2016, in a nutshell

There are many things that can be said about 2016; mediocre is not one of them.

For my country, it was a year of anxiety, uncertainty, fear, and even anger-- The Philippines saw, in one-fell swoop, the rise of Rodrigo Duterte to the highest position of the land, leading to his infamous war on drugs and a controversial change in foreign policy. Bongbong Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, almost won the vice presidency, then his father was secretly buried behind the public's back. For the world, 2016 hasn’t been so great either. Brexit, US President Trump, the victims of Aleppo, to name just a few.

On the other hand, 2016 for me was a year of growth and answered prayers. This year, I developed both my personal and professional relationships; I’ve become part of the pioneering team for the company I’ve been working with; I had both planned and unplanned travels; I’ve become part of a church community, and have grown a deeper faith.

For a while I found this difficult to reconcile. Would it be insensitive to the world to celebrate this year’s personal successes? What a privilege I must have, that I get to revel in these good fortunes! Is it so naive to think that we are all back to square one, all with clean slates, all given an equal chance of starting anew in 2017?

Perhaps, what the new year offers, albeit not necessarily from an equal footing, is a chance for all of us to move and push forward, and the realization that time chooses neither good nor bad moments to keep still. Maybe what we really celebrate is the finiteness of it all. And when we look at the world from that lens, it’s not so selfish for each of us to take a step back and count the good times we’ve had, collectively and individually.

Let me then borrow the concept of Instagram’s #2016bestnine, but instead of rounding up the photos with the highest likes, I’ve put together a grid of my favorite times in 2016.

2. Winning Carisse x Easy Adventure’s Instagram contest for a summer holiday at Easy Adventure in Baler
4. My first work trip, and meeting up with friends for your stereotypical night out at Lan Kwai Fong. 5. Voting at the national elections
6. Running my first 10 kilometres, and in under an hour! In 2016, I ran a total of 552.81 kilometers. This year, I intend to run a total of 720 kilometers.
7. Back in high school, I swore I would never get full bangs again. Last year, I took a leap of faith in my stylist, Leslie, and she worked her magic by giving me full bangs on my birthday. I’ve been maintaining them since.
8. Finally seeing a giraffe in real life!
9. My styling work getting published in Compass

Through all of these, the single most valuable lesson I’ve learned in 2016 is to be deliberate. At the beginning of 2016, I wrote down a list of goals, and the ones I achieved were the ones I intentionally chose to achieve every day, or during the limited opportunities I had to choose them: to exercise, to work with a vision, to travel, to spend time with loved ones.

In 2017, I wish for all of us to find meaning in everything we do—whether that meaning is as simple as enriching our relationships with family and friends, or as grand as making the world a more sustainable place to live in—because time is a terrible thing to spend aimlessly. It waits for no one. It will move forward, and I hope we move forward with it with a purpose.

Happy New Year!

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