Writing, for me, is like a bath from which you come out feeling cleaner, healthier and free-er. And because the first half of the year is over, it’s time to reflect and list down the things I have accomplished and learned so far in the journey. In no particular significant order or level of importance, here’s the countdown:

10. Declare a start.

It’s not always easy finding a starting point. Some things in front of us are so puzzling that we can’t tell where the starting point is. Sometimes things look like big loops and circles and there just doesn’t seem to be a start. So we just have to pick up a piece of that puzzle and place it where we think it belongs, after that the rest will fall into its right place. And what about those big loops and circles you ask? Just stand on any one point and call it your beginning.

9. “When life gives you a hundred reason to cry, show life that you have a hundred reasons to smile.” – Anonymous

When I’m pounded with difficult situations, I first think of the possible roots of the problems which make things seem complicated. Secondly, I think of getting to the right scenarios to meddle and the right people to reach out to. Thirdly, I think of solutions I can do and try to solve the problem however I can. At the end of it all, I think of people who believe in me. This gives me the power and intuition to move forward and run about my thoughts cohesively. This makes me survive. In hard times, I count my blessings and thank the people who constantly help me in my battle. Yes, I can actually count to a hundred and more. 🙂

Our robot-cat friend Doraemon puts it best: “Hindi mo dapat iyakan ang nakaraan. Isipin mo, bakit nasa harap ang mata? Ito ay para lagi mong nakikita ang hinaharap.” (You should not cry over the happenings in the past. Why do you think the eyes are placed in front? This is for us to always see what’s up ahead or what is to come.)

8. Be vulnerable but only to a certain extent.

In this way, people will find you more approachable and less scary. I’ve learned this firsthand from our company director.

Until early last year, I had often found myself to be socially incompetent. I envied people who carry on a conversation easily and who don’t have any problem talking to “new” people. Me? Not the kind of girl who’s the light of the party. Not the funny gal whom everybody adores. I just nodded and said nothing else than what I was asked. I felt incredibly awkward when I meet strangers. I was insecure when it comes to people and feared that I would say the wrong thing. I didn’t have an exciting life so it’s not like I would start a convo by telling people about my amazing weekend/life. The thing was, though, with the people I am comfortable with I say funny (mostly sarcastic and witty) stuff. Other people…yeah not so much. I didn’t really understand why I’m liked in school or in any place, or how people could find me cool and a delight to be with. Yet I’m kind.

Now I have changed for the better. I could turn to either side–being the listener or the sharer–minus the nervousness and thinking way too much before speaking. I became friendlier and more accommodating. I can show more expressions and reveal emotions. But of course, I do choose people whom I share with and I also consider that the real art of conversation is not only to say the right things at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong things at the tempting moment.

Doraemon advised, “Wag mong ipakitang malungkot ka sa ibang tao kung wala kang balak magshare ng problema. Para kang nag alok ng hopia pero di mo naman ibibigay.” (Don’t show people that you’re sad if you’re not willing to share your problem. It’s like asking if they like a biscuit which you won’t give eventually.)

So yeah, I can be your own personal Dr. Phil if you want me to be. I can be your one of your top friends, too.

7. “…Find something to love in everybody. Even if it’s a small thing. Something about the way someone smiles. There’s always something, there has to be. Think about what not to criticize.” – Chloe in the film Chloe

Friendships or relationships may not work well all the time. It might be because there’s a collision of two dyametrically opposed worlds, value systems or cultures. Maybe there’s a huge age gap. Maybe one is an extreme introvert, while the other person is a super extrovert. Maybe he’s introspective and spiritual, and her highest priority in life is the next episode of a soap opera or the next incarnation of a brand of shoes. It’s classic Hollywood buddy movie stuff or the two lead characters in a romcom that are so different but finally get together before the end credits roll.

Alas, there’s no template for these in life. As long as there’s mutual respect and understanding, dynamics between people work, no matter how different individuals are. Lesson here is to appreciate one another including the differences.

Congruently, one thing I’ve picked up also from our company director is to compliment people with sincerity. It’s one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal. All it takes for people to remember us, to make our mark, to make them feel happy even in a single instance is a simple but genuine compliment.

6. Read and explore.

It was my habit back in college to read about random news, life events, funny stories and interesting facts, as I was an active writer in our university paper’s Features section. This changed when I entered the corporate world because I thought they won’t matter anyway.

This again changed now that I have realized that it should not be of work or the living environment I’m in that I should be aware of these news and events. Rather, I should know about these simply because they are part of the world and part of my life subtly. I have my Google Reader RSS feeds and Pulse (iPhone app) to keep me abreast with the biggest trends and latest happenings in the world. I read these feeds I’m subscribed to every day: Business Insider, Silicon Alley Insider, Fast Company, Daily Finance, Yahoo! News, CNET, All Things Digital, Gizmodo, Venturebeat, Mashable and some short fashion editorials and lifestyle guide.

5. Never assume.

This is one I got from my business teammate, and it has been stuck in me for a while now. So many loads of things happen in every minute of every day that we can’t be so sure that the we perceive things is right or the way they really are. Hence, always ask; always question. True, making assumptions is something we all do in many areas of our lives. But it’s an improved deal if we challenge the norm and seek out the answers for ourselves. Follow no one blindly. Do nothing without first seeking to understand why. Keep an open mind.

4. “Courage is not living without fear. Courage is being scared to death but keep doing the right thing anyway.” – Chae Richardson

As a little girl I was raised to be strong, well-educated and independent. I strive to maintain this composure and keep the positive image people have on me. Whenever I’m scared of doing something that has to be done, my physical body is the one which forces me to action. I’m like a duck, you know–calm on top but paddling like hell underneath. I like to try and go to many different adventures as long as it’s good. I’m not afraid of failing or taking calculated risks; it’s how we pick up ourselves that counts in the end. Meanwhile, there will be no white flag above my door.

3. Move on. It’s just a chapter in the past. But don’t close the book; just turn the page. – Anonymous

What is our future without our past? The present is made up of the past. The future will be made of the present, our past experience, mistakes and decisions that made us who we are today. Everything we learn, experience and decide today will make us who we are tomorrow.

2. Give what you have.

This lesson is delievered by a pastor in one of the past church services I’ve attended to. The message touched me so much that it made me cry severely. It was about the five loaves and two fish. You see, when the disciples only had these much of food left to feed the huge crowd, the Lord didn’t tell them to be ashamed of themselves or to quit gold-bricking. They were just expected to give what they had to meet the need. The Lord took on Himself the responsibility for multiplying the resources. Our responsibility is to give what we have to Him–no more but no less! It’s a a blessing for us when we really catch this principle of meeting needs and wait by faith in excited anticipation for the multiplication miracle to begin.

1. Become my own person.

This need to become somebody else has vanished. I’m more pleased with how I am, physically and personality-wise. I am happier thinking of who I am. Wanting to become a different person is bound to get you depressed, and I don’t want that. Take it from SpongeBob Squarepants. See, the big yellow talking sponge completely accepts who he is amidst all of his quirks. Sure, there are times when he implants balloons in his arms to mimic muscles in order to impress the beaver of his dreams. We all have fallen prey to the same desire, but SpongeBob remembered that he captured the heart of the precious beaver by his compassionate heart and heart-warming laugh.

SpongeBob doesn’t need the re-assurance of the sculpted lobster to know that he is special.

A smile is plastered on my lips. It’s okay, to be just that girl. I am Roch. And I am awesome. Word. 😀


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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