Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life · Thanks

Midyear Thoughts

Lately I’ve been thinking about how my year has been going. It has not been the smoothest, and definitely there have been some curveballs that I’m still figuring out how to deal with. 

Suffice to say there’s no shortage of whining and crying about how things have not gone my way. I keep hearing myself saying that I miss my grandmother and how my knees are still not being helpful in my quest to be a better exerciser. The year has not been perfect. However, there have been some bright spots. I am putting these down “on paper” so I can remind myself the next time I’m on the edge again, and find the bright in the dark.

  1. First time in Japan. Osaka. Second time traveling with my cousins, but now a smaller group of four. It was one of the most relaxed, extra food-y trips of my life, and even if we walked around more than 14 kilometers a day, I think all the Japanese rice made us gain a few kilos each. Osaka was a food wonderland at every corner, and seeing the Gion I only used to read about in one of my favorite books when I was in college was amazing. I cannot wait to travel with my cousins again.
  2. A weekend in Taipei. No planning, just booked tickets in a span or a couple hours of agreement that we were actually going to do it, a weekend in Taipei was a yummy jolt to the senses. The best hot pot I’ve ever been to the second time, art spaces and more food, it was a super short trip that only lacked more time for more of the former.
  3. The time and the resources to be able to be with my friends. One of my friends that I’ve known the longest got married this year. Another got his house built. We got to go to weddings. We got to go to the beach to start off the year. We got to go to our family’s town fiesta and introduce two friends to the joy of drenching fellow adults in ice cold water while drinking. We got to have good food cooked by each other (With my sister and I mostly just doing the eating). I met significant others for the first time in a friendship that spans more than a decade and a half. There were big things, and little things, but all these things just cemented the friendships more, even if some of these things were hard to laugh at when it was happening, it was funny eventually.
  4. Taking time for myself and the family at the house. I had always been busy since I enjoyed working. With a night shift job in the past, I had to put my health to the side and just do what I needed to do, take what I needed to take to be able to sleep, and then to stay alert for the post. There was no helping at home, or contributing to the overall cleanliness of the house. I bought what I could to help, but the labor wasn’t really there. I am not saying I’m helping full time now, and I still feel guilty when I don’t think of how to help, or that I really can’t when it comes to the dog’s foodstuff because the smell makes me want to yak, but I hope I’m more helpful. I’m not a saint like my sister, but I do want to be a better contributor. Maybe the taking time for myself is around 70% to the 30% I actually help out around the house with, and mostly with driving my mom around to do her errands, or cooking here and there.

Yeah. 2019 has been a kick in the shin but my life is pretty difficult to complain about overall. Not that I’m challenging the universe to throw more at me because please no I’m just saying I’m grateful still for what I have.

What are you grateful for so far this year?

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

525,600 minutes later

This time last year, I was probably nodding off to sleep in the room my sister and I had at Montemar, savoring and digesting the heavy early dinner we had because the kitchen closed at 10 pm.

I was on melatonin to try and sleep more than 2 hours at night time and failing, waking up in the middle of the night and dreading 32. It just seemed so unremarkable, so dreary, to be moving to my mid 30s in the middle of picking up the pieces of my heart, after an inevitable break.

It was depressing, and even if my sister was a massive help, the quietness of the resort, the tranquility was so goddamn defeaning. Giving me time to think of the “might have beens” or could have happeneds”. It was an exercise in futility that I could have told the past version of myself was part of the process to get me to where I am now, different but invariably, more rational.

I haven’t made the “enlightened” joke yet because I know I regained all the weight I lost last year but hey, the food and the company I spent it with, truly worth every straining dress and groaning pair of shorts.

Right now I am lying on my semi new mattress (Still new after 3 months thanks to my mattress cover) trying to convince my bunnies to snuggle with me to bring in my next 525,600 minutes. It’s not so cool, (or maybe cooler because the airconditioning is cranked up) but definitely much more my speed these days. Making the most of those moments that pass by that you never appreciate until you can’t have them again.

We are never going to be here again, and the non-picture perfect moments are what we tend to miss now, because of the priority to “record it for posterity”. We can’t capture the feeling, but the idea of being fully there is so exciting to me now. Not to demean anyone who loves taking photos because hey, you do you! Maybe I’m just not a front of camera type of woman, and what I can jot down is the romanticized, distorted version of events, but my heart says it true. And that’s good enough for me.

But I digress (as always). I’m not there yet, I’m still figuring it out and finding the right path for me. In life, career, and with the people I love. Luckily for me, the people that are around me have been loving, supportive, and can crack the whip when needed.

I guess all I’m trying to say is I’m grateful for 32, and I’m looking forward to what 33 has in store.

Gratitude · Love/Life

Hello, summer

It’s been a rocky few days for Metro Manila. A water shortage has crippled thousands and has made the heat that has come in even more difficult. It’s hard to be thankful for beautiful things when you feel grimy and thirsty and don’t know when your next bath is.

So far my solutions are cold drinks and ice cream (still dreaming of the Cremia ice creams from Osaka) and water tumblers full of icy water.

We’ve put out all our water containers and now alarming amount of reusable bottles we didn’t know we had and filled them with water for drinking and the rest of our pails and drums with washing water.

We’ve been fortunate and the schedules have been accurate so we’ve been able to plan our day around when water will be available. I am hoping that all of this winds down soon though for everyone’s sake. Water is so essential to everything. It makes everyone uneasy for the most basic thing to be limited.

Are you affected by the shortage? How are you coping?

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

You lucky SOB

I catch myself complaining a lot, and 2018 was not a year that I was very positive about a lot of things. When life threw me for a loop, I bitched and moaned about it. A lot. And I can recognize venting and mourning loss, but I also have to acknowledge what a lucky son of a Barbie (I won’t curse at my mother today) I am.

In 2018:

  1. I got to be there a lot more for what turned out to be our Nanay’s last year. 
  2. I spent a lot of times with my friends, and made a few new ones.
  3. I finally got to deal with my health, and found that there are some things you can turn the clock back on, and some facts you just have to accept for yourself.
  4. I got to see semi familiar places with people I love. Ho Chi Minh for the first time, Cebu city and Tabuan’s inner workings, Korea in the dead of winter, Vigan in a storm, Siquijor and Dumaguete, Batanes.
  5. I got to travel with our cousins for the first time and my heart could not have been more full at how wonderful people they’ve grown up to be, and how they’ve used their privilege to be better people than I’ll ever be.
  6. I got to travel for the first time myself. It was mind numbingly reflective but also cathartic.
  7. I changed how my room looked (sort of) and felt like a different person.

I feel like I need to list this down just so the next time I whine about how bad my situation is, I remember how much I actually got to experience and live in a challenging year.

Last year was certainly memorable and I survived it, albeit kicking and screaming.

And maybe I also need a wrap up to see what I have to look forward for to 2019, and Lord, I’m not challenging you on this, I know you’ve given me a whole lot and I am very grateful. I’m still breathing and most of the people I love are the same and mostly healthy. We got this, and I hope we all make it out alive this year.

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

Merry Christmas Nanay

Dear Nanay,

We were all home and got to spend Christmas together (except for Ann but you know she’s committed to the thing). We ate a bunch of things. Ninong taught most of us a game. The fathers drank whiskey, the kids (is it still kids if no one is younger than 21?) drank bottles of sweet wine.

You were still part of the raffle, and actually got to the end, but lost out to Joannaman. I bet if you did win you’d give it to us anyway like the year you did win the top prize.

Almost all the kids give gifts now so it took a good 15 minutes with several people walking around to just give away presents. Did you see the portrait we had made of you? It’s gorgeous and I think it really captured your spirit. The painting feels happy, like you always felt to me.

We miss you Nay, and I am curently typing this in the chair. Next to the bed that was yours wishing you were still napping here. As you would after a big lunch of Kare Kare, ribs and chicken lollipops.

It’s been so different without you but still we carry on. We learned from the best. It’s just so much better when you’re around.

Merry Christmas Nay.

Love,

Jody Anne

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

Saying goodbye

Another month, another wake. This time though, I am not the one offering my condolences but one of the people being offered theirs, because our family lost our Nanay.

She wasn’t young at 89. She had already outlived all other grandparents by at least 5 years. It wasn’t a surprise, as she had been in the hospital for around a month, and we had known when they found a mass that it wasn’t going to be long. We couldn’t go for treatment because of her age and already existing health issues, and we had resigned to just making her feel comfortable. We say it’s a blessing to have her out of pain, off the strong prescribed painkillers that made her groggy and sleep often.

But knowing she was going and seeing her gone are two different things. She is looking beautiful in the beige blouse she had specifically asked for. She has a lovely necklace from Rome they dressed her in, the colors of the makeup are colors she would have used in life.

Every now and then I want to reach over that glass bubble and shake her awake, tell her to enjoy the party being thrown in her honor, the people that have come out to say goodbye. This is the first time in a really long time that her grandkids are all together, being busy with school, work, and all the other small things that life makes you busy with.

But she’s not waking up. She’s going to miss everything from now on, and the person I’m smiling at saying to wake up is not her anymore. It’s just a shell that held her spirit and all that made her the magnetic, feisty, warm woman we all gravitated towards.

Her room already feels empty, because they took out the hospital bed she was in at my last visit. People keep joking about not wanting to go home because they don’t want her tapping on their shoulder or lying next to them on the foam mats laid out for our family to sleep shifts on.

For once I am not afraid of a presence because hers always brought me comfort. From the beginning she was always a source of good things. Of food and fun and all the glorious things that came to coming home to family and being surrounded by people that loved you unconditionally. We’re not the most vocal or the most affectionate but we’re there for each other. Even if sometimes we’re not 100% behind each venture, we show up.

And that was mainly her. She considered food something never to skimp on, living through World War II. That diets made you stupid because you went with less nourishment that equipped your brain less. She set the tone for all celebrations for decades to come, long after she herself stopped cooking in the kitchen.

I never got to sit with her to write down her specific tricks to recipes. It was mostly sitting together, asking her where she got her lovely new blouse or where she went or was going with her friends. And I was happy with that. Just being in her presence. Now though what are we to do?

Our Nanay was a one in a billion kind of woman and it will be hard to lose that heart, and we’ll be spending the next few days really just hoping to get to to goodbye without too much pain.

Cheese · Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life · Thanks

Can I keep you?

Lately I’ve been thinking about loss. With my sister and a friend going to wakes one day after the other, another terrible number up on this year’s wake count, I cannot help but think of who we can keep.

Honestly, I am quite lucky, my parents are both here and generally healthy (I say generally because they are not perfectly there but that’s another conversation entirely). I got time with both grandmothers and one grandfather. My mom’s siblings are all thriving. Cousins are intact and can be direct messaged or sent embarassing videos at any time. Friends who’ve stayed are those who are amazing (and even saw me through my worst when I just wasn’t there for anyone and was just surviving).

But what happens when the loss is unavoidable? A death. A choice. A fight so big it breaks the whole thing. Waking up one day realizing you had nothing in common. It’s inevitable, unavoidable.

Clearly I cling. Some of my closest friends are one that I’ve loved since I was 5 years old. Decades of weirdness, thousands of miles apart, misunderstandings, horribly embarrassing formative years.

And it’s not just them. Some people I’ve met I just want to keep forever. A month ago, a friend I made a year ago basically asked me if she could keep me and I didn’t hesitate. Good women, good men, amazing friends. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded with people that love and support me through something as big as a cancelled wedding to something as small as terribly applied makeup right before we went out in public in her hometown.

So when I ask to keep you, know that I mean it, and I will do my best to deserve to keep my place in your life. Also know you can tell me if I’m doing it the wrong way and you want to run in the other direction. My heart is patched up and perhaps defensive but it has the best intentions. And I intend to keep those who are in it to stay.

Gratitude · Love/Life

Hug your fathers

Yesterday, two more people in my circle lost their dads. TWO MORE. 2018 has been such a rollercoaster of emotions but I think seeing people I love lose their fathers has been the most heart wrenching of them all. Too many funerals, too many tears shed, too many Christmases that will be forever changed now that they’re gone.

I had a draft penned, a letter about a fat shaming person in my circle but it all seems so trivial now. Today, and for the rest of the week, I will mourn with my friends of their loss.

So if you still have a dad, hug them today. I never hug my dad and we never say I love you but I might just do that today. Before it’s too late. And I will record his voice. Will take more photos.

Gratitude · Jodythinks · Love/Life

How we deal with privilege (or lack of it)

Lately I’ve been thinking about privilege. Privilege, from my understanding, is an advantage you’ve been given, one that is not afforded by a lot of the population. There are a lot out there, mostly given through birth and/or timing. A friend jokes about this a lot with another, when there is talk of politics, especially in the US. Race is a privilege we can only be birthed into, the rest, I do think we can acquire.

Wealth and beauty are privileges that some people come into naturally, and the ones that can be most fleeting. Age can wreak havoc on one’s appearance, and wealth can easily be spent away if the person who gets it doesn’t know how to keep it or does nothing to grow it. But what happens when because of your privilege, you don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the problems for when these go away?

I’m not saying we should feel bad about the rich, beautiful people who might lose their privilege someday, but maybe we should be happy about what we acquire when we don’t have it. Being average looking will force you to develop a personality (whether a good or bad one is up to you). Not having wealth will make you work harder, or do more things to acquire the wealth, and make you all the more determined to sustain it.

So let’s think about this a bit. Not having privilege still gives you an advantage of developing more than what you were born with, and it will probably make you more conscious about what it takes to get there, and have to develop skills and mechanisms to make sure it doesn’t go away. And I think that’s still a good thing to have.

Sure it’ll be easier and albeit so fun to be beautiful, or be born wealthy, and the like, but the cards we’ve been dealt are different, and what we learn to make up for not being evolutionary advantaged may be much more in the end.

What do you think of privilege?

Gratitude

I think you should listen to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” today

I am a big fan of the classics and The Rolling Stones are one of the greats. With all this talk of self care and positivity, we can forget that the past has some advice for us too. I think music is one of the better ones, with songs that reach generations. One of these songs is Rolling Stones’s You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

Lyrics are here:

[Verse 1]

I saw her today at the reception

A glass of wine in her hand

I knew she was gonna meet her connection

At her feet was a footloose man

 

[Chorus]

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes

Well, you might find

You get what you need

 

[Verse 2]

And I went down to the demonstration

To get my fair share of abuse

Singing, “We’re going to vent our frustration

If we don’t, we’re going to blow a 50-amp fuse”

 

[Chorus]

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes

Well, you just might find

You get what you need

 

[Verse 3]

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore

To get your prescription filled

I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy

And man, did he look pretty ill

We decided that we would have a soda

My favorite flavor, cherry red

I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy

Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was “dead”

I said to him:

 

[Chorus]

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes

Well, you just might find

You get what you need

 

[Verse 4]

You get what you need, yeah, oh baby

I saw her today at the reception

In her glass was a bleeding man

She was practiced at the art of deception

Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

 

[Outro]

You can’t always get what you want, yeah

You can’t always get what you want, ooh yeah

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometimes, you just might find

You just might find you get what you need, ah yeah

Ah yeah

Wooh!

Ah you can’t always get what you want (no no)

You can’t always get what you want (you can’t no no)

You can’t always get what you want

…mmm but if you try sometimes, you just might find

You just might find you get what you need

Ah yeah!

Ah yeah! Yeah

People more religious will say, “When God closes a door he opens a window”, and for a lot of non-religious folks, it makes it hard to listen, but when the Stones say “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need”. So the next time you face a disappointment, or face something you view as a failure, it may lead you to something that actually makes better sense.

Listen this humpday Wednesday to a song about moving forward and accepting things may not be what you thought it’d be, but it works out.