Year 2018: Reflections

Looking Back:

*What are the things you did that you’re proud of?*

For 2018, I am most proud of consistently providing for the needs of my parents, tithing, and sacrificing my wants for the wants of others every month.. Some say it’s too much, but for me knowing that my parents and my siblings have something to eat and enjoy on is more gratifying. I am also proud of managing my finances well; I had reached my target savings while also taking care of myself and my family as the breadwinner. I thank God for all of this and for giving me a full-time job with Appen for the summer and the continuous hours until May or June! With this savings, I was able to pay for everything for my mother’s short stay in Australia with me. I did feel proud when I was able to sponsor her and use my bank account as evidence. It has been one of my dreams to tour my parents without them having to spend a single penny.  Because of working hard, I didn’t have to worry about our comfort because I can pay for our hotel in the cities and flights around Australia. But these accomplishments all point to me being an independent woman finally, at 27!

I’m also proud of myself for accepting the Appen Apollo projects and not allowing fear to cripple me. True enough, fear was temporary and created. It’s only through engagement that I gained new skills: escalating risks which eventually led for higher rate for China in general, dealing with non-Latin complex projects involving around half million utterances. I would have not known I’m capable of handling those big projects if I allowed fear to block me. Bit by bit, I got used to online global meetings, high profile emails, and responding to questions with ‘I am not sure’ or ‘I have no idea’, accepting the fact that I can be wrong and not know the answer. Lastly, I‘m proud of all my HDs for this semester because they reflect the effort I put in – with Appen work on the side for the past semesters.

*What mistakes you made?*

I think one mistake I made is saying no to social gatherings and putting my health on the sidelines. I realised I need to change this when I went to Sydney with my mama, seeing mothers traveling with their husband and children. A question I have been asking was ‘how can I enjoy my time with my family if I am this big and I’m usually exhausted even after just a few steps’. It’s disgusting. It’s about time I put my health as a top priority and myself. My hair hasn’t been cut, my night routine involves scrolling through FB and watching Youtube videos, and my irregular menstruation was disregarded. More importantly, I didn’t spend too much time as I normally have with God! That’s the biggest mistake for me! Not committing to a church family. Although I attend Saddleback church online, it’s no substitute for a present church where I interact with people personally.

*What were your favorite memories for this year?*

The three-day stay in Sydney with my mama for sure, but to be honest I enjoy the mundane more… and so the fondest memories for me are going to Copland for the lectures and Baldessin building for the tutes, the busy productive nights and roller coaster weeks of academic semesters, the chats with professors and classmates.  I love it so much! I am willing to do it again!

*What went well this year?*

Uhm, straight (high) HDs (but again it comes with a price, my health!)

*What is the biggest lesson you learned in 2018?*

Make time for God and you will have more than enough time. You cannot serve two masters at the same time is a bible passage, but it doesn’t ring true to me until this year when I work and study at the same to provide for my parents. Pick God first, and you will have enough energy for other things. What happened was I always put off God, telling him I had to respond to this email, then to another email. The truth is, those emails won’t stop, so I have to pause and choose God every time!

Looking Ahead:

*What’s one limiting story you’re ready to let go of before the New Year?*

I’m willing to let go of the story that my life doesn’t matter, that I can never change, and most of all, that all this is temporary! It is, but God is a good God. As long as we put Him first in our lives, then we don’t have to fear the future. No effort can substitute for God’s mercy and grace! While this is true though, it doesn’t mean I should stop giving and tithing, for it’s God’s way of testing our heart.

*What do you want to do differently in the New Year?*

I have a few things in mind, more of a checklist, but my mantra is going to be ‘Year of God and Good Health’, so definitely not binging on Facebook and Youtube, standing at least three hours a day and exercising at least two hours a day, and of course removing coke from my diet, and working on my relationship with my God!

*What advice would you give to yourself in the next year?*

Kayla, it’s not done yet. You still have another year. Get out of yourself, it’s tiring I know, but it’s a responsibility. Use whatever you learned to give back to the community in the Philippines, and prepare for your next adventure. It’s gonna be another five years in another country, so do not give up yet. More importantly, put God first and your health second. As long as you have these two intact, all else will fall into place. You will have more energy and peace of mind to work on your thesis, to grind on your Appen work on the side, work on your proposals for Phd to universities abroad, and travel and enjoy the beauty of the world. God and health, remember!

*Gratitude Prayer*:

God, thank you so much for 2018! It has been a ride! But through it all, You’ve been with me. I met new people and parted with some people; struggled with most courses while coursed through others; struggled with making ends meet for the first half of the year but enjoyed the financial rewards in the last six months; stayed idle and closed off to the world, centered on my Appen work and academics for most of the year yet traveled with my mama around Sydney, fulfilling my dream on the last week of 2018. Surely, everything takes time. There’s a time for sowing and a time for reaping. Thank you because You have never left! Thank you for this little sense of pride in me! Thank you for telling me that I am enough always! Thank you for showing me the beauty of Australia and the amazing excellent courses and professors I had at ANU! Thank you for walking with me for the past year as always! As I bid farewell to it, I again surrender my past, my present and my future (esp. my thesis! hehehe) to You! Welcome 2019, Year of God and Good Health!

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