As I get older

I’ve never had any issues with age. Even though it’s still months away, I tell people I’m 50. I guess it’s because I know time has been kind to me and I get a kick out of seeing people with a hint of surprise in their eyes when they hear the five-oh.  (Okay, I’m being vain.)  But last week saw me hopping from one doctor’s office to another, catching up with my annual check ups and still scheduling more appointments to make sure all the parts continue to work properly.

What I had thought would be a short quick hello to my baby guy (ob-gyne) turned out to be the usual long wait and battery of tests.  I was royally delayed getting back to work, and I missed my little guy’s call.  When I called back to tell him I had been at the doctor’s, I sensed some panic in his voice when he asked me why.. it was a little difficult doing the cliff notes version of “Mommy is approaching menopause and needs to make sure all her parts are still working in synch,” so I gave him an oversimplified excuse of having to go like he goes to see his pedia every year.

I almost made the joke that Mommy’s getting old and not all her parts are working as well as they used to, but the hint of worry in his voice made me hold back.  I don’t think he would have caught the humor in it.  Sometimes, we grownups can be rather sick with our jokes, and it hits the younger ones a different way.  More so the ones who think we will live forever, because they depend on us for nurturing and can’t yet live without us.  I remember when I was his age, I never even thought of my parents passing on to the other side.

Which brings to mind a story that a friend who recently turned 50 shared with me. The family was at a restaurant for his birthday dinner, and when the cake was taken out for him to blow, his 10-year-old son started to cry.  It was as if there was that sudden realization that his father was older and might not be around for long.(Although grey hair notwithstanding, he looks pretty good for his age.)  And I guess it hit the little boy so hard that he forgot his own grandpa was in his mid-seventies. That would give him another good quarter of a century with his pops at least if their genes held up… It was heartwarming and yet worrisome.  How do you assure your son that you still have quite a lot to give and that you don’t intend to conk out on him midway through to adulthood?

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with my little guy now that we are transitioning to a major life change as a family.  I have been blessed with his undying love and devotion, and his maturity has often caught me off guard during those moments when I thought I was supposed to be the stronger one.  He would hold my hand or hug me warmly, or just utter “I love you, Mama” from across the room or in the middle of doing homework.  Often, it was during those moments when my mind was wandering off thinking about where we are right now and where we are supposed to go as mother and son.  Those moments when I feel vulnerable and weak– and the universe hears and prompts my one-man cheering squad to holler and wake me out of my melancholy.

In that moment, he is my little boy.  I am the adult.  And yet I cannot deny that I see him maturing from day to day and I am reminded of how I, too, am getting older. I think about that and it’s as if someone hit the pause switch on the remote and my heart skips a beat and stops– just for half a second.  He is the greatest reminder of the passing of time.

I have embraced aging with grace because I have always had a forward-looking outlook in life.  I look back to the past for the lessons learned and the memories that prod me on, but I don’t try to relive it or cling to it because I know I can’t.  I know that no matter how we try, we cannot slow time.  Seeing him grow before my very eyes has only served to illustrate how time has flown by.  As he advances in age, so do I.

I have repeated time and again that I think “Dinna at 50” is the best Dinna yet. When friends who have lost touch ask me how I am, I always start off with “I am in a very good place.  I am happier.”  When I go home to Manila, friends look at me and say I don’t look like I aged.  I always say it’s the make up. LOL.

Like my friend’s son, I used to think of 50 as “OLD”.  It seems like my own Dad was forever in his 40s.   And now that I am almost 50, I feel it but it doesn’t give me pause when I think about life in general.

I embrace it and own it knowing there’s 50 years’ worth of experience tucked between the lines on my skin, or under the youthful looking yet no longer young face.  I have been fortunate to have had the chance to go after my heart’s desires and live my dreams.

Went to law school.

Passed the Bar.

Started a family.

Have a son.  (And yes, I have always wanted a son.)

Pursue my creative penchant.

Travel.

Write.

I haven’t quite ticked off everything on my list just yet, but I’m pretty happy with what I have so far.

I know I will see the Banawe Rice Terraces soon.

Or walk the beaches of Boracay and El Nido.  ( I have already seen Chocolate Hills of Bohol this year.). Visit Rome and one day, return a third time to the City of Lights.

Close the chapters that need to be concluded.

Start anew with my little guy.

Write my story.

Learn to play the cello.

Create.

Craft.

Travel.

Write some more.

Take care of me.

My bucket list, if it existed, would be made up of very small and not-so-grand to-dos. I am grateful that life has afforded me the breaks to realize the bigger dreams  I had my heart and soul set on, and though they didn’t always turn out  a happy ending, I can say I did it.  I let go of the ones that somehow got derailed or sidetracked or just completely failed — I think I have enough under my sleeve to be able to say I’ve lived a good life.  and I intend to keep living a good life, holding my little guy’s hand.  As Melody Gardot sings in “Lover Undercover”, I don’t need anything more than I’ve got.

I have a little scrapbook in my heart that has the pages of the bits and pieces of my life that make me smile.  Those that have brought pain or still bring a hint of it, I’ve torn off and thrown away.

I look at my little guy, I scroll through the selfies on my phone, I listen to the new music I have learned to like — and I know I’m in a very good place.. More so for someone about to turn 50.  I guess I’ve learned to ease my grip on the reins. Frustrations and disappointments, while forever there, are easier to handle — and no longer as heart breaking as they used to be for the younger me.  I’ve learned to let go and hold on only to the things that really matter and which are truly mine, as I get older.

Sliding back to normal

Manhattan SunsetFor the first time in a while, I woke up at past 6am Tuesday morning instead of the usual four-ish no alarm clock wake up call. Although it meant losing out on a headstart to the day, it felt good. I’m keeping my fingers crossed my body clock is easing back to a more reasonable morning schedule, because I don’t know how long I can last the 4-4:30am rise-and-shine-silent-alarm it’s been forcing upon me.

Or maybe I’m just getting older.

It could also be that it’s my body’s way of rebelling against all the stress I’ve been deluged with the last year or so.  Maybe.

But Monday night was rather pleasant, and I did stay up late.  So Tuesday saw me sliding back to normal.

These days, I am careful to label things as “normal” because I feel like I have somehow lost sight of it.  In a sense, I feel as if everything has just changed so dramatically.  From white to red, from blank to a full slate.  When you go through a life-changing experience, your perspective of how things are and your sense of reality are altered by the sum total of the  jolt or series of jolts you are subjected to.

I was reflecting on how different the sun seems to be shining these days compared to the very dark days of a year ago.  That was the time I was so full of anger and pain that if I were a color, I’d simply be black.  A dark, dark and endless black.  There were times when I would be simply walking and I would find myself suddenly enveloped in a deep rage.  I got reacquainted with chest pains that made me cough.  The anger and the pain were just too great that they manifested themselves in a very physical sense.

I still see hints of the darkness but I think I have a better grasp of how things have gone and are going in my life.  I have adjusted focus and now try to dwell on moving on and discarding the negative energy, and building on the positive.  I look for little bits of “happy” instead of trying to chase after the big dream that might not be my reality (or future) after all.  As BFF Fe would say, I’m kinder to myself these days.

I’m not as quick to react now.  And of course, that can be both good and bad — but I take a moment to evaluate things and think before I speak.  One disadvantage of having the gift for gab is that on the negative end of the spectrum, one is often caught saying hurtful or damaging things that can no longer be taken back once spoken or published.  (Don’t you hate how the internet has no “delete forever” function?)

My “normal” has since changed definitions — but it’s a state I’m trying to aim for.  Eventually.

So I go on with my personal art, chronicling my life in my altered book via art journaling, writing here, taking my online classes and making plans for the near future.  (Next week is near enough.)  My “normal” now is to be more outgoing and not be so quick to turn down invitations from friends to have a life between work and home.  It’s about putting myself first where I used to put everyone ahead of me.

It’s about finding a new perspective with which to see how sidewalks can lead to alleys of adventure if you let go and not try too hard to always walk in a straight line.  Sometimes you have to take an unfamiliar turn and just follow your instincts, and maybe you might discover something new, something to smile about.

All that on the way to normal.

 

 

 

 

Art Journal Every Day: “Life isn’t fair but God is”

My journal entries are very raw and frank that is why while I used to share my journaling openly, I’ve opted to blur the journaling this time around. I’ve also used my entries to encourage myself to move forward and be more optimistic. For the most part, it’s a continuing effort. But at the end of the day, just seeing the entries that are already done gives me a sense of accomplishment. To me, it’s a very concrete manifestation of physically moving forward which helps me motivation-wise.

Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close upsHere’s a layout that I rendered by doing layers of text. First, there’s a highlighter background rendering of the lyrics of a favorite song of mine by Rupert Holmes, “Touch and Go”.

There are two main lines here (totally unrelated to the song) but they are really visible only when you look closely it have the book in your hands.

On the left is the title of this post: “Life isn’t fair but God is.”
Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close ups
Then under the main journal entry which I wrote using a black fine sharpie, I write “It will get better.”

Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close ups

It’s very busy but that was the whole point of layering the texts with minimal drawings. I had started doodling these type of flower scribbles when I was in high school and haven’t really used them in any layout so I did on this one.

This is how it end up looking once done:
Art Journal Every Day: Life isn't fair but God is"

Til the next entry..

Daily Prompt: Getting life right

DAILY PROMPT: In the comedy “Groundhog Day” Bill Murray experienced the same day again and again, stuck in a time loop until he got the day “right.” What day would you choose to repeat until you got it right? Do you think it’s ever possible to get life “right”?

I’m ending the second day of a long weekend, and while Monday has yet to come, I’m already wishing it was only Saturday.  I’ve taken it easy and not pushed myself.  I even napped twice today between breakfast and a lobster lunch, and after.  I’m making a mental note not to do lobsters for a while because it ends up to be such a big production in the kitchen, and the clean up is the most difficult.  (Lobster off the grocery list.)  It’s just that FreshDirect had them on sale, and I’m such a sucker for sales. LOL

Back to the daily prompt.

I cannot think of any particular instance or day that I had to get right or wish I had gotten right, not for lack of those “I wish I had done that differently” kind of day, but because there are quite a few and I don’t know which one to pick.  I’d like, instead, to focus on the second part of the prompt which is “Do you think it’s ever possible to get life “right”?

That, to me, is a deep question that can be answered in a thousand different ways.  Make it a million.  It takes a giant step back for us to see whether or not we got life “right”, and being our worst critics, we often find ourself answering in the negative.  But I beg to differ.  I think life — OUR LIFE — is what you make of it.  It’s what you do with your lemons — do you put them in water in a vase and just use it as decoration or do you make lemonade?

“Right” in this sense is what is right for us.  Others may think that I had made a mess of my life or that I had made bad choices, but it’s what I did with those bad choices that I believe answer that question.

It’s like picking your fight according to what you think you can handle at any given time in your life.  It’s about whether you press on or give up.

I’m the ultimate queen of the benefit of the doubt and I say that no matter how bad our decisions have been or whether or not we ended up landing flat on our faces, it’s how we dealt with those disappointments or frustations that define whether or not we got life right.

Again, that’s just me.

I wouldn’t want to go back again.  There was a time in my life when I would foolishly entertain those “might have beens” or “should haves”.  Whatever is done IS done.  Whatever has been lost IS gone.  Even the intention to make up for something can be moot.  So I bow my head and just let life go on.  I accept things as they come knowing I had brought myself to be where I am, and whatever consequences I suffer because of my mistakes in the past, I must just take in.

Yes, we can get life right.  It’s accepting that we got it right that is the bigger challenge for many.

Letting it go

I’ve been spending most of my morning shooting off emails, parrying blows, clarifying requests, being the peacemaker, and basically telling everyone they should all calm down and read their e-mails before reacting. I don’t mind doing it on a piecemeal basis, but when it’s a barrage, it gets really tiring. And while I can write a good business e-mail, I think it’s beyond my job description to actually explain things to people earning twice as much as I do. (Okay, maybe just 150% of what I make..)

Still.

In a previous lifetime, I had gotten used to doing my job based on what I can do and not what I’m expected to do and what I was paid to do — I always went the extra mile. Back home in the Philippines, there was always that unseen force driving us to achieve and excel and shine. I don’t know if it’s age (me getting old) or just the culture (different that it’s similar) — or perhaps that I have changed my focus at work from “building a career” to “earning a paycheck”. I do my job, and I do it well, but I don’t bend backwards too much anymore. Where I would normally chime in and offer what I know or volunteer what I can do to help, I find myself just watching quietly like the proverbial fly on the wall.  I will help if asked.

Apology made. Apology accepted.

Life is too complicated as it is for me dissect each and every fall or slap in the face. Is that me getting jaded? Perhaps. I think it’s more of my soul getting weary with each passing day. Some things you just have to LET GO. That phrase has been resonating in my heart the last few days.. LET IT GO.

I am not always successful in listening to the voice inside my head.  And that can be a tad frustrating indeed.  But I think I’m getting the hang of it and getting better at it.  It is easier now to get over things — be it anger, sadness, or plain excitement.  Faced with a disappointment, I look at it, try to understand it, and TRY not to go back to it. 

I try.

I try and let it go.

Sometimes, I succeed and I DO let it go.  There are still times, though, when I fail. And even then, I have to let it go.
 

Smoking buses and school choices

Smoking Express Bus I was busily drafting a blog post on the bus when traffic ground to a slow crawl not even halfway through my usual sojourn into Manhattan.  When it finally eased up and it looked like we were well on our way again, the driver pulled up to the service road, stopped, and told us to get out of the bus.  The rear portion of the bus was spewing out smoke.. horrors!

We had to wait for another bus to pick us up and as luck would have it, I landed on the other side of town (East side), necessitating another ride to my side of Manhattan — one hour late.  My morning adventure of a commute has caused me to defer the post I had been drafting for another I had thought of writing last night, but I was too tired to sit with the laptop at the end of the day.

We often find ourselves aiming for something we don’t get, a goal we don’t achieve, and we are broken and discouraged as a result of it.  A case in point would be the young hopefuls who are eyeing schools/universities to enter this fall, or in the case of Manila, the opening of classes in June.  The big universities have already announced early acceptance, and in some instances, final results — and while some are victorious, many end up heartbroken.

The son of the executive I support right now had hoped to get early acceptance into a prestigious university in Chicago, but early acceptance had already come and gone and they did not get a notification.  While there is hope for the remaining slots still open, the young man was reportedly crushed.  Picture a teen ager with AP (advanced placement) credits, with no cultural or financial restrictions as to the university he can go to, now faced with a possible other choice which technically isn’t really at the bottom of the list — I’m talking about New York University.  (Dad can afford to send him to any school of choice that accepts him.)

It reminds me of my own experience with the nerves way back when — and how things worked out (or did not work out).  Looking back 30 years laters, it makes me understand the anxiety felt by these young people, and I can totally relate.

I had, of course, taken the entrance exam to the University of the Philippines,  with Diliman as the campus of choice because why would I want to go to UP Manila?  I also took the entrance exams at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) with bff Donna (where she eventually went.  I was kind of worried, though, why each part of the instruction was first read in English and then in Tagalog.)  In addition, I took entrance exams to Ateneo and Miriam, and my school of choice, De La Salle University.  My father had violent objections to De La Salle, being that it was located in Taft Avenue where the Light Rail Transit was then under construction and was to be under construction for a number of years.  (“The driver would get stuck in traffic  trying to get me and not be able to get the siblings who were still both in high school,” “It’s much too far,” etc., etc.,)  Obedient daughter that I was, despite having taken the entrance exam, I did not pursue my application to DLSU.

Miriam College interviewed and accepted me.  Ateneo took me in.  And when the UPCAT results came out, I was unfortunately not one of the lucky ones.  My father moved heaven and earth, though, with the help of a friend to help me appeal for admission to UP Manila — which was but a short jeepney ride away from my school of choice, DLSU.  I endured and survived the traffic and pollution of Taft Avenue through my college years — but my father got his wish.  His daughter went to UP.

Waiting for acceptance to a university is not easy, more so when you are moving from one phase of life (high school) to the next (college or university).  While shifting courses is an option when you don’t get accepted to the program of your choice, you still need to get into the university first to be able to maneuver your way to your dream.

My bigger disappointment was not having been able to go to DLSU — forget that UP said no initially.  But as it turns out, things have a way of working out despite what had appeared to me as my not getting into the dream school I had pictured myself going to.  My years in UP Manila turned out to be some of the best years of my life, both academically and personally.  I found myself liking it so much that I never even tried to transfer to Diliman.  I would visit DLSU, sometimes even trying to get in by flashing an ID which wasn’t mine to visit friends.  It was a world apart.  I felt it was where I belonged, but I wasn’t misplaced in UP.  Sure the facilities were a world apart, too, more so since there were no cracking marble staircases in DLSU and UP Manila’s windows were broken and in disrepair.  But I found many friends who accepted me the way I was and who moved in the same world I did, as well as friends from a totally different life, and to this day, I count them as my dearest friends.

I know things would have turned out differently had I landed in DLSU like I had wished so hard for.  And I know, too, that a lot of who I am today was because I spent my college years in UP Manila. 

When it was finally time to take the law entrance exams, I told myself it was UP, Ateneo or San Beda.  That was that.  I would be happy to go to any of the three.  If none of them took me in, then it wasn’t meant to be.  (I was a few years older and a quite a bit more wiser at this stage, so my expectations were more practical and less emotional.)

I found myself in the old HV De La Costa Campus of the Ateneo School of Law in Makati — and yes, that was that.

I won’t say that it doesn’t matter which school you find yourself in because it does.  (But that’s another blog post.)  But getting into your university of choice is not the be-all and end-all of life.  Life has taught me that it doesn’t hurt to go with the flow, or to be a little OC about it and have a plan A, plan B, plan C, plan D, etc.  There is much in life that we don’t know because it hasn’t happened yet.  There is only so much that we can control, too.  You do have the power to make the most of what you’re given, and that is what is expected of you.

One of my “bestest” bestfriends had landed in Ateneo Law but had left and taken a leave of absence on the verge of being booted out after his first year to concentrate on a job the needed a lot of brown-nosing.  He paid his dues.  He never went back to law school, but he now occupies a position of power and success many envy and covet.  He always wanted to be a lawyer, and I know that he never thought he would enjoy the success and power he now has — it hasn’t been without its challenges, but I take my hat off to him for taking things in stride and adapting to any situation that was thrown his way.  He was assigned to far-flung places in undesirable positions.  He did his best.  He waited it out. He performed.  That’s why he survived and succeeded.

Disappointments are a part of life and life gives us permission to feel the pain and sulk — but then we cannot let it rob us of our faith in ourselves.  We cannot let it take our self-confidence down.  Just as everyone tells us to move on from the heartaches of life — we must learn to overcome our disappointments and keep going.

So what if you didn’t get into your school of choice?  Perhaps it’s in the stars for you to go some place else where there isn’t that inordinate amount of flooding, or where biases are not as strong.  To paraphrase what some people say, God is not saying no to you — He is simply saying “Not yet” — or in this case, “Not there.”

When UP Law didn’t accept me, I didn’t even bother to appeal.  When I passed the Bar exams with a cursory review, I told myself that’s one passer that UP doesn’t have because they gave me to Ateneo. 

There will always be a lot of challenges, there will always be disappointments.  But let us not forget that there are also the joys of life — the blessings that come our way — that if we only bothered to stop and count, we will find we have two of the good for each of the bad. 

This morning, as I alighted from the second bus and finally found my way to the last bus stop that will take me to my side of Manhattan, I looked up. I saw the Chrysler Building, my favorite icon towering above me.  I have been at this spot many times before but was usually in a rush , so I have never taken a picture from this perspective.  I did and it made me smile.  I wouldn’t have been at this spot had things not gone totally awry on the way in.  I can look at it as a morning commute from hell, or a morning commute that didn’t quite go right but which was not a total loss if only because I got to take this shot.

 
Right below the Chrysler Building
 

Switching Gears

Sometimes we set our minds on a long-term goal and work our hardest towards it — planning, starting to set things in motion, setting our sights on a vision or a dream.  Then somewhere along the way, despite our determination, we are forced to switch gears.  Maybe because our circumstances changed, or things just didn’t fall into place as we had thought they would.

Then we realize they did fall into place, and much as it turned out totally different from what we thought early on it would be, we switch gears, we adapt.

We bow our heads in guilt and shame and just accept that we were wrong.  It is not always easy.  Sometimes it feels like it will be a forever struggle that we must mask with a smile, and an unrelenting effort to focus on the happy.  Forgiveness is scarce — forgiving others as much as forgiving ourselves can be such a challenge.

Sometimes people just disappear or let go — and try as we might to call them back, even the staunchest of hearts eventually accepts the reality that sometimes, you really have to just accept that it is what it is.  So again you switch gears.

You learn to work things out alone.  The chatter dies down.  The pain remains, but the whispering stops.  And with the silence, somehow the pain starts to have a numb edge.  It doesn’t go, but it transforms itself to a lump instead of a blade the keeps cutting your soul to pieces.

Then you switch gears yet again.

Dear Mama, Happy Mother's Day!

I had my Mother’s Day conversation with my mom last Friday.  I’m just finishing my Mother’s Day weekend with my boy here.  It has been meaningful because of him.  Eight Mother’s Day have passed where I was finally one of those being celebrated, and I look forward to more years with Angelo.

Motherhood is one of the most challenging roles for me, but which I play to the hilt because of the inspiration his love gives me every day.

But today, I want it to be about my Mom, the woman responsible for making me the mother that I am today.  I have always said that you can only give what you already have — and to my Mom, thanks for giving me all that I needed to be a good mother to my son.

Dear Mama —

Happy Mother’s Day.  You know that though I am 10,000 miles away, I am there with you.  Thanks for the call last Friday.  I know you miss me dearly because you said you dreamt of me.

I’m doing okay, don’t worry.  Sometimes the one we miss the most visits us in our dreams.  Sometimes the one who misses us the most gets to cross time and space and be with us in our dreams at least.  Like I tell Angelo that I will always be in his heart come what may, so are you.

I know that we’re both getting older.  You just turned 72.  Every time I go home, I see you shrink just a little, and I see more lines in your face.  I notice a difference in your demeanor.  I think that I am most fortunate to be seeing this and appreciating the changes that ageing has thrown your way, because I don’t think my siblings who are with you everyday see it and appreciate it for what it is.  I keep telling them, “Mama is getting older.”

I wish I wasn’t so far away.  Then we’d have more dinners together.  We’d go to Manaoag more often, and on Wednesdays, I might even muster enough energy to wake up as early as you and brave Baclaran before the crowds descend upon it.  But life has put this distance between us as I started my own family.  I know you know that you are here in my heart.  In the meantime, I look forward to having you visit… hopefully soon?  I know.. you are busy taking care of many things there, but I am going to keep bugging you about it.

When I hug Angelo, I hug him for you.  You two have such a special bond that I find so precious, since I know it took a lot of effort to take care of him the first three years.  I have been so lucky that you were still young enough then to afford me that chance to have you take care of my son, and to show me the rudiments of motherhood firsthand.

I miss those days when I’d see you two playing with each other.  And I remember the last time you two said goodbye this previous December, how your grandson teared up as we neared the airport, as it dawned upon him he was leaving his favorite grandma.  Even I was surprised at that show of emotion from my then 7-year-old.  Precious.

I cannot ever thank you enough for making me who I am today, Mama.  I know that life hasn’t been kind to you, robbing you of the chance to have a proper education beyond elementary, but you made sure my siblings and I went to the best schools, and that we got as close to the fulfillment of our dreams if not the fulfillment of those dreams itself.

I know that these days, you often think we don’t understand you, or that we are ganging up against you.  That can never happen.  You are the precious bond that ties us all together — and will keep us tied together as a family long after you’re gone.  In our minds and hearts, you are the best mother we could have ever had.  So please forgive us when we hurt your feelings and make you feel like we are not being mindful of hurting you — we have your best interests at heart.  We just want you to let us take care of you this time around, as you’ve worked so hard to take care of all of us these years.

Time to let go, Mama.  Your children are no longer babies.  Let us take care of you now.

We love you deeply.

Your children

Life is short.. more so at age 46

Last April, I turned 46.

I don’t know if it’s all that’s been happening to me lately at work and in my personal life, or the number itself, or life in general — but I am suddenly struck by the number as an actual count of my years of existence on this earth.  For once, age is a relevant number to me.

I never really cared about age, even as I hit the so-called big four-oh six years ago and forty-five last year.   I have always considered myself totally at home with the fact that I am getting older.  Perhaps it helped that most people thought I was much younger than my actual age — and I’ve always attributed that to my Asian skin and eating habits.  Lately, I have brazenly declared that make up does help a lot!

So why the sudden relevance of the number?  These days I wonder if I’ll be so lucky to hit my mother’s current age of seventy-two (which, given the advances of science should not be too difficult), and I’ve become more concerned with “living in the now” by not being too smug about living forever.

Life is fast catching up with me, and seeing my eight-year-old son growing before my very eyes is, in itself, a wake up call.  Will I see him grow up to get into college?  Get married?  Will I see my grandchildren and take care of them?

Will I be able to do all the things I want to do between then and now?  Or will I be like my handful of friends who have been hit by one form of cancer or another, some successfully battling it, and some going through a recurrence of the big C in some other form?

Up until now, I had always thought that I could think of planning my life in stages of 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years.  Since I turned 46, though, I think of what I want to be doing and where I want to be in five years, and I am struck by the thought of my having no guarantees that I will still be around then.  Why wait?

Could the sudden awareness on my part also be because at this point in my life, I feel as though I can say I’ve done most of the things I had wanted to accomplish?  Went to college to get a law degree.  Got into my choice of law school.  Passed the Bar (back home).  Embarked on a corporate communications career.  Gave that all up and settled down halfway across the globe to live in the greatest city in the world.  Got married.  Had the best thing happen to me when my son was born.  Visited and fell in love with the City of Lights, Paris (not once, but twice!)…  And have been to Disneyworld four times.  (Not exactly a badge of honor..but a feat for a 46 year old adult who moved to New York only 12 years ago.)

At the present time, I’m crafting jewelry and accessories and doing crafts at leisure, writing about what I want the way I want and earning a decent paycheck at an unrelated day job.

Yet I feel as though I am at a crossroads, and vacillating about which road to take.  And the tolling of the years and the uncertainty of the years to come makes me want to jump but I cannot.

I’m stuck at “comfortable” — but the thought of time not being there like it always has been is creeping up on me.  So do I throw a pebble into the still waters and watch the ripples radiate from where it lands, or do I watch the calm from the shore?  I suddenly feel like “dreaming” is no longer a luxury I can afford.  “Doing” is what I should be hard at work at instead.

We always look at postponing things in our lives thinking that we can always do it another time.  Somehow I feel I’m at a juncture when I don’t have that option anymore.  I keep hearing it being said, you cannot postpone happiness — not very easy to do when it means giving up “comfortable” and causing upheavals in the lives of the people around me.

It would be so easy to up and go if it was only me I had to think about.  But it isn’t so.  And considering all that is causing me to wonder if I am not throwing away precious time keeping the peace and just sitting it out.

I think about “second chances” and I see one in front of me, but I want to wait a while longer.  The question is, can I afford to do that?  You’d think a 46-year-old would have the wisdom to speak authoritatively on questions about life — but I don’t feel so wise at all right now.  I’m coming to terms with my own mortality — and the thought that the things I dream of five years from now: people, places, hopes — might not be around as long as I would want them to be.  So what then?

The Promise of Spring

On Good Friday, April 6, I brought my little tyke to the office as it was the start of his spring break.  It was also a short day for me since I was invoking my religious right to end the day early.  We went out for our usual lunch date but decided to eat in Bryant Park instead.  It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining up high but not too brightly.  The wind had a pleasant chill that made it perfect.  We sat and ate.  Before and after lunch, we took pictures.

The tulips are back.  They are abloom and at my favorite stage —  just gorgeous.  I have always loved this time of the year when the bare trees of winter sprout new leaves and the flowers of spring come out.  Manhattan comes alive with the splendor of spring.  Tulips and daffodils in all shades and colors are everywhere.  The trees sprout their blooms — and you have to catch them quick because they change hues overnight and drop to the ground before you know it.

We enjoyed taking pictures of the tulips which were almost translucent when shot from below or ground level instead of from above.  The sun shone through their petals and made them look like they were almost glowing.  See what I mean?

When it gets warmer the tulips will be gone.  They only really survive in slightly cooler but not exactly cold weather.  Just after the so called last frost of spring, they bloom.  I love them best when they are wide open and don’t quite look like the bulbs we are familiar with.  They open to the world and show their beauty even if only momentarily.  Once fully open, the tulips eventually wilt and shed their petals.

I haven’t been here much lately.  I come in, take a peek, think of what to write, then just decide my heart’s not in it.  I actually have a ton to write about — at least half a dozen stories from the trip home, and half a dozen stories again from after I came back.  It’s just that too many things have been happening, my mind (and my heart) can’t quite keep up.

The tyke’s party is just around the corner — and I’ve been busy handwriting invitations from the party place he’s having his bash at.  I think I’ve bit off more than I can chew by promising to make him polymer clay souvenirs, more so since the character(s) of the moment are not exactly rendered easily:  Transformers Prime.  Hmmmmm… Let’s see if I can pull this off.

And last week, I just realized my etsy shop, GothamChick is actually on hibernation as well, as all the products have ‘expired’ and not been renewed.  * sigh * I haven’t really been there since I went on vacation last December.  I am creating again because I want to participate in a flea market at my local church here in Bayside end-April, and maybe after that, I can resurrect the shop again.  (Maybe I should concentrate on “GothamChick” instead of “PinayNewYorker” as my personal brand? — another thought.)

At least my reading has been progressing well — although I’ve been starting books right and left and have not finished anything. LOL… the curse of the Kindle — you can just leave your bookmark and jump to the next book!  The good news is that I’m progressing well on the spiritual side — I am actually attacking this on two fronts, and I’m proud to say I’m finally reading the Bible as I have always wanted to seriously do the past couple of years.  Still not quite as religiously as I’d like to– but I’m off to a good start.

I’ve also been seriously thinking about whether or not  if PinayNewYorker (the blog) has reached the end of its journey.  Perhaps it’s time to move on to something new — not exactly blogging.  Perhaps it’s just time to give it a rest and bow out, fading quietly into the night as they say.  Still just thought — not a plan at this point.

Do I start another blog?  Do I just resurrect one of the other blogs I have which have been “in hibernation”?  Do I think of something totally new to migrate to and move houses so to speak?  Or maybe I’ll just stay put.  I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, and it’s just something that keeps popping up.  But when I think about how I’ve invested practically 8 years into this blog — and I’ve put so much of my heart and soul into Pinay New Yorker — it’s not such an easy decision to make.  Still, reinventing or evolving is something I’m doing right now, and as much as this blog is such a part of my life, I can’t help but put it on the block for re-evaluation as well.

New York is beginning to warm up.  Heading for my favorite part of the year which is summer — when the temperatures in my home state approximate Manila’s.  Not quite the same — but close enough.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to enjoy spring.  It’s a full season but it’s fleeting and reminds me that time passes by so quickly.  It catches you off guard, and you just find that the beautiful colors of spring are gone and the trees are bathed in green again instead of the rainbow of spring colors.  The colors remain, but not quite as dramatic a change of scenery as when the barren trees of winter transform into the magical look that spring gives the landscape.  It’s one of those things that falls into that category of “before you know it…”.