happy last day of the year day, kabayan

[ thanks for all the blessings this year, the visits to this site, the kind comments from you Precious Reader. We face the new year with hope and energy, but for now we celebrate. Don’t drink and drive! ]

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. In my ripe middle age, I’ve come to a belated conclusion, one that any person not born yesterday would’ve discovered after a couple of new years’ eves: it’s probably the only day of the year when it’s socially acceptable to drink, even get smashed with alcohol: we drink to forget the regrets of the year. We drink for other reasons of course, but I’ll get to that later.

I regret not spending more time with my father. on the surface this seems a perfectly reasonable and commonsense regret, until you realize that I had the previous 50+ years of my life to spend quality time with Dad, who died middle of this year. I did spend good times with him, first as a child, then as a young adult, then as a sidekick, and finally as a (younger) friend. To have spent a half-century of growing up, laughter and related joys with such a remarkable person is not that bad. I just could’ve spent more.

I regret not saving more.  Every year I start out with the same lofty goals: hit a savings goal, cut down the credit card debt, and diversify investments. Before the year is half over I realize I’m nowhere near where I set out to be, and call it a day. 2019 was no different for me, and I can’t even say I’m a year older and a year wiser. I’m ever closer to retirement, I need new income and revenue sources, and more than ever, I need discipline. I can’t rely on winning the Lotto anymore.

I regret not educating myself. YouTube, podcasts, self-learning modules, etc etc, even jobs where you don’t get paid with anything except the training, these are the tools of the day. Everything is being done now so that learning is easier, textbooks and rote learning is now merely among the many, many ways to absorb skills and expertise. Age is no barrier, certainly not an excuse, and every day I wake up I need to challenge myself to learn something new.

But we also drink to celebrate the blessings of the year.

I celebrate being healthy this year. No modesty in this aspect, when you’re healthy you’re healthy, and any person my age, occupation and location (pang Tinder data), when you can still do the things you do, you’re lucky.

I celebrate having someone to love and be loved. Self-explanatory mostly, but scientists are just beginning to prove in understandable terms that love is a human, physical need. Loners die earlier. Couples thrive in the hardiest conditions. And families who look out for each other, flourish in the worst situations. It’s not quantifiable, only observable. And the best way to observe it is in your own life. I’m happy to say that this year, I’ve stayed in love and found more ways to appreciate it, my situation and my loved ones. Happy for that.

I celebrate having the job I have, in the country I’m in. I’m not sure what job I would have if I stayed in the Philippines, but given the comfort, convenience and stability that goes with my job in New Zealand, it’s a neat package.  Work now in agreeable conditions, short commute to work near the sea and valleys, clean air and blue skies, with (hopefully) reasonable health care and semi-retirement waiting. I can’t complain.

Lots of things to be sad about this year, but even more things to be thankful for. We celebrate the new year tonight, but for now we are grateful for the year almost done.

Thanks for reading, happy 2020!


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