LIFE,  MY JOURNAL

GOODBYE 2017…

It’s already normal for people to post on social media their highlights for the outgoing year as another year fast approaches. In the Millenial setting, mostly photos of travels, significant learnings, events, and other things that went through that passing year.

Similarly, they also somehow place their goals for the upcoming year. May it be lose weight, save money, travel the world, etc. There’s nothing wrong with it actually. Anyone can list down which they consider a significant change in their lives in order to gauge how much have they achieved and how far they still have to go in order to reach their dreams.

Therefore, I don’t quite understand why some of the so-called “cool kids” subject it to ridicule as the “Annual New Year’s Eve Essay Writing Contest.” I’m not gonna play the self-righteous card especially I used to laugh at those people who did post their annual entries for the holiday. But as years come and go, I thought to myself why hamper someone of doing it? If that’s their way of growing up, I don’t have a right to mock them for doing it.

But that would be another story if people kept on setting up their own goals or even asking for a big change every year and still do nothing about it. Right? In a way, I’m preaching to myself.

Yelhiu Geopark, New Taipei, Taiwan (September 2017)

 

NOW, LET’S SAY THIS BLOG POST ARE ONE OF THOSE.

Well, it’s not really my huge intention to write a year-end or a new year post. As you can see, it’s been already days since the year 2018 started and we’ve been so preoccupied.

We decided to spent our New Year’s Eve attending our Church’s evening service then went straight home. Then, drove South to Lobo, Batangas the next day to visit my in-laws (my wife’s parents) and spent a night there (will write a post about that place soon though). After the trip, we’re both back to our respective workplaces.

Lobo, Batangas (January 2018)

 

Another thing, my last post can also be considered as that Christmas and New Year’s Eve essay especially I have some notes there about how our year went. Aside from the busyness of life and already writing something during the holidays, there’s much heavier reason why.

 

If everyone shall ask me if 2017 became a good year for me,

I would again say no… and yes at the same time. Oh how indecisive human being am I?

My yes and no aren’t equal by the way. 2017 being a great year for us was outweighed by it being not.

But please don’t misunderstand. I loved the fact that it’s my wife and my first time celebrating the yuletide holidays together. I loved the fact that we’re free to go to different places without any borders. That we’re now living together. 

Saying that the year that just left means that we’ve dealt with huge amount of pain, anxiety, failures, disappointment, loss, and like. The year that we discovered that we’re so vulnerable that we’ve hit the rock bottom.

Clarke Quay, Singapore (March 2017)

 

I’ve started dealing with anxiety attacks during the second quarter of the year when my wife was still pregnant. There are times where I dread going to work every day of the week and would rather spend my whole day staying in bed. I’ve hated my job especially on the part of dealing with problems I didn’t even caused. There are times where I’d wish that I’m doing another job; and missing the job that I really loved and once had… teaching. Only travelling was what I thought a way in order to help me with what I’m currently going through. There are also thoughts wherein I’d hoped I can just make a full time living by writing blogs and posting on social media, things that I loved doing. I envied famous bloggers and online influencers for doing what they love and get paid for it.

At some point, I was able to overpower those negative thoughts. Only to be crushed by a news that our child died in the middle of the year; during my wife’s 6th month of pregnancy. The anxiety and depression that I once thought gone, went back and got worse than ever. Even compromised all our holidays.

Himlayang Pilipino, QC, Philippines (December 2017)

 

The year 2017 may be a negative year for us. But along with it, are the takeaways, learnings, and room for growth it gave us. Like what my pastor said during the New Year’s eve service in non-verbatim: “God may not have caused these mishaps but He’ll provide an opportunity for us to grow.”

Aside from those learnings, we can also say that it’s somehow a year of travel for us. We’re able to visit a total of 4 countries and 12 cities; and additional 6 cities in the Philippines for me (the only thing I’m thankful for having this job that I truly hate). Compared to other travel writers and other bloggers, it’s honestly lesser in numbers. But I’m quite proud of these numbers. To think that it’s the my wife’s first time travelling overseas during our Malaysia-Singapore cross-border travel. Also, we’re able to travel to our 2nd Continent: Australia / Oceania. 

Sydney, NSW, Australia (October 2017 – Photo not mine)

 

Same month of last year, at a resort in Tanauan, Batangas; in front of Taal Lake and of 200+ people, my wife and I exchanged our vows. So 2017 was supposed to be a great year for us.

Nicayeren Lakefront Resort, Tanauan, Batangas (January 2017 – Image Savvy)

 

I also decided to create this blog last year with my own domain name; originally in order to document all the adventures that my wife and I had. Yet ironically, I was able to write my very first post a month after my baby died and it’s about her.

From another person’s perspective, why should we (specifically I) complain about the year that just went through if there are lots of things to be thankful for? That maybe true actually. But of course, I don’t want to lie about the downs of that year. We need to learn how to process these things correctly in order to help us move forward and not just get stuck in replaying the worst things over again.

 

NOW MOVING FORWARD,

I’m honestly not fond of writing these kinds of things. If we’ll set aside the reasons I stated above, I don’t think I’ll still be able to write my entry for the New Year or set up some resolutions. Well, I’m kinda lazy or too busy. But as I stumble upon some new year blog entries from numerous bloggers, I thought to myself “Why not?” I think this may help us (my wife and myself) to, of course, organize and set up some goals for the year and a lifetime system that would work for us. It’s easier said than done actually. I kept on setting goals over and over again only to be trampled by hard and harsh reality of life. I want the year 2018 to be better than last year so I think it’s necessary to start this change for us (particularly myself).

Although my wife and I are considered as “one,” we still have our differences. We would still have our own goals. But we have to make sure that it will not hamper our goal as one family or else it needs to be compromised. Besides, marriage is being together forever. Paving our way to the same and the right destination.

What I’m going to include here are goals that I’m praying for this 2018. These are goals for myself as an individual and us (my wife and I) as a married couple. We somehow reconciled about it through small random talks and will still talk it through later time. I also said praying because I’m fully aware that I may set everything on my own, but at the end of the day, it’s God’s will that shall prevail.

I posted a list on my Instagram stories during New Year’s Eve but I added some other things necessary so this is not the exact list. Being a scatterbrain, there are lots of things I wanted to do. A lot of goals in mind. Listing everything may take me a week and may not be able to accomplish one. But listing something may help me on which things to prioritize this year.

For now, here they are. Not necessarily in order of priority:

 

EXERCISE MY FAITH

Of course, all these goals are just wishful thinking without my faith in God. It’s somehow ironic that I’m a servant of God but I’m easily get swallowed by doubt and longing for certainty. That’s why starting next week, there’s a need for me to participate on this year’s annual church-wide fast in my church. Originally, I’m thinking of doing a food fast. But it seemed like Social Media fast would be more appropriate for me especially that I tend to get more distracted these days and honestly, I’m getting addicted to it. In fact, I can spend hours just browsing either my Facebook or my Instagram. The fast lasts for 14 days starting on Monday (January 8) and it’s easier said than done as I’m struggling of being consistent so may God help me on this.

Image may contain: people sitting, food and text

 

DISCOVER MYSELF AND RECOVER FROM ANXIETY

The latter part of 2016 and the year 2017, I kept on struggling with anxiety as described above. During a visit with a counselor last year, she suspected that I may be going through depression. There are lots of factors why I experienced it: the stressful job, quarter-life crisis, unmet expectations, disappointments. But as from what I learned, a huge factor of it would be from a traumatic event during childhood. One of my goals for this year is to undergo a therapy from a counselor or attend a Healing Retreat that was referred to by my pastor in order to discover the very roots of it, learn to process it accordingly, and move forward. Both means are costly in nature and covering it through our finances was easier said than done.

Yet who knows? I should preach myself that God is a great provider. We may be able to cover it through our own source or someone would give us (LOL!). But I think it’s a way in order to act differently when the same problems arise.

 

SAVE AND EARN MONEY

As a married man, the first thing I have in mind is to earn money and provide for my wife and the family that we’re trying to build. Honestly, we’re trying to figure out which source of living would help sustain our needs and our lifestyle but at the same time, would give us more time freedom in the long run. May it be forming a business or another job because both jobs that we have, although can sustain us, consumes much of our time. Yet for now, we just want to save some of our finances and then see what happens later on.

 

FINISH MY THESIS, GRADUATE, AND EARN MY MASTER’S DEGREE

During the latter part of academic year 2014-2015, I decided to enroll for a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering Major in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of the Philippines – Diliman Campus. I’m still working that time at my Alma Mater Mapúa Institute of Technology as a Full-Time Research Associate and a Part-Time Instructor. I’m fully aware during those days that I need to finish graduate school if I’m going to pursue working in the Academe. Not knowing that I’ll be needing to leave that job. I was able to finish the courses I’m required to take and I just need to finish my thesis papers to graduate. This year, I want to finish this battle that I started 3 years ago despite the fact that I’m so busy doing many things at once.

 

CLIMB MOUNTAINS AND MORE TRAVELING

Being bit by the travel bug last year, I would like to explore more places this 2018. Mostly including my wife in it (if not work-related… lol). There are lots of constraints and challenges like time and finances; and I don’t want to disappoint myself so I’m not going to place any number. But I’m hoping that my list of visited places this 2018 would include some places I’ve never visited before may it be a Philippine province or another country; may it be travel by land or by air. Some places on my mind are Japan, Korea, Taiwan (part II), Bali, Vietnam, Siargao, Palawan (El Nido and Coron), and many more.

Another thing that I wanted to do was climb mountains. Most people say that it’s much cheaper way of traveling and surely I can attest to that. November of last year, I was able to climb at Osmeña Peak, the highest mountain in Cebu, at one of my work-related trips. I would want to climb another mountain but myself being involved in it would be easier said than done since my wife doesn’t want me to hike alone. Oh and she’s not fond of climbing mountains too. I would start with the mountains nearby Manila such as Balagbag, Daraitan, Treasure Mountain, etc. Time will come then I’ll be able to go to Pulag, Arayat, etc.

So who can accompany me (LOL)?

Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete, Cebu (November 2017)

 

IMPROVE MY BLOGGING AND WRITE MORE CONTENT

I think I told every one reading my blog that even before I started this site earlier last year, I’m already writing blogs for almost 10 years now. But let’s focus on what’s ahead. I would want to give room for improvement on my writing. Although I know that some people are telling me that my story-telling is great, there would still some points to improve in my skill like writing much shorter blogs, grammar, organized content, etc.

Aside from that, one of my goals for this year is to write more blogs despite of the challenges of reality. Tell me that I’m out of my mind and I’m fully aware that I’m not on a level of Trisha Velarmino, David Guison, Lakad Pilipinas, but I’m looking forward for a day that my blog shall be known of its great content. No pressure intended on myself by the way. Besides, my primary reason of creating this blog was primarily to inspire, not impress.

 

TAKE BETTER PHOTOS

During our trip to my wife’s hometown in Lobo, Batangas, my wife and I went to Malabrigo beach to of course, take some instagrammable photos. But the sad part is, the weather didn’t cooperated with us during that day. The disappointment of not taking great photos almost ruined the start of my year. By that, I vowed to improve my photographing skills. I’m trying to figure out how to find the right angle and lighting of taking landscape pictures and of course, my wife, who complains that some of my shots (not all) weren’t that good (LOL). Let’s include some post-processing skills such as Lightroom, VSCO, Photoshop, etc.

I somehow learned that regardless of the weather, if my skills are great, then that wouldn’t be a problem.

 

STRENGTHEN OUR MARRIAGE

Of course, one of our goals not just this year but for every year is to have our marriage stronger. Our first year as husband and wife weren’t that typical honeymoon period given that we have tons of adjustment to make and include dealing with the lost of our first-born. Tons of bickering, crying, and arguing. Yet, we’re looking forward to also seek some counsel in order to work things out between us.

 

HAVE ANOTHER KID

I would like to be honest that many times, my wife and I were longing for a child. But I don’t want to pressure ourselves especially that we don’t want our next child to just replace the one that we just lost. If we’ll conceive for another child again, we have to make sure to treat him/her as a different one. Technically, it’s not a goal for this year. But if God will give us another kid this year, then we’ll wholeheartedly accept… and do things better than before.

 

The list could go on but I think that would be all for now. Oh and by the way, let me add something on the title…

GOODBYE 2017… and let’s do this 2018!

Thank you very much!

– Dex B.

3 Comments

  • Rye Santiago

    I’m so sorry about your loss, Dex. This is a very honest post. A lot of people do highlight the good things only – and for purposeful reasons. But I really liked that you allowed yourself to be vulnerable in this post without ending on a sorrowful note. I wish you all the best this year. Let’s improve our blogging together, and I really hope you earn that master’s degree. ?

  • Harini

    Life is not black or white, life is grey.Every year will offer us a series of ups and downs.This year seems to have been tough for you and I am sorry about your child.All I can do is pray for you guys to stay strong and get past this.After reading this, I have realized the amount of adjustment marriage requires and as I am approaching closer to it it overwhelms and scares me more.However,I am glad you were able to deal with pain through travel.Travelling is the best therapy.I have lived with anxiety and depression myself and I know how it feels like.Things may seem tough now but the struggle is worth it,it equips you better to deal with the bigger challenges in life.

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