The Twelfth Chapter: New Resilient Version
Today, July 31, 2020 I celebrate my 12000th day. Last November 5, 2017, I wrote a blogpost marking the end of my 11,000 days. I mark this day, because I believe we perhaps can not distinguish the changes on ourselves within a year but reflecting over the last 1,000 days will give us a different perspective in life based on what we have learned and experienced.
The Tabula rasa
I started the period of my life like a tabula rasa - a clean state of mind. I have preconceived ideas and judgments from my previous experiences, but my new experiences forced me to forget the previous learned ones, or else I would not achieve what I want. It feels like I had to undo everything I believed on. (Click here for the first 10,000 days)
What I have
During the span of almost three years, I asked myself what I have. This question is something I took for granted before. I felt it is something obvious, not needing to reflect upon. However, this question is essential. Now, I have work, social network, time, and existence. These are the things I need to be thankful every day. My work provides structure to my daily activities and a source of income. I should aim at doing better at work and feel motivated. My family and friends have influenced me significantly. I should somehow initiate communication to them. Time is limited but it can shared to others. Sometimes, I opt to myself available for another. I fully give my time and attention, and test whether these will be reciprocated.
What I need
Obviously, we are never perfect. There are some aspects of our lives that we need others to help us, although it is still us, who take the primary responsibility of fulfilling these needs. Personally, I need reliable people in my life, guidance through advices, and activities to be more sociable. By saying reliable, that would mean I and these people know each other’s intentions in initiating a type of relationship, friendship or even more. Given I consider myself inexperienced, I need people to guide me without a hidden agenda, and I would do the same when someone needs it from me. Lastly, I would like to experience new things and activities without being forced to like it or be with people who I consider strangers to me, or worse those instinctively do not genuinely like my company.
What I want
Wealth, wisdom, warmth, and peace of mind are what I want in life. It may sound like a cliché but in the last three years, I realize these things would contribute for me to be happy. Wealth is something I need to obtain the things I need in life and spend for purposes I would enjoy most. Wisdom is what I need to make good decisions in life on what actions to take. Warmth is what I need from relationships from my family and friends. This requires intimacy and predictability. Warmth should never be intermittent or purposive such that it is only given when there is time or opportunity. Lastly, peace of mind is what I aspire. I just want to think that my worries are under my control, and my reaction to these worries are in control.
I never thought that although I had lived over 11,000 days, I have realized how novice I was in so many life aspects. I must learn from scratch. Worse, some of these things are expected to be learned during childhood or at adolescence stages. Some are result of taking responsibility as an adult. It came naturally as I realized the need of it.
Taking care of myself
Never did I give more attention to how I look before. I never bothered about it before. Gradually, I am becoming more conscious about it, like a teenager. Haha.😄 Perhaps because I skipped that stage. I bought I a lot of clothes and experimented with different styles. Suddenly, I came up with a look that suits my personality. I realized I look better at a certain weight, but I can not compromise my love for eating. So, I attempted to go to the gym. I failed there. I feel it is boring. I felt it was more exciting hearing audiobooks on learning French while running on a treadmill. Then, somewhat introduced me to keto diet. I felt constipated. Then suddenly, after watching Youtube, I started doing intermittent fasting. That works fine for me. It has been almost a year that I started fasting more than 14 hours almost every day. I keep my weight stable this way. Moreover, I started taking care of my facial skin just few months ago. Long way to go there but I am determined. I am determined to look better, so I feel better
Before I turned 30, I have very few hobbies that others fine interesting. However, there are several things I added to the list. I learned how to ride a bicycle. I somehow learned how to ski. I am not good at it, but I can do short easy ski routes. I enrolled myself to a lot of courses: swimming, painting, cooking and ceramic. During free time, I would love to go to the cinema, theater, or even to the opera. Well, I go out and eat outside with friends, and sometimes on dates. I fine it interesting. At home, I like listening to music, watching YouTube videos on personal finance, and starting to love cooking! Currently, I am taking language learning seriously. I think I am getting better in French and Spanish each day. Those will be my fifth and sixth languages respectively, in case.
Before I had a different perspective on money. I thought to save, I need to earn more. Then if I saved enough, then I can invest some later. That is very fundamentally incorrect, I guess. I ended up spending everything I earned on unnecessary things, knowing I am earning more. My lifestyle changed as I earned better. Suddenly, I came across microsaving approach. That was perfect for me. I learned to “set the tempo” on savings every week such that I have the money for the things I want before I buy them. I had better control on my personal finance and more understanding on how I use money. I became vigilant on my spending habits and develop strict restraints when shopping impulses begin. As of now, I am learning to invest as well for myself and my family. Exciting times ahead.
The Major Push
I was constantly pushing myself to achieve something. I was quite goal-oriented this phase in my life. I was never really satisfied with how things were before, so when I got the chance, I push myself to do better. It was not easy though. I failed many times, but I sprang back again like as if nothing happened. I really wanted to be better
During my twelfth chapter in my life, I became a full-pledge nurse in Norway. I got tenured regular job in two health institutions. At the same time, I managed to pass all the needed examinations for me to study and get more job opportunities. I think I am getting better in my Norwegian skills, but I admit it will still take time before I could even convince myself that my Norwegian skills is comparable with that of English or my mother tongue. In addition, I got permanent residence status throughout this period. This gives me added stability in my day-to-day activities.
During this phase, I started two master’s degrees in University of Oslo. I am not done with the first one, then I started the second one. Well, I am hopeful I could finish both in the next 1,000 days of my life. That is the goal. But studying at the university has provided me the opportunity to refresh my knowledge on research and nursing. I am enjoying going to school even though at times I do not have time for it. I lost motivation at times, because I procrastinate often and feel very tired working many hours a week. I do not want to stop working, while I study so it is my responsibility to pass my exams. Hmm 😁. During this Corona pandemic, I became extremely interested in coding. My first love is mathematics before anything else, so I feel the rush when I read instructions related to logic and numbers. Well, I have a lot to do. I know.
Given that I work at two health institutions and study at the university, I am gradually expanding my social network. I am incredibly careful delineating friends from workmates. I have few colleagues at work, who see my Facebook posts. My Instagram account is curated such that it looks like a travel and personal blogsite. Acquaintances seldom have access to my social media. Despite that I am selective in social media, I can say I am meeting more friends. I was once part of a small group who plays squash before, but I am no longer interested with it now. My sister live in Northern Norway. I consider my sister’s partner Jan as part of our family, together with his family. Of course, I try to initiate communication with selected family members and friends. That itself reveals how willful I am to build a good, reliable social network in my new home in Norway.
Silence is something I have learned the most this phase. Although it would seem for some I am an extrovert, I am not. I am quite introvert with social impulses. By saying impulsive, I mean that when I see a chance to tell someone about something, I do it. Now, it is quite different. I reveal things gradually, test the water, and wait for the right time. Quite interesting for me, given my background and previous experiences.
I took short pauses from social media. I literally stopped writing blogposts for some time. I thought it was a good sign. Now, I realize that it does not really matter. Should I feel happy or sad, busy or empty, anxious or relaxed, I could write here. Thus, I began writing again here regularly. There were times, I was extremely active in Instagram, then suddenly I was in the verge of deactivating my account. I suddenly want to cut all types of communication with some friends and even family members. There were good reasons for that, but I think it was unnecessary. Upon realizing this, I made a new Facebook account, being more selective on who I want to see on my feed and who I want to talk to. In the first place, it is our personal responsibility to make filters of what I want to read and get from social media.
I think I never had so many challenges ever before this phase. I have some problems that I had that until now remains unresolved. It bothers me sometimes, but I learned not to care. I know the problem is not really a problem, but just a question of time and patience. At the end of the 11,000 days, I wrote about me entering a new epoch. That is still correct. I made a mistake that I can not undo, but today I do not see that a problem anymore. Should it be a problem in the future, I know what I need to do. Later in this blogpost, I will talk about my problems with relationship. It is a problem very few knows about it. Honestly, I still remember how bad things became, but it does not hurt now. Even when I feel nostalgic sometimes, I smile remembering how good some parts of it became. However, stronger than the feeling of reminiscing is regret of investing too much time and attention to a person who in the first place did not see me the way I deserve. I just moved on, without telling anyone completely what happened.
There are more things that I kept hidden during this life phase. I am even surprised by what I have done. Perhaps, people can see how I can shift from one personality to another. It is because there are a lot of contrasts within me. No one can even say, I am the exact Paul they knew. I act differently at times. I do regret some of it, but some of it, I can say those experiences were exciting. Someone even said to me once, it is hard to decipher who really I am. That is true. There is a lot to discover within. Aha. Yes, there seems to be more exciting things beneath this seemingly sweet smile. Guess what! I am not a boring a person at all. If you think I am boring, structured and monotonous, then you have limited yourself on believing that I am that particular person you know, not who really, I am.
The Search for El Dorado
I must say during the time I turn 30 years old; I know pretty much what I want, but somehow, I did not know how to do it. So, I ended searching for answers for myself and others. I was quite lost for few months. I was searching for a type of happiness I can not define. I was confused, or I just allowed myself to be more confused until one day I realized something, I did not need to search for someone or something. I am complete on my own way.
Traveling a lot
I visited 46 new cities and 15 new countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Vatican City ). In addition, I revisited 4 cities and 5 countries (Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, and Denmark), thereby totaling to 38 countries and 93 cities/places outside Norway and the Philippines as of now. During this time, I got the chance to travel with my sister and grandfather to Italy and Vatican City. It was a great experience seeing my grandfather traveling to new places here in Europe. I and my grandfather also took Hurtigruten seeing few of the spectacular places along the Norwegian coast, as well as a short boat tour to Copenhagen. I was supposed to travel with my niece spring of 2020, but because of the corona pandemic, everything was cancelled, including my planned trips alone. Moreover, I learned that traveling should not be a form of escape. Instead, I should travel to experience new things.
The value of relationship
This is the greatest lesson I had learned during this phase. Technically speaking, I am single throughout this period. I had few instances that I nearly had started a relationship with someone, but somehow it did not push through. Either I was not prepared, or I was busy on something else. Or they were not looking what I was looking for, or simply expectations did not meet. My greatest bump with regards to relationship happened on this phase. I compromised my worth, and gradually weakened my self-confidence. I was giving my time, effort and even most of my attention. I was thinking a lot of the other. I forgot myself. I forgot to nurture myself first before anyone else. I was looking for someone to complete me. I realized that is completely wrong. I needed to take responsibility of myself.
Well, at the last few weeks of this phase, I can say someone made me feel special, and honestly, I fell in love. I am not just certain of what the other really wants, a long-lasting one, a weekend partner, a special friend, or just someone to flirt with. Whatever happens, I am prepared. Should it be good, I feel I am ready. Should it go the other way, well, I am open for new relationship and available. I am feeling better whether I am with or without someone. That is the spirit.
In my search for happiness, I learned to build a different façade, a cover for things to hide my weakness. Later, I realized it was wrong. I should never had done that. Looking back, I was really deteriorating inside. I even wanted to convince myself and other of my worth. Imagine I took an IQ test through Mensa to prove the point I am not dumb, despite my imperfections in the Norwegian language. I can no longer take the constant pressure of becoming better in speaking and writing in Norwegian. I think I pushed myself excessively to fill all my free days with either work or studies. I did not want to feel empty and alone at home. That was wrong. The Corona pandemic has changed that. I was forced to be at home. I can not risk myself for anything else. Gradually, I felt better. I realized that things can be better alone. I became more independent, and less anxious. I learn to relax and enjoy silence without becoming lonely. I still feel down at times, but I know why. Then do something about it. My façade and what I feel inside are becoming more congruent than ever.
Lastly, I would like to leave a message of hope to everyone. We never know what will happen to us in the next chapters of our life. We are never certain whether we get to retain the people we like or become the person who we want to be. We aspire, but there are no guarantees. The only thing that is less vague is whether we are resilient enough to withstand the challenges ahead.
I can say I am getting tougher each day. I think I am becoming more adult. Now, I know how to patiently wait, understand others, and never insist especially when others do not initiate or have the will. I am still learning to set higher goals, but I am becoming more practical and concrete. Should there are unexpected events, I learning to adjust and change accordingly. Yes, at the end of 12,000 days, I admit I am no longer the Paul that I was. I am actually a new version, not necessarily better in all aspects, but at least a more resilient one.