Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twenty Three: 5 Things I Learned in 2014

A big 'Yey!' for me for I just turned 23

It's amazing how convenient having a birthday that's only one-day shy from when the calendar finally turns to another page. Like writing a birthday post and look-back-to-the-amazing-year post. Like this!

Honestly speaking, 2015 has been a great year for me. So much changes, adventures, and memories. Going through them one by one would be pretty damning. I'm just really, really thankful for all the blessings that I don't even know if I deserve.

Considering that I had a really roller coaster-y 2013, this year was a total upgrade! So instead, I am starting a new annual (hopefully) tradition... and that is: for me to at least list down the important things that I learned during the year that passed.

Here are some of the important things that I learned during 2014:

1. That stereotyping can only get you so far.
Who says being an introvert and being a bit friendly are mutually exclusive? Sometimes, I feel that labeling all things in our life limits the possibilities that we're willing to try and experience. I used to think that being more talkative than my normal self, sharing my innermost thoughts, and letting myself at least open up to other people would go against my nature. But it took actually doing those things to realize that I can actually enjoy them and feel happy about it.

2. That stepping out of your comfort zone ain't as bad as you imagined it.
Out-of-town trips. Scuba diving even if I can't swim. Setting up the Christmas table on our own.  Trying out new food that I won't even taste in the past for the life of me. Yay! This has been a year of firsts, and stepping out of my comfort zone -- and the thrill of it all made me realize that I've been missing out so much at life in the past. I've been relatively adventurous this past year and that made it memorable and worth it. Sometimes, it takes trying out something for the first time, no matter how terrifying it may seem, to realize that you'll definitely love it. Screw "I can't do it", it's time for "I'm not really sure but I'll try anyway."

3. That bridges burnt can still be fixed if you will it.
I've had the mistake of pushing some of the dear people in my life away. It took one friend to outright tell me that I've been pretty self-centered in the past and that I don't always know how to appreciate the care that others are putting my way. It was sad, and I realized it the hard way. But I did learn, too, that it was never too late to fix this kind of problem. I may have burnt some bridges, but it's possible to start rebuilding those that I so selfishly destroyed. It takes so much work, but in the process, I realized that these people deserved the effort. Some people are meant to stay in your life, and it's up to you to make them.

4. That making mistakes is okay as long as you learn from it.
This year, I learned that wanting to make mistakes is not really a bad thing. Lol. It was weird, I know, but it was pretty liberating. And although this year, I've made some pretty stupid decisions and did some really spontaneous, in-the-moment choices... I can say that it made my year fun and worthwhile. Some of this, I know, were pretty embarrassing... but it was unforgettable and what's important is that I learned from it. ;)

5. That things don't always have to be perfect and that's perfectly fine.
I've been sheltered my whole life. Well, maybe not the don't-know-the-suffering-of-the-real-world type of 'sheltered'. But at least, I think that I've been relatively well-off than others. Anyway, I've been pretty idealist in the past and the recent turn of events from the last two years taught me to not always expect these plans to all go smoothly. Things happen that disrupt the normal flow. Sometimes. things happen when you least expect it - whether it be good or a bad thing. And that the best thing to do is just go with it and not stress about all the little things that ruined your perfect little plan. Stressing over the planned details takes the fun out of a supposedly-perfect little thing. As I said in the past, there are times when you just simply realize that, no, it doesn't always have to be perfect.

It's been a bliss. And hopefully, 2015 will be too. I hope that these things will make me a better person than I am today in the future. It has been a great 2014 and may the coming year be an even greater one. Yey! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My 2014 in Books

Before posting a dramatic look-back-of-the-year-that-passed post (just a joke on the 'dramatic'), here's a thing that gets me really excited to talk about, every freakin' time: my year in books!
This has been a pretty busy year for me, and an even busier last quarter at that. And honestly, it was pretty hard balancing work and my personal life AND my hobbies with the meager time I have. But I vow to never, ever let my work swallow everything I am and everything I want so I still try, even if the trying was pretty hard.

This year, I've pledged to read 15 books - an upgrade from last year's pledged 10. And though I managed to complete almost 3/4 of this challenge in the first half of the year, I admit that finishing the rest was a last-minute effort.

But still, but still... being done with the challenge is still one of the cherries on top of my year. I've been doing this for the last couple of years -- this year, my fourth -- and completed 3 challenges already, it has become some sort of a tradition. And I know next year won't be complete without it, as is this year.

The Books I've Read This Year

Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth | Insurgent (Divergent, #2) by Veronica Roth | Delirium (Delirium, #1) by Lauren Oliver | Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami | Free Four (Divergent, #1.5) by Veronica Roth | The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith | Tangled by Emma Chase | Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith | Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami | Hana (Delirium, #1.5) by Lauren Oliver | Annabel (Delirium, #0.5) by Lauren Oliver | The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer Smith

This year was less adventurous, less diverse compared to last year. I stuck with YA, mostly, with a little sprinkle of my usual tripping, i.e. magical realism. And examining it, I find it really weird that I stuck with only 7 authors. Most of the books I've read this year are from series of books. (i.e., Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver, Divergent Series by Veronica Roth). I also discovered new and cool authors whose works led me to a reading rampage (Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Smith). But of course, there are also the serious kind... the kind that made me worship internal dialogues and deep thinking -- the kind that made me love reading in the first place, when my mind is in this haywire state and I can't comprehend a thing -- only few authors can bring me to that level, to that state, and Haruki Murakami is certainly included in it.

The books I've read this year included short stories/novellas so I'm pretty surprised that I have a higher page count this year. It's probably thanks to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which was the longest book (and most interesting!) book I've read this year. Also, 7 out of the 15 books I've read this year are from my 2014 Reading List. Lol. Not as bad as I thought it would be, I guess.  

I was pretty disappointed with myself because I wasn't able to keep my promise to review all the books that I'll be reading this year. But I can still make the effort. Lol. It would be totally crazy if I write reviews and all when what I ought to be doing (*ehem* policy manuals *ehem*) for work are still not finished. Priorities first, so I guess that would have to wait.

But anyway, for a more "year in review" feel, here are my top picks-of-sorts:

5 Books That Made My Year
(in particular order)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Dangerous Women and A World of Ice and Fire are on my TBR list next year, and are just sitting idly on my shelf. 2015 is going to be a pretty interesting year, that's for sure. I sure miss having that dose of the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, a world that I learned to love with all my heart. *eyes twinkling because of excitement*

I'll probably be posting another Reading List for 2015 in the coming days, so watch out. 

This has been fun!
Thanks for always sticking by.
Thanks for reading this annual update. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Oh, life.

Through the roofs to rock bottom. Oh, life.

It's just sad to realize how much of my self-esteem depends on what I hear other people say about me. Whether it be bad, or imaginary bad... it's all the same. Some remarks always poke a hole no matter how high a wall I put from others, from all the judging, for all the endless mind games.

People don't always mean what they say, and even with that knowledge, I still let some things affect me when they're not even concrete enough to warrant my care. I don't have to give a shit about everything, but I still do. And it's heartbreaking how it can ruin a perfectly good day, a perfectly good mood.

It's hard. And it sucks.

And I wish I could get over this stupid inferiority complex, if just a little.

Note to self: Grow up.


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