Twenty Fifteen: The Year that Was

As I gaze at the picturesque scenery of the Venice Grand Canal on an azure afternoon, I briefly pondered how equally beautiful the year 2015 has been. The glistening sun stretched its rays on my face giving me favorable warmth, while specks of memories flash back and familiar voices echo through my mind on a typical chilly day of January. Walking along the new pavements and smelling the hint of fresh paint, I likewise felt that I am passing through the first blank pages of the year and it’s indeed a perfect time to reflect.

The year 2015 has been a remarkable year. To simply describe it, it was a year of CHANGES and BOLDNESS. I may have little monetary investments, but I can proudly say I invested much in experiences and relationships and bravely went outside my comfort zone to pursue my dreams. I visited new places, started new relationships, took a bigger role in my career, developed new passions and  acquired lessons. I also found the courage to re-invent myself and became confident with it.

I’ve had too much crossroads last year. At the first quarter, I was presented of this opportunity working abroad – something I haven’t considered for the longest time. There was this burning desire for me to see the bigger world out there, help my family in terms of finances and be self-sufficient. I felt like I was running out of time and I’d have to start right away to build my future. To gauge myself, I took the IELTS and eventually reached my target mark despite my lack of confidence acing it. Although my overseas dream has been hounding me and has not given me the enough clarity yet, (because of too many considerations) what highlighted my career last year was my promotion as Financial Content Analyst of the Support Group. It is a pretty much challenging role, but it gives me the room to have firsthand interaction with our clients and exercise my sense of discernment, upgrade my skills, and improve my professional relationship with my colleagues. Prior to that, I was also blessed to receive recognition in my previous role as a Research Analyst and even nominated as a candidate for Senior RA. Given that, I’m still in the process of weighing things before leaving everything behind to pursue my dream of Canada, Australia or New Zealand.

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It’s also nice to recount the profound experiences I’ve had in 2015. Travelling to different places has given me the leisure to learn new things, be acquainted with different kinds of people, and gain new perspectives.  My insatiable thirst for adventure brought my feet to Antipolo, Tanay, Palawan, Pangasinan, Zambales and Quezon to explore the diverse beauty of our country, its locals, food and experience doing extreme activities. From cliff and helmet diving in Hundred Islands, to camping under the stars in a remote island of Cagbalete, to snorkeling to the deep parts of El Nido to reach hidden lagoons, to hiking in Tanay to see its hidden waterfalls, and to staycationing in Ortigas to have that much needed post-birthday relaxation.

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Never in my wildest dream did I also imagine finding enjoyable time in boxing, skateboarding, and working out in the gym to boost physical fitness.I dared to try the things I haven’t, to test my agility and strength. I even went to an amusement park and tried all the extreme rides not only to relive my childhood joy, but to conquer my fears and have that extraordinary adrenaline rush!

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This year I also found solace in going out alone, to do chores independently, observe people or indulge in my interests. I tried old and new restaurants and checked out their featured dishes, lounged in the cafe for hours, saw galleries and bazaars and listened to live bands. I enjoyed my solitude as it gives me time to be in tune with my inner self and know more my preferences and reservations with certain things. 

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Last year, I also had the privilege of taking the lead in the Youth Ministry of our church. The sense of fulfillment in helping others, inspiring them and influencing them is but priceless. The joy is incomparable when you invest in the lives of others. Plus, it keeps me grounded to my faith and principles and be more cautious of my testimony. I remember when I used to be a timid girl, a spectator on the side merely watch things happen in the ministry. Now, I devote my enthusiasm, ideas and time in rebuilding the Young Ambassadors Group to fulfill the commitment in serving the Lord.

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Blogging summarizes my passion for food, travel and writing and it’s overwhelming to know the positive reception of the public with my write-ups. Last year I received commendations and even invitations from restaurant owners. Aside from having the outlet to express myself creatively, I get to appreciate the smallest details of my experience and find meaning in the simplest things in life. It increases my hunger for learning. It makes me crave for new discoveries. 

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Having a back track of what went through the year also allows you to have a run -through on the significant relationships you made or lost. Inevitably, people come and go. It’s really part of the process. I made new friends, and I lost some too. Perhaps as you mature and grow older, your perspectives or interests will differ against each other. You become more wary of people to trust, and be selective of people to attach your strings with. But in the end, you get to accept yourself more and stand up for what you believe in. You don’t need to compromise your happiness and self-worth to please others and blend in with the majority. I’ve also learned to shrug-off the negative comments of others and take them constructively. In these circumstances, I am extremely grateful to know my true friends who’ve stayed for years, and my family who have been always supportive despite our occasional misunderstandings. Although we have weathered so many storms last year, we became closer to each other, especially my siblings. They became my best pals.

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So that was the glimpse of year 2015. The blessings, achievements and answered prayers wouldn’t be possible without our Almighty God who faithfully sustained my needs and endowed me with the skills to surpass my undertakings. This post will be a tangible reminder how God marvelously worked in my life the entire year. I desire to reach greater heights, expand my horizon, enlarge my influence to others, take more opportunities to be better, and be an answer to someone’s prayer. I am optimistic that the year ahead will open the door for bigger and better things.

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