There is no denying that 2017 was my YOLO year.

It was not something I planned when the year started. When I think about it now though, I think it was the very thing my soul needed – a year off taking life seriously .

I guess it’s safe to say that, all my life, I’ve been pressured (perhaps a little too much by my own self) to achieve things year after year. I was expected to be on top of the class all those years from primary to high school. I was expected to strive to at least maintain my school paper scholarship in college. I was expected to land a stable nursing job after graduation to avoid being a bum at home. I was expected to pass tests after tests to be able to secure myself a job abroad. I was expected to pass the final hurdle (that was the OSCE) before I can get to say my future is ‘secured’. Year after year, I had so much expectations I had to meet.

This year was different. I was able to take a step back and appreciate life as it is. And though 2017 was filled with so many plot twists (most of which were not that pleasant), I remain grateful for this year for it has taught me so much about life, my life.

Before the year started, I already got my pin (in other words, I already qualified as a UK registered nurse). January was spent encouraging and giving pep talks to my friends who were set to retake the qualifying test. It was spent planning where to go and what to do with my newfound freedom of no longer being imprisoned to the possibility of flunking the test and being sent home.

February was my first time in London. It was another surreal moment added to my list since I stepped in the United Kingdom. It was a month of confronting reality, embracing my alone time, and learning how to adult – I think I might have tried to cook to save my life a few times that month. It was also a month of adjusting to a new workplace as an actual member of the workforce.

March was when my friends and I travelled to Northern Ireland. It was my first time outside England (that was not home, of course). By this time, I was getting the hang of how things are done in my ward, gaining a few friends in my colleagues, and starting to appreciate travelling. It was a month of confusion. It was a month of hoping and praying that my brother’s series of tests and application process turn out smoothly.

April was another month of confusion. By this time, I was being convinced to move in with my friends. I travelled locally. It was a month of trying to forget and to brush off feelings. For this whole month, I tried to be strong not only for myself but for everyone who believed in me.

May was when I started hanging out with some of the friends who I eventually can’t part with. Summer was starting at that time and our afternoons were spent wearing shades and shorts, cooking barbecue in the backyard, and laughing/telling jokes over beer. For a certain amount of time, Despacito was our anthem.

June was when I moved in to my friends’ home – on the first day of this month to be exact. I had my reasons but one of the main ones was that I was living alone in a flat with a few other strangers. I actually liked my room and was not scared to go to the kitchen in shorts. I decorated my room the way I wanted it. It was still summer – more barbecue, more beer.

July was when I got hurt. Let’s leave it there. By this time, my heart has gotten so used to being broken but that Monday felt like the day it hurt the most.

August went by in a blur. I knew my brother was flying from home anytime soon. I was trying to forget things. I still went around the UK. I was learning to be okay.

September, my friends and I went to Scotland. I was still hurt but I knew I was getting better. I had a few days off and travelling was my way to distract myself from drowning in my own thoughts. My brother finally arrived! I felt like an adult grocery shopping for him.

October was once again confusing. As strong as I was making my mind to be, apparently, some parts of me were still weak. I’ve gotten closer to the friends I’ve made over the summer and have started having actual conversations with them. I found I can trust them.

November was starting to become really cold. Some days I spent overspending, some days I spent chilling at home with a glass of wine. It marked my first year of being in the UK. By this time, I have stopped deluding myself that planking and the treadmill would get me back to my previous figure. Rice was life (still is).

December was started with us flying to North Africa – Morocco!!! It was my first birthday spent travelling. It was a bold decision to get out of the country. I attended a few Christmas parties and joined parlor games (in hopes of winning). I started to blog again. I was still confused. I bought a ticket home.

I can say this year has given me less pressure than all the previous years I had spent growing up. I was actually living. I was having adulting problems but these were problems I didn’t mind thinking about cos these were my own personal worries.

2017 was not my best year – but it was when I learned so much of life’s lessons.

Indeed, I only live once. Thank you, 2017. You are unforgettable.


What’s Up

I originally planned on a “If You Only Had 24 Hours To Live, What Would You Do?” post of sorts but went against it the last minute cos anything related to endings is not how I would want to start my new blog with. Instead, I will write a list of twenty updates (I do hope I can make it to twenty!!) of this benign state I am in which I happen to call my life. Light topics, you know.

1 I have been jobless for one month and 18 days. Not the best way to start what’s supposed to be a happy list but yes, this is the reality that I’m facing everyday for the past six weeks or so. The optimistic side of me (that’s thriving to survive in a more often than not pessimistic environment) likes to believe that this is not my destiny but the ‘in-between’.

2 I might have gotten too attached to Korean dramas. The downside of having too much free time in my hands is that, to me,  it feels like it’s moving really slowly. Everything’s so slow-paced that I’ve had enough time to finish 20 episodes of Doctor Crush while simultaneously watching W and Uncontrollably Fond. This too shall pass, I know.

3 I am 24 years old and while I’m not entirely having quarterlife crisis, I think I suffer from regular bouts of questioning my life choices. I have internal debates every now and then and cried more than once while obsessing over my life plans.

4 Writing is my therapy. This is probably one of the most-abused cliches in the world of blogging but it speaks the truth for me.

5 Only very recently, I looked up what ‘taciturn’ meant after hearing this word from a song. It surprised me how this word suits me so well. I will remember to use this more often.

6 Over the past year, my life has gone through tremenduous changes and, in a way, these experiences have made me learn to stop being surprised at what life throws at my direction. As it is, life has taught me to always expect the unexpected.

7 I cannot cook to save my life. But at least I can now drive myself to the nearest Jollibee drive-through if I have to.

8 When I was fresh out of college, my friends and I planned to go to the Rio Olympics. It was 2012 at that time. Fast forward to this year, we never really got to do that. Instead, we are in the same city as we were in at that time, working jobs that could not afford us even a one-way ticket to Brazil. One day though.

9  I am only at number nine but I’m seriously considering trimming down the list to ten. I guess I’ve always been impatient in some ways.

10 I miss working as a nurse in a hospital. This ‘in-between’ sometimes drives me crazy and it does not help that most of the Korean dramas I watch (see number 2) have medical backstories. I miss the rush I get from saving lives (though ironically, I wasn’t able to do the same for my brother).

11 My younger brother died from a cardiac attack. I won’t dwell on that on this list but if anything, I hope that one day, I get to live in a world where everyone knows how to perform CPR.

12 I think it’s also brave to acknowledge that I’m not ready (and maybe I will never be) to be in a romantic relationship. I keep on questioning what I lack or when will I ever go out on a date but I don’t think the Universe is ready to give me answers just yet.

13 I am not afraid to die anymore. I used to think dying was the worst think that could happen to me but I had gone throught something more dreadful: seeing a loved one pass. This time, whenever I think of death, I get excited at the thought of seeing W again.

14 I hate my hair so much that I’ve put on a load of chemicals more than I think it could handle. Now, it’s all twigs and no actual-looking hair strands.

15 Probably the best thing I can say about myself is how I can get effortlessly witty and have a way with words. Other than that, I pretty much don’t have a personality. Haha.

16 My mom has always accused me of being secretive. While there is some level of truth to this, I don’t think the secrets I keep are worthing fussing over. Admittedly, I don’t open up a lot to her because a) my stories don’t seem worth sharing b) she doesn’t really ask much c) my mind is all over the place and I don’t want to worry anyone with that. I’d rather write about how I feel than put my heart on my sleeve. Taciturn.

17 I’ve been having daydreams of the future and these have been giving me both a good and a bad kind of scare. It is scary cos it pushes me to be more assertive with my application (which is basically my ticket to seeing that future happen) and it is scary cos I might end up disappointing myself if I don’t get there one day.

18 Chocolates are my weakness. People who give me chocolates get an automatic pass to my good list. Now that I think about it, this guy I’d been seeing bought chocolates on our first ‘date’.

19 I may come off as shallow on social media but my thoughts can pretty much thread through deep waters that it sometimes gets difficult for me to stay afloat.

20 I wake up with a purpose. I wake up to chase after a dream. It may look like I’m not doing so much about it but I do have something (and someone up there) that motivates me to keep going.