In the year Twenty Twenty One, I –
Finally had the courage to let go of my Makati apartment (with the pandemic going on, it was the wise thing to do). It was bittersweet packing up my things from a place that I stayed in for almost 3 years in a neighborhood where I spent all my post-graduate years in.
Rekindled my interest in Korean skincare. Started the year not being able to handle going out without wearing foundation to (now) being comfortable with just moisturizer and sunblock on. I may have spent a huge chunk of my disposable income in Lazada and Beauty MNL but I say it was worth it if just to get a significant chunk of my self-confidence back. Can now look at my just-woke-up face and actually be fine with it. I say that’s a huge win.
Worked on my sleeping habits after Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep changed my outlook in life and how I view sleep. Working on it snowballed into a lot of things: from improved concentration & memory, better skin, better mood, and downright finally subjecting myself to therapy.
Speaking of therapy, YES, finally did it. Full-blown and not-just-a-couple-of-counseling-sessions type of therapy. Changed my shrink because the previous one was not available anymore. Started from scratch again. I vomited my proverbial guts out. It was ugly. It was hard. It was a grueling couple of months but it was oh so worth it.
Changed residence here in the province. Reworked my home office setup. Gotten some fresh air regularly because of it. Immensely enjoyed moments of hanging out on the terrace reading a good book, with tea and some kind of dessert in hand. Appreciated the joy of just sitting and absorbing the quiet and feeling the night wind against my face. Incorporated breathing techniques in my daily life, which was the main self-help technique I was encouraged to try to manage my anxiety. Felt calmer and more at peace. Life felt simpler – and easier.
Read some of the most affecting books in my life and learned to read just for the heck of it, just for fun again. Realized how reading became a crutch and survival tool for so long and thankful how it helped me cope through the years. Targeted to read 20 books this year because I told myself I wanted to slow down. Ended up reading 75 (!!!) – more than last year’s 60 (which I thought was my limit) and more than any year since I started tracking 11 years ago (another !!!).
Mustered up the mental energy needed to enjoy watching TV series again after a while. Discovered some gems (The Bold Type, Midnight Diner, Succession, One Spring Night, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, etc.) that made me want to go and look for more good shows to kill my time with.
The whole family got a covid-scare, which was an awful 1 month or so. Grateful nobody got a severe case. Anxiety level rose to an alarming degree but managed to hold it together because what can you do but keep a level head and get through it – especially if you’re technically the breadwinner of the family. Still has some effects (weird food tastes, occasional shortness of breath, getting tired easily, etc.) that may be long term but I hope are not permanent. The whole family finally got vaccinated which significantly lessened my paranoia about contracting the virus again.
(forced) able to swallow pills normally just because of the amount of medicine I have to take this year. I used to chew them (if I’m desperate) or melt them in water to swallow them. Yep, it was purely psychological. And thank goodness I finally got over it.
Enrolled in a couple of art classes but finished none of them. Tried picking up my watercolors, brush pen, and pencil again after so long. Tried drawing & hand lettering again and rediscovered how grounding they were. Still not back to my 100% but we’re getting there.
Spent a good chunk of weekends trying to learn how to bike. I’m still horrible at it but it was a very great bonding experience with my family – even if they’re making fun of me most of the time.
Lost a couple of people this year. Which made me realize how much I want to avoid and not dwell in the idea of death in the first place. After all these years, I’m still uncomfortable thinking about it (even in passing).
Got a nephew. Gained another godchild. Friends got engaged. Passed another international professional certification (CRISC) and ended up getting the top 3 highest score in the PH in the period I took it (yay!). Got promoted at work which was awesome.
Gained a couple of pounds (that I’m still trying to lose). Got a decent haircut for once. Finally succumbed to the middle part after years of using the deep side part for my hair. Got highlights (platinum) and a new hair color (ash gray). After months of having long ass hair and enjoying my braiding era, I finally went back to the shoulder-length hair where I’m most at home anyway.
Met a couple of friends at certain points this year and it made me realize just how I miss genuine face-to-face conversations. Opened up about things I never thought I would share any time soon. Enjoyed the company of people I haven’t seen in a while. Exchanged stories. Reminisced about the past. And excitedly shared my plans for the future.
Managed to fill a whole year of my dated planner (!!!). It felt good looking back at the pages.
Cried with sadness and joy over figure skating. Liza medalled in Worlds again. Yuzu landed the 4A (which only existed in the theoretical plane prior to this) even if it was two-footed (idc). Wakaba is going to the Olympics after that heartache 4 years ago. Alina is happy and content with her life. Yuzu is skating happily winning the Japanese title for the sixth time in his senior career and not giving a single f over ISU. Honestly, that sport is just a roller coaster ride any time of the year and it always gives me life.
Finally took the plunge and applied for an overseas job. And now, in a couple of days, I’m moving my whole life halfway across the globe to a new place where I can start over and be whomever I want and choose to be. It excites me and terrifies me but more so the former than the latter.
I turned 30… which was just whew. Bought a cupcake bouquet for myself because why not? Threw a birthday party which I haven’t done in a long, long while because I let Decembers beat me and depress me in the past few years. Held a mini-reunion of sorts with my high school classmates and it just made me realize how happy I am whenever I’m with people that truly get me no matter how socially awkward I may seem even at the best of times.
Spent new year’s eve with the whole family as usual but for some reason, this year felt more fun and freeing and exciting. Cooked with the whole gang, laid out a proper NYE feast, lighted a couple of sparklers, and sang our hearts out in the karaoke till 3 in the morning.
I was looking back and it almost felt like it was an uneventful year. But when I listed all of these down, I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot has happened indeed and it’s too easy to dismiss that fact just because we’re cooped up inside most of the year.
I got over stuff. I moved on.
I made space for new things in my life while not entirely dismissing the old.
Most importantly, I made an effort to get better.
I say: not a bad year, eh?