Posted in 28Gratitudes

#11 Technology

Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories. -Laurie Anderson

I am proud to say that I belong to a generation who grew up without the constant bombardment of technology. My childhood friends and I used to play outside our houses, read actual book, and talk in person. It was in the later part of our adolescence that internet became available to almost every one.

Nevertheless, I am happy and thankful that we have growing and improving technology. I’m sure I would pass my school research projects just using library resources, but having the materials accessible online made it easier.

Communication has never been more easy and fun.

I had to admit, I used to exchange letters with a childhood sweetheart many years ago. It was quite difficult for both of us. For one, we can’t send the letter via post because we were just children – we had to ask a common friend to become our bridge. And for another, it takes too long to receive the letters, and urgent matters (at least for us) lost their urgency with the wait.

Now, even though I am miles away and oceans apart with my friends and family, we can talk easily as if we were in the same place. I still love the idea of handwritten letters, but the nightly video calls with my parents help keep the homesickness away.

Technology, specifically online jobs and businesses, also helped me and some friends earn some passive income. It was really useful during the time I was waiting for my overseas documents. Having an online job kept me sane and happy. I didn’t have to ask my parents for money (for the most part) when I needed to buy some new stuff.

I loved the freedom of my childhood. There were no phones that need charging, slow internet connection that frustrates to no end, and other expensive gadgets that all work the same way.

Yet, I can’t imagine life without these things anymore. It made many things easier, and more information accessible. Without online translation, communicating with my Japanese colleagues would be harder than it already is.

Yes, technology made the world smaller. But it has both advantages and disadvantages. And instead of focusing on the negative, I am just thankful for all the positive impacts technology had given my life.

I would still want my future children to have the same childhood that I had, but maybe it will be quite impossible. Computers, cellphones, and other gadgets are now staple parts of our lives. We just have to learn how to control them, instead of being controlled.

Human interaction is still integral in keeping my sanity. I like talking to my family and friends on a daily basis. That’s why I love FB messenger so much. I can communicate with my loved ones with just a touch of a button. It’s like I never left home! 😀

Posted in 28Gratitudes

#10 Work

Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

Most people my age aim to become self-made entrepreneurs. Some wants to settle down and make a family. More often than not, they achieve their goals and become happy.

For me, I realized that I’m too lazy to be my own boss. LOL. It’s not too bad, when you see my point of view. I like being independent, and doing my own things once in a while. But, I also like having someone smarter and wiser than I am guiding me at work.

I like being an employee, and I am thankful everyday that I found a job wherein I can do my passion, and earn a living.

I graduated as BS Interior Design, so naturally, people expect me to become a professional designer in the future. I did take the board exam and got my license back in 2014. But, I haven’t renewed it yet (there are other external reasons as well).

I started working a few months after I graduated in 2011. My first job was as a draftsman for a Japanese company, wherein I was the pioneer employee. I loved my work as a draftsman, I loved seeing how a house is built from the ground up. I like the idea that I am helping make someone’s dream home come true.

And for 6 years, that’s what I kept telling myself. Unfortunately, working in a company means that I have to work with other people. And as much I love my job, when I was surrounded by toxic people, each day became a struggle. I tried my best to ignore these people who kept putting me down, but everyone has their limit.

Last year, I decided to file in my resignation. I told my manager the real reason I was quitting, but she did not accept my resignation. Instead, she and the president decided to remove me from the toxic environment and on to a better workplace.

It was decided that a colleague and I were to move to the company’s headquarters in Japan. I was hesitant to accept this offer at first. Because it would mean that I have to move to another country, where I don’t speak the language and don’t really know anyone. But my parents helped me see that this is one opportunity I simply cannot let pass.

It took a year before our papers and tickets were secured. During that time, I was on vacation mode. I tried to pass the time doing all the stuff I wasn’t able to do when I was working.

Soon enough, I got bored of doing nothing all day. I need to make each day as productive as possible. I practice water color with my friends. I made an account with Society6 to sell my art. And I even worked as a freelance content writer for an online company.

At long last, I’m finally here. Training to be an interior coordinator in our main company. The hours are long, and communication is quite difficult, but I am happy. I’m finally doing something that I love away from the toxicity of my previous workplace. I am still learning Japanese language and culture, but I am enjoying every minute of my stay here. I am thankful that I am given this chance, and I will do my best to make the most of it. 🙂

Posted in 28Gratitudes

#9 Words & Writing

Writing is its own reward. -Henry Miller

I’ve always loved books. I loved reading about adventure, romance, and sometimes a little horror. The fictional characters were my friends when I was growing up. Even now, I still take solace with my books when I am too stressed out.

Aside from reading about characters made by my favorite authors, I also like to make my own. I first started writing my own stories when I was about 8 years old. I wrote a sequel to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” titled “Ebony and the Red Ribbon.”

I vaguely remember the story, and I never got to finish it. But it was the beginning of something new and exciting for me. Afterwards, I started writing fan fictions for other novels like Harry Potter and posting on online sites.

The very first original story I finished was called “Athena and Althea,” a story about twins who fell in love with the same man (cliche, I know). During a high school class, we were required to write and perform a small play as a project. I rewrote the story into a script, and we passed with flying colors.

Another story I wrote was “Panaginip Lang” (It’s Just a Dream). It was about a girl falling in love with a guy, and they were happy until she woke up and found out it was just a dream after all. It was for a Filipino project, and everyone in our batch needed to write and submit a short story. The complete collection was bound and stored in the school’s library.

I still write a few short stories, but I am much better in poetry. I really enjoyed the rhythmic way of writing poems, and it helps to relax my mind. Whenever I get sad or lonely, I would write a piece, and it’s like my negativity transfers from my heart to the paper.

And that’s why I am so thankful for the words that always come into my mind. It helps that I have an outlet for every frustration and anger. Sometimes, I also express my happiness through rhyming stanzas.

I am grateful that I have these words to show how thankful I am for everything that I receive in my life. And I hope someday I could share all the things I’ve written to the world. Someday, my name will be printed on the cover a book, and it will be on a shelf among the other authors I admire and read. It might take a long time, but that “someday” will come. 🙂

PS. If you want to read some of my written poems, you can check out my DeviantArt profile here. 🙂

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#8 Past Loves

I’ve had my fair share of love in the past. Some ended well, others did not. Still, I learned a lot from those I decided to share my heart. And the lessons far outweigh the tears and pain.

So this Valentine’s day, I want to show my gratitude to the persons I’ve loved before.

To my first love…

We were kids when we first met. You were such a shy kid, but you made me your friend. And as we grew older, that friendship continued to grow as well.

We never got together. Or at least, I never got the courage to tell you how I felt. But I guess it was much better this way. You weren’t meant to be mine.

But I am thankful that I met you. You taught me about pure and innocent love. The kind of love that doesn’t expect anything in return. You also taught me sacrifice, how to put someone’s happiness first. Even if you didn’t know it, you made a big impact in my young life.

Now, you’ve finally found the girl you are meant to love with all your heart. I am glad and proud of you. You deserve to be happy and in love. They say that “first love never dies” and you will always have a small part that lives on inside my heart.

To the one who loved me first…

Thank you for taking that chance with me. We were each other’s first serious relationships. We didn’t know how to be together, but we made it work as much as we could.

I know I hurt you. I apologize for the things I’ve done to hurt you. I guess we were just too similar, and it was inevitable that we’d crash and burn. Our competitive nature just took the best of us, and we had to end it.

But even if our relationship didn’t work the way we wanted it, we remained friends. And we continued to be friends until today. You were the first to encourage my love of writing. You were my first, and hopefully not the last, reader.

Thank you for the love, the friendship, and support. You have such a big heart and a lot of love to give. I hope you’ll soon find the person to whom you can share it with forever. But for now, enjoy your youth and live. You are a special man, and you deserve happiness.

To the one who broke my heart…

It’s been a long time, but I remember that I loved you. It was a different kind of love: daring and passionate. We were young, and young love was breathtaking.

Young love was also stupid, and we had lots of stupidity back then. You hurt me when you broke my heart. It took me months and years to get over you. But the point is that I moved on.

Now I can see that our youth made us careless. I do believe you loved me as much as I loved you. We just didn’t know how to tame that wild kind of love. But I am still thankful that you came into my life.

You broke my trust and my heart, but I learned to be careful. I learned to control my emotions. Sometimes, I still subconsciously compare you with the other guys I meet. But I’m learning not to do that anymore. You were an important person in my past, but I am now determined to live in the present and look forward to the future.

I just want to thank you for the unintended lessons. It might have taken me years to fully understand everything, but at least I’ve learned. I wish for your happiness, always.

To the one I had to let go…

I won’t apologize anymore. We were a toxic a combination, and our personalities just didn’t match. It was better that I let you go for the sake of our sanity.

But I am grateful for the months we’ve been together. We were not perfect, but we had happy moments. You made the world a little bit smaller in both good and bad ways.

Thank you for that. Thank you for teaching me how to protect my heart. Now that I know what signs to look out for, I can prevent history from repeating itself.

I’m finally ok. I’ve let go of my anger, and I forgive you. I used to suppress myself for you, but it only hurt me in the end. Now, I understand that the person who’ll genuinely love me should accept me, both good and bad parts.

So, thank you. By trying to change me, I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve learned to value my feelings and emotions. It may seem selfish to others, but I plan to prioritize my mental being above anything else.

I know that you’re angry at me, but you will heal and move on. You will realize that this is for the better. I really and truly hope you find that person who can accept the love you give. I hope you find peace and contentment.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record or wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Lover never fails. – 1 Corinthian 13:4-8

To those who are single, in-love, brokenhearted, moving on, and etc… Today is your day. You deserve to love and be loved in return. Love is not just romantic love, it can be from family, friends, and even pets. It can also be just from yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in 28Gratitudes

#7 Art

Finding peace through art.

I used to dislike art and art classes. When I was in kindergarten, we were asked to paint butterflies. I was a bit of a perfectionist (I still am, actually) and I had a hard time when I couldn’t match the butterflies’ wings.

Until high school, I really didn’t enjoy art classes where we learned calligraphy, lettering, and color matchings. I loved black and white, and I didn’t appreciate colors except when I was playing the Sims.

Weirdly enough, I took an art course in college. I decided to become an Interior Designer, something that will have to deal with art for the rest of my life.

I was surprised that I found interest in art, especially sketching and watercolor. Even now, I use art to when I need to declutter my mind. I also taught myself calligraphy just because I loved watching Youtube tutorials about these kinds of stuff.

My friends also helped me. They taught me how to paint flowers, and introduced me to more artistic people.

Now, I see beauty everywhere. I appreciate the bright sunshine and the romance in the rain. I try to paint as much as possible, even in the most hectic time. I’ve also learned pen sketching mostly florals.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be as good as my other friends, but I am happy that I could distress with just a piece of paper, a water brush, and some paint. Maybe in the future, I will try other medium and styles, but for now, I am satisfied with what I can do.

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#6 Friends

Friendship is not a big thing… it’s a million little things.

I am grateful for my family, and my best friend. But I am also very thankful for all the friends I’ve made. 

I am not a very social person, and I avoid large crowds. That’s why I only have a few people in my inner circles that I trust and love. I feel so lucky that I met these few exceptional individuals who helped me overcome trials in my life.

My school friends…

They overcame the obstacle that most school acquaintances did not: distance and time apart. My closest art buddies at school are now the ones I turn to in times of need.

When I was feeling lost, they helped me find my way. Through hours of painting and gallons of coffee, they showed me love and compassion. They opened my eyes, and I was able to reawaken my interests in arts and literature.

And when I was worried and scared, they were my comfort. I know I’ll never be alone and they are all just one phone call away. In times of distress, all we need is a cup of joe, a few hours of chatting, and things will always get better.

My office friends…

I never thought I could make friends in such a competitive environment. Add to it the fact that we were all strangers with nothing in common. But I did, and I found these amazing people who made going to work a little less stressful every day.

Sure, we had some rough times. Our differences made it hard for us to bond. But eventually, we overcame the obstacles, and we developed shared interests. We had lots of adventures: food trips, sleepovers, out-of-town travels.

We bonded because of our likes and dislikes. And even though we’ve all gone our separate ways, we still find time for each other, to share the special moments.

True friends are like diamond: hard to find and precious.

My friends are the family I’ve chosen, and I am happy and grateful. They taught me a lot, and I think some parts of who I come from being with them. As cliche as it may sound, but they are my hard-sought diamonds among the rocks. And I am both honored and thankful to have them in my life.

Posted in 28Gratitudes

#5 Books

I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else. – Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)

I can totally relate with that quote. I learned to read when I was around four or five years old. I liked to join my sister’s daily reading exercises with our mom. My mom even said that I learned much faster than my sister did.

When I got sick after my fifth birthday, my mom usually read short stories to keep me calm at the hospital. The stories she told me allowed me to escape my fear of confinement and needles. Whenever they have to inject me with something, I closed my eyes and imagined that I was a mermaid swimming with the creatures from the book. Even after I got better, I still loved rereading the books my mom brought me.

More than two decades later, I still love reading books. I think I’ve read more than a thousand books in my lifetime, and I own almost two hundred books in my room. I love hanging out in the library and getting lost inside the pages of novels.

During fourth grade, after I transferred to a new school, I had no friends, and I took solace with fictional characters from books. I had various adventures in solving crimes with Nancy Drew, experienced love with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, and studied magic with Harry Potter.

Over the years, books have been my constant companion wherever I go. I discovered new stories and new authors. I realized I liked the mysterious genre more than comedic romances. I had varied tastes, but I loved each of the books and stories I’ve read.

Even during the worst time of my life, my books and their stories kept me sane. At night, when I couldn’t sleep, I read a story to distract my mind from all the bad thoughts. Because of the many books I’ve read, I now believe that things are always better in the end; if it’s not, then the story is not yet over.

I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t have my books to escape to during my down moments. Each story gave me hope that there is always tomorrow, and I’ll find my happy ending. They made me believe that the best is yet to come, and I just have to keep my faith.

Books have saved my life on more than one occasion. Each character is alive in my heart and my mind. Each world is a place I can go to whenever I need an escape from the stress of reality. In my opinion, books make the world a better place to live in.

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#4 Best Friend

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves…

And my best friend is an additional sister I’d be happy to grow old with.

She and I met during our elementary school days. We bonded because we share the same set of rules from our parents: our route is home-school-home, and we are not allowed to stay at school after class. We also shared many interests in life, except maybe books. I like reading thick novels, while she prefers to use them as pillows. XD

Despite being academic rivals at school, we enjoyed studying together and are each other’s number one supporter during quiz bees and competitions. She even encouraged me to join the cheer-dancers during high school.

A decade later, we are still best friends. And I am so thankful that she is in my life. She’s my confidante and secret-keeper. Although there are months that we don’t see each other, we converse as if there were no time gaps. I know she’ll be there when I need her because I’ll be the same.

Time changes people, even the two of us. But our love for each other will never change and will only strengthen as the years go by. I’d probably be her children’s godmother in the future! Hehehe.

She’s my soul-mate, my sister from another life and I feel so blessed to have her in this lifetime. I’d do anything for her, and I know she’ll do the same for me. This list won’t be complete without her, I won’t be complete without her.

To my best friend, thank you for accepting me with all my faults and weirdness. You are one of the best people in my life. Thank you! ❤

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#3 Family

Sticking with your family is what makes it a family. – Mitch Albom

Honestly, I don’t always get along with my family. I think I’ve had more fights with my sister than anybody else in the world. My parents were not always the greatest, and have their own flaws.

But despite all that, we love each other fiercely. And I am always thankful that they are my family. Individually, we are weird, and together we much weirder. LOL!

And it’s the weirdness that bonds us together. I may sometimes argue with my older sister, but I’ll always be the first one to fight if someone bullies her. My parents may not always be attentive, but they are there at the moments when I need them the most.

I’ve learned to speak my mind from my mother, and how to hold my ground from my father. I’ve learned compassion and caring through my sister’s touch. I learned practical skills from my grandparents. In short, they’ve shaped me into becoming the person I am today.

I know that without my family’s love and support, I literally wouldn’t be here right now, writing this blog and sharing my 28 things to be thankful for. When I was at my lowest and darkest point, they held me up and guided me without even knowing the cause of my problem. They didn’t ask questions, they just gave their full, and undying support.

I love my family, each and every quirky one of them. And I know that they love me all the same.

We are not perfect. We argue we fight, and sometimes we break each other’s hearts. But we learn to forgive each other, and love one another despite our many faults. We support each other through thick and thin, through sunshine and rain. No matter how imperfect we are, it is love that’ll connect us. And wherever I go, I know that I’ll never be alone; we will always be in each other’s heart.

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#2 Opportunities

If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade. – Tom Peters

I have been blessed with many opportunities through the course of my young life. And I’m thankful for each and every one of them.

My father’s company helped to put my sister and me through school. We were fortunate enough to study in good schools from elementary until college. They made it possible for us to open the door for more opportunities in our future.

After college, I got a job wherein I was the pioneer employee. I learned so many things, and I was given a chance to teach others as well. It was also through this job that I was able to go to Japan for the first time. I made new friends and created amazing memories.

I’m happy and thankful for the six years I spent with that company. I now have the luxury to travel and explore the world around me. I’ve learned that I am capable of living on my own. I’ve faced my fears, and I think I’ve come out a little stronger in the end.

Now, opportunity comes knocking once more. And I am more than happy to open all doors and windows. My dreams and goals are getting closer each day, and I can’t wait when I’ve finally reached them.

I am young, and life has so many chances and possibilities. I am determined to make the most of everything that opportunity offers me. I am and will always be grateful for each door and window that I open, and the blessings I receive each day. 🙂