Everyone is into making lists with the start of a new year upon us. So here is mine. I had written this down in one sitting in as spontaneous a way as possible in the order it occurred to me.
I like the way the list shaped up because it started with me, and ended with who should be the most important one to all of us. Read on..
1. I will be kinder to myself. Charity, as they say, begins at home — but we always tend to forget ourselves. After two years of self-flaggelation and of thinking the worst of me, I think I’m ready to move forward knowing I have learned my lesson from my failings and am a better person for it.
Kindness begets kindness and I hope to be able to give more of that after I give myself the same.
2. I will get rid of 5 items everyday to unclutter my life. I tend to hold on to things longer than I should — and although I don’t consider myself to have had a deprived childhood, I am always thinking something worth throwing can become something or be used for another purpose later. I’m always afraid that I might regret throwing something away. End result: Clutter galore. I have so far succeeded in starting one step at a time — trying to find things to put away or throw away when I sit at my desk at the start of a work day, and at home as I end it.
3. I will be more organized and be less of a pack rat. Although related to the previous one, being organized is different from uncluttering. I’d like to be more efficient at work by going back to practices I had gotten used to before and by trying to keep things in order.
First is the need for just one calendar to keep all relevant dates (like the school calendar, birthdays, etc.). In the past, I had kept separate calendars and ended up getting confused and not being able to see everything together. Thanks to the iPhone I now carry, I’m hoping to keep that all under control. Same with notes and addresses. I also want to create a hardcopy address book — another project in the making.
I want to see my journals all lined up and ready to pick up when I have an entry to write. I want to have my art supplies — particularly the ones I use for jewelry making — more organized. Putting them in individual organizers by plating (gold plated, antique brass, sterling silver, polymer clay) is a start, but because of the size of my stash needs a better approach.
4. I will try and learn to let go and forgive. I am human, but I tell myself I was created to be better than just being one. The past two years have been challenging and painful, and while I keep hearing that letting go and forgiveness will help me move forward, it hasn’t been quite easy.
Forgiveness is another journey that I must make, and while I can see my destination, I am trying to figure out how best to get there.
I want to be able to let go so that if something ends up hurting me, I wouldn’t be hurt as badly because I am holding on to that loosely. I don’t want to hold it too loosely to let it go, though — just not too tightly that it would end up feeling like losing such a big part of me if it ends up not being meant for me.
5. I will save more. My best motivation is to think more of myself. With what I make, I should be comfortable and I’m getting there. I want to be financially independent and to get back into sound economic shape. I want to be ready for any eventuality and to be able to fend for myself money-wise.
6. I will reopen and pursue my entrepreneurship with passion again. My life seems to have been in suspended animation for the last two years, leaving one of my personal accomplishments on the sidelines, withering away. This year I promise to work more earnestly on my crafting and in selling my work through my Etsy Shop.
For starters, I’m reopening the store this week, even with just ten pieces for sale. I am reworking my packaging and marketing, and will be gearing towards improving my craft by taking classes along the way. I will try to do at least two fairs to be able to sell to the public directly, but not after feeling more confident about my work.
I also need to figure out if jewelry making is really the niche I want to attack or should it be papercrafting? Should it be something else like repurposing or upcycling? My heart and resources are really into jewelry making but I need to focus and begin again, and I hope that I can get this off the ground in the first 100 days of 2014.
7. I will try to read more. I am reading more right now and have committed to read the entire Bible in one year. I also hope to finish the books that are just floating around my Kindle app from Steve Jobs’ biography to the latest from Grisham. I am saddened that Tom Clancy is now on the other side, but I managed to enjoy Robert Ludlum despite his being gone, too.
I want to diversify my reading list and hopefully get at least 14 books down for 2014. (Wish me luck!)
8. I will do more personal art. My projects had lain dormant and unattended and are now being resurrected with a newfound zest to express myself. I have words, phrases, sayings I want to see executed in mini-canvasses. I was inspired by the works for sale in the previous iteration of the Shops in Bryant Park this Christmas 2013.
One of my more ambitious ideas is to be able to produce a set of postcards I can sell to benefit my chosen causes. I am seriously considering studying producing limited edition postcard sets from amateur photographers, particularly young Filipino camera enthusiasts whose talent need showcasing.
Another is to go to more art classes and maybe be able to draw a face by end of the year. (My hand tends to go the way Picasso’s went — and I’m no Picasso.)
9. I will be more thankful and celebrate life again. I am not quite there yet, but throughout the time I was being harshest on myself, I found hope in counting my blessings. I learned to appreciate what I had in the face of what I thought I didn’t. I guess it is what has helped me to be strong in the face of what seems like a huge chunk of my life being taken away from me, because I still felt there was something I had been given.
I have mourned, I have cried, I have wallowed in sadness and heartbreak. I have to force myself out into the sunlight because I cannot let life’s disappointments get the better of me. I will try and write my Five Things to be Happy about/Thankful for list more often as a constant reminder of my blessings.
I will celebrate life myself without waiting for others to celebrate it with me. It is an acknowledgment of the blessings I have received, and the blessings others have given me.
10. I will strive to stay healthy and become more fit. I managed to lose 20 lbs in the latter half of 2013 and I hope to lose even more in the next 6 months and get healthy. As I grow older, I’ve realized that taking care of my body is becoming more of a necessity rather than an option. Otherwise, my body parts might just start conking out on me.
11. I will share more of my time and resources. I really prefer to give than raise funds but when the need is great, I don’t hesitate to put my name out there and ask for donations. I have come to discover that although my own financial resources may be limited, I have a way of asking people that makes them want to give. I did that for a friend who was trying to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, being a native from Tacloban herself, and with one appeal and less than 38 hours, we raised $500, my measly donation included.
Coming from a third world country that is always in need even during its best days, I have realized my blessings are abundant enough for me to give more — not necessarily moneywise, but there are other ways to make a difference, and I’d like to make a difference in 2014.
12. I will put my “teacher” hat on. When I was in law school back in another lifetime, my classmates liked getting what we called case digests because they were good summations of otherwise long and complicated cases. When a plot was too complicated, I’d take to the board and explain in simpler terms. I also had a gift for giving textbook like definitions I pulled from context and stock knowledge. It wasn’t that I was a genius, I just had this knack for explaining things without thinking you knew what I already knew.
My class is all but one person whose little brain I am trying to mold like my own, knowing he has the smarts and the aptitude and even more than I possessed. My first debacle is learning American History in earnest, and the fact that it’s his favorite subject doubles the pressure on his poor mom. (Me!) I also want to teach him cursive writing which is not offered here. I have started already, trying to prepare my little guy for the Statewide tests happening in April. I know I can do this, and I WILL do this.
13. I will enjoy New York City and do something “New York” at least once a month. I have been a New Yorker for almost 14 years now, and I’ve been thankful that whole time to live in one of the greatest cities in the world. It is not lost upon me that both for Americans and the world outside our borders, New York City is THE destination to see.
Unfortunately, living here has made it ordinary despite its being extraordinary. I wish I could do more to explore this wonderful city and I intend to do that from hereon. Visit new places — like trying new things and new restaurants, even on my own. Enjoying a play or two.. watching a concert once a year.. and maybe one day making it to the Opera or to Lincoln Center to watch the world renowned New York City Ballet.
14. I will be more fervent in my pursuit of a closer relationship with God. It’s not just because I believe that we are never truly down and out — that when things seem to be at its worst, we receive or are blessed with something good or even greater. Through the worst of times, I am forever grateful that I have never felt closer to God, and I have never felt his presence stronger in my life. When I asked a question, he answered clear as day.
My journey in this respect is far from easy. And I take that as His way of showing me that this is the most important relationship in my life because it is what takes the greatest amount of work. While it may be the hardest to be good at, it is the most rewarding in the end.
Countless times, I found myself crying and lost in anger and pain — and the only thing that gave me comfort was the thought that He was holding my hand through it all. I want to keep working at being a better person, and a more deserving daughter to Him. It is such a struggle given all that I am going through, but I know I will make it because He is there with me.