Turning 29: Nine Realizations
The year that was. Again, twelve months have passed. It is my birthday again (September 23) and I am turning 29 tonight. I can say the previous year ran the fastest in my entire life. I do not know why, but 12 months seem like yesterday. This is perhaps because many things have happened, and of course together with all those things are the learning that I have gained. Those learning affected how I think, feel and see things, the greatest change perhaps that happened in the entire period.
This blog post has hyperlinks that direct one to the individual blog posts I wrote during the year. Indeed, this is a sort of summary of the year that was.
Big changes at the start
I was not really certain during my 28th birthday if I will be allowed to stay in Norway or not. This has been my place of residence for three years now. There were challenges, surprises, ups and downs in that period of time. However, last year just after my birthday, I got to meet the deadline. Just almost missed it, but I made it. I realize then that things change unexpectedly, and sometimes after all the challenges, everything seems to fall in the right place, as if everything was perfectly synchronized. One has to embrace change, and not work against it. The changes may be difficult, but one should not taking actions, as there is no one else who could help us except ourselves.
Allow time to unfold.
There are things that should not be done in haste. One has to wait, and take time. The more we push ourselves that things will happen, the more we attempt to secure everything will be better, the more things will go out of our control. To relax and wait and see is a skill not everyone has. I had never that before, not until I lived in Norway. I was trying to change for the better, but it was time that led me to change simultaneously. Moreover, there are things that left undecided, or allowed for time to tell. It is just like saying that only history can tell. Thus, judgment on whether things are correct or not should not be done today, but when time allows us to think properly and better.
More than others is ourselves.
It may sound too selfish, but that is the reality of life. We have to start with ourselves, before thinking of others. The world is too complicated for ourselves alone, such that putting oneself in a stressful situation because thinking of others is not an obligation, but a personal choice. Life continues for us no matter what happens. It is therefore up to us on what we want ourselves to be, to be either simply good or to become great. It is furthermore important that we appreciate what we do, primarily for ourselves, then second for others. Of course, the need to belong and to recognized by others are also crucial for us to be happy and well, but what I realized is that I agree we live in a society, but the status and condition of the society depends on the individuals comprising it.
Work is a way of life
The last twelve months I work entirely in the nursing home. I was quite uncertain on how it will affect my life personally. Initially, I thought of it as a mere source of income, but my thinking gradually changed. I never expected that just by changing my workplace, I had realized many things. I admit that was countertransference, a state of me getting excessively attached with my patients. I can not blame myself. I was working almost everyday, meeting the same patients and I knew their needs and how they react. I was emotionally attached. Then I started questioning on what actually is the essence of nursing homes. It was almost a crisis because I was aware of the ethical dilemmas attached, but I must see to it all patients are doing well. Day by day, my perspective of my work changed. My work is not a job, it is a way of life, living with others needing my help.
My family close and away from me.
The greatest challenge for me this year was to maintain good communication with my family. I am not so good at it. There are days when I never talk to them, but I am very concerned of their affairs. Sometimes, it was to much to handle. I just accepted the fact that I was too far to do something significant to make them feel better. I literally became an absentee son to my mother and father. I know I could improve that it is difficult at times, when there are too many problems happening at the same time. At least, I can say what motivates me further is to pave the way for my nephew and niece. They still have good future ahead. They are young and I know I doing all of these, not just primary for myself, but also for them. On the other hand, my family in Norway consists of very few trusted Norwegian friends, my sister and Uning. The year that was was a tumultuous year for my sister. I am hoping everything will be better, but what most important is that she is feeling well. Lastly, Uning left Norway. It affected me, but I know she is doing well. It is not just Uning that is affecting me, all of them, who I consider family.
Philippines: My home and my roots
Luckily, I got the chance to come home for a very short time this year. It was not too long due to a lot of things. I felt it was not sufficient. No time will ever be sufficient I guess. In the first place, I lived in the Philippines for the first 26 years of my life. The homecoming is perhaps the most important highlight of the vacation. I visited some places, but more likely I just wanted to feel and go back to my roots. I was reliving the Filipino experience so to speak. I am very proud of where I come from, and even the language I speak, Cebuano. I know I could not write more about the Philippines because of the time constraints, but I am looking forward for all the new experiences and memories I will gain the next time I come back to the Philippines.
Being a critical Filipino
Last year was also marked by the Philippine election, on which I was very interested in. I engaged in social media discussions here in Norway and in the Philippines. It was stressful as well, but I was doing it to know more also about what I believe in. Being critical to social issues is something new to me. Before, I just want to know, but never cared more about it. I was questioning what is moral in the Philippine society, and moreover on the disparity among gender in the Filipino perspective. I had even come up with a radical realization of the necessity of social-democracy in the Philippines as a primary form of government. Lastly, I spent a lot of time defending Duterte in social media discussions even before he won as the supreme leader of the land.
Traveled in ten countries.
Aside from the opportunity of traveling within Norway, particularly in the capital city Oslo, I traveled in nine other countries, namely Netherlands, Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg), Denmark (Skagen, North Jutland), South Korea, Germany (Berlin, Dresden, Kiel), Czech Republic (Prague, Brno), Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. I gained a lot of learning from those travels. I realized the only way to pamper myself for now is to either be with those who are important to me, and to travel to experience. I am not getting younger, so I have to grasp all the opportunities to experience new things. However, I hoped I got to do this as often as I did this year. And yes, I am traveling with my sister in Poland next week.
Norway: My Second Home
I can say I have appreciated Norway more than I did before. This year I visited Bergen, Haugesund, Sandefjord, Larvik, Halden and Fredrikstad. I have not written much about Norway in my blog, but I will do that soon. There were also some places that were not mentioned. It was an enriching experiencing. I can say I do not have to travel so far to experience new things. Norway is a beautiful country for everyone to see. However, more than a travel destination, Norway has provided me the opportunity to start a new life and to have new friends. The society, culture and the language is quite far from what I was used to but I can say there is a big world outside my home country the Philippines. The question is not how many opportunities are there, but whether I will take advantage of them.
The highlight of this year is perhaps me becoming more open to change, to others about myself and what concerns me, and to everything that will help me become better. However, in doing so, I know I may have made other misunderstood me due to those changes. They were people who continuously understand, but there are some who did not. I honestly do not care about what they think as long as what I do does not harm others. What is important is that I am happy and all the people who are important to me are doing well. These are things that concerns me and have made me a better, stronger and more human person in the last twelve months.