Tag Archives: Family

The “3-Oh”

I had planned on being in Cuba on this day. Sat on a terrace in Havana sipping a mojito. I’m not a drinker but I figured when in Cuba, why the heck not? Instead, because of a big ash cloud that up until a few hours ago was holding everyone captive – I’m here. I’m not angry though, that’s not an emotion I’ve had much to do with this latter part of my life. Instead I think everything happens for a reason. Some have said that maybe I was going to get hit by a car in Cuba or something; perhaps so. I thought I’d need a full year to figure out the reason, but it’s taken me less than that. Perhaps it’s a sign I’m getting better at figuring out my life. Possibly. Maybe. This trip, my staycation, it is characteristic of how I would describe my life: It may not have turned out as I had planned, but it has turned out how it was supposed to.

There is not a day when I do not think myself blessed for the life that I lead. Yes there are moments when I wish things were different – more money in the bank account, a Triumph in the garage, a spacious place all to myself…but like I said – everything happens for a reason. This year, I think I needed to be here today. I needed to be in the exact place where the people who mean the most to me, that I mean the most to, were within arm’s reach. I was told recently that I have no passion. Where an old me would have taken those words to heart, searched for the validity of that statement, this me knows it not to be true. My family. My friends. Those who transcend any label anyone could possibly give. They are my passion. These people are who I am my very best with. These people who do not feel I am ever too much and am always enough for. These people who say to me, ‘You could rule the world if you wanted to.’ They are my love.

This year I chose thirty people, thirty of those people who have come to mean a lot to me, some over many years of having them in my life and others only recently, and I asked them to do something for me. I hope that they take my request seriously because I have never meant anything more. Because of them, because of the world they have shown me, because of the person they have helped me to become and shown me that I am, I can honestly say that today I want for nothing. There is no gift that they could give me that could mean more than what they have already shared with me. My request is the only way I know how to begin to repay them.

This age, a milestone, the digits have changed and I know that there are many more changes to come, but there are some parts of me that I hope will remain the same. After all, it’s taken me a long time to become the person I am. I do not fear tomorrow and I do not regret yesterday. I wish I could tell people how I had come to look upon my life in this way, there are so many that I hope will one day realise all that they have instead of longing for what they don’t. Life has a way of placing you exactly where you need to be, and it is not always where you expected you would end up. If you’re lucky, if you are blessed, you will have people around you who will make you laugh till your sides hurt, who will support you without judgement, and who will know who you are even when you don’t.

Thirty years. I must be doing something right.

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Filed under (In)sanity, Revelation

Thankful

A few years ago I made my first Thanksgiving Dinner. A friend of mine was dating an American who was in the Air Force and this was his first Thanksgiving away from home. I used it as an excuse to play house and have all of the people I cared the most about in my home to share a meal. I did the whole bit, used real napkins, and even made an apple pie from scratch. Topped off with a few rounds of karaoke – we’re Pinoy after all.

Fast forward a few years and tomorrow I’m celebrating Thanksgiving again for the first time since the last time. This time I’m not cooking. That’s not the only difference, not a single person who was sat around that table during my first Thanksgiving will be there at this one. Part of me is sad at that fact, not all of the absentees by my choosing, but this is where our lives have taken us. Some geographically distant, the American boyfriend now a husband and with that a home away from us. Others distant because sometimes that’s just how it is.

Many of those friends that once shared my table, I make the distinction between them and the people I choose to share my life with now. They are the family I would never have chosen, but for whom I am incredibly grateful that someone else knew better. Those friends are now the people I see on special occasions, Christmas and the odd birthday here and there although we can never all seem to make it at the same time. They are the people who knew me before I became me, the ones who will always be in my life no matter how much time has been spent.

The ones I will share a meal with tomorrow, they are some of the ones I have chosen. They know who I am without perhaps the (dis)benefit of knowing everything that I was. I am reminded every day of the high regard these people hold me in, but I am only the sum of everyone that has come into my life and allowed me to be who I needed to be. Without judgement. Without restraint. Without fear. I am the person they have had the faith that I could become. For them I am always thankful.

You don’t have to be an American to take this time to look at what it is in your life you are thankful for, but it is sometimes a good reminder. There are of course the big things, a roof over my head, a bank balance that may not be in the best of health but that I can handle, and a year without having to spend too many moments sat by someone’s hospital bed praying they’ll be okay. There are the little things, a tweet that reminds you how brilliant we can be, Jessie’s laughter as we chase her around the park, front row tickets to your favourite musical. And of course there are those things we never expected, the friendships formed from acts of randomness that every day give you reason to smile, spontaneous words that become your favourite quotes, thank yous that you would never have asked for.

So if the question is asked, I am thankful for everything and for everyone. If it didn’t happen the way it did, if they weren’t exactly who they were – even those that ended up being the very worst person for me despite my continually believing they could be better, then my life wouldn’t be what it is – and it is good. It is so very very good.

Happy Thanksgiving, whether you celebrate Turkey Day or not.

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”

– John Henry Jowett

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Filed under (In)sanity, Words