It’s the second half of 2016, and it’s been a very eventful last couple of months. I spent time in LA with family (~2 months!), traveled to Indochina with strangers, traveled to Eastern Europe with old friends, made new friends from said travels, achieved my travel goal (30 countries!), explored romantically and went on dates, spoke infront of a large audience (500+!) several times, visited two beautiful places in the Philippines (twice!).
I’m progressing on my goals for 2016. Those who are close to me know that I keep an intense 8-page list of goals, resolutions, affirmations, manifestos, that allow me to design how I’d like the year to unravel. It’s served me well over the years, so much so that there were many “reach” goals I jotted down at the beginning of every year, and keeping myself in check was the main reason I’m able to reach them. I’m happy and very grateful to say I exceed myself every single year. I attribute it to the willingness to be bold, challenging myself to be driven, exercising grit, mustering courage, and seeking inspiration. The universe has been good to me, to say the least.
I will be turning the big 3-0 in a few months. Lately, I’ve been extra reflective about my year, especially the big decisions I have made in the last decade. I made two big moves (Chicago and Manila), mainly because I wanted to step into uncertainty and promise, but not knowing what would happen. Everyday for me is like uncovering a story page by page, nothing is preconceived, nor routine. New people and events present themselves to me in my daily life, and I encounter them with a fresh set of eyes as any traveler would when placed in a new city. It’s both my curiosity and transient knowledge of the culture and history of a place that makes it seem all seem new.
In my twenties, I received two academic degrees– bachelor’s and master’s. This is important because education has always been a crucial tenet in my family. In the former, I studied two subjects I was incredibly passionate about, which were literature and global studies. In the latter, I took a more practical degree to formalize my training in the career I started in my early twenties. Individually, these have increased my curiosity and knowledge, and when combined, gave me what I need to be where I am now, in terms of location and phase in my life.
I’ve learned countless lessons in this past decade, and wouldn’t give up anything that had happened. Everything happened for a reason, and I’m starting to see how my decade would’ve changed drastically even with a minor tweak. The events in their chronological order happened because they needed to happen, in that order. While there’s still that normal apprehension for what’s to come, there is absolutely nothing to regret.
So many things have changed in me. I’ve grown to be more mature, more disciplined, braver than ever. I still get nervous, I still have a lot to learn, I stumble often, but knowing how the challenges and opportunities of this past decade have sharpened by wits (and tongue!), supported my dreams, structured my thinking, made my movement more sophisticated, strengthened by faith, steeped me in my values, solidified my dreams, and softened my edges… there is not much more I could ask for.
There is still so much more to hope for, but I’m optimistic about life in the coming years. There are still many places to explore, people to love, friends to be discovered, a man to look for, a family to create, a career to grow, a craft to nurture.
It’s been a full decade, and given the full toolbox of skills, lessons and values I’ve received in my twenties, I’ve excited to see what’s in store as I turn 30.