Long Overdue ‘Thank You 2016’ Post

To kick off my writing journey here in Medium, I’d like to reflect & share about how the past year went for me. I’ve been meaning to do this supposedly year-ender post, but I can’t seem to find the time to do so (on top of some other concerns). But finally, I’m doing it.

I know how 2016 was the year when humanity got some of its most effed up moments in history, but personally, it was one of my best years. And while people in social media expressed how they think it was the worst year yet (and how it got even worse as it ended), here I was thinking that it was great.

Somehow, I felt like I was being selfish, apathetic even, that I feel bad for saying that I’m happy outright. But then, someone once said (or at least, this was how it translates to me) that celebrating the wonderful moments doesn’t mean that you ignore the bad ones — call out the wrongs but recognize the rights, or something like that. And so, my conflicting feelings are resolved. Hence, this post — a list of the things that I’m grateful for last year.

New Role, Same Company. Towards the end of 2015, one of our previous stakeholders did a talk and advised us, “Be worried when you feel comfortable,” because while being comfortable is not bad, it is only when we keep pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones that we could grow. I held on to this thought, and contemplated on my next steps. Fortunately for me, at the start of 2016, there was an opportunity to move to a different, and a more challenging, role in the company where I’m currently working in. I gave it a try, and after the interviews, I got it!

I’m glad I had the courage to take and follow the advise. I could have let it pass, like before, thinking I wasn’t good enough, thinking it is not yet time — I’m glad I didn’t. If I didn’t push myself, I might have been at the same place doing the same things over and over again.

What I’m most thankful for in this new role is how there’s almost always an opportunity for growth — I’ll just have to keep in mind the thought which brought me here.

The chance to explore new places. In 2016, I’m thankful I had the chance to visit and to explore a number of new places, with same old friends whose company I really enjoy. For one, I’m grateful I’m with a company where the nature of work allows Work — Life Balance. And also, I’m glad that my body was able to keep up with most, if not all of the activities I engage myself into while on a trip — hours and hours of walking, trekking, hiking, etc. with little to no sleep at all (I find it hard to sleep on beds other than mine). Sometimes, I wonder where I get that much energy. I know it won’t always be the case, so here’s a note to myself: MAKE AN EFFORT TO BE HEALTHY! I guess that’s the least I can do so I can continue going places.

Back to my most favorite place ever. I guess I got lucky. I scored a really really cheap flight to Japan, so I couldn’t say no. And so, last year, I was able to return to my forever happy place. It was my 3rd time being there, but it never runs out of ways to amaze and inspire me. I just fall in love every time.

I went to new cities, but I also returned to the ones I loved from my previous Japan trip. My favorites from last year’s trip would be reliving the ways of the Samurai as I walked from one post town to another via the Nakasendo, biking around Himeji, the entirety of Onomichi, relaxing and basking in the wonderful view of Iwakuni’s Kintai-kyo, hiking in Miyajima, and the overall vibe of Fukuoka (and the Daiso near Hakata Station!!!).

As always, trips to Japan are exhausting with the endless walks, but being surrounded by its abundant nature, its astonishing architecture and colorful bright lights is rejuvenating to the soul. I’m tired, but I’ve never felt so alive.

I’m thankful for every moment.

Sometimes, I think I put Japan in a very high regard… Maybe, I do. But so far, I’ve never actually heard anyone saying they didn’t like it. And really, there’s always something you’ll find interesting, at the least.

Anyway, expect more Japan posts in the coming days/weeks/months.

I look forward to the moments and opportunities that 2017 will bring.

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