clueless

The downpour has become a background music for my stay in Bacacay for the holidays. Everything is a gloom and gray. Cold and damp. There’s nothing much to do but stay indoors and flop oneself on the cold tiled floor and watch TV – or do nothing. I just love it! And this is one of the few moments that I am not being sarcastic.

Enjoy having nothing to do for a moment. Stare at the ceiling, nibble your nails, mindlessly tap your thoughts into those keys. Basically, it’s doing things because you want to – not need to.

These moments, one just doesn’t get the chance to experience it everyday – not as frequent as one would want to. We don’t get this type of rain in Laguna (unless there’s a typhoon). Here in my hometown, it seems to be a normal part of rainy season. And rain, it does all day – make that all week. It’s been competing with Rachael Yamagata on earphones.

Trouble with finding oneself alone with one’s thoughts, one tends to linger on the less pleasant ones. A lot of whys and hows. The answers tend to linger on the I-have-no-idea side. Then come more questions with more I-don’t-know answers. One wonders why s/he even bothers to ask. The answer remains to be I don’t know. There’s a lot deep breaths. Pretend to look outside the window. Get into the don’t-bother-me, I’m-wearing-earphones mode and pretend to be busy. Keep that straight face so people would think I’m doing something work related. Hah!

I really am not sure whether I like being in this state. But I do feel better after writing about it. I guess, I’ll just focus on the feeling better after writing part. That’s the one thing that never changed. Every time I settle on this long wooden study table to write, I always leave feeling better.

Christmas 2010: Home

It was pouring mad during the eve of the 24th – the whole day, actually. Earlier that evening, I passed out in front of the TV in the wooden sofa in the living room. I needed the snooze after a few days (make that weeks) of almost no sleep and the ten-hour travel back home didn’t really provide an opportunity for sleep.

I woke a quarter of an hour before midnight. Just in time to join the family in the noche buena. There’s that staple Christmas home cooked ham that my aunt prepares. My nephew, Nj, was urging us to finish dinner faster so he can open his gifts.

It was a simple celebration. I missed this last year. I fussed bout a lot of things. I had a lot of excuses. Now that I spent the holidays at home, I realized that’s the best way to spend days as such. In the company of family – no excuses.

fixed cost

We encounter change everyday. Change in our environment and change in us. It varies in degree, visibility, and in terms of its effects. Some changes become embedded into our daily routines, some wear off. Other forms of change come with added weight, added responsibilities – more things to think about, to worry about, to look forward to, to smile about.

We encounter change everyday. Change in our environment and change in us. It varies in degree, visibility, and in terms of its effects. Some changes become embedded into our daily routines, some wear off. Other forms of change come with added weight, added responsibilities – more things to think about, to worry about, to look forward to, to smile about.

We deal with change by either resisting or accepting it – or, the third option would be to switch from the first option to the other. It’s either we accepted that change after initially resisting it – or vice versa.

The last quarter of 2010 presented a lot of changes, many of which was a challenge to deal with financially and psychologically. Looking back these past few months, I can say I did learn something about how I deal with change. Perhaps, as one gets older, it takes a longer time to react. There’s more time to think about the feasibility of things, one’s ability to sustain or keep up with responsibilities, our capacity to cling to sanity as we deal with these changes.

We decide what’s worthy of being included in our routine or budget. It’s not about how much one can save for a new insurance plan or investment or how much time one can devote for more responsibilities. It what we are willing to keep, what we want – what we think is worthy to become part that precious 24 hours we spend until we cease to.

With change comes adjustment  and so will difficulty. One cannot expect to add something in our daily routine without causing some level of disruption in our routine. It’s when we deem these changes as worthy of all the difficulties we encounter that we indeed have accepted change. It’s not blaming one’s investment plan as a reason for not having enough amount for the usual dining, shopping, among other forms of entertainment.

This December, from the changes in the past quarter,  an entry was included  in my list of fixed costs. It took quite a while before placing that entry in that list. It took that while for me to accept the entry as such. I knew and have accepted that it will take some adjustment as I took in another consideration. Before I decided to move to this apartment, it took me quite a while to check if I can maintain the place. Thank God I was and is still able to (and hopefully will continue to do so). A fixed cost is relatively permanent. (Technically, the fixed cost varies in the long run but we’re taking about analogies in the short run context here.) It was something I thought would linger, something that I had prepared myself to adjust to. That no matter how difficult it may be to manage my finances or my time, it was something  was willing to deal with – because I believed it would be all worth it. That whatever difficulty I may encounter would be for something I could look forward to in the future.

It turns out, I was too focused on how I was dealing that particular entry that I forgot one thing – it was not only me who was concerned with keeping that  entry. For another, that entry may have belonged to other lists or perhaps was set in a relatively lower level of priority.

It was the third type of dealing with change – initial acceptance (sort of) and then the rejection afterwards. The biggest compliment one can give to another, is to set the other’s presence under his/her list of  fixed costs – and keeping it there. It takes more than one person to do that.

clones, et cetera

I wish I had a clone. The other one would be dealing with half the tasks I have at hand. While I’m at it, make that two clones. Both of them will be sharing the work with me.

I seriously doubt any degree or expertise in time management will allow me to finish everything in the time specified. But hey, still trying. Who knows, I might be able to. Will definitely do everything I can to complete all these (yes, that’s plural).

And even if it’s far-fetched, I’m still hoping for a work-free Christmas break. In an alternate universe, I’ll be enjoying doing nothing on the two-week break. Definitely not in this universe where the me writing this entry exists.

that’s not it

We often find ourselves wasting a lot of time searching for answers to those questions that haunt us – even in dreams. Frustrating? Yes! Very. And it’s not helping when one needs one’s entire concentration to deal with the backlog that never really seems to be cleared – no matter how long the hours you work are, or how many weekends (what weekends?!) you’ve been deprived of.

And then it hit me, I’ve been asking the wrong questions.

wasting a Friday morning

A steady drizzle on a Friday morning. Usually, Fridays get me in high spirits. Just the thought of having the last day of work for the week is enough. Fridays mean the weekend is just a sleep (or a DVD marathon) away. For December, that concept of Friday will not be applicable. From my window, I’ve got a view of this huge Christmas tree set against a gloomy background. How apt. December looms.

Everyone has something to deal with. Even the most jolly looking person passing by my window has that burden/ concern. As I waste time looking as umbrellas passing by, I wonder how these people deal with it. I do believe there’s a lot of people who have greater burden than I. But how do they deal with it? Even if I do know how they do it, how do I keep myself from using the differences in our context as a possible reason why their strategies won’t work when applied by me?

I understand that these burdens bear more weight as time passes and are supposed to get better in dealing with these concerns. How do I know I’m getting better at it? How do I know if what I’m doing is fine? How do I know if it’s just too much? What is enough? How do I say “no”? How do I keep myself from raising my concern so I would not feel the guilt later? – Or perhaps, I’m just asking the wrong set of questions.

Day after another, I am told to just do what I can. I am. But there’s always that moment when you find yourself in the middle of the task wondering, is this the way it’s supposed to be? One different people and you’d get various answers. Some can make one feel better. Other responses make you wonder why you bother wasting time complaining. Complain – what’s the difference between complaining and expressing what one feels. Perhaps, there’s no need to.

Yesterday in class, we discussed about the third side. I got the concept from William Ury’s TED talk. The talk touched conflict management. The third side or perspective is supposed to take the context of any concern in the aggregate. One steps back and tries to assess the situation from a larger perspective. Right now, I am incapable of taking on the third side of things. I’ve yet to understand the first two sides before I take on the third. I hope I get to do that soon.

Just wasting an hour to get all these thoughts out of my head so I can focus on the things I really – REALLY – should be doing.

on a high

I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks. It’s been great. I am thankful. Anything pleasant doesn’t usually last long and I am deeply grateful for the time I was able to enjoy.

I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks. It’s been great. I am thankful. Anything pleasant doesn’t usually last long and I am deeply grateful for the time I was able to enjoy.

Extreme highs and lows,  I told my sister over one of those lunch dates that maybe I’m not cutout for that setup. I may just be the type to prefer a steady not-so-eventful life compared with extreme levels of excitement and disappointment. To which she replied (translated), “that’s not living. That’s nearly flatlining.”

Funny, I thought. That’s exactly how I’ve been living – or rather, not living. It was such in contrast with the events of the previous weeks. I’ve been on a high for longer that I’ve expected that I’ve started to doubt if one is really allowed to experience that. Perhaps you’re just not allowed to have that much of a great time. Somehow, I was dreading the lows that usually comes with those highs.

I guess I’ve found it.