I was asked by a young mother, “what it feels like to be single?”

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What is the best age in human life? Have you heard the saying, ‘life begins at 40?’ I don’t know the sense of it. Does it mean that the first three decades are just a waste of time? That’s going to be a pile of massive rubbish then! Anyway, I’ll find it out soon. What about the 20s? Usually, most of us have already graduated from school at this stage. We have also found a decent job. Some of us were trying to save money to buy a dream car, to invest in a house, or to travel the whole world. At this point, we are starting to enjoy our freedom. No more school, less parental restriction and we handle our lives in our own ways. Oh! Also, people usually find their life partners in their mid-20s when everyone is already stable and ready to build a new cycle of life. I said, ‘usually,’ but not all the time. Ha!

I have a very good friend of mine, who was married in her early 20s. I can say that she had a good long term relationship with her boyfriend back then. They got married sooner than she expected because of an unplanned pregnancy. So unfortunately, she didn’t have a chance to finish her studies. But hey! They are still together up to now and blessed with three children. Occasionally, we check on each other in a distance and ask how we are doing in life. One day, she started our conversation when someone announced their marriage on Facebook. Hmmm… not really an announcement such as news, but kind of like that since it is posted on social media, which is a new normal now. And here’s the thing. You know, when you’re single and a couple is getting married, people start to bug you and ask you when you are going next. A typical-nosy-neighbour-in-the-house-@&%&%!(*!&%#! If I could just say, “are you willing to pay my bills if I’m gonna get married?” Lols, just kidding! I’m not swearing. By the way, that’s not the issue here. So, my friend told me that I shouldn’t be pressured, and I should trust God’s time, which is 100% true and nothing but the truth. Okay, enough! Going back to her, she told me that she feels sad sometimes and wonders what it feels like to do the things that a single lady does as a young adult. She didn’t say it exactly, but maybe what she meant was, what it feels like to enjoy life as a single person. Does it make any difference? It’s kind of a little bit heartbreaking for me at that moment. I was like, “all this time, you want to go back and enjoy life without your kids?” Which of course, I doubt. Then, gently, I asked her if she has some regrets. I don’t know what’s the better phrase to use but I couldn’t think of any other words from my mind. Then, she replied that she has no regrets about what had happened. Not at all. She said that she is happy with the family that she has. She’s a happy wife and a happy mom… But I can tell that she has a huge curiosity about her kind of ‘what ifs’ for me. Looking back on that conversation, I’m not sure if how happy she is in her life. You know she is a happy wife because she receives love from her husband. She is a happy mom because of the love of her children. But deep within her, there is a very small hole where her ‘what ifs’ are coming from, which makes her a little not too happy on the other side.

I believe her when she says that she has no regrets. I believe her with all my heart, knowing how she loves her beautiful children. I’m not a mother yet, but I know that having a child is a lifetime gift as a woman. It makes the mother to keep going no matter how hard life is. She can even survive the world without a partner as long as she has her little ones in her arms. But I think, what my friend feels right now is ‘longing.’ I know where is it coming from. She is longing for the things that she was supposed to experience in her younger days. And I know that her desire for this ‘missed adventure’ comes from the people around her. Especially today, where everything people do is instantly posted online. Oops! Just a quick disclaimer, I have no issues with that. Everyone has the freedom to do it. Perhaps, my friend’s longingness comes from her own perspective. As she told me ‘I shouldn’t be pressured and trust God’s time,’ I should have told her the same thing. She shouldn’t compare herself to other people if she didn’t have the chance to do what they are enjoying. Look, we have different timelines in this world. Not everyone’s the same. An apple tree bears apple fruit. An orange tree bears orange fruit. A mango tree bears mango fruit. And the list goes on… But one thing is for sure, everything has its own season. Some people found their love in childhood. Some people get married twice. Some people get pregnant in their 40s. Some people own a business in their teenage years. See, we fulfill life at the different stages. Everyone has their own stories. We should have faith that everything happens with a purpose. I believe that there is a purpose in my friend’s case. Who knows what might her three little kids bring in her life once they grow, right? We’ll never know. Only time can tell. At the moment, she should be grateful for the life that she has and enjoy every moment with her kids, which for sure she does!

At the end of our conversation, I told her that she just probably needs some ‘me time.’ I have no idea how to be a mom. I don’t even know if I responded appropriately by saying she should have her own time. Because being a mom is a full-time-non-stop-forever job. But I think, even she has responsibilities for her kids, she also has a responsibility to take care of herself. And that is never ever going to be a selfish thing to do. She deserves to have a life as how she gave her life for her family. And in saying that, cheers to all the mothers out there!

P.S. I will always be proud of you no matter what you become my friend.

What happens when our plans fail?

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I was supposed to get up early today before sunrise. I planned to check if I would be able to pick up some shift for work. I’m starting to love this new casual job. But it gets annoying at the same time. I feel like I’m in a race every day. I must be quick when an available shift is released on the app. Otherwise, there’s no job for the day. It’s not that easy as you think. You have to keep an eye on it, but no matter how alert you are, the competition is so high as you can imagine. And this early morning, I couldn’t even afford to look on my phone’s screen as my head was in so much pain. I waited for some time to feel if I could carry on. But I started to taste the sourness in my mouth, which made me nauseous. Then I remember the phone call that I had from someone the other night. Randomly, this person told me to look after myself. So, I said, ‘Alright, just for today.’ Lols, I felt like I made a bargain with myself. Then I slept for another two hours.

I had breakfast and checked all the emails. I felt like I was distracted the whole time. I was disorganised. I had so many things to do but I didn’t know which one to do first. I couldn’t blame myself. This was not my plan yesterday. And I hate it when my plan is ruined. At the end, I decided to prepare for going back in university next week. While I was in the middle of online learning, I received a phone call from another employer and told me to do some training so I can start in two weeks. Yeah right. I have multiple jobs here and there. I can’t even count how many applications I did as I was depressed of having not enough working hours for the last three months. You can really tell the nightmare on my face right now. And now everyone is calling and sending emails. Now that I’m going back in uni… What a life. I’m starting to get overwhelmed. This routine is what not I used to. I always have a plan. I always have a strategy. I always have an expectation. I couldn’t even think straight now. I felt so bad that I was sick and didn’t go to work. I felt sorry that I wasn’t that productive as I expected. I was irritated that my timetable was freaking messy. I was all over the place. Maybe… I should just stop.

I should stop… and clear my mind. I took a deep breath and tried to think again. Perhaps, it’s not that bad to break my own rules. Maybe it’s okay to be flexible at times. I mean, is there anything sure in this world these days? We just hit by this pandemic unknowingly. It’s going to be our second anniversary with Covid-19 soon. But we still don’t know when we are going to break-up with this crisis. So yeah, maybe a little chaos won’t hurt so much. Probably, a little uncertainty is fine. We might struggle when an unexpected event happens. However, we must remember that not everything is in our hands. Some things are out of our control and power. And when we fail, it doesn’t mean that we didn’t do our best. Maybe we just pressed the button at the wrong time. Or maybe, we just have to take a break and be grateful of the things that we have right now.

I’m pretty sure that there is a bigger chance to succeed if we plan ahead of time. But sometimes, the best things in life happen unexpectedly from unplanned circumstances. And when you feel like your best shot is not working, don’t worry. Just take a rest and let him do the rest.“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

Why are people scared to get old?

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I don’t follow many celebrities or influencers these days on social media. I only have three famous people on IG, and the rest are family and certain friends. Well, I once followed a lot like everyone else. But then I was fed up every time I see their updates. It impacted me in a not healthy way. So, I unfollowed them and kept only three inspiring personalities on the list.

But whether I like it or not, there is what they called ‘cookies.’ I will still see random people on the search tab. And that’s how the internet works, right? Then I watched one of the ads of a celebrity for anti-aging skincare. She was so fine as wine. She’s nearly 40 but her glow is like in her 20s. Then I couldn’t forget her line, “when people ask how old are you now, why do we hesitate?” Woah, big checked! It really happens, especially in my mother country. People, especially women are not that proud of when they are asked. Some say, even in other countries, that asking people’s age is rude. But for me, it depends on how the way it has been asked, what’s the intention, and what’s going to be the follow-up question. As for me, honestly, I’ve been asked quite multiple times. I even make fun of it by letting people guess how old I am. And no one ever got the right answer, not even close.

So, what’s the big deal with ageing? I couldn’t understand. We are all human beings. That’s how we are made of. We are all going to have wrinkles. Whatever the hair colours are, they will turn grey at the end of the day. Humans are like flowers. They will bloom in their season, and they will wither on their time. Ageing is part of being a human. We can slow it down, but we can never stop it. What we can do is embrace how we are made of. Enjoy every bit of the moment. Be grateful if we reach the process. Because not everyone is even lucky to get there.

Who is the person who can hurt you the most?

I used to take public transport when I was working in a shipbuilding industry as an occupational health nurse. It was 60km away from home and it took me two hours to get there. I had to ride two buses, one jeepney, and another bus inside the field to get in the clinic. Whew! Those were the days. In the long run of the trip, I had to keep my bladder in good condition but sometimes, I couldn’t help it. One sunny afternoon, after getting off to a terminal, I rushed into the public toilet. I haven’t noticed that there was a queue which was rarely happen. When I got in, a woman with a kid yelled at me and said that there was a queue and I should wait outside. Though there were only two other ladies at the main door and since I was in a rush, I thought that they were just waiting for someone. I was about to tell her that firstly, there were four toilets and she and her daughter were the only ones who were standing in front of one toilet cubicle. Secondly, the proper way of lining up in a queue should be at the main door, and not in front of a cubicle, so everyone could see which one was the first to be available. But just to cut it off, I didn’t bother to waste my time and energy. Maybe she or her daughter was badly needed the toilet. I just apologised, smiled, and went out. But there was one thing that I did not do at that moment. Can you guess what was it? Well, I tried not to remember her face, in purpose. That is one of my habits until today. If a rude stranger offends me, I just smile, say sorry if I know that I’m wrong, and then walk away. Am I looking at them? Yes of course. Luckily, my short-term memory is not that good. If I have a glance at them, I don’t try to remember their faces and I think of something else instead. Why am I doing that? If there’s any chance that I meet them again, I will not recognise them. I will not remember what they have done to me. They have no chance to ruin my day, for the second time.

I know that I’m not the only person who encounters rude strangers. They are everywhere and so easy to spot. But since they are just strangers, it is easy for us to forget what they did. You know why? Because you don’t know them unless you don’t want to forget their faces. But if you don’t remember what they look like, slowly, you also forget what they did. Easy right? But how about if these people are not strangers? They could be someone you know for a long time. That’s the time when it’s hard to deal with it. Imagine if there is someone you don’t get along, but you must see him or her every day. They could be your classmate, colleague, co-worker, or neighbour. It’s going to be a huge burden for you, isn’t it? It’s like a punishment that you have to face every day of your life. Although there are still chances that you can get along with them in the end… maybe? Or you might choose to leave it because they don’t matter to you anyway. But the question is, are they the ones who am I referring who can hurt you the most? Everyone can offend you, make you cry, insult you, or annoy you. But there are certain people that once they hurt you, it’s difficult to forget it, even after years. It can sometimes ruin not just your day, but your whole life. So, do you have an idea now? Can you guess who they are?

The person who can hurt you the most is none other than… the person who you love the most. Yes, you’ve read it right. They could be your friends, lover, family, or children. Are they necessary to be your family? Hmmm not really. But they are certainly those people who you really trust. These are the people who you’re expecting to be there whatever happens. You assume them to be your ally for lifetime and they won’t say anything to make you feel bad. You believe that these people will support you all the way with your decisions. Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen. Because of your too much emotion, sometimes you forget that they are just humans too. It’s possible that the way you think is not the same as them anymore. The conflict begins, an argument starts, and nobody wants to give up the pride. At this moment, maybe you have someone in your mind. Maybe it happened to you in the past, or you are dealing with it in the present. When the person we love the most hurt us, the healing is a very very long process and seems impossible to end. We can’t deny the fact that forgiveness is not an instant. However, believe it or not, it’s possible.

Can you think of someone who was mistreated but chose to forgive? Perhaps you know several people. But I know someone who was assaulted, abused, oppressed, beaten and ignored despite his kindness, generosity, helpfulness, and selflessness. Those people who hurt him were not ordinary people for him. They were the ones whom he gave everything without asking for anything. Those were the people who beg for his help when they needed him but when he was the one who suffered, they just betrayed him, and they forgotten what he had done for them. They witnessed his wounds, sweat, and blood that was coming out from his body, but they just turned away from him. Who in the world could offer his life and forgive everyone’s sins?

Ephesians 5:1-2

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Christ Jesus loved the people so much and offered himself to redeem our sins. Instead of vanishing us in this world, he saved us and gave us another chance to correct our mistakes. He wants us to see how great his love for us despite our foolishness.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

See? When we forgive, we are also forgiven. But are we just going to forgive because we want forgiveness from God? Let’s be honest. We don’t deserve it in the first place. Who do we think we are? We always fail, every time!  And we should admit it. Let’s be humble ourselves and we should always reflect first before pointing finger to others.

I know that when someone we love had hurt us; it is not easy to forget, and we might never forget it forever. It’s like a bad dream that keeps us out of breath every night. It’s going to be difficult for us to trust again… But the love remains, isn’t it? Trust breaks easily but love does not. The reality is everyone makes mistakes. We can’t control everything in this world. But guess what? The pain may break you apart, but you’re the only one who can pick yourself up. Sometimes you have to admit that you can’t carry everything and must let go of some unnecessary baggage that makes you slow to move forward. Free yourself from insecurities, sorrow, anguish, and worries my dear. Let God handle and fix the pieces of you. You will never be healed and have a peaceful soul until you set yourself free from the past. If these people are not sorry of what they have done to you, who cares? It doesn’t really matter. Forgiveness does not always require the word “sorry.” Sometimes, we just have to choose kindness over rightness to keep our hearts safe and sound.

I never had grandfathers.

Some people are longing for their mother’s or father’s love. Am I the only one in the world who is longing for a grandfather’s love?

Mama’s father died when I was a kid. I have no memories of him. I can’t even remember his face. I can only recognise him through photos. I was the first and last granddaughter that he had. Papa said that he was strict when he was alive. When Papa asked him to marry my mother, Papa just dropped off the words quickly but Lolo (grandfather in Filipino) did not say anything straightaway. There was a moment of silence and freezing stare from Lolo. How was that? Hahaha! One day, when Papa was swinging my handmade hammock, it accidentally threw me up in the air. He said that he was scared that he did not have a chance to catch me. Not because I was hurt, but because of what Lolo could do to him. Poor me, yeah? They say that Lolo liked reading newspapers and listening to news from the radio all day. He loved smoking too.

On the other hand, Papa’s father died when I was… 16 or 17? I’m unsure, aren’t I? I saw him. I know his face. But I can’t remember the sound of his voice. I grew up in my mother’s place. And when we moved to Papa’s place, Lolo wasn’t there anymore. He lived in the other province with his family. Yes, Lolo and Lola (grandmother in Filipino) were separated. Anyway, they say that he was strict too. Do grandfathers normally strict? His children feared him. Whenever he was coming home, everyone was trying to do the house chores and make themselves busy. His voice was enough for everyone to listen. When he called someone, one call was enough. Just once. That was how firm he was. He was a tailor when he was alive. I heard that he was a musician too. He was a member of our town’s band which was famous and in-demand for every festival. Maybe that’s why some of us are musically inclined. I can’t remember that we had a conversation. Whenever I see him, I just take his hand and touch it to my forehead. It’s a Filipino tradition that shows the respect of young people to the elderly. I have no much to say about him. He was a man of few words.

So, why did I say that I never had grandfathers? Of course, there’s no such thing as no origin. But the point is, I never experienced to be scolded by a grumpy old man. I never had a chance to be asked to buy them smoke or a drink. I never heard them talk about their childhood. I have never been able to ask how life was in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and so on. Did they experience the world war 2? I want to hear their argument about politics. I want to ask how they courted the Lolas. So many questions left that only them who could give answers. Unfortunately, they were gone, too soon.

I always wonder, what does it feel like to have a grandfather? I wish I could turn back time and tell them, “Hey man, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke too much, take care of yourself, don’t die too soon, let’s grow old together, let me carry you when you can’t walk any longer.” But no one I could tell anymore. Nevertheless, they will always be a part of me. Their blood is running into me which I would be forever thankful.

Bless thy souls.

I died once.

How does it feel?

Is it possible?

Few years ago, I was devastated, and nobody knew it. Nobody had an idea that I was fighting for myself. I could feel the warmth of my flesh, but my soul was cold as dew.

Yes, my soul died once. And I was saved by the love of God.

It took me ages to be completely healed. I was like a vase that have been fixed but the cracks remained. Until I get used to see it everyday and they always remind me that not everyone can make what I had surpassed.

There was a moment when I thought that I was fine, and I knew, it was trying to pull me back again. But I became cleverer. It cannot fool me again anymore.

One night, I was holding my phone and I just suddenly wrote my thoughts on Instagram in private. I’m not usually share my thoughts. But on this blog, I decided that I will never be selfish anymore. I know, somewhere out there, someone is doing his best in silence. I hope that at the end of the day, he will choose the right battle.

The Secret Battle

“Once in your life, you will find yourself at the lowest point. Maybe the others won’t know. Won’t tap. Or even bother to ask. It’s just you all alone. All things are going to be hard. Slowly, those things that were fond to do will turn into difficult ones. You will find that talking is tiring. Even waking up needs an effort.You feel nothing in everything but the tiredness is an exception.You think everyday, that every day feels heavier. Until tiredness becomes numbness. Then turn into emptiness.You want to cry but no tear is falling. You want to shout but no words are coming out.

Suddenly, you become tired of being tired. You feel the hunger of finding the unknown answers on how to be alive again. You try all the possible ways. Seems like it is a trial and error. Sometimes you feel satisfied. But most of the time, pointless. You know how to laugh again but at the end of the day, it’s just you all alone. I think it’s what people say… go with the flow. Yet, having no path at all.

Trying your best to search for the keys is a real struggle. Every now and then, you’ll be picky on who are you going to share yourself. Building strong barriers is better than having dummy faces that can break you into bits in the end. But some people are worthy to have a share of your pieces. Time is not easy but you will give it freely, willingly and joyfully. Then all the holes on your body are having patches of the care that you receive each and everyday.

But that is not the end. There will be days and nights that irrational thoughts will hunt you. Like eating your head and freeze you until dawn. Until you do nothing but to hide in the shadow. You will be fine that you are just breathing. In times like these, yes, deep breathing is everything. But please, don’t forget how far you have come. How many evils you have conquered. How many places you have reached. How many goals you have achieved. And most of all, how God saved, saves and will save you all the way. So do not let the fear stop you from dreaming and believing. Never stop to be the most amazing person you want to be. Live. Live to the fullest. Live to the fullest for Christ!”