Though 2012 was a hell of a year for me, it did mess up my life, a little, by turning it topsy-turvy. So this year, my goals are all about finding my “center”: figure out how to align personal projects and passions with socially relevant and politically significant purposes. Handle my commitments more responsibly, including clearing my INCs, maintaining more regular hours at work, not signing up for more activities than I can reasonably schedule AND accomplish, turning down invitations to weekday socials that will impinge upon my Sacred Sleeping Time, and pondering the future again (What do I want to be doing five, ten years from now? What do I want to achieve?). Re-affirm beliefs and principles by living them. Figure out my priorities and focus on those—learn the skill of dismissing distractions. Ignore and avoid attention-seeking, intellectually stagnant, and emotionally puerile talk of the idle and bored. Calibrate wanderlust (and save up for that 2014 SEA backpacking trip!). Have fun, but not TOO MUCH fun. Perhaps 2012 has been the closest I could get to a “gap year.” It’s time to get back on track this 2013!
Oplan Ayos Buhay Guidelines:
- Forget sleepless weekends spent on anime marathons and multi-day paper all-nighters during UP hell week. Now, your body will refuse to rise and your mind will operate in a haze without at least seven hours of sleep. You will simply not function. So set a Sacred Sleeping Time and stick to it. Be in bed by 10 PM and rise before 5:30 in the morning. Except maybe on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.
- Manage your time wisely. This is especially important because you want to accomplish so many goals! The first thing you should realize is that you don’t have time for everything and everyone. It’s hard, but you have to choose some commitments over others and learn to say no to supposedly fun activities. Let your friends know that you’re there for them when they need you, but when they don’t… well, you’ll be in your room, studying for tomorrow’s class or catching up on your work backlog.
- You spend more on cab fare than on food and rent combined. It’s RIDICULOUS! Stop dawdling so you don’t miss the ride to work. You don’t need all morning to bathe and get dressed, young lady. And try to confine musing and leisure reading to the evening. You know how time flies when you’re engrossed in the pages of a website or a book, or your own flighty thoughts.
- When stressed or depressed, you eat too much of the wrong kinds of stuff and then you feel bloated and get snappish or moan about how you’re getting so fat. Of course you’re gonna get fat when you take out your frustrations on a chocolate bar, a bag of chips, or huge servings of nai cha. Here’s an idea: when you feel the anxiety or sadness creeping up on you, listen to soothing music or read poetry. Talk to a friend (trust in their love.) Or better yet, run. Breathe in and out, breathe deep. You don’t take all those yoga and t’ai chi classes for nothing!
- Speaking of milk tea, lay off them! At least don’t make a beeline for Gong Cha or Chow King practically every other day. It’s expensive and fattening. Think about how the cost of that large cup of Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese can feed you for a day or so in Cambodia. Think about that! Instead of shelling out hard-earned moolah for a sugary drink you’ll consume in like ten minutes, save it for that month-long dream SEA backpacking trip.
- Be more mindful of your finances. Minimize consumption—just because that clever copy tells you your life would be so much better with the item it’s selling doesn’t mean it’s true. Stop mindless spending. List down everything you buy. When logging monthly expenses, purchases made using your credit card should be debited, not forgotten until the credit card bill arrives. Don’t forget to pay your bills on time—finance charges can add up to a small fortune!
- You can’t live with a roommate, no matter how lovely and caring a person she is. You are too proprietary about personal space and are very protective of your solitude. You never feel like talking when you get home but you always worry that you’re being rude in your silence. Also, you can be such a scatterbrain sometimes! Elude anxiety, and get your own quarters. Yes, it will be more expensive, but that’s the price you pay for being an incorrigible, absent-minded introvert.
- Multitasking drives you nuts. You need to be able to focus on one task at a time, because each requires a different thought process. Otherwise, you get rattled and irritable. Look, it may not seem like it, but not every assignment is urgent. Make to-do lists. Rank tasks according to importance and urgency. Learn to delegate. Set a schedule. Use Focus Booster. And don’t add to other people’s stresses by being a bitch.
- You are happiest when hiking. You love traveling. You especially love traveling alone. But you have to calibrate wanderlust. If you had world enough and time, honey, tramping would be no crime; alas, you have obligations that should take precedence. You can’t run off every freaking weekend to the boondocks! Complete your INCs first. Spend more time with your family. Pay off your credit card. And save up for that backpacking trip.
- You may not admit it, but you tend to trust people and get attached to them easily, if they’re likable and kind to you. You can’ be so naive anymore. You’re lucky: you grew up in a loving family, have awesome friends, and know mostly smart, sensitive, nerd- or artist-types of boys. But this has little prepared you for the rude realization that there are assholes in this world and they can happen to you. So remember, trust should be hard-earned, and hardly ever bestowed fully. I’m not saying you should be suspicious of every kindness done to you, but be on your guard. Try to think about the motivations behind a person’s actions.
- All relationships are investments. They require time, energy, and care to thrive. But not all relationships are rewarding—not all will make you happy or help you to learn and develop as a person. So prune the mediocre and abusive ones that hamper your growth or corrupt you. Be picky with the people you let into your life. Not everyone is worth the time, the effort, the hurt. And when you meet people who are worth it—treasure them and love them well. Take care of those connections, for they make life worth living.
- You are not as strong, as rational, or as righteous as you believed yourself to be. It’s okay to constantly push yourself beyond your comfort zone, for that is how you grow. But lacking awareness of your proper boundaries will lead to illusion and mistakes in overstepping them. So know yourself. Examine your own motivations in making decisions. Accept your faults, your complexes, your scars, and work at straightening them out—a gradual, arduous process.
- Know what you want and what you wish to accomplish in life. Have a vision, and make plans toward that vision. But also realize that plans don’t always work out the way you expect them to, that things often won’t go your way no matter how strong your will. Accept disappointments and strive to rise above them. And it’s okay not to always have a plan. The important thing is to have a dream, a general idea of how to work towards it, and a determination to work, no matter how long or challenging the slog. The shortest distance between two points may be a line, but that doesn’t make it the best route. Remember that you don’t reach a mountain’s summit by climbing straight from the jumpoff to the top—it takes a more roundabout way, through rolling slopes and varied terrain. You may get lost, or take a sidetrip. You may have to evacuate in an emergency, or you may abandon the project altogether. But know that it’s always there, and you can always come back.