Happy New Year guys!!!
I hope and pray that 2016 is going to be a lot better. While 2015 was not necessarily a bad year, it wasn’t one of my best either. I had several frustrations, but the good thing is that most of them were resolved. As I write this post, I realize that 2015 was a year full of learnings. With that, I guess I can say that 2015 was more good than bad, because I fully recognized several important things. So as I usher in 2016, here’s my lesson plan from the lessons I learned in 2015.
Career-wise, 2015 was good to me, and I am very thankful to God and everyone who helped me achieve what Gymboree Sta. Rosa has achieved in less than a year.
Gymboree Play & Music Sta. Rosa Grand Launching ribbon-cutting by Sarah Lahbati and Richard Guttierez in April
After the Mommy Talk between the Gymboree Sta. Rosa Preschool students’ parents and Mommy Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan
The growing Gymboree Sta. Rosa Preschool students and their parents on our Christmas party
I really wanted my branch to be successful so I had to sacrifice a lot of things. Notice that during the middle of the year, I was almost not blogging. I tried to juggle everything, but I ended up going crazy.
That chapter in my life taught me two important lessons: LESSON #1, KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES. At that time, I prioritized work/business and the other frills (social media, blogging and other pampalipas oras) of my life.
It is a must that I prioritize work and business, because we invested so much in it. Ayoko namang pabayaan especially because it’s in its first year. And second, parents entrusted their children to us. That’s such an honor, and I don’t want to disappoint them. So I was really very hands-on. I was breathing down on everyone’s neck. Everything had to be perfect. And I don’t regret it. Honestly, hindi ako convinced sa mga sagacious posts and “kumbaya” life lessons that belittle the importance of work in the grand scheme of things. I am offended when I see posts and Facebook statuses that condemn diligence in work. Yes, family and me-time are important. But that doesn’t mean that work has to be dropped like a hot potato everytime the going gets tough. And the justification would often be that money isn’t important anyway. That may be true, but what about the people who hired you? You know, the one you so tried to impress and convince to hire you and trust you when you needed the job. And what about the other people whose lives will be significantly affected when you quit. Your responsibility isn’t to your family alone. So no, I don’t regret my dedication to Gymboree.
Now let’s go to my other priority, the frills. Ito ang pinagsisihan ko. I thought to myself that since I was working too hard, I had to have time for myself after work. I felt entitled to do whatever I wanted to, bahala na ang ibang tao kay Raviv. But of course Raviv needed and wanted me, not others. He would sleep at 11 p.m. na because he would wait for me. Ang sungit ko pa sa kanya. Imagine that! So his attitude changed: ayaw nang sumunod sa teacher at naging palaaway, to the point na sinampal n’ya ‘yung playmate n’yang babae na mahinhin for no acceptable reason. I knew right there and then it was because he was craving for my love and affection. I felt guilty, because I realized I was giving 70% of myself to work, 20% to frilly things (blogging, social media, “me”-time, etc.) and only 10% to my mag-ama. And that can’t go on. I know that I can live without the frills in my life, but I can’t live without my man and my boy. I told myself that I have to adjust: 50% work, 35% family and 15% frills (this includes personal growth, friendships, blogging, etc.) But to achieve this, I had to learn Lesson #2.
LESSON #2: GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE, LET GO OF THE WRONG ONES. One reason why I had such a hard time was because of the help surrounding me who were no help at all. If they’re not incompetent, they’re lazy or they are not committed. Or all of the above. At first I didn’t want to let go of them, because I thought it will be too difficult to get a replacement. Or that the replacement will be much worse. Then I thought that it couldn’t get any worse than this. Bahala na, hirap na ako! I no longer cared that I was going to give a higher pay and that I was going to pay agency fees. Bahala na, basta maging maayos ang tao ko. I still had some misses, but eventually I got the right people, both for our household and business. Ang laking ginhawa. Most importantly, Raviv’s good nature returned.
In connection to LESSON #2, this is LESSON #3: IF YOU WORK HARD FOR MONEY, MAKE MONEY WORK HARDER FOR YOU. As I have said, I no longer cared that much even when I paid agency fees and higher salaries. I often tell you guys I’m kuripot ‘di ba? Both Randy and I, actually. But this year, I feel like ang gastos ko na. Proof? Hindi na ako nag-uukay-ukay! Hehe. But seriously, that’s true. Plus that I got myself more designer bags, hihihi.
It actually dawned on me that life is short. Para saan ‘yung pagtatrabaho namin? As the adage goes, Hindi madadala ang pera sa hukay. Randy and I are both farsighted when it comes to the future, and we often refuse to bask in the present. But I believe we already have what we need, and even more. Though it is still my dream to have a big house with a big lawn in an exclusive neighborhood, (and we need to save up for that), ayoko na munang isipin ‘yun. Because kahit maliliit lang, we have roofs over our heads in Sta. Rosa and Los Banos, and we also have a decent condo in Mandaluyong. We got all the basics covered already. So I feel that it’s more important for me to enjoy the little things that money can buy instead of scrimping for my “big house with big lawn in an exclusive subdivision” dream. Live the moment na muna.
As a corollary to LESSON #3, my LESSON #3.1 is: I also realized that doing things by yourself “para makatipid” is not always a good idea. Many times, it’s better to just buy or get someone else’s services. Often, time at stress pa lang lugi na ako. Instead of being able to relax and chill or spend time with family and friends, my stress levels get high and I don’t get to rest. And for what ‘di ba? For the half-hearted “Wow ang galing! Ikaw lang ang gumawa nito!” praises? Or saving of a few hundred pesos? Not really worth it. I say delve into DIY if you’re so bored and got nothing to do, or if you are the expert on that something, or if you would truly enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy, as in hindi ka susungit dahil sa pagpapaka-Martha Stewart mo. Otherwise, DIYing is totally not worth it.
Sometimes I would think that I’m already throwing caution to the wind with my spending, and I would get scared. But then again I have to remind myself that:
1) Hindi ko inuutang o ninanakaw ang panggastos namin;
2) We still have savings and we are still far from living beyond our means;
3) Randy and I got insured for sickness and accidents;
4) We got Raviv’s future secured; and
5) We—especially Randy after years of toil and pagkukuripot—deserve to revel the fruits of his hardwork.
And speaking of life is short, here’s LESSON #4: MY BODY IS NOT INVINCIBLE, SO I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF IT. You know when I was young and I wasn’t a mother yet, I felt like I owned the world. I had hubris: I wasn’t fat even if I was eating like a construction worker and not exercising; and my skin was smooth and glowing even if I slept late, didn’t put on sunscreen and subjected it to lots of pulling and tugging. Abuso kung abuso. I was at the peak, and I did not think abusing myself would take its toll. Then I became a mom. I started to feel ugly, and I could no longer shake off those pesky extra extra extra pounds. Worse, people I knew started getting sick and dying. It gave me sleepless nights worrying.
I want to tell you that I’m living a healthy lifestyle already, that I’m counting calories and exercising regularly. Kaso hindi pa rin. Old habits die hard. But in 2015, at least I got a health insurance cum investment. That way, if I get sick, I won’t deplete our savings or scrimp on my healthcare. There were also times that I actually got physical and enjoyed eating vegetable salads sporadically. Moreover, I’ve also religiously started wearing sunscreen everyday and putting on night cream. This 2016, here’s my plan. I don’t want to be too ambitious so I’ll start with these:
1) Exercise at least 3x a week.
2) Eat fruits and/or raw vegetables before eating rice and ulam.
3) Sleep at 11 p.m. at the latest.
4) Get facials at least once a month.
I say that 2015 was not that good because it was the year where we experienced lots of changes. This year was a transition period. Remember my birthday bawl post? Every now and then I would feel a pang of pain everytime I remember how things used to be, when our house would be chaotically happy because of the presence of our Brain Train family. But finally, I learned to let go.
So yes, you probably guessed LESSON #5: DON’T DWELL ON NOSTALGIA. MOVE ON. It was difficult for us to accept that things were not gonna be the same. We lingered for a while and waited. And waited. And waited for naught. Until finally, I decided to stop being sentimental. I proactively sought new friends and started appreciating the people around me.
My birthday wasn’t that lonely after all because of these lovely ladies, my Victory Groupmates!
My lovely Victory Groupmates and I on our Christmas party
And if there’s one thing I got from being with my crazy Brain Train family, it’s hosting and throwing fun-filled parties! This year, Familia Brain Train no longer had a Christmas party. So I organized an interoffice/intrabuilding Christmas party. It was welcomed by most of our tenants, and they had fun.
Scenes from the first ever Brain Train Building Christmas Party
I would be lying if I say that with my “Move on!”bravado, I no longer miss my Brain Train family. I still do, and I always will.
Brain Train Mafioso. Iba kami eh. Basta iba! The best!
But as I have said, we have to move forward. The world is big and there are billions of people to meet, greet, love, help, and learn from.
Amidst the rollercoaster ride that was 2015, my husband and son were always with me, loving me unconditionally. The last days of 2015, I got awful, awful news. I’m sorry I cannot share it with you. But that news made me appreciate Randy all the more.
So yes, may LESSON #6 pa: GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. It matters, promise. It doesn’t cost a cent, but the joy it brings is priceless. Many people (including me) neglect to vocalize their appreciation of their spouses because of a multitude of shallow reasons: awkward, alam naman n’ya yun, lalaki lang ang ulo, iisipin n’ya ang galing-galing n’ya, etc. ‘Di ba? This New Year, let’s break that mindset and verbalize our gratitude and admiration. After reading this blog, tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them. Be specific. With a smile in your faces, in a sincere (‘wag yung nang-aasar!) tone, tell them they’re handsome, they’re beautiful, the food they prepared was so delicious, you love waking up beside them, and the list goes on I’m sure. It’s a great way to start the new year. Imagine being the recipient of that message. Ang sarap, ‘di ba?
Happy New Year again everyone! Let God guide us this year, and trust me, it’s gonna be awesome! 🙂