October 15, 2016
Abby, my friend who easily gets excited about what’s trending, wanted to try Pablo, so we did. It was intense how much preparation she did for this day, asking her friends who’ve already tried it what it was like. Of course, she heard about the long lines and discredited opinions of how overrated it is.
When Robinsons Manila finally opened (we waited outside for about 20 minutes), Abby and I started running so we could avoid the long line. Unfortunately, we ran in the wrong direction. Fortunately, there wasn’t any line.
The hype is over.
There was no dining area, so we proceeded to Bon Chon to grab brunch. A crew member was giving us attitude, so we ended up talking about the good and bad service crew we’ve encounter before, then decided to leave and go to McDo instead.
Because of Pablo, I remembered 2012, when J. Co was the in thing and I waited in line for two hours just to get two dozen doughnuts. I remembered Harry Potter and how I would line up with my friends before mall hours just to be able to see it first. These bring me to my second point:
I felt so #blessed because I rode the LRT back and forth today and both times I got a seat.
Abby decided to separate with me for a while and go to the ladies only section. She ended up standing there and getting crammed, while I comfortably sat on my train listening to Million Reasons.
On my way home, I literally stood in front of someone who got off the next station, so I got a seat and a short nap.
Little did I know that an extremely long queue will welcome me when I attempt to ride the van going home.
The line was comparable to the length of your classic 3210 Snake when you reach 1,000 points. I’m not sure how long I waited, but it was about an hour. I almost gave up and wanted to take the bus instead, but I just took off my earphones and observed the people around me.
I saw a barker handing out paper fans, which the waiting crowd appreciated. We were at a basement parking lot, so you can just imagine how hot it was. Some people near me started talking as well, even if they didn’t know each other. My poor memory won’t allow me to remember the joke one said, but everyone laughed. When I was finally seated in the van, two strangers in front of me were talking about how relieved they were that we finally are going home. They even asked each other where home is.
All these made waiting in line less hellish to me. So that brings me to my final point:
How to Be Happy
If this was a few years ago, I will be so mad about everything. I hate waiting in long queues. I gradually changed. I slowly knew how to control my anger and just revel on what’s currently happening around me. I learned how to conjure stories and watch people and entertain myself.
When the van finally started running, I started looking back on the day I just had.
I went to an outreach program organized by Chris Lagman for the kids of Asilo orphanage. He said he has been going here for more than 20 years almost annually, bringing with him different sets of friends every time. This year, he decided to bring along LoveYourself, in line with the birthday of the founder, Vinn.
I am so grateful to have had the privilege to be part of this outreach. I came without any expectations and left with such a full heart.
Before the program started, my friend Ruben and I had a short but wonderful conversation. He told me, “Minsan naiisip ko, ano kaya’ng pakiramdam maging orphan?” I kinda stood there for a moment, thinking about what to respond with. I looked back at my life and how I haven’t met my dad yet so that kind of makes me half an orphan. Then I realized just how much love I’ve been receiving from other people ever since I was a child. So yeah, the ending was me thinking maybe I couldn’t relate to them at all.
I think my reply went something like, “It’s difficult, noh? Always wondering where you came from and why something like this had to happen to you. Same goes with street children and other people living in poverty. It really is a privilege, what we have. We can think about and pursue our passions, dreams, and deepest desires, while disadvantaged people can only think about how and where they can get their everyday needs.”
These people surely have passions and talents, but how can they make time for those if they can’t even survive the day?
We left the conversation hanging there, since the program was about to start.
I remembered the two kids that were assigned to me, Christine and JR. They are siblings, Christine is 7, while JR is 15. I will never forget them and I will always treasure the time I’ve spent getting to know these kids.
Christine was shy, but JR was enthusiastic and has this mesmerizing smile even though he was wearing a face mask and I could only see his eyes.
I assisted them in drawing what they would like to become when they grow up. JR wants to be an architect, while Christine wants to be a doctor.
Christine had a hard time drawing. She timidly asked me how to draw hands. Her drawing was far from beautiful, but she kept on drawing nonetheless. JR has a talent in drawing. I told him that is a plus because you need to be good at drawing if you want to be an architect. I told them to always listen to their teachers, strive hard in their studies, believe in themselves, and help each other reach their goals. I ended by praying for them, our hands together.
These kids gave me so much to smile about. They touched my heart in ways they will never know. I watched them eat, I watched them participate in the number prepared by the group, but I didn’t get to say goodbye. I regret forgetting to say goodbye.
The Boy on the Bike 😛
I fell asleep in the van. When I woke up and opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was a man riding a bike in pitch black. I could’ve been frightened because that was so weird, but instead I was thankful, to have witnessed that moment. Not everyone can see such a strange thing like that.
I began imagining how the man must have felt doing that. I didn’t see his face because of how dark it was, but I imagined him with a smile. Seeing someone do what you want to do can bring you joy, right? I hope I have a bike and I can ride it whenever, wherever, but I don’t. Maybe that’s why going to Burnham Park makes me so happy. As if that’s the only place where there are bikes. Haha.
I often catch myself telling God, “Lord, will you please let me bring this moment with me to eternity?”
I had plenty of those moments today.
I have a fear of losing everything I’ve ever had in this world when I die. I don’t know what will happen when I die, but whenever I encounter a moment of pure happiness, I say a little prayer to God, asking Him to allow me to keep that for eternity, so I can have something to look back to even when my body stops functioning.
The last time I checked my phone was when the van was about to go (to turn the music back on). It only had 2% battery left, but my music was still playing more than an hour later.
I had so many thoughts, beautiful ones that I wanted to write, but I didn’t have a pen and a paper, and my phone was almost dead. I hate moments like this because my memory is so poor I know I will not remember most of what I want to write. This blog is just a fraction of my realizations and what I wanted to write.
One of the most memorable thoughts I had, though, was the reason for the overflow of happiness I was feeling in that moment.
Happiness and gratitude go hand in hand. And tonight I realized I am so happy with my life because I know how to acknowledge the things I should be grateful for.
You see, we all have something to be grateful for, but not everyone sees them or acknowledges them. To be happy, you have to acknowledge what you have and be at peace with what you lack.
Happiness doesn’t only happen inward. It’s a cycle, like air that flows freely. You don’t get happiness from others if you are not willing to give it as well. That’s why so many people these days are so unhappy. They use people, not cherish them. As for me, I won’t allow myself to be used. I know how to filter people in my life. That’s doesn’t necessarily mean I’m prideful or arrogant. I just know that time is precious and limited that there’s no reason to hang out with people who don’t know your worth, people who are only using you, and people you don’t really like.
I am happier than ever in my life right now because I know what I want and deserve, I am at peace with everything that I still lack yet I am driven to be better and to reach my goals, and most importantly, I am grateful for everything I have and I know how to acknowledge the things that make my life worthwhile.
Acknowledge how the bright, bold, full moon continues to give light when the dark tries hard to take over. Acknowledge how the Milky Way appears in front of you at 3 AM to somehow help you heal your broken heart. Acknowledge how a minute of conversation with a friend can spark a fire of compassion and gratitude in your heart. Acknowledge how the simple words of a song and gestures of hands can send someone to tears. Acknowledge how what seems to be the most random moments blend together to make you think about and feel amazing things. Acknowledge how a line from a book and a compliment from an unexpected person can help you overcome your insecurities. Acknowledge how a song from a foreign land comes on at the restaurant you’re having dinner at as you were thinking of going to that particular foreign land. Acknowledge how your friends stop for a moment in amazement of the progress you’ve made. Acknowledge how your friends tell you how proud they are of you for the things you’re doing. Acknowledge how a spontaneous thought made someone smile or laugh. Acknowledge how your phone ended up surviving for more than two hours, giving you some good music to listen to, even if it only had 2% of battery left.
Acknowledge the littlest things you should be grateful for. That’s the only way to know pure happiness.
If you’ve reached this point, thank you for listening to me. I really appreciate it. 🙂 (Not everyone will read 1,943 words :P)
This day was one for the books. Here’s to more days like this.