There’s more to life in each New YearBy Nichole Ballesteros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Happy Holidays! It is the time of the year to be our merriest and loudest. Christmas is here, and sooner than later we will welcome 2013 with sparkling lights and positive vibes (we better do, to attract good fortune!).
How many of your 2012 resolutions have been met? Well, we still have a few days to catch up with our goals and reach our self-prescribed quotas. What have you asked yourself to do or change this year? I hope we are all really getting better.
This year was the first time I went with the trend of listing New Year’s resolutions. But who actually is able to maintain them for 365 days? Who tracks him/herself religiously? I admire that person, and I assume he/she is either successful or on his way there. Kudos for your self-control!
Can I just say that I also tried hard to work on my goals? I was able to transfer schools, join two running events, and settle into my new environment. But then, when one becomes aware of the necessity of checking oneself parallel to one’s resolutions—as to whether or not one has progressed toward one’s ideal self—it can get daunting. My housemate told me that in the years before 2011, she became really anxious when Christmas approached. She said she was afraid to acknowledge that a year had passed without her accomplishing anything of great value or with recognizable weight to improve her conditions.
In this light, I remember the novel “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” which started with the protagonist’s list of resolutions and ended with a report on her year’s progress. Lucky Bridget, she had an excellent year, according to herself. The novel: my thoughts exactly. I mean, Bridget’s year did not run ultra-smooth in terms of her job, she got sidetracked with respect to her love life, but in summary, the byproducts were still in her favor. Take note, she was able to keep only one resolution.
The year 2012 from my shoes has been massive. I had a crisis on which career to pursue. Eventually, I decided to transfer grounds and shift from a medical course to one involving the arts. Although I might have lost some things in the process, I gained what I truly wanted. No worries, because I believe the important ones stay close.
The transition was a challenge. The previous campus had become a comfort zone; when I transferred, I did not know a single classmate or the location of the nearest ladies’ room. The cultures—though both are University of the Philippines campuses—are different. At the start, I felt like my social sphere had crumbled. Yet, in a matter of weeks, I had embraced the changes and worked on the circumstances. UP Los Baños is the friendliest (cue song “I’m walking on sunshine”)! I undeniably miss parts of UP Manila—the organization, the bloc, etc.—but that cannot turn into something negative. I can always visit my friends, and the technology is there to accommodate our stretched bonds. It was actually overwhelming to prove through one’s own experiences that real friends won’t be affected by distance. But most importantly, a year is about to pass and I am not regretting the decision.
In this same year, just this semester, I witnessed the long line for the student loan board program. Almost everyone (if not everyone) in the line would naturally feel agitated, knowing that one had only two hours left to cram the payment process, or else one would have to file a leave of absence. It’s said that UP has become off-limits to poor people: Bawal na daw ang mahirap sa UP. Isn’t it ironic that the iskolar ng bayan would be forced to file a leave of absence because promissory notes would no longer be accepted? We may not be rich kids, but as far as I know, we all have a right to education.
The jarring reality that money makes the world go round, apparent in this case, frustrates me. Next year I will turn 18, and I guess this year effectively made me scared of hitting the legal age (funding life is hard, more so funding one you wish to live at its fullest); but at the same time, I am looking forward to it (because then I can deliver more relevance). To get nearer and nearer to adulthood, to step into that real world out of this box I am comparatively sheltered in, is, I know, a serious business. To youngsters like me, it’s feel the youth, enjoy the convenience of it. But time will go by so fluidly, and we will soon be on our own. All alone.
This year, I learned that life is by nature a delinquent that we have to deal with. We have destinies that are nothing but a limbo or a blur. We cannot have everything we want at the very moment we want them, just like not scoring perfectly on our resolutions. Because if there is a thing that needs the longest time and attention, it is change. Actually, there is no such thing as an easy way out, and the one thing we cannot give up on is trying.
Not everything may go according to our plan, and life will throw variables at us which may not even be of any use. Sometimes we’ll take the wrong turn, but only when we are lost will we find the perfect spectacles that can make most things clear to us (including those we did not even think was going wrong). Otherwise, maybe there is nothing to get rid of. We just need to zoom out and see the beauty of the big picture. We should learn to tame life to be efficient. We should first absorb the reality that society is in some sort of a mess for us to be truly capable of acting on it. Delinquencies have patterns which we need to thoroughly and willingly understand.
I believe listing our own resolutions is practical as long as we are determined. The process is healthy in that it is a first step in an attempt to be better. It is a spring of hope. As I have said, not fulfilling everything does not mean we are a failure. Sometimes we forget to read between the lines, to understand the metaphors of life. If we are only going to spare a minute to appreciate the year, we will find it satisfactory. Perhaps the quote which says that in the pursuit of happiness, do not forget that the happiness lies in the pursuit, is true, albeit a cliché. Happiness does not lie in the pot of gold at the end. Of course, who would not be happy with a pot of gold? But wouldn’t we be happier with a bunch of friends, a pool of wisdom, and a house of jokes? The colors are the essence, and not the crayons.
And by the way, regarding the housemate I was telling you about, do you wonder how she stopped getting anxious? It is because she now has in her heart the meaning of Christmas. Let’s ask ourselves, too, what we are celebrating today and why we are looking forward to the new year.
I hope you’ll have a happier holiday!
P.S. Draft your resolutions. Keep the optimism!
Nichole Ballesteros, 17, is a communication arts student. She says all she wants for Christmas is a visit to a place lit by thousands of Christmas lights, and ice cream.
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