My birthday passed (a while ago) and I didn’t say much to anyone. I think a handful of people wished me happy birthday and that was perfect enough for me. My parents forgot and so did my brothers. But that’s how we are. Since we’ve grown up, the only birthday anyone cares about is my son’s birthday.
Anyway, I felt like writing and this blog has been sitting in the draft section because I thought I would do it on my birthday and I sort of ended up staring at it, wondering what was even the point. So, I thought I’d fill it in today.
Originally I wanted to do 31 things I’ve learned about myself, but I kept it to 10. I’ll spare you the long, boring list.
I still sleep very little but still love napping. Child or no child, sleep has always evaded me. I have a busy mind with many personal ambitions. I remember when I was teaching myself photography I would get home from work around 7pm and stay up until 4am playing around with my camera and Photoshop. I see my grandma (who is 94) now, and she sleeps a lot. She used to be go, go, go. I know I will get my fair share of sleep when and if I make it to that age. Napping on the other hand… I love napping so much that when I get together with some of my best girl friends, that’s how we spend time together. You know who you are. This is how you know you’re lifers. Instead of partying, you nap.
I love being alone. As I’ve gotten older, being alone is bliss. Maybe it’s because I have a toddler with me 90% of the time, but I think I’ve just really learned to love my own company and I am wise enough to know that I need alone time to recharge. When I was younger, I would try to fill in the gaps. But now I know I was just filling in a void in myself and that void was just my soul telling me I need to spend more time loving myself and less time trying to find someone else to love me.
I write better than I can speak. When I speak sometimes words don’t happen. Sometimes I blame it on the fact that I often am translating in my mind between Filipino, French and English. The reality is that sometimes my brain works faster than my mouth and writing gives me the opportunity to sort out my thoughts so that it’s clearer. I’ve also accepted the fact that I’m a writer. My first journal I ever wrote in was over 20 years ago. I have a huge rubbermaid full of notebooks and I haven’t stopped filling notebooks up to this day. I seriously write better and communicate better through letters, words, sentences and paragraphs. Occasionally my paintings will tell you exactly how I am feeling and what I was going through, but more often than not I would rather just write. I think if I had no voice, I would be perfectly content with just having to write to communicate.
I can’t see the world the same as I used to. Going zero waste was the best thing that ever happened to me. I see right through consumerism. I don’t care for material things but what I do have, I take care of so I don’t have to be wasteful and buy more. I learned about alternative living. I will never buy a house or make car payments. I learned about Veganism. I gained more compassion. I take better care of my health and it matters to me what I put into my body and on my skin. I see that a lot of what this world is based upon is just lies and that I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.
I accept that I am one of those people that need to give back to others or I suffer. Morally, it is my responsibility to help others. I believe that if I have an abundance of love, food, shelter, clothing – whatever – you name it, I have to give back. It’s honestly why I dream of becoming rich and why I continue to donate a lot of time and money, because I believe it’s the right thing to do: to help others in need and to share. There really is more than enough to go around in this world. I guess it helps that I come from a third world country and my family still lives there. It puts everything in perspective.
I accept that I don’t fit in anywhere. I can connect with everyone but there are only a very, very small handful that make me feel at home. If that makes any sense. Not too long ago I used to wonder when I would find my “tribe” and now I realize that I’m like a lone wolf with the traits of a chameleon and I’m perfectly happy with that. I read that old souls feel this way.
Having less makes me happier. I recently moved into a much larger apartment and my cupboards, shelves and closets are mostly empty. I enjoy this. Having a larger apartment means more cleaning. I do not enjoy this. I’ve downsized my closet dramatically, which I will post about later. I enjoy this. My art supplies seem to be in a constant overflowing heap in the corner because of the workshops I do. I do not enjoy this. I often have panic attacks when I walk into my parents gigantic single home and look around at all the rooms full of things. I’m happy with what I have now, but I am definitely still reducing and very much enjoying it.
I am not perfectly zero waste. I recently made garbage because I had a ridiculous desire to cook Asian food. Why does all that vermicelli need to be in plastic? Why does NOWHERE sell vermicelli in bulk??
I care less and less about what people think of me. Being judged on a daily can make one exhausted. I don’t go a single day without someone commenting on how young I look. EVERY DAY people are always judging me by my appearance and commenting on it! And it goes on. If I don’t help someone, then I’m not really the kind person I claim to be. If I don’t answer a phone call or text, then I’m considered rude, as if I need to be stuck to my phone to make someone else’s life happier. If I don’t see someone’s post or like something on social media, than I’m considered as not being interested in that person’s life. All of this makes me exhausted and so I just don’t care. The people who really care about me know that when we get together there is just the present moment. All of it guilt free. At the end of the day I know who I am and what my priorities are. That’s what I care about.
I really enjoy the limitations I have for myself. I used to think the complete opposite and I didn’t think I could do it. Part of the limitations or restrictions is because I have to. For example, eating gluten-free, I have to. Shopping zero waste, I want to and for peace of mind, I also have to. Not eating or buying animal products, I want to and morally, I also have to. Not using chemicals in the house or on my body, I have to. A few years ago, I would just do it anyway and suffer the consequences after. These days, I have the will power and honestly, it’s just not worth it. It makes life simpler not to have to choose from much. Life isn’t a giant supermarket anymore where I’m just wandering up and down the aisles wondering what to choose from. It takes less time. I don’t feel terrible after and I know that I’m staying real to myself and my values.
Being 31 is fantastic. I’ve never loved myself or my body more than I do now. Getting off the gluten helped, but really – accepting myself for who I am is just the best.