I turned 23 last August 2, 2015 and boy it was quite a year. A lot of unforeseen events happened, good and bad… this blog has been filled with ton of drafts that I wanted to publish but didn’t have enough time to sit down and focus on it. Hence, it sank down at my priority list. Thus, random writings on my office notebook, notes in my iPhone, tissue papers and other scratch papers.
I still remember when I was 10 years old, all I wanted was to turn 18. I was in my bed with a calculator trying to compute how many years until I become an official adult and what year it will be. I’ll be turning 24 in a few hours and I realized I still got a whole lot of things to figure out and do in this life time.
I’ve lost and met new people. I’ve experienced new things. My world became bigger and the things I thought I wouldn’t be able to live without before just became a part of my memory. I learned to treat myself better. I learned to stick with the people that not only matters to me but also makes me feel that I matter. New problems came but this time I learned to manage it a little better than before.
Here’s a glimpse on how the last 12 months of my life as a 23 year old went by…
I was surprised in bed with candles, flowers and smiling faces (as if the world really rejoiced that I am part of this world hahaha!). I went on several stay-cations and celebrated on the rest of the other days of August with my friends and family.
Several food trips and wanders happened as well. I went on furniture and household items hunting with Tessa and Kotswe. It was hella tiring but I enjoyed the experience. They’ve been together for so long and have always got my back whenever I am lost or in trouble (without me actually knowing it). They are one of the very few people that I treasure in my life. Those people that are literally one call away.
By August 15, one of my friends for 9 years has finally tied the knot. I was lucky enough to host their wedding reception. It wasn’t the first wedding that I ever hosted but it was one for the books. I saw one of my childhood friends present his vows to the love of his life in front of his family, friends and the pastor. It was sincere and somewhat magical for me. It made me think, a few years ago, we were just a bunch of teenagers drinking and trying to get by each day at school and our random love interests and life in general. We were just joking about settling down, meeting “The One” or having kids. Time really does fly by so fast.
I was already going through a rough patch with my partner even earlier of 2015 and these months were one of the worst. As I was going through these rough times I never honestly thought I would be able to rise above the situation. Looking back at it, I was really thankful because it made me stronger and made me weed out the unstable people in my life. Those that just stayed for the good times and laid low even when I just needed a shoulder to cry on. It was a gruesome process but I am very glad I got over it.
In regards with my career, our country head decided to separate ways and start his own company. I was invited into the firm. There was a non-compete clause in our contract so I had three months to enjoy for myself. I decided to enter a part time job as a content creator. It didn’t pay much as my regular job but I was really happy there. So happy, It made me think to actually just quit my main job but reality hit me and I knew I had to save up. Even though I left that part time job, I will never forget the lessons that I got there. That job and company will always have a special place in my heart.
In between the days and the months were bonding moments with my nephew Simon Clyde, beautiful sunsets, night out with friends and trying to salvage a near to end relationship. So Cebu happened in October, we did a lot of adventures, swam with whale sharks, ate a lot of good food and wine.But in reality It was a make-or-break-it trip. Finally, the series of events by the time we landed to Manila decided to break the weary relationship. I was devastated and I was depressed but the turn of events happened so quickly, I realized there were a lot of people who loves me and doesn’t deserve seeing me down and miserable just because of a dysfunctional relationship that has already ended.
And even though October was one of the month’s that I struggled the most emotionally, the universe slapped the reality back at me when my Lolo (grandfather) had successfully gotten back his eyesight. It was monumental for us. I remember jumping out of the bed to go to the sala to ask him if he still recognizes me after 3 years of not being able to see. This is one of the few moments in my life that I will never forget because my Lolo’s smile was genuine as it can ever be.
An important day: It was 2011 when the Manila Kingpin: Asiong Salonga movie came out. It was one of the first black and white films in MMFF portraying the 1940-50's life in Manila. The only person that I was blabbing the entire movie was my Lolo Terong. I kept saying it was the one movie he will surely love (since the late FPJ) and I will gladly take him out on a date just to show it. I kept calling and texting my mother about my plans. It was in the afternoon, just around siesta time when I got back home to Pasig. I eagerly shared my story to our helper as well and asked where Lolo is… that was when my heart broke into a million pieces. I was just then informed that he can no longer see because of his severe cataract in both eyes and because of his age/health it was too risky for an operation. It was the first time ever I got dumbfounded. I was mad and kept asking our helper why my mother didn't even bother telling me while literally walking back out of the house because of disbelief and anger. I got my phone and texted my mother one long message of how hurt I was with the situation. I took a cab home to my apartment, crying my heart out. I hated myself for always going MIA. For the lost chances and moments. Today, with the technology that we have, enough preparation and support from my uncle, Lolo Terong came home and is NOW ABLE TO SEE AGAIN. I am still crying while writing this. Happy tears! We sat around him asking if he still recognizes us etc. It's still going to take months before he's able to watch and get used to seeing again. At age 92 and with a smile like that, I will make sure he enjoys the days ahead. I love you #Lolo! Soon ipapanood ko din yun pelikula sayo! 💖 #Love
November came and I was lucky enough to travel back to El Nido, Palawan and take a break from the city. It was of course a bitter sweet vacation for me but I realized that being far away actually helped me ponder on things. I don’t actually remember how it hurt, but I know I never want to feel it again and Palawan, oh Palawan… my favorite island in the Philippines has helped a lot.
A few months after that, by some amazing twist of faith Europe happened. It honestly felt like a dream. After 5 years I was finally able to see Sapphire and even got a chance to witness her sister’s wedding. I wasn’t that well prepared for it financially (I thought it was never gonna happen so I basically spent all my budget for that trip to nonsense stuff) good thing her family was also there to back me up with the expenses and when I visited Germany, Tita Jing was there to accommodate me. I realized the world was so much bigger. I got exposed to different cultures, I got to experience my first winter, traveled alone from Germany to Denmark, got drunk, met new people, ate different delicacies and a lot of different things. I will forever be grateful to Sapphire, her family and my Tita for letting me experience this adventure and have promised to myself that I will at some point return the kindness that they have given to me.
That Eurotrip was definitely more than what I asked God for all those months that I cried hoping to be better and move on. I’m lucky with all these good people around me. One of the best part was when my best friend decided to do her internship here in the Philippines. She opened doors for me, made me feel more confident about myself. I knew her more and experienced living with her on a daily basis while still dealing with the real world. There were a lot of ups and downs and weekend house parties hahaha.
I was already doing the things that I missed. The gigs, hosting gigs, art fairs, the music, the sunset and it was amazing.
And then Gio and Pau unexpectedly came in our lives.
Gio and Sapphire were High School classmates who were only acquaintances before and began knowing each other again through messenger until they met in person as a result of my evil plans. They clicked and are now happily dating each other. I’ve got a new career ahead of me, I tell you guys. 😀 The four of us bonded all throughout the time Wifey (Sapphire) was here in the Philippines. We’ve had epic nights as we count down Wifey’s return to Denmark by May.
Pau was among the pool of people that Sapphire swiped right so as to forcibly date and meet other people. I’ve met several before her, some I wish I never knew while some were so and so. Don’t get me wrong I am not perfect but I think those dates felt mutual about me, atleast that’s what helps me sleep at night hahaha. So anyway alas after the night that we met, it just happened… I knew that I no longer need to meet other people to date (at least for the time being hahahaha) She wasn’t what I had hope for nor had expected and frankly, I am loving it.
We met each other’s friends, and boy she had tons of friends plus her college basketball team ❤ I also met her pet, Fluffy Lilac and even got to date her one sunny Sunday all by myself. We have our issues but so far, we’re doing good. I ain’t complaining one bit with this one.
From February to May, our months were filled with parties and good times. It’s hard to admit but we were living for the weekends! Hahaha
As the days grew closer to May, I can’t help but slowly feel the reality that in a few more days Wifey will be leaving soon again without knowing when she’ll be able to get back. It was hard. We were together since December of 2015 until May 2016 for almost everyday of those months. On Thursday, May 19 she left and it was really hard not just for me but most especially Gio. The months had passed and you get used to the distance but you wish soon enough it would end.
June to July was mostly filled with days among getting together with Pau’s friends or mine or just us two on our not so typical dates. I accepted several hosting gigs that I got invited in and she was there to show support even though most of the time she was already very sleepy by the end of the show. 😀
I remember asking myself last year (2015) of how unexpected 2016 was gonna be for me. Turns out, I shouldn’t have asked for it because I will never be ready. On June 17, 2016 on a Friday night, Lolo finally decided to be at peace with his creator. I vividly remember as I was standing in the cinema entrance with Pau. I kept holding my tears back but I guess I wasn’t hiding it well enough as she kept asking me if I was okay or if I wanted to stop what we were doing. I had no plans of going to the funeral nor the wake, I can’t. It was hard facing other people nor staying in the memorial chapel because I KNOW HE WASN’T THERE ANYMORE. After 2 days, I decided to finally show up but I wasn’t emotional. I was feeling nothing until we sent Lolo to his resting place. Three days after that, I broke down and cried my heart out alone. I cried for hours. I am such a loser but then again I wasn’t ready to share to anyone what I was feeling. I will forever miss Lolo and all the life lessons he has shared with me.
And then the weeks pass as I met more and more of Pau’s friends and bonded with them as she did with mine. All had unique personalities and stories to tell. I’ve never mentioned it to them but as the months have passed they’ve grown a special place in my heart. I am very transparent with my relationship with other people. You won’t have a hard time with distinguishing the fine line of whether I like you or not. I don’t know what they feel about me or their feedback about me ‘flirting’ with Pau but for me, I am admitting it’ll give me a heartbreak if I lose them in the near future if I continuously bond with them now but let’s see hahaha what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Ugh. #Drama
By the end of July, good news started rolling in, WIFEY WAS GONNA BE BACK HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES!!!
Pau also told me that her friend Papus, who works in Qatar was also gonna be back. Pau and I were August celebrants plus with our two friends coming home I couldn’t have asked for more. ❤
We celebrated day in and out. We barely slept but it was all worth it for the 21 days that they were only here in the Philippines. Soon enough it was time to say good bye to them. Pau and I both met them for the last time at the airport. My birthday had passed 19 days before they left but I am including it here because It felt like a month-long celebration because of all these people around me. I am really thankful for all the positivity and love that I am getting. ❤
The 12 months of me being a 23 year old was quite an experience. It’s bitter sweet. Now, it’s a new chapter that I am about to face, new problems, new people, new environment, new dreams to soar, new goals to achieve. The best thing I learned being a 23-year old was not holding on to things nor people. Letting it go when the situation calls for it. I learned to make everyday, every moment worthwhile, to be patient with the situation and to enjoy the process. I learned to accept the situations out of my control. And most important of all, I knew what I deserve so if everything doesn’t work out, with me giving my best shot. I won’t hold on. Because I know someone better will surely come along the way.
This is Mariel, now 24.
Originally drafted morning of August 1, 2016