A child is not born with limitations. Society and life experiences makes a child learn limitations, and as he/she grows, he/she gets scared to overcome those limits. In truth, if you have strong willpower you can push past your limits and achieve more in your life.
All of us are bound by limitations: emotional, physical, intellectual, societal and even mental. In society, you cannot just express your feelings fully all the time. Whenever a child talks about the problems of adults, the parent will tell him not to think about those issues, he is still too young or it is improper to do so. Are these limitations good or bad, well, it depends? Some forms of limitations are justified, and usually these come in the form of laws, rules, and norms put in place for the good and safety of the community and society at large. Other than that, you can freely push personal, individual limits to test yourself and enhance your potential.
The human brain is so complex and capable of doing things which at times would be considered impossible. Unless a record is created or broken, no one would have thought of such possibilities. Often, personal limitations are usually self-imposed. In other words, though you have the ability to do certain things you have never thought of even attempting it.
Overcoming limitations cannot be achieved overnight. You have to develop strong will power to push beyond your limits. To some extent, physical limitations can be quite difficult to overcome, but you can overcome emotional and mental limitations if you are strong willed. There are of course examples of overcoming physical limitations such as cases of terminally ill patients who live happily, as if nothing is going to happen tomorrow. It is because they live only for “the present” and not for “the future”. Even in cases of extreme illness, people could smile and live because they have “will power” to live and a positive state of mind that transcends the weakness of the body.
Anything is possible if you have determination. It is not hard to push the limits if you are able to channel the strength inside you. Believe strongly that anything is possible and your brain will help give you enough strength and motivation to achieve your goal.
It’s Mother’s Day and first off, I would just like to greet my fellow mothers out there on this special day a very happy Mother’s Day! On this occasion where motherhood is celebrated and given due recognition, I can’t help but dwell on my experience and feeling of what it is like being a Mom.
Just as each individual person is unique, so are mothers. We may have a common experience of bringing a person to life, but we mothers come in all shape, character, temperament, style, etc. So I figured I would share with you my thoughts and experience as a mother.
I am blessed with one son and as a Mom, one nagging worry always at the back of my head is if I had been a good Mom. Did I do right by him, did I raise him up properly? When he was born, I was still working at the Palace, and given the fast-paced, high pressure working environment, it was challenging to balance the demands of work and being a mother. My work involved a lot of overseas travel too, so I did my best to find time for family and my baby boy. When I did have the time, I would make the most of it. That would be the pattern even during our foreign posting in Los Angeles and Washington DC, where from time to time I would be detailed to Summits and Presidential visits.
He was quite a handful growing up. He was a bundle of energy, forever restless and loved to test our limits. As someone with quite a temper, he would take me to the brink on more than one occasion and I had to make an effort to not step over the line. I didn’t realize it then that in my efforts to instill some discipline in him, he was also helping me gain mastery over my temper.
At least I wasn’t alone in the effort. My husband was just as involved, and we worked as a team. Only thing is we sometimes weren’t sure if what we were doing was correct. There are many books, articles and material about parenting, but everyone admits there is no magic formula, no guaranteed method or technique other than just make the best effort you can to prepare your child for life and at a certain point, the rest is up to them and you just have to hope for the best.
After our US posting I resigned from government service and had more time to spend and bond with my son, who was now becoming a teenager. A different set of challenges now. Before it was all about making sure he didn’t get into trouble, or harm himself and others, and teaching him values and how to conduct himself in the world around him. Now this was all about preparing him for the challenges of life, steeling him for the harsh realities of a grownup’s world and building for himself traits and an attitude that would help him achieve stability and security for his future. Well, it appears he had other things in mind and his stubborn streak didn’t make things easier. No surprise there as he got that from both parents. Karma? Hahaha. Yet, there was quite a lot of upsides too, as we got to do things and travel together now that I had more time to spend with him. It was a great opportunity as well to learn more about each other.
He is 20 now and is based far away. Any fears I had that he was going to struggle being by himself and dealing with adulthood in general have been assuaged. From a rambunctious and mischievous little kid, he’s turned out to be a kind, loving and responsible young man. After my most recent visit to him, I could see that he was going to be okay. I’m so proud of him, and I guess that should assure me that I did alright by him as a Mom.
I think that is what it is like being a Mom, looking constantly for signs and assurances that you are on the right track and seeking affirmation that your child loves you and thinks the world of you. Thing is, it is hard and rare to find that assurance and affirmation as they are growing up. It is hard to spot at times in the constant to and fro of the daily interaction. In my experience, it is only once you have let him go and allow them to find themselves on their own that you will finally get that assurance you did good. Then when you see that bright spark in his eyes and the joy he projects when he meets you after a prolonged absence, that’s your affirmation right there.
Today is the one-year death anniversary of Dad (my father-in-law). Except for Mom and one sibling in Bacolod, all of us (children and in-laws) were in Manila because of the MECQ in place. No flights, and almost everything was closed. He passed away and we couldn’t be there with him and Mom in his final moments.
A death in the family is always difficult. The loss is painful and it rocks you to your core. You work through the pain by grieving, letting it out in the hope it moves on. Apparently, it isn’t that simple. It is a year since Dad’s passing and with no closure we continue to grieve. I could feel it in me, persistent and heavy, weighing me down emotionally.
When someone dies unexpectedly, there is the shock that comes with the realization of the news. This wasn’t like that at all. Dad didn’t die of Covid-19, but his body was letting him down. He was getting in a bad way, but we figured he might bounce back from it. When he had to be brought to the hospital, we had a chance to talk to him over video group chat and figured things might still turn out okay.
Except that wasn’t the case. I can’t imagine what Mom went through when the doctor asked for her decision, but she handled it with strength and a calm resolve. Dad was the spirit and soul of the family, but Mom is the bedrock that holds us together. When Mom updated us the harsh realization that we were going to lose Dad started setting in. This was a shock that leaves you numb. There was also a crawling, creeping fear, bubbling and simmering inside, increasing in intensity as days pass.
It just got worse from there. Bad enough we had to start dealing with losing Dad, it is further aggravated by knowing we couldn’t fly out to be with Mom and him because of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. As he had to be sedated, we weren’t even able to say goodbye to him by phone or video chat, to let him know how much we loved him and how we were going to miss him. It’s like torture, I am haunted by the thought that if it weren’t for the pandemic, we would have been on a plane already the moment he was brought to hospital. It feels like some minion of Fate is mocking me, playing a cruel joke and enjoying my grief and misery.
It is one year from Dad’s passing and strangely, Metro Manila is still once again under MECQ. I still haven’t found closure. I miss Dad a lot and whenever his name is mentioned and something is written about him, I tear up and I think all of us do. I still grieve for his loss, as I’m sure the rest of the family likewise continue to do so in our own ways, fractured from each other and stuck in our respective isles of isolation.
Sharing these thoughts and feelings is I guess one way I deal with the loss and this grief I continue to feel. I know there are many around the world who find themselves in similar or somewhat related situations, grieving for a loss in the family from far, far away, waiting to be able to take that journey home to pay their final respect. I think this is a common and indelible feature of the human race, the need to properly mourn and pay respects a departed loved one. I sometimes take small comfort in the words of Helen Keller:
“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world—the company of those who have known suffering.”
In the meantime, I will continue to carry the hole in my heart created by your departure from this world Dad, and fill it with the pleasant memories I have of you.
Whenever I take a break from writing, I sometimes end up pondering about this state of enforced immobility and isolation. Here are a few of those random musings:
Instead of exploring places and wandering about the outside world, we make do exploring virtually and going inside our heads, wrestling with our thoughts.
It is an ordeal for a free spirit like me. There is a world of difference between deciding to stay indoors to being forced to stay indoors.
Trying to keep safe from the virus is also an exercise in keeping one’s spirit healthy and lively.
A new normal is being bandied about with vaccinations already ongoing, but will this be the case years down the road? History kind of shows that mankind is not that good in terms of learning from the past.
I so miss the little things, even the mundane ones of just having breakfast at Wildflour Cafe here in our area, then to Fully Booked, Healthy Options, and Rustan’s Marketplace. Spontaneously dropping by at friend’s offices, or having lunches or dinner with those whose work is near our place. Hanging out at Washington Sycip Park reading and munching on junk foods and when taking a break people watching those jogging fanatics across Legazpi Active Park inflicting pain on themselves by jogging or exercising.
Enforced immobility has forced me to come face to face with a personal project long on hold, disrupted by my frequent wandering about. The situation has finally got me to sit down long enough to finish it.
Life in the so called new normal. Adapting to new ways of working. Learning to cope with limited mobility and enforced isolation. Praying for the safety and health of loved ones. Making the most of the situation.
I believe it is already a given that the world and a lot of things in our lives are not going to be the same after this Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps there will be an effort to restore a semblance of normalcy and to regain the life that was before the pandemic, but I doubt if we could really recapture that fully intact. For one, this pandemic and what it has wrought this past year has affected me significantly on a personal level and I am quite conscious of changes it has brought about in me as a person.
The fear is not for me but for my family and loved ones generated by the threat posed by the virus has forced me to reflect on life in general. Then there is the death toll, and we are not just talking about the numbers, we are talking about our family, people we know or loved ones of friends, relatives and colleagues. It makes one re-assess one’s priorities in life. I suddenly found myself no longer caring about material things, and have slowly adopted a more practical and minimalist mindset. It’s no longer about what I want to buy, but about places, things and stuff to do, experience, see, taste, hear, smell and feel.
This experience has further made me touch deeper into my spiritual self. A renewed connection with my faith and with God. A newfound appreciation of the daily blessing of being alive, to be given another crack at life upon waking. I say a prayer of thanks at the start of my day and at its end. I guess in a time and condition that makes us feel very vulnerable, our faith serves as our armor.
The pandemic has also forced us into isolation and severely restricted our movements, and this is more pronounced for me as I have my health condition and being a wanderer at heart I’m not used to being constricted in one place, much so in a tiny condo unit. Yet, I found myself expanding and reactivating my network of friends and contacts. Thanks to technology I have been reconnecting with childhood friends from my elementary, high school and university days. I have gained new friends through online social interaction, whether through academic webinars, or simply engaging on topics of interest. Not to mention all the freelance gigs I’ve been getting since the start of ECQ last March 2020.
While I have also been actively involved in doing volunteer work as I like helping out people, I have had to adjust the manner by which I seek to carry this out. I would normally join a group and be in the thick of the action, onsite, helping out together with similar minded friends and people. Now, with limitations on my movement for health and safety reasons, I contribute where and when I can. This means helping those in close proximity, such as providing food for all the workers (guards, maintenance, housekeeping, reception and admin) in our condo building. We sent them meals during the times the city was under ECQ, MECQ and every time there’s a typhoon. We resumed it again starting last month when we went back to ECQ and then to MECQ. Also, provided food for several healthcare workers in UP Diliman because the caterer lives near the area. I would support local entrepreneurs by patronizing their products, which is usually food. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this crisis, one is that we are all in this together. We will only overcome this pandemic as a community working together and helping each other out.
So whatever happens to the world around us after all this, whether it will return to normal or not, things will definitely not be the same for me because I am no longer exactly the same person before it.
I miss college days where we enjoyed hours of exchanging ideas without fear of being branded with any political leanings and to be able to do so in front of instructor/s who appreciates lively and intelligent discussion. I miss the honest take of students, how they react to a situation presented to him/her based on their knowledge of the subject, the reaction as a Filipino and as a citizen mindful of his/her social responsibility to this country.
I hope we can conduct discussions like this without attributing political motivation or being judged as pro or anti government, but rather as informed and involved citizens who are exercising our rights to determine our destiny in a democracy.
A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.- Abraham Lincoln
When do we begin to start to trust our Constitution and institutions? Let us be honest with ourselves here, when will we Filipinos unanimously say we have the right leader or when will we ever get the right leader? The answer is in strengthening our institutions, allowing it to work and become more relevant than the people who are elected and chosen to run them so that governing/governance is no longer about the leader but about the office and institution that they represent. Strong institutions require transparency and meritocracy and helps ensure proper discharge of duties and responsibilities. This is what we should be doing, not simply just continually looking or hoping to elect the right leader or our political messiah. That’s like trying to win the lotto instead of doing an honest day’s work.
We are so personality oriented and react within that context and that is why we end up in this vicious cycle of being taken for granted all the time by people in authority.We are a democracy, but we don’t trust our democratic institutions such as the judiciary, the law enforcement authorities, our electoral process, and government in general. What does that say about us as a country and a people? Yes, things are very intense and uncertain but if we don’t begin to place a bit of trust into our institutions and allow them to work and just simply go on and continue to second-guess motives and speculate on what could be, then we deserve to be continually stuck in this vicious political paralysis that we have been in for many years now.
It will take time and there is a long, long way to go but we should be able to grow out of our tendency to worship at the altar of personality and be ruled by our emotions and begin to demand and expect more from those we elect to lead us. It is our responsibility to be an informed citizen…So asking about the process or raising questions doesn’t mean you’re against or pro-government, it is a means to achieve understanding. As they say, only a dead fish flows with the current. We have the right to ask and should not be judged for our queries, but rather on our actions. In the Philippines, we are too personality oriented and we tend to allow emotions to rule rather than logic and intellect. People take stands according to the protagonists involved, not on the merits or demerits of the issue at hand. Critical thinking and objectivity gets drowned out by partisanship. We must rise above this in order to become more responsible and informed citizens so that politics can be lifted from the muck where it currently resides.
If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.” – Plato
Being very much aware of our history, whose fault will it be in the event we allow history to repeat itself and for the failure to break this cycle of our political development? This will be a reflection of our political maturity (or lack of it) as a people and a nation if this happens.
So yes, let us be vigilant and keep a close watch so there is no abuse.
In life, we experience a lot of failure and disappointments. May it be major, like not getting into a job that we really like or a little less complicated like not having the food that we crave for. It varies in intensity, but just the same, we get disappointed when we fail.
But in life, we should not place the focus on our failure or disappointments. We focus on our abilities to stand up and move on. Yes, it is easier said than done but once we believe what we say, eventually we get to make it real. Hence, when we say- “I can do this. I’m better than this and I can move on and believe in it,” eventually and without knowing it, we had already done it.
Failure will always be a part of our lives. No matter how careful we are not to fail or not to be disappointed, we can’t avoid it. Life is not enjoyed by how close to perfection we’ve lived, but how we face our failures and how we learn to accept it and be a better person after it.
They say we only get to appreciate the good things that are happening to us when we get to experience the bad or even the worst things in life. A friend of mine applied for a job as a barista. He wanted it real bad but then he failed to pass the interview. He was devastated. He didn’t want to apply for other jobs anymore for he thought he was a failure. Eventually, he got his act together and started to apply for jobs again. He was interviewed in a well-known restaurant and he passed.
From Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore, he’s now at The Ritz-Carlton and he’s happy with it. He told me once, if it wasn’t for that failure he had on his first interview he will not get to work with this five star hotel, get to meet cool people like me (Hehehe! His words, not mine), and have the opportunities, which he values so much now. He learned a thing or two from that experience.
When something in your life failed, it doesn’t mean that will be the trend of your life. More importantly, failure does not define who you are, as long as you stand up from it and keep moving on. It’s just part of our journey in this crazy but wonderful life. It is simply just being human and you learn to be stronger every step of the way. With that, I can say failure is an occasion that will teach us about ourselves. It is a test and may be a blessing in disguise. We may see it as a reason of stress at first, but after we get passed it, we realize that it’s a reason for us to appreciate a life that we sometimes take for granted.