On Birthdays

this photo was taken during my best friend’s (curly girl in pink) birthday
“I’m not into celebrating birthdays.”

That’s my usual default response whenever I find myself being asked about birthday plans.

Well to defend myself and my somewhat anti-social statement I do have reasons why I don’t. One would be, I grew up as a very sickly child. When was I young it was inevitable that I get sick every year, usually nearing or around my birth month.There was even a time that I got sick on some certain birthday celebrations and I would basically stay at home, in bed on my birthday.

My mom would usually say that it’s somewhat normal, saying that it’s just lagnat-laki (There’s no direct translation to this, but basically it means that whenever you grow a year older, kids simply get sick — like an auto-immune thing I suppose!) My fevers weren’t really that suppressing, but since I had past medical concerns (I had Primary Complex when I was a few months old!) getting sick can be really tedious. That’s why I would end up resting and nursing myself in bed for a week tops.

And ok, if you’re waiting for a more melodramatic reason behind it… well here’s another one: It somewhat started way back 14 years ago — it was when my parents finally decided to call it quits and separate. Prior to my birth month, things at home weren’t that okay anymore. But if there’s one thing I remember, our family clearly knows how to ‘act normal’ in such situations.

I remember our family, well my Dad mostly, tried to at least do something for me on my birthday. It was a school week then and when I got home I saw something was cooked on the table and there was a somewhat plastic wrapped Hello Kitty notebook and stationary set beside it. I suppose it was his gesture that despite the trouble we were all having at home, and me being the Daddy’s little girl back, nothing has changed.

Or so he thinks.

Obviously sugarcoating things didn’t solved anything afterwards. Hence, ever since then, I decided to just stop celebrating my birthday.

But ok, don’t get me wrong too. Of course, I’ve had my share of birthday stories. My mom is quite the enthusiastic one when it comes to parties and whatnots. I’ve covered my 1st and 7th birthdays, and all of them were quite okay. (Okay because based on the photos I’ve seen on our family photo albums, it’s the first word that came into my mind). Also, the following year after what happened to our family, my Mom tried to celebrate my birthday. We drove to Shell SLEX and went to Jollibee and tried their Meatball Spaghetti that was then a new item on their menu. We ate silently and watched the sun setting over the highway.

I also had a 18th birthday celebration. I was a college sophomore back then and my schoolmates threw a surprise simple birthday treat for me. It was lovely. It was sweet and I almost cried! And the last one was when I turned 23, where I had a pre-birthday (we had Mexican tacos, beers, among others!) and actual birthday (old-school cake and pancit!) celebrations as well. Although on the day of my birthday, I was actually working on a research script with my boss that we had to send that day.

And that being said, my third reason would be the inevitable: I’m always busy on my birthday. Either I’m cramming for homework (when I was student), I had classes and checking papers (work), or I was running around from one place to another (still work, but of another kind). But on a side note — I somehow managed to tick off a few things on my bucket list: like celebrate my birthday inside the library and museum. So, check!

But as I was saying, let’s make things more incredulous here. It went to a point that I was just too exhausted that I slept on it. Yup, I just said that! Shame, I know!

I turned 27 this year and I made a decision to somewhat celebrate it. Nothing grand happened, in case you’re wondering. It was a Monday and it was raining that day too. But I managed to have dinner and a good (and a LONG) chat with a friend, and it gave me the opportunity to sit down and ponder about my life; past, present and future.

For the past years, my life has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Most them were complicated bordering to heartbreaking, while some of them were freaking awesome, full of excitement and surprises.

But despite all of it, one thing is for sure, it gave way for a lot of realisations and learnings:

That feelings change. People change. You change. We just have to accept it, and constantly remind ourselves about it. It’s just the way it is.

You can lie to other people about what you feel, but you cannot lie to yourself. If you do, you’re basically killing yourself.

Honesty and Sincerity can take you a long way. But it should start from you first.

They say that when it comes to love, it’s both giving and taking. I’ve come to realise that it’s also applicable to life in general. In a sense, what you sow is what you reap, too.

Validation from others can be uplifting but not everyone will give you that. You still have to be your own cheerleader. Also, you don’t need to please people — No, no, no! Not everyone will be happy and supportive of you. But that shouldn’t stop you from working hard and being proud of what you do and accomplished.

Quarter life crises are for real for a whole lot of reasons (bordering to normal to somewhat paranoia) And being a millennial adds more stress to it! But remember darling, you’ll manage because you’re tougher than this!

If you’re willing to wake up early or stay up late for god knows whatever reason, then you’ll manage to go on a diet and stick with it. Believe me, you can do this shit!

I’m not a morning person by default, but I’ve come to love mornings now. And it’s amazing! Not because of breakfast food, but because you get to enjoy a few moments of silence, pipping hot coffee and smiling by yourself before you start your day.

Exercising gets tedious and challenging with age. You should really start young people!

Flirting never hurts if you do it once in a while, especially if chemistry is there. But of course, always know your limits and don’t force it as well. There’s a big difference between natural and trying too hard. Always remember: Flirt responsibly.

Never, ever mistake Lust for Love. Affection shouldn’t be just all physical — you deserve way better than that.

Next to rubbing alcohol, tissue papers are essential life savers especially at an ungodly hour. Also, Gel pens are handwriting saviours, too.

Hangover gets shittier with age as well, as you become more conscious when it comes to choosing your kind poison. But that said, it still shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your drink. But aways remember the golden rule: Drink responsibly!

When you get older, trying hard to be cute doesn’t really work anymore. You’re either considered beautiful or simple. Either way, both are okay but that should affect and change how you see yourself.

The hardest thing I’ve done is to turn my back and walk away from something I know I love doing. But I know it’s my fault why I had to do it. So now, I have to accept that certain things happens for a reason.

The best thing about being a teacher, is when you’re considered a catalyst for something good. The positive side of it is that it means people believe in what you can do. As well as hearing someone say ‘Thank you’ to you at the end of the day makes a whole lot of difference in what you do.

There are days where you feel like a superhero, managing every nitty-gritty things that can and will happen. But there are days where in you’ll find it a challenge to get up and drag yourself to the shower. It happens, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You just have to deal with it.

Being busy is easy but to be productive is something else. Output at the end the day is always what matters.

There are bridges and relationships that gets burned along the way whether it’s because it doesn’t serve you anymore, or because relationships doesn’t grown and flourish anymore, or simply because you have to let it go in order to move forward.

When in doubt, shut up first and think things through first. You need to ask yourself whether what you’re having is really a problem, or maybe you’re simply being melodramatic about things.

When all else fails pray hard and keep the faith. And when things eventually becomes better, the more you pray harder and say thank you.

If there’s one accomplishment I made in the past years is that I managed to get back up from challenging situations like Bulimia and Depression. I won’t lie that I’m still struggling with it at times, but I’m glad to say that I’ve managed to learn how to control and deal with it with a lot of optimism. As the cliche goes, I’m still a work in progress.

I’ve learned that failure is not the end of everything. Giving up is.

Of course, it will not end here. I know that there would be more coming and I have to be ready for all it.

This post is originally posted here.