2016 Reflections

Thank you Crystal Cha for this.

Questions to sum up my 2016:

1.What is your most favorite single day or event?

This is hard, but I think celebrating the first day of the year at the Statue of Liberity with my friends. I never thought a year back that I would be blessed to begin the year atop the world-famous gigantic masterpiece with a few dollars left in my pocket. Hahaha!

Ah, nope. Let me refresh that. The best event that happened was taking the leap of faith to tour around Chicago on my own, without knowing anyone from there. The benefits were staring at Renoir’s colourful paintings at the Chicago museum, spending three hours (finally!) in the museum, asking strangers to take my picture when my selfie stick failed me, walking around the city without a map and managing to get back at international hostel at 9 PM on my own anyway, drinking hot chocolate at Hershey’s (ahem!) minus the friends who badgered me, going wherever I wanted at the pace I felt necessary, spending my two nights at Chicago’s Willis Tower and John Hancock Center for separate nights as I gaze back at the city lights, then taking the time to finish off my free breakfast (loads of butter and breads and cereals and lattes), deciding to take the line to O’hare instead of spending 40s for Uber, and finally meeting an amazing, intelligent, god-fearing Australian by the name of Pam.

  1. What is the best thing I built/created/started?

I got two or three? probably four! Yep four! The first is my website www.theorator.org which is a reflection of what I envision myself to be doing for the world. It’s far from beautiful, but I managed to create it on my own. It’ll probably sit there for a few months next year before I kick off things once again. The second is my speech board game which I already finished but I need to refine. Decision has to be made whether to commercialize it or to give it to schools, or to include it in my book. The third is the half-way finished public speaking book I have been writing for five months or so. Before depression hit me this year, I was all pumped up to expedite the process of finishing the book. Last is the ebook I released entitled Reflections of Damaged Characters where I included my black writings.

  1. What is the most impactful decision I made for the future?

I guess it’s deciding to build on my character and committing to one thing. People who know me remember my angry voice, my commanding aura, blah blah. And I don’t want to be remembered that way anymore.

The change started two years ago, but it reached its peak this year when I acknowledged I can never be the jack-of-all-trades or the Renaissance woman I proclaim myself to be, and be equally the best in the sciences and the humanities. Gone are high school and college years where getting A’s in those subjects while running clubs and manning an entire college, being exempted from Chemistry exams and praised for a scientific explanation of God in religion and philo subjects, receiving A’s in all my papers for literary criticism subjects, being tagged as a legend for always breaking terror professors’ records, earning 99+ in the science subject of a national test fooled me into believing I can be in the lab,  pretending I’m great in English inside the classroom, in the fields researching or balancing equations, conducting trainings and workshops, teaching students in far-flung areas about God and humanity while running my public speaking empire!

(yep! Crazy!)

But, I repeat. That’s never going to happen. I have blamed my education for my confused identity. I struggle seeing students I trained pursuing medicine and their parents and the mother of three doctors who were my seniors commenting, “You could have been a doctor or a lawyer.” Blah blah blah.

But to be honest… they are wrong.

I am pretty sure I can never be a doctor. I am a worry wart and a panic penny. Ya’ll know panic should never be in a doctor’s vocabulary.

I can never be a lawyer either because I’ve come to know myself fully. I can think of flaws in arguments but I have a chaotic mind. I don’t trust myself. Unless my idea is perfect, I won’t speak of it. I am not spontaneous. Believe me, I fear impromptu speaking. A lawyer should be quick while I take things slow. A lawyer should be confident, while I am still struggling with low self-esteem.


Side comment: I’m happy I entrusted God my decisions and not some national test telling me I should take up medicine or be in any scientific field.

  1. What are the lifelong goals I achieved?

To answer this, let me give you a back story.

When I was 15 years old, I asked God to bring people to my life who will see the real me, and prayed harder that a time will come when I no longer need to unleash “the beast” at whatever circumstances. (That was mom’s greatest fear when I left for the states)

I managed but I struggled. I eventually failed to hold it in anymore, started raising my eyebrows, rolling my eyes that I had to storm out of the room to lessen the gravity. I remembered crying in the bus with Gin. We talked about my past, how I believe the real me is different than what my new found friends are seeing. And the wise Gin remarked, “Ate, what we’re seeing is the real you. Here, you don’t have to pretend.”

Light bulb on!

This is me. What people love about me is me. And my long wish/goal to let people appreciate my character instead of my achievements has been achieved. It took four years to finally get here, but I’m here now.

No turning back.

  1. What are the hardest lessons learned?
  • Life is hard. PERIOD. And it is full of shit, full of cheaters, full of fakes and full of naggers. People make us cry, but we make people cry too. People cheat on us, but we unknowingly cheat on other people as well. Why fret?  We’re all the same anyway.But the hardest part (breathe in, breathe out)…people (especially the ones you care about) change and leave, not because they don’t care but because circumstances and distance force them to be. They mean the world to you and the next second they are no longer there. You hold on to them for a moment, but you realize you’ve got to move on because there are a lot of shits you have to man up to. But one thing is certain, God never changes, and family never leaves. So set your priorities straight.
  • Set your priorities straight or the world will decide which priorities you need to take. And you wouldn’t want the messed up world to decide for you.
  • The world is messed up. We’re all struggling, so stop being a cry baby and playing the victim. We’re all messed up, but the beautiful part is we’re all in this together.
  • We’re all in this together. I repeat. WE are all in this together, so never assume you ALONE make the world go round.Never make assumptions. Never make assumption that some guy likes you unless he says so. Never assume the grumpy soul dislikes you unless he tells you straight. Never assume your friends don’t care unless they confess. Again, life is not some kind of movie where you are the main actress.
  • You are not the main actress, so the better side to that is you can live the life you want however you want it, and da-da-da-da, no one cares! Want to have some black nails? Puhlease! Want to leave the public sector for a private company because your intuition tells you? Go. In the end, your life might not be a movie everyone wants to see, but an adventure someone might want to live.
  • Life is an adventure, and a crazy ride.
  • Life is a crazy ride. One time you’re in renowned places, the next day you wake up to the rushing sounds of trucks passing by your ancestral house. While you’re in the former, you miss home. But when you’re home, you think you’re crazy for not spending your time exploring the foreign city. Regrets!
  • It’s okay to regret for a while, but you realize you’re just 25 and you need to stand back up and face the world, and be you.
  • Be you. Once you become the real you, you make the world a little less difficult.
  • Life is difficult. It is screaming HARD. But that’s what makes life beautiful anyway, so accept and ignore the cheaters, the haters, the naggers, the fakes- they are all a part of your interesting world.
  1. What are your new hobbies and passions?

I learned new skills this year as required by my new job in a speech and search technology company. I learn how to run scripts, commands, write simple regexes which I wouldn’t have experienced working in the academe.

  1. What is your most humbling experience for the year?

The most humbling experience has to be waiting on God to direct me to the job I need to take. I’ve waited for five months to get to the new job I love. Again, I’m fortunate that I followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting. I prayed hard before choosing. This new job comes with buckets of tears and fears and dams of faith. My savior never left me. He told me to just be held. Obeying God brought me to the kind of job I really wanted.

  1. What is one thing I am most grateful for the year?

I am grateful for choosing to live the life I wanted instead of allowing society to dictate it for me. I became self-reliant and independent this year.



Categories: Development, Lessons, Musings, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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