The year isn’t close to ending yet. I’m sure that a lot more things will happen in the weeks to come, but I find myself eager to write my year-end review for 2023. Maybe it’s because of the fact that most of the blogs that I’ve written this year are more informational instead of reflective. After months of taking online courses and completing my capstone, I finally earned my SEO certification from Coursera. This meant my writing had to be more technical and strategic, and the content that I produced had to be things that people actually search for and find valuable. I had to apply the knowledge I acquired and see if it was working in the real world. So far, I’m still not sure.
2023 flew by so quickly. Maybe because at the start of the year, we were once again free to roam around outside without masks and meet up with our friends without many restrictions. Despite the release from quarantine, we as people didn’t exactly have it any easier. Inflation soared the prices of goods to an unbelievable level. A lot of people lost their jobs. People who kept their jobs are no longer earning enough money to survive in today’s grave economy. Some Philippine government officials are blatantly corrupt, taking the people’s hard-earned money and putting them into projects deemed confidential. Left and right, people are being misled by lies, misinformation, and injustice. People around the world are dying because of countries going to war with each other. And the Earth is dying. It seems like, at the rate that we are going, our years on this planet are numbered.
When you think of all of these things at once, they all just become a bit overwhelming for one individual to do anything about. Honestly, it all seems hopeless and there are days where I just accept the reality of all of our inevitable demise. At the same time, it serves as a reminder of how important NOW is—being present in the moment and making intentional decisions in preparation for the future.
How did my 2023 go?
I’ve started the 3rd season of The Big Opening Podcast with Christian Foremost with a new format this year. Instead of pre-planning specific questions, I wanted the conversation to be more casual and free-flowing. I wanted to interview my guests: bloggers, podcasters, influencers, and people from different walks of life about existential topics revolving around CAREER AND PASSION, LOVE AND LUST, and LIFE AND PURPOSE. Maybe it’s my time to share with you guys exactly what happened in my life around those 3 areas.
CAREER AND PASSION
JOB HUNTING GALORE
For the first 6 months of this year, I was desperately looking for a new job. Even if I loved my current company, my teammates, and the work that I did, I had to face the reality that I wasn’t earning enough. I was living independently with no support from my parents at all and buying a house for my family which was taking a huge chunk of my salary. Aside from that, I also had my credit card loans to take care of and cats to feed. We only got our salary once a month and barely 20 minutes after the pay came into our bank accounts, it would be gone. For months, I would be dipping into my savings with a sinking helplessness that at some point, I would have nothing left.
I tried applying for all of the jobs that I found online. I tried going for full-time, part-time, and even freelance jobs. For the entirety of those 6 months, I would attend so many job interviews to the point that I already memorized all of the answers to their interview questions. My resume was undoubtedly jam-packed and impressive, but I was always rejected. They all said the same thing—that I wasn’t a fit for the specific opening. It seemed that the variety of skills I had and the numerous tasks I juggled distracted from what the specific role required. Going through all of those interviews and rejections burned me out. I questioned my worth as a professional and wondered if any of my previous achievements meant anything. I was good at a lot of things. But since I was doing too many things, I wasn’t an expert in most of them. On top of this, my favorite people from the team were one by one leaving for other companies. I was left behind because I wasn’t good enough for a new opportunity.
I didn’t get hired…
I think that I needed to go through what I went through for things to happen as they did. I am still at my current company. I didn’t leave. I ended up getting a promotion which I WAS NOT expecting at all. Now, I’m fulfilling a subject matter expert role, focusing more on digital marketing instead of the billion other things that I was doing before. After all of that emotional and mental turmoil, things ended up okay. I have my leaders to thank for the trust they put in me. I felt valued, and needed, and that my contributions to the organization were apparent. Even if it’s not perfect, I’m still grateful to be where I am every day.
I STILL NEED MORE MONEY
The struggle with my finances still ensued even if I got an increase. I am no longer looking for a new job though. In hard times like this, one source of income is not enough if you want a comfortable life. So now, I’m focusing my efforts on generating income from my creative projects like writing content for my blog, creating short-form videos for tiktok, and releasing podcast episodes on Spotify. There’s potential to earn from the platforms I already have, but they’re just not so stable. I desperately wish that the effort I put into my work will lead to actual monetary value. It’s just frustrating when you finally get to doing things correctly, but the audience still does not respond as you expected.
I’m still far away from being filthy rich. Debt, I realize will always be part of being an adult. Maybe we’ll never truly be free of it. I just hope to make better choices with my money so I can enjoy more of it rather than not have any left for food. We really shouldn’t be living for money, but instead use it as a tool to survive. I’m switching up my goals from making big purchases with my money like a house or a car to generating income with every investment that I make. “Let’s be more strategic with our finances and less impulsive”.—let’s repeat this to ourselves over and over again until we actually do it. Haha.
LOVE AND LUST
If you ask my friends how my love life is this year, they won’t be able to come up with one answer. It seems that every statement that I make about love contradicts each other. I’m hot one moment and then cold the next. To be fair, love and lust weren’t my priority at all this year. My financial problems were graver than my loneliness and need for companionship. Some nights though I lay on my big bed, inside my studio apartment surrounded by everything I could ever need, and wish there was someone I could share my day with.
It’s me. Hi, I’m the problem. It’s me.
I’ve talked to and even dated a couple of guys this year, but nothing was ever serious. After each guy I met, it grew apparent that the problem was me. There were a couple of men who would have wanted to be in a relationship, but I didn’t let them get that far. I didn’t want to be in a relationship with someone I knew I wouldn’t have genuine feelings for. There was something that I was searching for that I just couldn’t get from any of them. I learned that more than the physical appearance and personality of the person, I yearned for something deeper.
What am I looking for exactly?
I’m a very introspective person whose thoughts dive lower than the darkest depths of the ocean. I want a person who would listen to me and understand what I’m trying to say. I don’t want to settle for the menial: “Good morning”, “Have you eaten?”, and “Take Care”. I want to be with someone who I can be myself with—with whom I can express myself naturally and without a second thought. It’s that genuine connection that flows naturally between two people when their eyes meet. You can feel somehow feel like “Huh, I’m actually a half-decent and loveable human being”, instead of feeling shameful from your thoughts screaming “You’re a worthless scum of society”…
Not everyone is the right person so it might take some time for me to find him. Or maybe I already have and we’re just slowly making our way toward each other. We’ll meet again at the right time. Our moment will come and it will be wonderful. I won’t die alone. For now, I’m grateful to all of my friends who support my decisions—may they be good or stupid. Even if we don’t see each other as much, I know that the time we do have in each other’s presence is precious. Looking forward to more bonding moments in the future!
LIFE AND PURPOSE
I’ve been not in 1—not 2, but 3 near-death experiences this year. Somehow, I’m still alive. I won’t share the 2 incidents that happened early this year. I’ll only talk about the 3rd one because that’s the only one my parents are aware of. I can say though that all 3 near-death experiences were because of my poor decisions, carelessness, and absent-mindedness. Being independent is not all fun and games since you have to be solely responsible for your safety and security. It’s scary to be on your own and be solely responsible for the consequences of your actions. I would like to say that I am far from making such reckless decisions anymore. I put more value into my own life now, especially since I have my feline children—Eeve and Togepi.
I picked my phone over my life because my phone is my life.
I got into a motorcycle accident Aug of this year. I was driving home from completing my SEO capstone project at Starbucks. It suddenly rained hard and I had to get home because it was late. I had to work early in the morning. I drove my motorcycle in the rain like I’ve done so many times before. I was on a highway with trucks speeding on my left. I felt a little nervous and drove faster on the slippery road.
It’s odd because moments before it happened, I had an inkling that I would get into an accident. I saw that there were two big metal plates on the road, but it was too late for me to avoid them since I was going too fast. I ended up going over them. My motorcycle jumped and I saw my phone jump out of the phone holder. My first instinct was to catch my phone.
It was the third time my phone jumped out of my motorcycle since I’d replaced the phone holder twice before. My deepest fear was for it to happen on a highway until it finally did. I tried to catch the phone but failed. My hands were not on the handlebars when the motorcycle landed back on the road. The impact of the front wheel and the ground pushed us right toward the wall of a descending flyover. I hit my head so hard that the visor of my helmet tore. I felt the right side of my brain bounce in my skull. My entire body was covered in mud and there were light scratches on my arm and leg.
I was able to get back up right away. The first thing I did was look for my phone. Yes, I value my phone more than my life because I haven’t finished paying for that thing! I lost my old phone during the 1st accident (Oops!). My phone was on the same side of the road a few meters from where I hit my head.
I stood there for a bit until a biker went down to check up on me. I straightened my motorbike. My left mirror fell off but my motorcycle still seemed to be working. The longer the guy stayed with me, the more eerie his vibe seemed. My entire life was on my motorcycle (my MacBook, my wallet, my keys, and my IDs). I didn’t know how long I was going to be conscious and sane. I hit my head so hard that I feared that there would be some damage and the symptoms would be showing up soon. I needed to get to safety first. I got onto my motorbike and took myself to the emergency room of the hospital in my area. I called my friend and she called my sister. In less than an hour, my sister and brother came in.
Can’t believe I’m still alive!
Thankfully, I was all clear. I had an X-ray and CT scan and there were no findings. I was even admitted for one day for observation, but there weren’t any symptoms of a concussion or anything. I was lucky. I shouldn’t have been alive, but somehow I am. I’m just thankful that my HMO was able to cover my bill since I was flat-broke. My brother and sister were there to help me out with the papers and police reports since I was admitted to the hospital. It made me realize that even if I’m independent and can left to my own devices, I need people in my life to help, especially during emergencies. You cannot survive this world alone. We’re here on this earth to help each other out.
Now, I try to appreciate the little things and savor every moment. I am trying to fix my energy because I believe that everything is energy. I want to surround my life with good energy. If I exude good energy, good things will be attracted to my life. There’s so much more of the world to see and I’m still yet to experience love so my time here on earth is still not done.
Pick the struggle you want to suffer.
There are still good days and bad days. There are days that I feel so good about being alive and not the next. Being human means you’ll always live with the struggle. To be alive in itself is torture. We are in constant discomfort. We go hungry if we don’t eat. Thirsty if we don’t drink. Dead if we don’t breathe. Every time we go outside, we have to pay money to consume goods exploited from nature. We are harming the Earth and exhausting our finite resources to sustain our lifestyle and advance the human race. Our brain is an endless loop of chaotic thoughts. The more we know, the more questions we don’t have answers to. Most of the time, I feel like being on Earth is suffering in Hell already. The only moment that you’ll find peace is when you die and go to Heaven.
Despite this, we choose to struggle. Every day is a battle we have to fight for. What I learned this year is to choose your battles and have a strategy to win. In the moments that I am filled with helplessness because of the enormity of my emotions, I move. I work out and clear my head. Maybe aside from therapy, I should be doing more physical exercises to maintain a healthier mental state.
You can’t solve every problem right now, but you don’t have to. Slay one beast and when you’re done, kill the next one. You will spend your entire life in a war with everything that life unleashes in your direction. Know that you’re strong enough and capable since you’ve already come so far. You’re here right now, standing. It’s just important to know who or what you’re fighting for. Is it your family, your dreams, your loved ones, or the earth? Then, carry on.
To be honest, I don’t believe that you only live once. Despite being a Christian, I know in me that there will be a next life. I believe that I’ve lived a version of this life before. Everything is possible. There are infinite possibilities in this world, but I choose to live in this moment and see how things will go from here.
This is your life. This is your choice. This is your struggle. Pick what you want to do and you will do it.