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Bye 2023! Thanks for all the fish!



As sure of myself as I was, I came into 2023 unsure of others. I remember weirding out at '98's homecoming because I couldn't bear the weight of everybody's expectation. I had a fun, don't get me wrong but I really didn't know how to relate to old teachers and to old school mates. I was no longer the same person they thought they knew.


Maybe that's also the reason why I was more than happy to meet new people this year, mostly in the climate journalism front. I felt they were my kin, or at the very least, they knew the importance of something I value tremendously.


Maybe that's also the reason why a lot of friendships died this year. We've all changed and we didn't know how to handle each other anymore. Could we have given each other grace? Some leeway to get to know these new versions of ourselves? For sure.


But I also think, If I were my old self, I would've rushed to make others comfortable. If I were my old self, I would've haha'd the shit out of awkward moments and said yes to whatever they were asking, myself be damned.


2023 taught me loneliness can be a result of change. But it also taught me to trust/love/believe in myself. To take up space. To give myself some credit, to give myself enough credit.


Hmm, I guess that answers one of this year's nagging questions, about why I don't get the credit I know I deserve, why I am often overlooked, or why people forget what help I'd extended them.


I love it. A breakthrough.


I'm not being egotistical, please don't misunderstand. It just bugs me how I am conveniently left out when I'd been in the picture two seconds ago. A thank you would be nice, you know?


 

This year, through climbing, I learned that you can lean on a problem for it to become a solution. It sounds like a cop out but it's not, promise. It was the very principle my hair stylist had when she curled my hair five years ago. I understood it cognitively then.


This year however, I'm learning it with my body, in movement. I remember getting stuck doing the 6a black route on the rightside of the small overhang, because there was a hold on the right the refused to be held. Ate Jhe told me to lean on my left so that I'm pulling on it, and suddenly, there it was. The balance I needed to execute the seemingly impossible move.


I failed to make my goal of climbing 6b routes this year. I'm trying to lean on the problem and maybe, the problem was getting good at climbing never the reason I got into it. I'm misconstruing getting better at climbing as the reason why I'm still at it seven years on.


Sometimes, I wonder why I haven't given up on climbing. Why I spend a good amount of money and time to torture myself. The answer is because it's fun. The answer is because I'm learning so much from it — about myself, about life, about tackling problems. It helps me think (clearly). I'd like to think climbing helps me become a better person.


I hope I am a much better person than I was seven years ago, when I started.


 

During one of our breaks, Ate Jhe asked why I worked so hard in my job.


The answer didn't come to me until a few months later, when half-asleep, I thought to myself: I'm working this hard because I don't want to stay where I am. I want to be able to move past my current station in life/career.


Is my plan working? I hope so. I answer positively with three events of 2023 in mind: Speaking at the EBU webinar on climate journalism, and getting into the IMS bootcamp all through the 3rd round, which is GIJC in Sweden, getting a scoop on a story about microplastics in Metro Manila air and then getting picked up by various outlets including Reuters Oxford on Twitter, GMA's primetime newscast, and Greenpeace.



I'm hoping these three things are lifting me up the surface of opportunities so that in 2024, I get a longer-term evidence for my positive remark — a job offer, an award, a promotion.


I know. I'm so ambitious. But to be clear: I'm not doing any of this for fun. I'm not working like a horse, losing personal time, and getting stressed because it's fun.


So many people misconstrue this about me, but I mean business.


Which is not to say I'm not having fun, or I don't like having fun. I do. But now I get more fully what Dr. Seuss said: It's fun to have fun. But you have know how.


 

2023 was a year of food, and I'm so grateful for being able to partake in spectacular meals: Chef Josh Boutwood's tasting menu at Helm, The 10th anniversary dinner of Gallery by Chele, and that family dinner back in October.




There were also meals in Ricksha and in One World Deli, quickly becoming neighborhood favorites. The two extra casual meals with the supreme court judgers — in Lagrima and in Kodawari — the meals with Janus, the meals in Gubat


I'm grateful for/to Mignac for accompanying me to Mt. Purro, for being in that wonderfully quiet moment in the car, watching the plants in the riverside dance in the wind; for the hike, his revelation about his mayaman worries, the kwentuhan before bed.


I am grateful for the brunch with the photographers, for Jerome's 50th birthday bash; For being able to watch Sting 10 years after I saw him last, for being able to see Binky in 78 Salcedo.


For being able to work with Atom, and getting to attend a climate-adjacent seminar in ADB on my birthday; for meeting Ken Paranada and getting to work with Janine and Jhesset; for the opportunity to talk climate with Myrza on her podcast and on the radio, too.


I am glad I know how to self-soothe and more importantly, that I can afford it — hotel staycations, spontaneous concerts, massages, weekend rot time, books, tv, music, film.


Next year, I hope to be able to include travel and frequent hikes in my list; 2023 didn't give me the capability for them — or the capability to do them as often as I'd like. On the side, this is also why I want to move to a city with better access to nature.


 

While battling a personnel problem sometime in the summer, Ate Jhe brought up how unfortunate experiences make for a richer life. It's nothing new, but I think this year might be when I finally understood why some people say problems are a gift.


Along with proud moments and moments to be thankful for, the fast-moving 2023 gave me all sorts of problems that shone another kind of light to my life, gave it a bit more depth.


I'd like to think I'm all the more richer by it.



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