Today is the last day of my twenties, and I’ve snuck in some time to reflect on a decade past.
It all started when I turned 20, back in the Philippines. A retired general took my friends and I out for dinner at one of the fancy places in Manila and we had a bottle of wine. Wine at a restaurant, that was a big deal for newly-twenty-year-old me. (The pints of beer came a few days later.)
A year or two or three in and I’d started a business, had a child, gotten married. Big changes, not anything I had anticipated back at the start—of the decade.
Halfway in, freshly 25, I needed to find my strength again and I started boxing. Also, my daughter became a toddler and finally started sleeping; we had the energy to travel again.
There was a divorce; the travel and boxing became therapy. I dove deeper into martial arts, and I started this blog.
Realized a childhood dream visiting Australia—though under circumstances childhood me could have never predicted. Ended up spending the better part of the year living in the land down under and got ridiculously lucky with this guy named Arthur. Which brings me right up to the many debts of gratitude I owe.
To my big brother Richard, the one who remembers changing my diapers, for giving advice to an eager but inexperienced me and encouraging me to start part one of my career—teaching.
To my big brother Mike and his family, who I will never be able to repay. Your quiet, relentless support got me through one of the toughest times of my life.
To my sister, Sophia. You know. Things wouldn’t be the way they are today without your steady, guiding presence.
To my boss, “The James” LaLonde, for taking a chance and making a twenties-year-old with naught but half a degree the head of a department with zero industry experience. The journey has and continues to be exhilarating.
To Arthur and Miliani, my very patient people, for loving and supporting me even when it means I’m going to be late for dinner.
To my mother. It’s been twelve years since I left home; I haven’t forgotten what you’ve given. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without you and I love you, mom.
It’s been quite a year for all of us. Pandemic stories will be told for some time to come. For my family, it brought the latest wave of change, and here I am in Holland again—the last place I expected to be at…30.
Only minutes away now; I feel pretty ready.
To the readers and supporters of this little blog, thank you, too. You helped me pave a new path forward. I know I’ve gone silent here, but it’s not because anything is wrong. Just that my audience has changed; my voice is still growing.