gave me 13-peso penny change; I placed it in my purse. My mind was wandering off while looking at the surroundings. Suddenly, the driver handed me four folded twenty-peso bills, saying, “100 pala to.” Remembering the purple-colored bill that I got from my wallet, I answered, “Ay, oo nga pala. Salamat!” I smiled at the driver, acknowledging his honesty for my fair’s change.

Nonetheless, I saw a weird impression on his face. Ironically, it was very subtle yet very noticeable to me.

It was as if he was regretting that he had given back the right amount of change to me. There was hesitation in the way he handed the four twenty-peso bills. It dawned on me that my 100-peso payment could have given him 14 passengers in one seating. Unreturned excess of fairs give drivers undue advantage over passengers.

It was where I saw goodness and evil having the same face – in the guise of an honest jeepney driver who had somehow regretted being honest in his dealing. In all fairness, though, he had been good enough to give back what is not his.

(Written on a Saturday, October 30)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tonight, Tears have Flowed from My Eyes

Tonight, tears have flowed from my eyes.

I am happy. I have a balanced life. I am paid for what I love to do. I walk with the Lord. I have dreams which I claim are coming true. I have a thankful heart. I have a hopeful mindset. I have good relationships.

But tonight, tears have flowed from my eyes. Because I have a love to dare or to spare.

To dare. I have a love to challenge, to continue, to insist on having. Everyday, I wake up with a thought that someone thinks of me when he wakes up – just as I do think of him in the morning. I anticipate for the chances of spending time with him in whatever kind of “date” we may have. I love the feeling of having constant reminders during mealtimes. I love seeing my Facebook photos with someone who I can call mine. I empty one of my hands to hold his hand. I hug and cuddle; I kiss and embrace. I whisper a prayer of wellness for him. I say “I miss you”, “I love to see you”, “I love you”. I say I really do.

And a love to spare. I have a love to turn my back from, to deny, to let go. Maintaining a relationship is different from having someone to love. Having someone to love is taking care of him, securing him, trusting in him. You show affection, practice fidelity, show kindness and express sweetness. But maintaining a relationship is entirely different. You have two people who think, feel and know that they have someone to love. Affection, fidelity, care, security and trust do not journey in a one-way road. It traverses highways and skyways where toll fees are paid at a high price. Maintaining a relationship is like singing in duo, dancing tango. You have a good music, you sing your part, but if the other does not, you cannot tell you’re singing with a duet. You have the music, but it turns out to be not the expected kind – where two voices blend to make a real, unmatchable harmony. 

Also, it takes two to tango. A dance will not be a dance when there is only one who exerts effort to move one’s feet, sway one’s body and shake one’s booty. It is not a dance. It is a disaster.

Tonight, tears have flowed from my eyes. Because I have a love to dare or to spare.

Relationships fall apart. People grow apart. Hearts break in pieces.

Love fades.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

When God intervenes, He blesses

We were supposed to attend the PICC Feast today. However, because of the result of Papa's medical examinations, we needed to go to his doctor for further interpretation and explanation of whatever was written therein. "Consider Hypertension Stage 2," it said. 

Blessedly, it was nothing very serious. Papa needed just to cut off big food intake, and have things taken in moderation. The doctor gave him a "Diet Guide for High Cholesterol Patients", plus follow-up check-ups every month to monitor his health. As mama said, "Kasama 'yan sa pagtanda."

When God intervenes, He blesses

The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to
mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 
- Lk. 17:6

After Papa's check-up, we heard mass at Don Bosco, Makati. The priest's sermon was very meaningful. In line with this Sunday's readings which focused on faith, he enumerated the three characteristics of a faithful person:
  • A faithful person prays to God.
  • A faithful person does not turn away from God.
  • A faithful person converts his faith into action and deeds.
Further, he stated, "Your faith - however big or small -  is very powerful... Because the power of your faith comes from God. You have trust in Him."

One of the best lines that he has said (which really struck me) was this: When God intervenes in your life, He wants to bless you. That's why, when we intervene in other people's lives, we have to bless them as well.

I thought to myself: God is - apparently - intervening in my life. All that I have planned beforehand have been changing. Whenever I pray to Him and ask for discernment, He simply nods His head for approval. And when I feel peace in my heart, I know, He is smiling at me - for my deeds, for my decisions, for everything that I am doing.

Machine a la human massage

With the mass ending at 1.30 pm, we headed directly to Greenbelt to have our lunch. Afterwhich, we tried the free body massage offered by Isukoshi.

Remote control of an Isukoshi chair massager
The whole-body massage was completely machine-generated. You would simply sit down on a comfortable chair armed with a soft foam, clothed in a cool leather outer skin. Thereafter, in a few clicks, you would feel a repetitive force from behind onto your back, around your feet and legs, and around your arms, like how a human also does a massage. This one is a really good invention: a stress-free, home massage in a click!

From left: Jigs, Papa and Mama (blocked by the assistant in green)
enjoying the massage
Cyclops? Nah, it's Jigs slowly falling asleep with the eye-relaxing massager
Nonetheless, the machines come in a very expensive price - really a HIGH-tech price - ranging from Php 70,000 to Php 200,000.

In the end, Papa bought the slimming belt and the iNeck massager. Oh, yes, slimming belt, which can also be used to massage your back, thighs and legs.

The free body massage is still available in Greenbelt 5 (beside Dulcinea), as well as in other Ayala Malls.

Fortnight Budget Proposals to Self

Trying all my best to be financially literate, I have created a budget for myself that I may be able to spend my money wisely (in the wise way that I know hehe). Since I would be earning every two weeks, I have already allotted a certain kind of amount foreseen expenditures in this-and-that; above all, allotting percentage to love offering and savings. I am trying to apply the 30-70 rule: 30% goes to tithe and savings, 70% goes to your own expenses. Thanks to Tita Ann for introducing me to financial literacy.

In a good attempt to budget my first salary
I would be starting my work on Tuesday (October 3) since the company moved their office to another building and Monday would be spent for fixing the cables and other office stuffs. Hence, I would allot my Monday on acquiring TIN ID and my NBI clearance.

I hope I could continue this until I get old. I would like to be responsible with my expenses. Anyhoo, this proposal is not yet final - JUST a proposal. In my second half-month salary, my remaining budget would only rate to .02%. Hello, thats' - uhm - pretty impossible to bear haha!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thanks be to God

Today, I woke up feeling like a married woman. Though not married to someone, rather to something. Being married, in this sense, being committed - not romantically, but professionally. I am now officially employed as an article writer in an SEO company in Makati.

As far as the brief orientation by the HR manager went yesterday, the company seemed good to be with. Salary increase conditions, regularization, workload, environment - everything seemed alright. So I willingly signed the contract; afterwhich, having a little chitchat with the HR manager.

I learned that an article writer is different from a web content writer, as well as from a blogger. You have to be a blogger first before an article writer. Nonetheless, being a web content writer (although slightly has the same work with an article writer) entails a more technical writing than article writing; thus, being the highest post among the three.

Wow, I never thought I would have writing as my first job after college. But anyway, it's a creatively good step before journalism and broadcast, I guess?

I would be starting on October 4 - if not on the 11th (if their new office would be fixed within the week, I would on the 4th).

Thank you, Lord :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Time's Up!

Even though the SEO/web-developer company has given me deadline until Tuesday to decide whether or not I'd be getting their job offer, I declared, "Time's up!" on a Sunday, after thinking things over and praying to God about it.

I have made my verdict. I choose the web writer post over the researcher work in the radio broadcasting company. This, I have made, on two grounds:
  • To be able to actively serve in the Makati Feast (and our community as a whole, the Light of Jesus (LOJ), and find a balance of time for family, serving God, and doing work. The researcher post, though not very demanding, could entail me working on a night or graveyard shift. With this, I would not be able to participate in the Makati Feast, as well as respond to being a CG-apprentice head (CG means caring group) in our CG for the season three. I have just been anointed as an intercessor (for our Intercessory Ministry), a CG head (but as of now, still an apprentice to Ate Gegs as a beginner), as well as an oficial member of the LOJ (after the baptism of the Holy Spirit during The Encounter). I believe I have been called to service.
  • Bigger salary, following my parents' advice. Being able to fend for myself and help a little at home. I would like to save first. In a year or two, I plan to enter my desired field of work.
I would like to fill the bottom of my jar with the essentials of life. As of the moment, I prioritize serving God and building better relationship with my family. As for my ultimate dream, I trust in God for what we have agreed upon. In peace, I marked His words unto me, "I am giving the desires of your heart".

And I believe He will. I just could not let go of the peace, satisfaction and happiness that I feel now that I am serving Him. So I declared time's up and made a decision - with a sense of peace in my heart.

Contract-signing in the Makati firm would be this afternoon. Hello, corporate world :)

Take Care

This happened last Thursday, on my way to the AIM, Makati:

"Para," I said with a slightly loud voice to signal the driver for a halt. Moving slow because of traffic, the jeepney stopped; I went down and out along with other passengers. While walking at the sidewalk of the Arnaiz ave., a man walked by my side. As far as I could remember, he was the passenger seated beside me at the jeepney.

"Miss, san dito yung Greenbelt?" I heard him ask in a soft voice. At first, I pretended not to have heard and noticed, but he repeated in a louder tone. "Ah, jan po. Dere-derecho lang, tas left. Yung Mcdo po, Greenbelt na 'yon," I answered, whilst continuously walking and looking straight front. "Ah. Taga-rito ka ba?" He asked in response. This triggered me up to be on-guard.

"Ah, hindi po," I tried to be polite in answering. I didn't dare look at the man in the eyes, even glanced at him (remembering my Titas' advice when talking to people you barely - or not at all - even know). I walked faster, but he walked by my pace. 

"Anong pangalan mo?" I pretended not to hear again, but he said more loudly, "Saan ka nakatira?" In brief, I responded, "Sa Paranaque po." "Anong pangalan mo?" I felt a dint of insistence. "Ann." "Ah, Angie," he assumed. "Oo," I agreed in all dishonesty.

I was already turning left from Paseo de Roxas ave. to the street where AIM was, when he motioned towards left as well. Irritated, I shouted at him (still trying, with all my best, to be polite), "Ah, doon po yung Greendbelt," then pointing right to where Mcdonald's was. This time, I was already feeling scared. Gosh, he was following me.

I turned left, then he said, "Ah, e-escortan lang kita," then pointing to the pedestrian lane leading to the other side. E-escortan lang kita. What the hell? "Thanks, but no thanks," I thought to myself.

Actually, the AIM was really across the street, but I badly wanted to get rid of him so I rather stayed walking at the side where I was. "Ah, dito na po ako," continuing a fast-paced walk. "Ah, ganon. Sige Ingat!" From my peripheral, I saw him waved goodbye.

Thank God, he went away. My heart was already beating fast for fear and worry.

Although the man didn't do any harm, still, any stranger (a man, in this matter) talking to a lady walking alone would be very, very suspicious. Apart from that, asking ice-breaking questions what's-your-name, and even where-do-you-live! Getting to know eh?

I told my mother about this over lunch the next day. She said, "Ayan diba, sinasabi ko sa'yo maraming loko sa mundo. Kahit saan." Then I thought to myself, "That's why I gotta be careful. Really careful."

I gotta be careful. You gotta be careful. Be mindful of whom you are talking to.

Take care.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On Making Wishes

I’m feeling the desire to jot down my thoughts first before I close my eyes for a good sleep, because I know I would just play with random and mixed ideas in my mind once I stare into the black screen towards dozing off. Hence, I decide now to write so I could better put those ideas into good use. I would like to record a minute portion of the 60,000 thoughts that have crossed my mind for 24 hours.

I’ve been from another session of praise and worship in The Makati Feast with this night’s topic on waking up one’s wishes. Timely, because I’m still pondering on which job am I going to choose. (By the way, I have been given a grace period until Tuesday to decide on the contract-signing for the web writer post in the SEO company in Makati. Hopefully, the interview for the researcher post in the radio broadcasting company comes on Monday, so I could discern and weigh the options well.) Being given a longer time to decide allows room for coming up with more possibilities and reasons to get-this-or-that, in an incessant attempt to come towards a good resolution where all considerations are met in a fair compromise. Though as of now, my decision still changes from one to the other.

In high hopes that as the day progresses, and the deadline comes, I could say a confident yes to one, and a kind no to the other. This is the way I want to make a choice and take a chance.

Back to wishes. I realize that my wish, since the dawn of my graduation day, is to acquire a good position in the radio broadcasting company. Yes, I know, this employment opportunity is indeed a blessing, if not an answered prayer (scan through my Novena to God’s Love and it’s there). With all honesty, I have hesitated to go to other broadcasting companies and wholeheartedly enter halls and offices of companies in the corporate arena, because I have always set in my mind that I would be there, with the people I have met and worked with during my internship as my colleagues. That was a vision in all clarity. However, with the circumstances that I am now at, the vision becomes blurry. 

And I think I, myself, is deleting a prayer request because of the apparent satisfaction and happiness I am experiencing in serving my new family.

I am happily beginning to serve in the Light of Jesus (LOJ) Community, attending seminars, prayer services, workshops, and the Feast. All activities usually come at night to meet the schedule of the organizers and the participants who are mostly coming from ordinary daytime offices. With the possibility of the schedule of the position with which I will be assigned in the radio broadcasting be in a night shift, if not a graveyard shift, I could not possibly attend to my service in our community. A thought of this saddens me, though God has been very generous enough to still give this opportunity.

For all those who know me, they know how truly, madly, deeply I desire to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. Having that researcher slot NOW is a good start, ain’t it? I’m starting young, and it would not probably be long enough to make even a wind-chime noise in the industry. Now, I’m given that opportunity, but that could probably compromise, if not set aside, my service to my new family. This is one of the biggest considerations I am pondering upon now (though the schedule is still to be confirmed when I finally, hay please come na, have the interview).

Second consideration which I have, ironically, is the starting salary. My parents want me to choose the one with a bigger salary. My father, however, adds that he wants me to choose where I can prosper. Nonetheless, I see prosperity in work not a big problem to me because the job options I am faced with right now are both close to my heart (one is writing, the other is media). So working real hard would not, I guess, be very difficult to me (by God’s bountiful grace). Although I still don’t know how much the salary in the radio company is, what I have heard of is that it only gives minimum for starters. So the web writer post hitches the point, because it surprisingly offers a starting salary that goes way above the minimum for a fresh, inexperienced graduate.

Third consideration I have is, uhm, myself. I’m still struggling on inferiority issues I have (a real yuck). Hell yes, a shallow reason. But let’s admit the fact that people are dearer to reporters who’ve got the porcelain skin, good physique, and a charm for the mass. Save for Jessica Soho, Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez who has been gifted with their own cutting-edge qualities that created their charm to the mass. I guess I still lack these three. And if I, myself, think that I am inadequate, how much more will the bosses who will be judging me, the listeners and the audience who will be listening to me? I still feel unequipped physiologically; thus making my vision more blurry than it has ever been.

Once, I have made a wish. Now that it’s being given to me, I am looking for other things to take apart from it.

I would just like to think that if I let this opportunity pass by, other opportunities the same as this would come again in a year or two.

Before I sleep now, the probability of getting the job in the SEO firm rates high.

Once I have made a wish. But when it is about to be granted, I have wished for another.

Deciding for a job is just a real big deal to me because I have a dream that can either be made or broken by poorly decided verdicts. Hay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

“The Calling of Voices,” The Hungering Dark (A Repost)

I find this a good read, so I reposted from Ria Manalac's blog (an article sent to her by a friend):

When you are young, I think, your hearing is in some ways better than it is ever going to be again.  You hear better than most people the voices that call to you out of your own life to give yourself to this work or that work.  When you are young, before you accumulate responsibilities, you are freer than most people to choose among all the voices and to answer the one that speaks most powerfully to who you are and to what you really want to do with your life.

But the danger is that there are so many voices, and they all in their ways sound so promising.  The danger is that you will not listen to the voice that speaks to you through the seagull mounting the gray wind, say, or the vision in the temple, that you do not listen to the voice inside you or to the voice that speaks from outside but specifically to you out of the specific events of your life, but that instead you listen to the great blaring, boring, banal voice of our mass culture, which threatens to deafen us all by blasting forth that the only thing that really matters about your workis how much it will get you in the way of salary and status, and that if it is gladness you are after, you can save that for weekends.  In fact one of the grimmer notions that we seem to inherit from our Puritan forbears is that work is not even supposed to be glad but, rather, a kind of penance, a way of working off the guilt that you accumulate during the hours when you are not working.

The world is full of people who seem to have listened to the wrong voice and who are now engaged in life-work in which they find no pleasure or purpose and who run the risk of suddenly realizing someday that they have spent the only life they are ever going to get in this world doing something which could not matter less to themselves or anyone else.  This does not mean, of course, people who are doing work that from the outside looks unglamorous and humdrum, because obviously such work as that may be a crucial form of service and deeply creative.  But it means people who are doing work that seems simply irrelevant not only to the great human needs and issues of our time, but also to their own need to grow and develop as humans.

…To Isaiah, the voice said, “Go,” and for each of us there are many voices that say it, but the question is which one will we obey with our lives, which of the voices that call is to be the one that we answer.  No one can say, of course, except each for himself, but I believe that it is possible to say at least this in general to all of us:  we should go with our lives where we most need to go and where we are most needed.

Where we most need to go.  Maybe that means that the voice we should listen to most as we choose a vocation is the voice that we might think we should listen to least, and that is the voice of our own gladness.  What can we do that makes us gladdest, what can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is?  Is it making things with our hands our of wood or stone or paint on canvas?  Or is it making something we hope like truth out of words?  Or is it making people laugh or weep in a way that cleanses their spirits?  I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing and it is our thing and it is the calling voice that we were made to answer with our lives.

And also, where we are most needed.  In a world where there is so much drudgery, so much grief, so much emptiness and fear and pain, our gladness in our work is as much needed as we ourselves need to be glad.  If we keep our eyes and ears open, our hearts open, we will find the place surely.  The phone will ring and we will jump not so much out of our skin as into our skin.  If we keep our lives open, the right place will find us.

–Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Deciding for the Professional Life

In my four months of job-hunting (first three of which were petiks-still-enjoying-vacation mode), I have always hoped to land on a job that would start-up a career in my desired field: broadcast journalism. Fulfilling this have boxed me in accepting only a work in any radio or TV network (assuming in an optimist view that they would be open to have me in their department); hence, eliminating other options in the corporate arena. Nonetheless, I also thought of going out of the box to charge things to experience. Within the four months I have also attempted to venture into the corporate jungle via interviews in companies out of the journalism field (Thomson Reuters, BDO, Talent Shout, to name those). Some I have failed (either intentional or unintentional just by saying straightforwardly my desired career path); some I have declined.

Now, I am to decide between two options that have been generously laid down to me by God: one in the corporate, one in the media. The former is a web writer position post for an SEO/web-developer firm in Makati, the latter is a researcher slot in a radio broadcasting company. This has been one of the major reasons why I could not sleep last night: I am weighing the odds and good chances of being in either of the two.

My dilemma is this: I am supposed to have a contract-signing tomorrow in the Makati firm, but I have a pending interview for the researcher slot in the radio broadcasting company. Pushing through with tomorrow’s contract signing would, consequently, bind me in the firm; thereby doing away with a possible employment opportunity with the radio broadcasting company (which, by the way, is what I really want). Nonetheless, waiting for the pending interview would entail me a week or so of waiting; thus, making me not go on anymore with tomorrow’s scheduled contract-signing. What bothers me is that the work in Makati seems to be comfortable with a good salary (that goes way above the minimum basic), with a good office, and also with a work that I also would like doing (which is, apparently, writing articles).

I sought the advice of my father, one of my cousins, Tita Ann, and Ate Patty (a newswriter/reporter who’s working in the broadcasting company).

…Follow your heart on where you’re gonna place yourself for work. Kung saan sa tingin mo magiging masaya at aasenso ka doon ka magtrabaho.

Depende sa priority. Dalawa lang naman ‘yan e: either makapagtrabaho ka na to earn o makapagtrabaho ka to jumpstart your career. Consider the contingencies. Ako kasi personally I’m after the career, it’s for a long term kasi. If you’ll go after that MBC or any company alike after a couple of months then you might as well wait for it now. Di naman kasi maka-qualify as meaningful experience yung sa web development kung radio naman talaga gusto mo in the end….

…Pursue your passion... You try requesting if possible to defer for one more week the contract-signing as that will give a chance to weigh your options well. Just be true to them that you need one more week to weigh your options well as you wouldn’t want to plunge in immediately then later on resign. They would appreciate that. Most importantly, pray for it and be sensitive to God’s leading.

…Basta make sure na happy ka sa decision and pupuntuhan mo.

As of now, I am trying to ask for a deferment of the contract-signing until next week, hoping that the firm in Makati would grant my request. I just don’t want to instantly shun one opportunity to grab the other, without really being guaranteed that the latter will be given to me.

I have this fear in my heart that when I decide for one and do away with the other, I might regret. As it is said, “Nasa huli ang pagsisisi.”

Ganito pala ang feeling ng nagdedesisyon sa totoong buhay. Take it or leave it, black or white, yes or no. No middle stance. You have to really be careful in the littlest decision as it can either make or break an aspect of your life. As for this case, my professional life.

Robbed of an Early Sleep

It’s 1:16 in the morning. I thank God for the comfort and cool-ness of our air-conditioned room that blocks the pores of my face and skin from producing oil and sweat. I also thank God for my laptop, because I can write down my thoughts in the middle of the night (actually, on an early dawn) even when lights are off. I also thank God for the beauty of Sara Bareilles’ music to which I have listened the entire day, leaving me a line or two from her song playing over and over again in my head. Nonetheless, despite these things that I am very thankful for, I couldn’t sleep.

I know there is no direct relationship between gratitude and the ability to form a sleep. But beneath the things that I have thanked God for lays my worries and fears in life that come three times more than my “Thank you, God”. It’s like, “Lord, I thank you for this cold room where I am about to sleep now. But how about my dream job? But how about the compensation and salary that I will be having? But how about I, myself, being not that physiologically perfect to be appalling to look at opposed to my desire of appearing in TV?” See, I am thankful for one, but I am worried for three.

So at the end of the day, however thankful I am, I am anxious of things. Thus, I can’t sleep.

I am currently thinking of the contract that I will be signing on Thursday with an SEO and web-developer company in Makati set against the work I am expecting to have at a radio broadcasting company. What I really want to have is the latter, but the comfort and the seemingly palpable compensation package of the former is luring me. If I am a third person listening to a dilemma like this, it would be very easy for me to say, “Hey, it’s choose what you want, follow the desires of your heart.” But being the one to decide for this is not very easy to be, because at this moment, I am also considering the time of work (preferring day shift) for me to be able to serve at our Community, the compensation package (a.k.a. salary) to be able to sustain my needs (not to mention the wants) vis-à-vis saving, tithing, and giving an ample amount to be able to help my father pay our bills at home, and the place to work at (apparently, I am having this desire to work in Ayala, Makati). I am worried that if I get the job that I really want at the radio company, I would not be able to serve at our community because of the night-shift (or graveyard) schedule. I am worried that the salary that will be given to me there would be remarkably lower than what I am supposed to earn in the other. Months ago, I used to say, “I don’t really care about the money because when you like what you are doing, money will follow.” But now, I already consider the starting salary because of the financial considerations I have mentioned.

I am to choose, and I am choosing. Discernment, it is. Thus, I can’t sleep.

I am thinking of my desire for further studies in Broadcast Journalism. This is really one of my greatest dreams in life. Nonetheless, it would not be very, very easy not simply because it would require money (again) and humongous effort to mark it high (as always, it’s expected of students in the academe). But because it would entail more, more money and more more humongous effort to mark it high. Why? Because I dream of pursuing further studies abroad! I want to place “Chevening Scholarship” or “Virginia School of Journalism” or “Cambridge University” in my curriculum vitae, so that when I knock at the doors of the big networks in the country, they wouldn’t think twice about my application and welcome me with open arms. But then again, I am worried of financial needs, of how-to-get-there, of scholarship opportunities, of my own abilities to bag that great dream. What if I fail in an exam for that scholarship? What if I am not good enough for opportunities as such?

I dream big, that is why I also worry big. Big time. Thus, I can’t sleep.

I am thinking of myself being inadequate for the dream that I have in my heart. Come on, insecurities again. Although it rarely manifests, I have an Inferiority Complex. In a pool of various faces, I tend to low down my head and have my eyes at the floor while creating a pathway for myself where I, alone, can tread upon. I have very low level of self-esteem, a low level of confidence. Blame it on the weight that I have gained again, or the zits that have come back (which require a great deal of pain in the face and in the pocket for derma). Or simply on me. Probably, this personality disorder (is it a disorder?) dates back from my childhood years. I have a number of instances in my head to explain why. Anyway, this Inferiority Complex stands like a bad fairy whenever I face the mirror, screaming, “You’re ugly! You’re not pretty enough to be given a slot for reporting in the TV! You’ve got a rough skin, duh?!” Inasmuch as I’ve got a strong desire to achieve my dream, I’ve also got a great deal of insecurities, iniquities and imperfections to face.

I am a sensitive, physique-conscious lady. Everything that’s ugly about me, apparently, causes me worry. Thus, I can’t sleep.

I want to drive my own car. I want to have an I-pad and an I-pod. I want my own room to be air-conditioned. I want my room to be groomed, with new, colorful cabinets and a soft bed. I want to be active in physical activities (sports) and get the piano lesson sessions in lieu of my boyfriend’s unwillingness to have it anymore. I want to travel. I want to write a book and a film. I want to explore the world, to study people’s lives, to be a notable personality in my field.

I want all of those. That is why even if I am thankful for what I have now, I am still anxious about the life that I want to have.

A great deal of needs. A great deal of wants. Big dreams.

It’s easy to say, “May our dreams continue to be big and worries continue to be small”. But then again, things are easier said than done.

With all these thoughts rumbling in my mind, I am robbed of an early sleep.

TIME CHECK: 2:26 am. Hopefully, I can now sleep.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Big Girl's Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa Claus,

Photo taken 13Dec2009
Why is it hot this Christmas season? Anyway, whenever I see this photo of you and me, I feel cool and at ease because of your white beard and clean red coat. Maybe that is why you wear that kind of stuff - so that wherever people are, they will feel the coldness of the North pole. Christmas is bound to feel people relaxed, a sight of you in that suit makes me feel exactly the same.

Dear Santa, I don't want my gifts to be wrapped anymore. Because at my age, I believe great gifts come in elegant packages no more - however big or small, colorful or pale-hued, heavy or light. Please hand it over to me by day, not when I am asleep in the midnight. I want to see you, be able to sit on your sleigh, say even a hi to Rudolph and the rest of your reindeer clique, and take a picture of you and me once again - this time, with the gift that you have handed over to me. I want to remind myself that you always give me what I deserve, what I need, even if sometimes not what I want but always what is best for me. I want to create an album of you and me, so that ten years from now, when I tell my kids about you, I can tell them how you have been a generous giver, a wish-granter, a dream-fulfiller.

Please visit me not only on the 24th of December, if you can, please do it often. So that even if it is not Christmas, I will always feel the Christmas vibe. Because at this season, Love is overflowing; I wanna be overflowed with love everyday - not only on a Christmas day. I wanna share, I wanna be open to the world, I wanna make people happy like you do. Can you teach me how?

Big hugs, big Love from your big girl,