2019 is many things. Like starting new stories. Writing poems in Tagalog. Listening to a lot of local music instead of deciphering another’s tongue. Not writing the things I should have, which I regret (coughcoughNOLIcough). Hitting the brakes on querying and deciding that I am NOT ready yet. Dreaming and writing and more revising. There’s no end in writing. It’s a curse. Either I die or lose my fingers, and I hope I don’t lose mine.
2019 is teaching three boys how to play instruments when in reality, I don’t even know how. 2019 is starting a cell group. 2019 is closing the door to old clients. 2019 is shaking hands with new ones who are excited to work with me. 2019 is seeing my cousins who came home abroad. 2019 is getting my phone completely unusable for a month. 2019 is watching late night shows and laughing at how the world is coming to an end, which isn’t funny, because my poor kids. This is the world we give you. 2019 is choosing better things. Giving better things.
2019 is washing the family’s laundry when Aling Che didn’t come. 2019 is cooking bangus. 2019 is thinking of others and working for others. It’s waking up early to see my family off at 5 am because that’s what we’re supposed to be. Family. And even though we mostly stay within our small circle, I find that circle stretching bigger. Always. Every time. And the people in the jeep, the children whose name we don’t know, we realize they’re family too.
That’s who we are. Family.
We’ve had earthquakes, an extensive drought, storms, annoying road constructions, malls sprouting like plants, news about the Aetas getting displaced, the Lumads being threatened, people dying of diseases we thought we’re done with, dangerous lambanog, a seriously expensive cauldron, and we’re not running out of bad news. But the good news will remain outside the walls. Outside the skin.
In you. You’re the good news. Be one.
When I was a kid, I used to play with a small book (it was actually a tax manual) and I’d always ask my parents, “What is a royalty?” which actually translates to, “Do we get to be royalties?” and inwardly, “I want to be one.” Growing up, I wasn’t really sure of being anything except of being 1.) a mom (not to my own kids necessarily, because I am Jo) and 2.) a writer, because it’s the only thing I am consistently good at. So I have no doubt that this route is THE route I’m supposed to take. But whether I’ll flourish in it and get my name in big neon lights, it remains to be seen. It started to not matter now. One long ride in a bus, I looked out of the window and whispered to myself, it’s okay if I’d be a ladder. If I’d be lifting someone up.I just want to live with enough.
And that’s what I get. Enough. God never held His hand back.
This year began, went through, and ends with me on my desk, writing on my old laptop, spilling those words away. Lately, I have decided to cut those words off. I have always been inside my head, and more writing leads to more discoveries, more introspection, more staying there, in my imagination. In the coming days, I wish to be more outside my head. This decade has done its duty, and I have learned well.
This 2020, I’ll learn to pace myself. I won’t be afraid to take on big things. Finish them slowly, steadily, surely. I’ll write better. Work better. Save more money. Be more intentionally healthy. Help people far who are more in need. Look far beyond my circle. To just be completely there, in a world bigger than mine. Bigger than what’s inside.
2019 has been wonderful. And 2019 has burned its last fire. x