Endless Lists

An article, a magazine layout, a thesis, a dream of becoming someone.

A dentist appointment, an email, a blog entry, a plan for the future.

A date, a meeting, a celebration, a conversation, a chance to feel alive.

A skill to learn (typography), a book to read (Let the Great World Spin), a film to see (Never Let Me Go), a place to be in (museums and art galleries).

Lists upon lists. Typed on a silver metal notebook with black keys touched by weary yet hopeful fingers. Numbered, highlighted, pondered upon.

Life is made up of the greatly abstract things. Love, philosophy, art, psychology, engineering, beauty, biology, rocket science, color theory, optometry. Life is felt with the small things: the delicate movements, the words spoken once and will never be heard again in the same way. A breath of fresh air in a new city, a long walk on an empty street, coins for a beggar. A mistake, an accomplishment, a broken promise, a deadline met.

There are 54 items on my Things for Semestral Break List (made up of tasks ranging from mundane to silly to difficult to time-consuming to seemingly impossible) – half are highlighted, half are most probably will be left untouched for a longer time, as the flurry and busyness of school begins in a few days.

But I will keep making lists. Until I break down, until I figure out why, and how.

Universities List

Book Log

Travel Checklist

Things to Change In Myself

Things to Do Before Turning 24

“Don’t settle.”

Steve Jobs. I have been referencing and thinking about his insanely amazing life a lot lately.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Things to Write About

3. how Apple products have changed my life

For a perennially lost and confused girl, writing lists, keeping track of progress and undying aspirations, helps her stay sane and encouraged to keep going. After all, we are not given a guidebook of how to move and act in this crazy and sometimes miserable but always beautiful, albeit fleeting and ephemeral, world. You get to, have to make your own set of rules, then follow them faithfully.

Things to Improve On

1. writing

2. being on time

3. keeping promises

4. staying true to oneself and especially when with others

5. this blog

What’s on your list?

(still) Finding my voice

A couple of outtakes from my casual shoot for the AEGIS 2012 Yearbook. Taken by Tony the photographer from Agencie, Inc., slightly edited in Adobe Photoshop by me.

This entry is long overdue.

College is when I have encountered some of life’s dark days, when the taste of bitter failure and bland disappointment have become a bit too familiar. There were lonesome lunch breaks spent with a laptop or a book or class readings for company. There were deadlines missed, decisions unfulfilled, dreams half-baked. Lost things and lost hopes. Hesitations and humiliations. An inseparable pair called uncertainty and insecurity creep into conscious thoughts at random moments.

What’s more, countless what-if-I-did-this-instead scenarios spring to mind. What if I chose to study English literature instead? Or creative writing? Or communication? Why did I end up in psychology again? Oh yeah, because I want to learn more about what makes people the way they are, in all their beautifully strange complexities, for me to write better about them.

Regardless of endless mistakes, the idealistic optimist in me kept the paranoid worry wart from emerging. I rarely lost enthusiasm in studying, in fulfilling every academic requirement, in staying curious, in rushing to class, to simply live out whatever Magis means to me. I find myself doing these while managing to sneak in some time for a tryst, a shopping spree, a riveting book, a compelling movie, a delightful restaurant dinner, a snatch of conversation and a captivating story.

Troubles and trifles aside, the last three years have been the most incredibly amazing years of my life so far.

This is an excerpt from a piece I have written for my creative writing (non-fiction) class, wherein I wrote a letter to my seventeen-year-old self:

“…You still have not shed more weight than you aspired to have, lived and studied independently in another continent, nor made tangible that persisting image of your byline printed in black letters on a glossy page. You however, have learned other priceless lessons that will come in handy for a lifetime. You will slowly realize that with patience and faith, time is on your side. Your life plan does not happen exactly how you imagine it, and yet, other things manage to happen instead, usually far more interesting and surprising than you’d dare imagine. Most of all, there are those whom you will meet in the last three years..,”

Definitely, college life would not mean anything to me without people around me. There are the people whom I have crossed paths with-strangers, close friends and friendly acquaintances, epic, crazy, and daunting teachers, and there are people admired from afar.

Three years have been indescribably wonderful, 90% because of the chance to meet such interestingly amazing persons, 10% for all the life-altering lessons learned from them. These lessons are not found anywhere but someplace where knowledge and opinions, diversity, people you share the same generation with, thrive and interact so unreservedly, like nowhere else in the world. Universities, in general. Universities with sprawling campus grounds and picturesque architecture. Universities where there is no racism nor sexism. Universities where students discover who they are through the lives of other people. Universities where separate disciplines, like moral philosophy and experimental psychology, biology and theology, can seamlessly intertwine. To be a student in a university is to open yourself up to a multitude of worlds at the same time that you have to actively be aware that you are in, every single day, else it will just be someplace you go to just because you need to. Naturally, we go to places or do things because we need to; but maybe sometimes, it’s not enough to need. Maybe we have to genuinely want it as well.

University life is what you make of it, as it is with every other aspect of existence.

* * *

This is me, attempting to find my voice once again, hoping to lessen the cliché and to build more panache, to make writing feel more natural and spontaneous once more, like the girl who once used Calvin & Hobbes and Snoopy comics and handwriting fonts in her campaign materials to win people’s hearts into voting for her as she runs for English secretary her high school’s student council, or that girl who, when reading a mystery book, is able to escape for hours from her messy Manila life, or that girl who gets lost easily, although happily does so, trusting that she will somehow find her way back. ☁

Being Eighteen

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. ~ Desiderata

image by nikolinelr

Every year, people’s hearts are filled with bright hopes, sheer optimism, new beginnings, and infinite possibilities. One of my resolutions this year is to work on my writing as well as my blog entries, which I strive to fill with more insight and less fluff, with a deeper personal touch and fewer clichéd ideas.

I write in the hopes that I could reach out to friends and strangers whom I want to touch but can’t because of the hurdles of time and distance. I write as my own actions are every so often ambiguous, that I may sometimes stammer when I talk. I write in order to make sense of what’s happening to me and around me.

Looking back on my rather eventful 2009, I realize that I want to chronicle the little moments and events that have shaped me into who I am now.

Therefore, I want to begin a series of blog entries I call Eighteen Things: different lists of eighteen things that defined me during the year 2009. Why 18? Because I am turning 19 in a couple of months, of course. This is perhaps my way of assuring myself that I did my best in making my only chance of being an eighteen-year-old girl a meaningful and awesome one.

To my very few wonderful readers, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this blog of mine. I am forever grateful. As I share bits and pieces of my life, I always hope that I have also shared a few ideas one could use, little inspirations to change, and doses of happiness to whoever is reading. I aim to make this blog more interactive and reader-friendly in the months to come, and to reply to each and every comment.

I want to continue writing this blog together with you, while we ourselves continue to grow. Let’s together look forward to this year, throwing away our worries and troubles, and to bring our big audacious dreams, highest hopes, unconditional love, and unwavering faith with us. Let’s be thankful not only for the happy moments but also for the difficult ones. 2010 is just beginning to unfold. Remember to make each and every single day count. Starting…now!

My first The Eighteen Series entry to be posted soon.

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