It’s been four years since I left Cebu. Four is quite a significant number. There are, after all, four of us – two girls and two boys; children of the same parents.
I didn’t realize that I’ve been gone that long until a few days ago when one of you celebrated her 18th birthday. I’ve also been back home a few sporadic times. And yet, we didn’t spend every minute of those times together, did we?
So I’ve missed out on a lot of moments – trivial or triumphant. I’ve been absent for Christmases, birthdays, Sunday lunches, winning performances, awesome achievements, petty arguments, and unfixable situations. The gap is now more than just geographical, isn’t it? I was surprised and am still consistently surprised at how much you’ve all changed and dare I say, grown (Our youngest brother is now taller than me!).
In attempt to somehow fill the void of space between us and to impart what I have learned so far, I am writing you this. You are free to take or leave my advice. Here goes what I am asking you to consider.
Keep yourself together. Things won’t always turn out as you planned, expected, wanted, or dreamed. Allow life to surprise you. I’ve made the mistake of thinking that plan A, when followed accordingly, will bring about corresponding result A. It doesn’t work like that. Results may range from A-Z. Do not panic when things go awry and you don’t have a plan B. I suggest that you assess the outcome. It may not be (often it’s really not) a crisis; simply a detour. Detours will teach you to be a better version of the person you’d intended to become.
Understand that every action will have a consequence. Consequences may not have equal significance at a given point but “what goes around comes around.”
Love passionately but know that the best way to be satisfied in a relationship is to first be satisfied with who you are. If you ever feel shortchanged (or even when you and your partner argue too much), it’s time to reassess your stance. Do not be afraid to be alone; you’ll be amazed at how much you will discover when you allow the universe to conspire with you. Be patient with the time it takes. It will be worth it.
Independence is not as glamorous as you think it is. You will not be so keen about survival while living under parental sustenance. I am grateful for the intangible things that Mama and Papa have taught us. Although our parents seem unreasonable (and I know you feel this more as teenagers), understand that no matter what their imperfections are, they truly want what is best for us.
Trust your intuition. Pay attention to your surroundings. In this awareness you will figure out how to adapt in your career, choices, and chances. If something “doesn’t feel right” it most likely isn’t.
Zip it when you have nothing good to say. That doesn’t mean that you will allow other people to trample upon you or your ideas. Refuse to engage in petty meanderings and pick your battles wisely. Tact is just as important as speaking your mind.
For now this is it. I could almost hear the three of you unanimously say, “You’re getting old, ate.” This accompanied by similar looking sly grins. And then we’d probably share some laughter and afternoon snacks (I still miss my banana cue.)
I want you to know that I’ve missed you (even if I don’t say it often) and that I hope you will fare well in your life’s journey.