A Prologue: 2013

Usually, I don’t make resolutions for the New Year because I find it all to be a bit too empty. I want to look at this upcoming year’s New Year’s resolutions as something greater though; something akin to life goals for the first day and the next days of the rest of my life.

I used to always consider New Year’s resolutions as a prologue – after all, it’s a new year, a fresh start, and a promise for a better self in the coming 365 days. And I would typically agree. This year however, my views have changed. I realized that to see a New Year’s resolution as a prologue gives me the power to leave a story unfinished and start a new one; one with a hopeful bigger and better ending.

In 2013 alone, I have already left two stories unfinished – one that was the story of Emile, and the other the story of Mel. I managed to complete two to three chapters between the two works before shifting priorities and unfocused days lead me to abandon both projects. I am disappointed in how I failed to finish their stories, but that failure has made me more determined to continue and finish my personal story in vivid details.

That is why I would like to consider my New Year’s resolutions as an epilogue. I want to end 2013 – close a part of my life – and begin a new story with the lessons I have learned from this part of my life to help live a better story.

In the coming years, I will aspire for the following:

  1. Be open to be alone. Sometimes, I need to distant myself from the present to give me the perspective to see how small everything truly is – my problems and my life – to the moment.
  2. Yet, be also open to be social. I am not solitary creatures and must learn to balance my appreciation of my solitude with an equal, if not even greater, appreciation of socializing with others.
  3. Relish the choices. Although difficult and fraught with uncertainties out of my control, it is through dilemmas in life when and where I can truly discover my aspirations, values, and self.
  4. Embrace the unknown. In the most unfamiliar situations where I start with a blank canvas, I will learn the most – with each new experience, I add a new color to my collection.
  5. Read more. I must make the time to get reacquainted with literary classics and introduced to new literary geniuses because I can best learn how to vastly open my perspectives in life by standing tall on their heavy shoulders.
  6. Write more. Share my experiences with everyone and to no one – most importantly, to myself – because I will find overlooked knowledge and veiled beauty in my experiences through personal literature.
  7. Learn languages. There is great power in the ability to speak, read, write, and think – imagine how much more power I can unlock by learning to achieve these things in another language.
  8. Cherish the small accomplishments as much as the large ones. My life will be judged by the few grand victories, yet my journey in achieving those victories will be defined by the small ones that have shaped my ambitions and morality.
  9. Keep in touch. Family and friends are precious – the laughter I shared and even the moments in anger have drawn us closer to each other and learn from each other; and I want to keep growing together.
  10. Remain naive. Even with all my experiences, I will always have so much more to learn from – I must embrace that knowledge and learn from my naivety to live a more fulfilling and beautiful life.

But before I focus on the following year, I do want to highlight the year before it.

I struggled tremendously throughout the latter part of this year; enough so for my friends to call me out on my state of languid depression. The support of my friends and family throughout this phase of my life helped me see that only I can keep myself down. So I fought against my negative emotions and focus on the positives instead; besides, my life has been filled with so much more good than bad, and even the less worthy moments have turned to valuable ones, but only when I chose to overcome the former.

Needless to say, I have been disappointed this year when I compare my achievements to others. Then I realize that I shouldn’t compare my success with others, but rather judge the person I am in the moment to the person I want to become. Yet even in this regard, I have felt dissatisfied. I will use this unhappiness of what I am now as motivation to move forward to achieve greater personal growth. Moreover, I see that not all is depraved of success. When I reflect on my achievements, I do see that I have already matured tremendously – and I should be thankful for the perspective that there is still much room for growth.

But true to my previous statement, this year has been overwhelmingly more positive like the years before it.

In 2013, I appeased my wanderlust. I traversed through foreign streets in Vietnam and experienced the fear of near drowning in the Indian Ocean. I also discovered a piece of me while in the company of strangers as dinner dates in a darkened small food court in the outskirts of Davao, Philippines. But most importantly, I explored the familiar provincial streets of San Andres, Catanduanes, Philippines, and uncovered long-forgotten childhood treasures and hiding spots.

I spent part of the year alone. Although solitary, I was anything but lonesome; rather, I met some of the best people in my times of solitude. In a foreign country, I have embraced friendships and the development of non-blood familial ties. In cab rides, I have learned ancient folklores and local languages. And in seedy bars, I have learned life lessons.

I have encountered many choices. Sometimes, the choices were simple and straightforward, but most times, they were damn difficult. I dreaded the challenging choices, but slowly learned to relish the opportunities to make them. I then started to see them as platforms to be introspective and navigate life to the direction that is more aligned with my continually evolving personal ambitions and morality.

Lastly, to love. It needs not to be to love another person, but simply to love something larger than you – a location, an ideal, a destiny. It is when we love something purely do we strive to better ourselves to reach our goals. For me, I have re-learned to love life – to smile and laugh, and to see the beauty in everything.

With all things having been said, I now bid farewell to 2013, and hearty greeting to 2014 and the rest of my life. I look for it to be also abundant of great travels, strangers, and lessons. Happy New Year and may the new years indeed be prosperous!

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