31 December 2013
I have been trying to open Blogger for a few days now, but it hasn't been cooperating with me! I was half expecting it to act up again as I was trying to open it a few minutes ago but, to my surprise, it worked and opened without me having to restrain myself from pounding on my 'enter' key like a maniac! I guess this is Blogger's New Year gift to me! And, I hope it stays this way the whole year of 2014! Hehe! But, seriously, I hope it does! :-)
December is a very important month for this blog! I created this blog and posted my first ever entry on December 18, 2003, making that date not only this blog's birthday, but my blogging birthday as well! And, no, I didn't miss it! I wanted to make this blog's 10th anniversary special, but to my dismay, Blogger just wouldn't let me do that! When I mentioned earlier that I've been trying to open this site for a few days now, I meant since December 18! Not a few days really, is it? I wanted so much to write an entry on the very day this blog hit its 10th year! And, since I don't really do drafts, I've forgotten what I was so excited to write about that day! Well, aside from how happy I was to have reached 10 years of blogging! Haha! But, well, I don't want to dwell on the negative and what I can't change so let me take this opportunity to, again, thank everyone who's kept me company through my blogging years and hopefully will keep visiting in the years to come.
If you've followed this blog for some time now, I think you'd know how much good it has done me! Through it, I've met so many great people, most of whom have become real-life friends of mine. I've earned a few commendations for it. It has served me well by being my main outlet for some time. I know that I don't blog as much as I used to and I feel bad about that, but I know that I will always keep this blog alive. I hope that you all still visit when you have time to spare. As for those readers who are new here, you can click on the "Into the Ocean" icon (the one with the mermaid) or the topmost icon in the left sidebar to read through my archives. :-)
So, there! Belated happy birthday, The Ocean of My Being! 10 years is a long time! We've made it! Here's hoping that we have more decades together! Weeee! :-)
I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions, as you probably already know if you've been reading this blog for a while, but in celebration of our 10th anniversary, and since this is a New Year post, I will try to come up with my Top 10 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2014 list. This will somehow be as random as it gets because I'm thinking and resolving (okay, deciding) as I write.
(Disclaimer: I might also be just blabbing...)
1. Be more generous.
- I want to be more generous in 2014! I'm not only talking about money, gift-giving, or helping other people. I also want to be more generous with my time. I want to spend more time with family and friends. I also want to give more time for seeing and visiting family and friends who might need some distraction or who might be having some downtime. I want to reserve time for seeing and visiting family and friends whom I haven't really seen and talked to for a while. And, of course, I want to make sure I have more "me-time." That's it, I want to be more generous towards myself and people around me. Wait, does this mean I'll be more generous with my students' grades, too? Well, I guess, that depends on them! Ha! :-)
2. Read more.
- I keep telling myself this almost every day! I read! Oh, yes, I do! Reading definitely tops the list of things I love to do, and I'd like to think that I read a lot. Maybe I really do. But, there just isn't enough time! There are just so many good books to read! I always make it a point to read at least two books every month. And, I hardly go anywhere without a book in my hand. I normally go up to as many as five books per month; it really depends on the length. I wish it were the only thing I had to do! Well, I know that's not possible. But, at least, I hope to do more of it in 2014. By the way, what I mean by reading here is leisure/pleasure reading, not academic reading. I mean, that (academic reading) is imperative! Haha! :-)
3. Travel more.
- If there was one thing that I truly (and desperately?) want to do more of in 2014, that would most definitely be traveling! I want to go and experience different places, get to know different cultures and peoples, see and explore wonderful sights, etc. I've always wanted to travel! In fact, one great dream that has always stayed with me from the time I was but a few years old up to now is my dream to travel around the world and visit every country there is. My SSEAYP experience started me off that great dream when it gave me the chance to travel outside the Philippines for the first time in my life! And, it was not travel to and visit just one country, but we went to eight countries! That's like hitting eight birds with one stone! That was a freakin' massacre, man! (Sorry for the bad metaphor!) And, after that, more opportunities to travel abroad came. I wish some, or maybe at least one, would come again in 2014! But, if I don't get to travel outside the country, I wouldn't really mind it as long as I get to travel within the country! There are just so many places to visit in this country alone! Sagada (in Mountain Province) is #1 in my list of places in the Philippines I want to visit and I will reach that place next year! That, I will make sure of! In shaa Allah! :-)
4. More water, less soft drinks.
- I drink a lot of water every day. I think it's one of the reasons why I don't get sick a lot. But, I also drink soft drinks a lot! Especially, Coke! I want to lessen, if not completely stop, my soft drink intake! If you personally know me, I know that you probably think I won't be able to do this. And, I won't promise to prove you wrong. But, I'm willing to give it my best! I've never seriously tried to do this my whole life, but I have to start somewhere sometime, right? No harm in trying! And, I do know that discipline is the key! So, in 2014, one of the D's in my initials will stand for "Discipline!" Yes!!! Hahaha! :-)
5. Be more active. (Read: Exercise more, play sports more!)
- I have always been quite active; I run and I play soccer with my team, but I also spend most parts of my days sitting at my desk, behind a PC monitor, reading or just watching TV. My job normally has me running from one place to another and I am happy about that as that keeps me going and going and going! But, I still need to exercise more. I need to stretch and flex my muscles more. My body is telling me that! Plus, I am not getting any younger! I can feel and somehow stay young, though! And, one way to make sure of that is by keeping my body active.
6. Lose some weight.
- I am fat! Yes, I know that. And, when I say fat, I don't mean it the way obsessed teenagers say they're fat when you can barely pinch any skin off them! When I say I'm fat, I mean I am fat! Get the picture? Haha! I gained weight some years ago when I relocated to Manila because when I moved there, I stopped walking and running from one place to another. The weather just didn't allow me to do that. I bummed around for about 6 months prior to my entrance to Graduate School. I basically stayed inside my aunt's place the whole time without any exercise and with her feeding me like I was a sumo wrestler in the making! Also, I drank iced Coke like there was no tomorrow! My excuse? Manila's climate was just scorching hot! So, when I came home to Marawi after my first two years in Manila, everyone who saw me was shocked! I looked like the old me got swallowed by some animal! Haha! Anyway, I never really got my 'original' body structure back. Well, I never really tried to get it back either. My mom has been nagging me to get back to my fit self since Day 1, but I never really felt the need to do so. And, in all honesty, up until this very day, I'm still quite happy with the way I look and my weight. I don't know if you'll believe me, but I guess I've gotten used to it, even the mocking comments at times. Coming from a country like the Philippines where the usual greeting one gets from another person is "Tumaba ka!" (You've gained weight!) or "Ang payat mo!" (You're so thin!), you know how tough it can be. But, somehow, having the personality I have has actually made me immune to such comments. In fact, I sometimes enjoy the comments! Even I will say that there are times such comments sting, though! And, really bad, too! So, what has made me decide to finally act on it! My mom has been wishing this for years, but I've never really tried granting her wish! What has changed my mind about being okay with being fat? One word-- health! I'm not sick or anything, don't get me wrong. I think I'm even quite fit for my size. I can run faster and longer than some people who are way lighter and younger than I am. But, lately, I'm starting to feel that my age is slowing me down. And, I know that the best way to fight that is being fit and healthy. No, no, no, I'm not going to be a big health and fitness buff! I don't think I ever will! But, I do want to be a little more fit and healthier as I grow older. That way, I can enjoy life more and I can age gracefully and beautifully! So, 2014 will be the year that I start taking more care of myself and my body. :-)
7. Save money.
- I don't have savings! I want to start in 2014! I want to save for the future and for something that I want/plan to do a few years from now. My salary isn't much, but I'm lucky to be staying in a place where I don't necessarily have to spend so much. I will no longer splurge on things that I don't really need. Sure, I still want to enjoy what I earn from working hard and I will, but I need to save so I can enjoy and have a better life. It's as simple as that.
8. Be more mature and responsible.
- I know how it feels to take responsibility for something. It's tough, yes, but it's not as bad as one would think. As they always say, one sign of maturity is to take responsibility for something that one has done. Admitting and accepting one's fault may be difficult, but it has to be done if only to be free from it. I have had my share of regrets and mistakes. There are some I took responsibility for; there are some I blamed other people for. In 2014, I want to be more responsible in my words, my actions, and my decisions. I want to take some important things into consideration. I want to be less self-absorbed and be more sensitive of other people, especially people that matter. Also, I want to be more responsible in my job. Teaching is not an easy job. I've always tried to put my students' welfare before my own and that's something that always makes me happy about what I do. But, I also know that my responsibilities do not end in the classroom. The best way to teach and share really is doing these for and with the community. Throughout my college years, I was exposed to volunteerism and community service. This made me the kind of person that I am, I guess. I want to extend my work more. In short, I want to be a more caring and responsible citizen as a whole!
9. Be more Meranaw.
- Friends who have known me since my early years of High School, or ever since I was old enough to understand a thing or two about culture and tradition, know how proud I am and and how much I love being a Meranaw. When I was in College, I read and studied more and more about our people, culture, traditions and practices. I came to find out how beautiful and great being a true Meranaw was. My fascination and fondness for everything truly Meranaw increased more and more. It continues to this day and will continue up until my last day in this world. It makes me very sad that most of us have actually forgotten what being a true Meranaw is. Some of us have forgotten, or in worse cases do not even know, original Meranaw culture. Some of us cannot differentiate original Meranaw practices from the corrupted ways of today's Meranaws who have actually been influenced so much by alien practices that they've totally lost themselves! Some of us only know that corrupted ways or corrupted versions of what were once some of the greatest and most beautiful practices. Some of us even attribute negative things and habits to Meranaw culture! Just read a few chapters of the Darangen and you will realize that all these bad habits and negative practices are not Meranaw! I do not claim to know everything about the Meranaw because I know that my knowledge of such is so lacking and too little. This is why I want to learn and be a better Meranaw this 2014! I also want so much to learn the traditional way of speaking the Meranaw language. I want to speak it correctly and know it the way a true Meranaw should. I want to learn and listen to more bayok and thobad-thobad. I want to be able to understand perfectly the old Meranaw sayings. I want to share and spread this love and pride I've always had for my culture to other people around me, especially the Meranaw youth.
10. Be a better Muslim.
- This is something I want to strive for every single day. For us, Muslims, to be a good person is to be a good Muslim. To be more understanding of others, to show more respect to everyone, to be kind, fair and just to anyone are things that every Muslim must strive to do because the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was the most understanding, the most respectful and polite, the most just and fair, and the kindest of men. We all strive to be like him as he is every Muslim's model. Being a good Muslim will eventually make me see the goodness in everyone. Being a good Muslim will also make me good to everyone. And, as a good Muslim, I will strive to be better in the performance of the pillars of Islam. And, wanting to be the best Muslim that I can be will ultimately make me the best person that I can be in every aspect of my life. Being a good Muslim is holistic, and not limited to rituals and beliefs. I think this here is my priority in the list. :-)