Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Saturday, October 15, 2011
It's been two years since I lost my job yet until now I cannot accept why I lost it. Until now it is the biggest issue of my life. Until now I haven't found a job as good as or as close as the one I lost. There are times I blame myself for not saying I wanted to stay. There are days I would pray so hard that everything was just a bad dream and I will wake up tomorrow back to the life I lived two yesteryears ago. But every time I wake up, I am still stuck in this painful reality that those good old days are truly gone.
Looking at how I lived these last two years, I was drifting like a log, tossed by the waves and swept along with the tide. There were days I was happy and hopeful. There were days I felt so wasted and awful. Some days, I terribly missed the life I used to have. Some days, I wanted to move on and leave yesterday behind, as fast as I can.
But where am I going? If I could go anywhere, where would I like to go? I tried going on vacation to different places I wanted to see but as soon as I came home, reality would stare back at me - I haven't gone anywhere except living in a wishful thinking world. I know I really need to decide where I should be going, not in terms of vacation, but in terms of life's journey...and I need to decide fast.
This is not the way I want to live for the rest of my life. I am not a loser. I am a born fighter. I lived through life fighting and winning the battles of everyday. Now I am facing a formidable foe - ME, a pathetic yesterday-person me.
I want to really wake up and start living today. I know I need to count and enjoy the blessings that come with my new life. I just have to remind myself that even burdens have their blessings. I have to accept that God is leading me to take a scenic detour in order to reach the new world He prepared for me.
I am ashamed to admit that despite knowing that I have to live in the HERE and NOW and that I have to trust the Hands that steer my life's course, I still live in yesterday. I fervently wish that one morning, I will finally wake up and find myself truly enjoying the presents of TODAY.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I am not afraid of growing old, gaining extra pounds (although I must admit it will take a lot of pep talk to myself before I can accept it) and seeing new lines around my face. What I am afraid of is this most uncomfortable feeling I cannot understand.
I call it by different names - boredom, restlessness, impatience, worrying, feeling of getting lost, mild depression. They simply call it midlife crisis.
Losing my job last 10 months ago was the biggest blow in my life. I think this triggered this unusual feelings consuming me right now. I was used to living the corporate life, waking up everyday with a thousand and one concerns waiting to be solved. Then suddenly, I am not busy.
Now I am like sitting here by a roadside cafe looking at people rushing on their thousand and one things to do for the day. Everyone is moving in super fast motion while I am moving in a slow grind together with the clock, the sun, the clouds and each day that comes.
I remember watching some Chinese people doing Tai Chi exercise at the park early in the morning some years back. I wondered how they feel controlling their movements until they look surreal in suspended animation. I may never know how they feel but at least I know now what these ultra laggard movements do to oneself. It clears your mind of the clutter until you see the important ones magnified right before your eyes.
It's getting cystal clear to me now. I have issues to tackle. Where am I heading? What is my purpose? Which path should I take? Why is this happening to me?
As of now I have no answers to these big questions facing me. In fact, the more I look at them, the more I am perplexed. On the other hand, the more I set aside answering these questions, the more I am agitated. Either which way, the issues give me undue stress.
A friend told me that I just worry a lot. I am now slowly entertaining the thought that I am indeed undergoing midlife crisis.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Today, it's one of those days when I am reminded that I am human, vulnerable to external forces. I am sick and tired, literally and figuratively...physically and emotionally.
Today, it's one of those days when we say when rains, it pours....cats and dogs! I am drenched, soaked and cold.
Today, it's one of those days when I have to acknowledge the hurt, the pain, the sorrow. I have to go through the process of weeping and washing away the cobwebs of life.
The only thing that keeps me going is the sweet truth that this, too, shall come to pass...and what will not kill me will make me strong.
Tomorrow, I am sure the sun will show up and I will be basking in the warmth of the beautiful sunshine. That is for certain.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Inspired by the pictures my friend sent me, I wrote this poem. Thank you, friend, for sharing your beautiful spring blooms to us.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
My life has been a roller coaster ride of emotions since I left my previous job. There were days when I feel excited for the new opportunities coming my way. But there were days that I feel so down and out because of disappointments and worries.
Looking at my life now, I am a big mess. I know I need to organize the clutters of my world but I do not know where to start. So many options to do but the choices overwhelm me. I have listed all the possibilities but because I was never trained in the new field, I am overwhelmed with so many "what ifs" every pessimist can ever think of.
I thought I am an optimist. I thought I am courageous. I thought I am a "do-it-now" person.
I was wrong.
Through all these whole new world I am in, I came to meet my other half. I came to know that the strong woman I was known of has a shadow of a coward, a spirit of a doubter, a character of a pessimist. It was daunting to come face to face with my alter ego. But to become whole I have to embrace my total being. To be complete I have to accept all my weaknesses and imperfections. To have peace I have to acknowledge the fact that in every life some rain must fall and one can't help but be drenched.
I never thought I would miss the hectic schedules of my past job. I never thought I would miss the corporate pressure. I never thought I would miss the unending deadlines.
I was totally wrong.
If there are two big things that I learned from all these experiences, it is the realization that I need complete trust and patience. I do believe that everything happens for a purpose and greater good. I just have to trust God's hands creating a new dimension in my life and enough patience to wait for this beautiful change to unfold.
This time, I am sure I am completely right.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
It's been quite a while and I won't wait a little longer. I am back.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
It's been quite a while since I wrote anything in my journal. So many attempts, but my intentions were often defeated by reasons. I was emotionally unstable ever since I lost my job. One day I would wake up brimming with optimism, but in just one moment, I find myself wallowing in the sea of uncertainties. There were days that I felt like it was business as usual. There were times when the shadow of fear was looming at the corner, waiting intently to gobble me up alive.
September 15 was my official last day of work in the office. The hardest part was packing my things. Numb and mindless, I stashed away the symbols of my career inside brown boxes and I left quietly, unnoticed. Twenty-three years and I was just a receding shadow. It was a sad way of ending a career in the company I considered home… but at that moment, it was a little victory to leave my office room for good without tears and heaviness in my heart.
On Tuesday, I will be back in the office for a 2-day "Moving On Program" for retrenched employees. It's the last battle to fight. That would be the day when all of us will gather and say our good-byes. I am never good at it, but I will do my best to keep my composure and leave with my head up high. I should be because I gave my best and served the company well.
I liken myself to the dragonfly perched on the tip of a car antenna - still hanging on for a while but ready any minute to fly away into the clear blue sky.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
It was exactly one week since I wrote my last blog but a lot of things happened so fast in those six days in between... A lot of things that can make my page burst if I write it all. As I opened my blog and read the comments from my friends, this one hit me bull’s eye:
Dan Denardo said...
"SS, I've been on both sides of this equation. Being on EITHER side is terribly difficult. The good news is that each time I was in this situation (either side) I was in God's hands. And when I was told to take a "different lane", God had a better plan for me."
(Dan, I hope you won't mind putting you on my page. Your words said it all for me this week.)
An emergency meeting was called by our General Manager Tuesday morning. I had to shorten my trip and go back to head office on the next available flight.
"We are adopting a more viable structure that can withstand the difficult challenges we are facing while keeping profitability. Because of this, we will offer redundancy package to 71 headcount: 43 Sales Reps, 9 District Managers and 19 people in Head Office. Out of those 19, three will be from Senior Management...." then I couldn't hear anymore. What? Three Senior Managers? Who? When? Why?
I had been in this company for the last 23 years. It is the largest pharmaceutical company in Europe and the third in the world. I was a part of the growth of our subsidiary. I started as a Sales Rep and worked hard to reach my way up to Senior Management, which is two notches below the GM. I survived two big mergers and I have seen a lot of people come and go. I know this was coming but I haven't seen myself leaving this way.
"All positions with several incumbents will be assessed to know who should be left behind."
To leave or not to leave, that was the question. I had two options: To continue enjoying the company's comfortable benefits while dragging myself to work and facing greater pressure OR To take my generous tax-free redundancy package and explore new possibilities while facing uncertainties. I chose to leave. It was the lesser evil.
When the verdict was given I was told that I was one of the two strongest contenders for the remaining post but they did not choose me. I want to believe that it was because I told them I wanted to leave. At the back of my mind, I think the GM simply liked the other one. But deep in my heart, I know that this was God's hands working miracles in my life. He was answering my prayer to give me what is best.
Yes, I am now at the other side of the equation. Last week I fired three people, this week they "fired" me. Last week I was lamenting of the hurt and pain I inflicted. This week I am silently suffering the pain of separation and the fear of going into the unknown.
I just sent an emotion-filled farewell letter to my team before writing this. I had to do it because I need to thank a lot of people who touched my life. I had to do it because my team also needs closure and assurance that everything is okay.
But am I really okay?
I haven't really cried yet. Maybe because I do not want to show that I am hurt. They have a name for it. Pride. Maybe I haven't realized the enormous impact of this event to my life and that of my family. I am still in the process of sorting out from the chaos while groping blindly to cling to whatever can make me stable.
Where am I heading?
As part of coping up, I computed my package and started thinking where I should put it and how much I would spend. I also listed the things I always wanted to do but have not done because I was busy.
Here is my short list of things to do after August 31:
- Buy a good camera and pursue my interest in photography.
- Book a 1 week vacation in a local resort and just chill.
- Take a 1 week trip to Nepal or any exotic Asian destination.
- Attend Toastmasters Club Meetings again.
- Put up a small food business.
- Enroll in a gym.
- Start painting again.
- Revive my bonsai garden.
- Renovate my room.
- Update my files with headhunters and start looking for another "lane"
Looking at my list, I realized I have a lot of things to do with so many possibilities ahead. After August 31, my week will start grinding at a different pace in a different plane. Until I start that week, I will never know how it will feel to live a different life in a different world.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
What would you do when confronted with this sign? Surely you would simply change lane right away. Easy.
But this experience was never easy for the three people under me this week. They suddenly found their lane was blocked and there is no way to go but take another path.
This was not the first time I did this. I have fired several people in the past. But doing this very unpleasant job is never easy even with much experience. It is never simple to tell a person to leave, even with all the valid and varied reasons: incompetence or dishonesty, redundancy, downsizing or closure.
I cannot forget the look in their faces when I broke the news to them. No matter how kind and humane I did it, the news still fell like a heavy rain drenching their spirit. The glow in their eyes was suddenly snuffed like a candle light blown by a strong, unforgiving wind. Encouraging words that there is life after this may have sounded like a distant echo. It was hard to comprehend. It was irrelevant at the moment.
Yes I know that justice was served. Between me and my God, He knows I just did my work. But at the end of the task I cannot help but lament. It was never easy to break someone's heart, much more, someone's dreams and aspirations. But in times like this when I was left with no other option but to carry it out, I have to do it with a strong heart.
It seems just like yesterday when I nurtured them with encouragement and motivating words. I took care of them, honed their skills, and stoked their eagerness to learn. Between me and my God, He knows I did my best. Now it is the end of the line. I was writhing with pain. Mine was just miniscule compared to theirs. The agony I felt was nothing in contrast to them wondering what lies ahead.
I cannot comfort them but I hope they find solace in these verses from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Visiting this country for the first time really excited me. I couldn't wait to see the famous places that Singapore is known for. I really took time in preparing the clothes and footwear I would be needing in anticipation of the hectic itinerary of tours and shopping. I even had a checklist to make sure I won’t miss a detail. I was so prepared!
On the day of departure, everything went smoothly. I got to the airport early. Check-in counter was not busy and I breezed through immigration. Perfect. Then I waited for my flight at the lounge.
When the boarding call came, I immediately stood up but a strange sound came from my right sandals. I looked down and saw the sole of my sandal widely smiling at me! I pretended that nothing happened. Concealed behind my calm composure was my turbulent mind searching for solutions: mighty bond, epoxy, masking tape, bubble gum, band aid ... anything to keep my sandal intact. But where? I asked from several people: customer service clerk, janitor, utility man, store clerk, security personnel and even some passengers. No luck!
The final call for boarding made my heart beat faster. I thought of just following a TV commercial - simply peel off the soles and walk away in style. When I examined the other sandal, the sole would not budge a bit. I had to choose: peel the sole and walk with a two-inch limp or take a chance on my smiling sole and pray that what the shoe man put together let no step put asunder. Reluctantly, I boarded the plane in my most unusual gait – half dragging my beleaguered sandal, half walking with flair trying to pretend that there was no problem.
Hours later, I was already walking in the terminal when someone tapped my shoulder. “Excuse me miss, you left the sole of your sandal behind.” In horror, I still managed to answer proudly, "I beg your pardon, that is not mine!" Then I walked away as fast as I could but a security personnel chased me and said “You will be fined 500 dollars for littering in this country.” At that instant I felt a light tap on my shoulderand a melodious voice saying “Excuse me, ma’am, please straighten up your seat. We shall be landing shortly.” I was very glad I was roused from that bad dream before I could pay the fine!
When the plane touched down, I knew my ordeal has resumed. As I stood and started to deplane, I was consumed with fear and anxiety of that bad dream turning into a reality. As I emerged from the tube, I was greeted by a mile long corridor leading to, I'm sure, another long stretched labyrinth of more passages. But seeing the mobile walkways, I almost shouted Halleluiah! At that moment, I really thanked God for the lazy people who inspired the wonderful invention of mobile walkways. Standing poised as I rode to the exit, I suddenly remembered I had spare sandals in my checked-in luggage.
After the brief immigration check, I rushed to claim my luggage. I never realized that the happiest reunion in my entire life would be with a pair of sandals!
The vacation went well as I expected. I had a great time. I experienced so many memorable moments in Singapore but my sandal scandal was the most unforgettable of all. Both my smiling sandal and I survived it all.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Her name is Sandra, a young widow and mother of three boys all playing tennis. She was going to watch her eldest son play in a tournament that will start 2 hours before our delayed flight will arrive.
She had so many touching stories: How her husband died, how they coped with the sudden death and how she raised her sons alone and continued their passion for tennis. But the most moving story she told was about her eldest son.
His name is Francis Casey or Niño, as he is fondly called. He is 17 years old. He started playing tennis at the age of five. When he was about six, he went to play in a junior tournament for children his age. It was a real good fight but he lost. It was a bitter defeat too hard to take for a boy in his tender years. He hid under a table and cried for two hours, inconsolable. When finally he was done crying, he came out from under the table and firmly said to his father: "Let's go, Dad. I need to practice now. I promise, he will never defeat me again."
That was his turning point and true to his words, he kept on winning against his opponents, including that boy who beat him, and he became the number 1 tennis player in Asia and number 20 in the world for the Junior Division. He won a grand slam in Tennis Doubles and still counting. I will not be surprised if he becomes a world champion in the future.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
This is the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) at Marienplatz (St. Mary's Square). This one of the most famous attractions in Munich. The square was originally known as Schrannen but it was renamed Marienplatz as a way to ask Virgin Mary to protect the town from epidemic.
This second picture is the Mariensaule or Column of St. Mary which is found at the center of Marienplatz. This was erected in 1638 to symbolize their triumph over war, pestilence, hunger and heresy.
This picture was a stark depiction of the plague as a Dragon slaying the people. In the 16th century everyone went into hiding for fear of being infected by the plague.
This particular picture is from Wikipedia.com because my picture is not as clear as this. This is the Carillon or Glockenspiel where visitors can watch the famous Schäfflerstanz or the Fish Fountain Cooper's Dance, (the lower portion) which was originally performed in 1517 at the Marienplatz first done by barrel makers at the end of the Black Death plague. The first people to dare go back onto the streets were barrel makers who performed a big dance to show that it was okay to come out again.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I'm back after almost two months of absence from this blog. I missed reading my favorite bloggers' posts and leaving comments on their blogs. Aside from that, I realized, I missed myself too. I had been away from me for quite sometime.
Work has been more demanding due to the challenging business environment. Travel has been more tiring, especially on early flights where I have to drag myself out of bed even before my mind was ready to face the world. I had my quiet moments and light weekends but I just felt I need a break from my laptop.
After the long absence, I feel rusty. I don't know what to write. So much has happened around me yet I'm struggling on what to post. I can easily pick an engaging conversation even with strangers. I never run out of topics to discuss with friends. But today, I stared for quite sometime at the blank screen with a blinking cursor before I finally decided what write.
I chose to post this picture I took from one of my morning flights. My point-and-shoot camera didn't do justice to the awesome scene but this is more than enough to remind me of my feeling when I saw it. Rainbows bring different meanings to different people. For me, it was God's answer to my prayer that morning. He was telling me: "Cheer up!"
It's really good to be back!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
It might seem funny to know that the reason why I am crying now is because my son just went back to our home after spending 9 days with me in the city.
Just 9 days ago, I could not contain my happiness and excitement while I was waiting at the airport to meet him. I was looking forward to nine days off work and spending time with my beloved son. Of course, that is not the same as bonding with a toddler, because my son is already a young man. But if you are a mother like me, you will understand that a son or a daughter will always be your baby, even if they grow old. You will know that times spent with your child is always a great time.
The nine days was such a happy experience, not because of the food we ate at fancy restaurants, nor the things we shopped and splurged on. It was a joyful experience because I was with the person I love most in my life.
Now, the nine days are over. Back to reality.
It's Easter Sunday but I feel like Good Friday when I drove him to the airport.
It’s silly to be feeling like this. I am a 48 year old mom, used to living alone and being away from my family most of the time. Now, I am wallowing in tears and downing mouthfuls of dark chocolate while pouring out my feelings in this blog, in the hope of easing the pain in my heart. The chocolate tastes like tears or maybe my tears taste like chocolate. I don't know. I am not enjoying this.
I am never good at good byes even if they are temporary. I am always lousy in dealing with separation. I am beyond logic when it comes to being away from my son. Maybe all mothers are like me. Maybe I am weird. I don't know. I am not proud of this.
Tomorrow, I will be back to my daily grind of office work and travels thereafter. Soon I will be busy with so many concerns. But I am sure, that at the end of the day, or at the end of each travel, when I come home to my condo…the silence will never be the same again.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
My blog is my refuge: it gives me back my sanity. I need to keep updating it.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
In my travels, I took these pictures and the only thing that comes to my mind is this song which happens to be one of my favorites:
BRIDGES by Dianne Reeves
I have crossed a thousand bridges in my search for something real
There were great suspension bridges made like spider webs of steel
There were tiny wooden trusses and there were bridges made of stone
I have always been a stranger and I've always been alone.
There's a bridge to tomorrow, there's a bridge from the past
There's a bridge made of sorrow that I pray will not last
There's a bridge made of color in the sky high above
And I pray that there must be bridges made out of love.
I can see him in the distance on the river's other shore
And his arms reach out in longing as my own have done before
And I call across to tell him where I believe the bridge must lie
And I'll find it, yes I'll find it if I search until I die.
When the bridge is between us we'll have nothing to say
We will run through the sunlight and he'll meet me halfway
There's a bridge made of color in the sky high above
And I know that there must be bridges made out of love.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I have no dinner date to go to, no flowers to receive, no sweet nothings to hear. But I am not sad today because I have my family and friends who made my life meaningful and beautiful.
I am thankful for my family and friends for all the moments we have shared: for listening, talking, laughing, inspiring and caring. Today is just another day of letting them know how much I appreciate them in my life.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I stay in two different places: one my home city, the other my home base of work. My real home is where my family is - my son and mother. That's where love is. That's where laughter sounds good. That's where peace seems constant amid the noise.
My other home, or shall I say my other residence, is where head office is. I stay in a small condo alone. That's where I talk to myself. That's where I feel so alone. That's where silence is constant.
But no matter where I am going home today, I just want to be there and enjoy my most deserved weekend.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Today, after over sleeping, I woke up with tons of SMS messages in my cell phone. That’s when I remembered that it’s not another day for me. I am one year older.
I always have mixed feelings days before my birthday - happy but sad. Just the thought that another year has passed is more than a blessing to me. But just the mere thought that I am a year older is also like a penalty, which brought me splurging on another LV bag!
Looking back I can see that I did not live my life to the fullest: so many wasted days of worrying and wallowing in self pity; so many hours squandered in procrastination and laziness; so many opportunities lost for not using my talent to the fullest. I could have painted more, I could have read more, I could have laughed more.
Yet, despite the negative things I saw, blessings outweigh my frustrations. Last year I learned valuable lessons from my ordeal with difficult people. I came to know who my real friends are and I am truly glad they are many. Despite the stress and pressure, I was blessed with good health, a supportive top management and a loving family. It wasn’t that bad after all.
Looking closer at this present time, I could see that I am loved and blessed. My son gave me a graceful and lucky fish called Arowana. My cat gave me a funny pose while sleeping. My mama cooked me a very delicious noodle dish and my best friend, together with her family, dropped by this morning just to greet me personally.
Three days ago, I saw the most amazing dusk while sitting inside the car. In haste I took pictures, one inside the car behind the heavy tint, and one outside, with the roof of the car reflecting it like a river. Yesterday, while taking my flight home, the clouds were so beautiful I can’t help but take a picture. I got the message. God was reminding me that even in the most ordinary days, blessings and beauty abound. I just have to open my heart to see it. I should always count my blessings.