It is already March 2022

It has been more than a year and 1 month since I last posted. Where was I the whole time?

This blog will be turning 10 this June, when I have first written this entry back in June 1, 2012. But I also have a still active Tumblr page last time I’ve checked, which I first opened when I turned 25. I am turning 37 this year, and I am still here, albeit writing sparingly.

Proof of Life 2022

Unfiltered proof of life 2022: if there is one thing I have learned in the last few months, it was moisturizing. I knew at one point all those all-nighters will catch up on me. >o<

So where do we start?

Twenty twenty-one had been a pivotal year for me. I had never been more adult than the year that was. Remember my house in the uplands which I last visited in January 2013? It took about 6 years until the 4th quarter of 2019 for me to visit again the property, which had expectedly seen a state of neglect.

I was determined to start being serious with it again by that time, but the pandemic hit. Everything was put to a stop. It took until March 2021 for me to get the ball rolling with the renovation of the property because of Ulysses from November 2020.

That whole renovation process and the successful full payment of my Pag-Ibig loan (19 years and 10 months ahead of the maturity date) deserve their own post, so I’ll just share this before and after:

Our townhouse - before and after

Our townhouse: before from March 2021, and after from August 21, 2021. Notice I even had to spraypaint my name by the door because there were several people reportedly claiming the property when I neglected it. Good thing there were no trespassers.

Coincidentally, while my family had sort of moved in to the place in early September 2021, it was formally until September 25, 2021 that we have moved everything from our old house to this new place — a day before the 12th year of Ondoy.

Exactly 12 years after ‘The Great Flood’. This was the Sunday right after the family moved in.

A big ‘thank you’ to Mama who literally oversaw the whole renovation process since June 2021 until end of August 2021 to make the place to our collective liking (I hope).

She had all of her plants in tow (and more), considering that these plants supplies are aplenty in our new area in the uplands. Best of all? No floods to worry of. If those elevation maps are accurate, the new house is about 210 meters above sea level.

Miso taking a considerable liking of the veranda

Our now 9 year old cat, Miso, taking a considerable liking of the veranda

I would not say, though, that it was not without some major hiccups.

While the end of 2013 was the most physically trying year for me, 2021 put the most strain to my mental health. I cannot exactly pinpoint what it was.

Was it the pressure to finish the renovation of the house and remove the anxiety of every rainy season?

Was it the prolonged isolation that brought me to the breaking point?

Was it the anxiety of COVID-19 eventually catching up on my loved ones? (And it did eventually catch up on us towards the end of January 2022 during the Omicron wave. Fortunately, almost all of us were vaccinate, except for Brie who managed to hold up well.)

I had the most number of misunderstandings in 2021 alone. I also developed the bad (and aggressive habit) of revenge bedtime procrastination, which apparently was a thing, because I was compensating from the stress of the weekday. (Writing this line as of 1:39 AM, by the way).

There were even days I would be crying out of the blue because I was so mentally exhausted. And, although I am not fat, I had a re-lapse of my eating disorders. It was the lack of exercise and weird eating habits that has gotten into me. I am still on a low carb diet, but the inability to get active as I imagine myself to be that drove me up the wall.

It even reached the point where I had to suddenly call in a mental health break for my own sanity in the end of August, going off the radar for almost 2 weeks.

Then came end of October 2021, I handed in my resignation. My last day was technically Christmas 2022, but already took my terminal leaves from earlier that month.

One of those moments I have to visit the field

One of those moments I had to visit the field, either talking/presenting to authorities or people from the communities

I love this raw photo I took of my colleagues out there in the field in the middle of the pandemic

I love this raw photo I took of my colleagues out there in the field. Come to think of it, leading the whole operations of a donor-funded project in the middle of the pandemic was no joke at all. Yet, I still beat myself up for what I could have done better…

Imagine that. Looking back, I am not sure if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy when I wrote in January 2021 about things moving too fast. So I hit the break. Hard. I had the best role in the best team in the best organization I could hope for since I was only hoping to break into the development sector about 7 years ago.

With my first graduate degree on hand, I had imagined I would be working in this sector for more years than this. I had spent the first 7 years of my career working in the corporate world (which allowed me to eventually take my graduate degree), then the next 7 working in the non-profit.

Last public presentation before the adieu

The Swan Song: last international public presentation before the adieu

With some friends at work bidding me goodbye on my last day

With some friends at work bidding me goodbye on my last day

With the OG team members out for brunch on rest day

With the OG team members out for brunch on a rest day, where it was already feasible to meet face-to-face after completing our primary series vaccine shots

Yet, I stopped. Have I had enough? For now, yes. But I am not sure until when.

I even had an offer from one organization we worked with (who knew I was on an ‘indefinite leave’) if I was interested to take on the country representative. But I knew the answer was ‘no’.

No. I could only hope about that role (or any role for that matter in the sector) when I first finished my graduate degree about 10 years ago. Yet I keep on saying ‘No’. What is wrong with me?

I knew it would not be fair to be accepting anything right now because I am still mentally broken. I am still unable to give anything to anyone for who knows until when. Perhaps on a voluntary basis in the future, but not a full time employment for now.

Here’s the thing, though, and I am aware that it may come off from a place of privilege: I am consciously trying to unlearn this ‘your education will lead you to a specific job‘ model. What if we learn something because learning is fun and it opens our world to a lot of possibilities and understanding out there? Such a nerdy mindset.

And that unlearning has exactly caught me in a bind. I am in the penultimate course(s) of my second graduate degree. I used to think that I am getting this second graduate degree because I needed it for work. Granted that I already have been in the sector and some awesome work even before I trekked another graduate degree. However, I am a bit confused what to do with it now?

On the other hand, I still frankly enjoy the process of learning. And there, I just referenced the answer from two paragraphs before. It is fun and opens our world.

I almost dropped the course last week because I could not answer my own question. I was looking for a topic that will relate to what I may be doing in the future if ever I decide to formally work again? So I dropped the act and settled instead for what I thought was fun and of interest for me for the longest time. It should be the process of learning that I should be after of, right?

I am not the one to stop in the middle of something I should be seeing through (especially my studies). I still vividly recall this quote written somewhere in my homeroom around the early 90s:

“When a task is once begun, never leave it until it’s done.

Be the labor great or small, do it well or not all.”

The irony of the great procrastinator remembering this quote from who knows who.

The irony of this self-proclaimed perfectionist who kept putting off writing off entries here — albeit with a thousand photos on hand to accompany these snippet — because he just recalls the “do it well or not at all” part.

Perhaps this last part is the exact reason I am a procrastinator.

At the end of this stream of consciousness (it is 2:29 AM now by this line),  what keeps my busy now? I still refuse to work full time, yet very much busy with some creative stuff.

Yes, this has been keeping me occupied lately because I don’t have the pressure to be working for and reporting to anyone. I may have to already change my government-related status to a self-employed freelancer so that I could have the proper documentation for our planned travels this year.

Speaking of travel, Mon and I are planning to travel to South Korea in July, and Singapore in October this year. While we are not yet sure how South Korea would fare in terms of visas, we may likely re-schedule it depending on the government. But Singapore may likely be a go this October.

We (i.e. hopefully with my parents) are also planning to visit Europe as early as spring of 2023, so we can meet Ikle in Paris too. I haven’t seen her for about 5 years already. I don’t think she is going back to the Philippines, so we might as well come to her.

(End time: 2:45 AM. Time to hit the sack.)

bryologue

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