Saturday, November 23, 2013

Farewell to the Twenties

An article on Buzzfeed has been popping up on my Facebook timeline: Every Year of your 20s, Ranked from Worst to Best. It made me realize that I entered this new decade without really taking the time to say farewell to my twenties. With so many things happening this year, I already know what my 30s will be like: new beginnings, new chapters, new adventures. But what have I left behind in the past ten years?

So, I'm taking the time on this lazy Saturday to hit two birds with one stone: exercise my writing-for-leisure skills by updating my blog, and reflect on the past ten years at the same time. I'll be using the Buzzfeed article's ranking to see if it's accurate (haha):

AGE 23 (year 2006): While I'd like to say that Buzzfeed got this all wrong because this was the year that I rekindled a friendship with the man who is now my fiance, a deeper look into that year reveals all of the challenges that came with it. It was the year I started my career in media relations, and I had no idea what I was getting into! In my first few months, all of my bosses resigned one after the other, and by the time I was a few months shy of 24, our team effectively had no boss. It was the year that I learned everything from experience, and just had to roll with the punches as they came. A roller-coaster year I'm not sure I would relive.

But on the bright side, before I said farewell to Age 23, I was able to travel with my girl friends out of the country for the first time. That trip to Hongkong opened my eyes to how different traveling with friends was-- taking the train at midnight to go to the Night Market, waking up at 9:30AM to have breakfast at McDonalds, walking down the streets of Hongkong without a clear agenda. That trip is forever stamped in my memory.

AGE 20 (year 2003): Third year college. I'm trying to think long and hard about anything that strikes me about that year, but all I can think of is that this was the year we started learning Philosophy and Theology, and that I got together with my ex. Ho-hum. Next!

AGE 26 (year 2009): This is the year I got diagnosed with acid reflux, and nothing was ever the same again. How horrible. But this was also the year that I was able to visit Bangkok with a good friend. It felt amazing to travel with just one other person who also shares the same interests, and we made a very good decision to visit the ancient capital Ayutthaya. That was a great trip.

AGE 24 (year 2007): The Year Without a Boss. One full year of our team fending for ourselves. But it was also a year where we had the most fun as a team and became our own little family. We didn't know it then, but it would also be our last year in our old office-- the end of an era.

This wasn't such a bad year, as I was able to travel to Pagudpud with my girl friends, again with zero planning on our part. Even now, we laugh at the memory of how we got out of the Laoag airport, how some of us got drunk on videoke night, and how eight girls fit into two tricycles for a tour around the area.

AGE 27 (year 2010): I distinctly remember being on a radio tour with one of my favorite editors, and she had asked me how old I was turning since my birthday was coming up. When I said I was turning 27, she said, "That's an exciting year." And it truly was. So many milestones happened this year. On the work front, I got promoted to assistant manager, then to acting manager a few months after. Then my boyfriend and I were able to take our first out-of-town trip together with friends, and that trip to Bantayan, Cebu was his first time ever to ride an airplane. That was also my first time to travel with a new set of friends from the workplace. There are so many happy memories from that trip, and Bantayan remains to be the best beach we've been to, in his opinion.

AGE 21 (year 2004): Senior year in college. I remember feeling on top of the world on this year. I was in leadership positions in my organizations, and I always felt like I was passing the baton to the younger generation. We were looking forward to the Real World. My friends and I worked through our thesis and I learned to survive on coffee and M&Ms at 3AM. Even now, I don't know how that thesis got written because I remember how we had to watch all those movies, how I learned to use the microfilm machine at the library, and how I slept through my favorite History class because I was running on zero, but I have no recollection of actually writing and proofreading our thesis. All I know is this year, as challenging as it was, had me feeling like I could do anything and be anything.

AGE 29 (year 2012): This is where Buzzfeed gets it wrong. It was a horrible year on the work front. A year of disappointment and disillusionment. A reality check. I felt like I was in limbo all year, not sure of where everything was going. I left my first job and got into a new one that didn't prove to be the best decision. It was a year of failure. But then, not being used to failing, I guess it was a year that was necessary for growth. The traveling kept me sane this year-- South Korea, Puerto Princesa, and Boracay all in one year! Plus, I made some new friends, so it wasn't all that bad.

AGE 25 (year 2008): The year we moved to a new office. The year I made new friends at work. The year I started to take on a leadership role at work. And the year we finally got more than just a boss, but a great mentor. It was the year I started feeling confident in what I was doing, and that I was put in this profession for a reason.

AGE 22 (year 2005): Again, Buzzfeed got it wrong. Horrible year, thanks to the Ex! This was the worst year ever, but I suppose it's also the one with the most stories to tell. Wasting time in the office in a pseudo-job that basically meant we were being paid to use the Internet to learn more Photoshop and look for a better job, drinking at 2PM, drinking with friends, being stupid about love and broken promises-- gosh let's just skip this year all together!

AGE 28 (year 2011): Strangely, Buzzfeed calls this the best year ever, but I don't remember anything striking about this year. Sure, I felt more confident at work, my relationship was secure, friendships were solid. But other than that, I wouldn't say this was the best year.

When people ask me what year or age I will always come back to, I think I will always say this year, the year I turned 30. This is the year that I worked up the courage to follow my dreams, the year I got engaged, the year I finally felt I am where I'm supposed to be. My twenties proved to be a decade of growth, of forging lasting friendships and relationships with people, of ending unhealthy relationships, of seeing more of the world, of making memories that I wouldn't necessarily relive. What a relief to bid farewell to that decade! I can't wait to see what this new decade has in store!

Friday, November 22, 2013

All shall be well

Photo from Pinterest

They say every girl has a dream wedding, one that she's been putting together ever since she was a little girl. I can't say I'm one of those girls, because I've never really thought about it until we started talking seriously about the future. My dreams, like me, are simple-- I just want it to be an affair where everyone has a lot of fun, enjoys good food (preferably a ton of seafood), and come together in a place that's not some boring ballroom or function hall. As much as possible, I want to go beyond the confines of four walls and have a place that looks out into something, whether it's a garden or a great view. But more than anything, I want it to be a practical, cost-efficient affair, especially since we have a place that we're saving up for.

In the two months since I've gotten engaged, we've been busy checking out possible reception venues. As it turns out, while there are many venues that fit my beyond-four-walls criteria, there are so many other things that also need to be considered: the presence of air-conditioning, the location and its proximity to the church, and most of all, the budget. I've been looking through beautiful photos and having my heart broken a little when I see the cost estimates, and sometimes when the venue is not as pretty in real life as I had thought it would be.

So today, I was feeling a little blue after receiving yet another over-the-budget cost estimate from a beautiful venue, and I texted my fiance (I still need to get used to calling him this!) that I was kinda down. He replied, "Don't be. :) Things are going well for us. :D"

Seeing that text made me realize that I had lost sight of the bigger picture: we are planning for the rest of our lives together. This wedding is just one day, a tiny speck in forever. And I'm lucky to have a guy who is able to keep my worries at bay by reassuring me that everything will fall into place, who is able to see all of this planning and preparation as an adventure that we're embarking on together. The first of many more adventures that we'll take. At the end of the day, we could get married in Timbuktu but what would still matter is that we're together.

So I take a deep breath and claim this: we will get the date that we want, in the church that we want, we'll get a great venue where our families will come together, and we'll get all the suppliers that are right for us. All it takes is faith that everything will work out as it should-- happily ever after.