lists, people

121 Days

Am I the only one taken aback by the realization that Christmas is just around the corner, as next week commences the ‘ber’ months? I vividly remember listing my New Year’s resolutions and preparing for the family Christmas dinner like these happened yesterday.

Yes, only 121 days left before December 25.

Anyway, here’s a run-through of things and people that genuinely made me smile at the most random times. Like walking on a gloomy day while listening to Always Like This.

I.

Turning off the notifications in my phone, except for text messages and calls. Given my attention span, I easily lose focus when I hear a beep. Even if I try to disregard it while finishing work, my mind returns to the possibilities behind the beep. Who could be messaging me? What is the purpose of that message? Could it involve an urgent task? More often than not, I end up rationalizing and checking my phone “just in case.” “For all we know, it could be an emergency!”

Considering my current circumstances, though, I rarely encounter urgent and important notifications. My parents, who are the main reason I cannot not have my phone in sight, usually call when I need to act on an emergency (i.e. feeding the dogs, telling my Lola to exclude them from dinner, informing us a plumber will arrive today).

I acknowledge this way of eliminating distractions might not work for everybody. My father, for instance, would be foolish to reason he missed an operation because he “switched off notifications in hopes of focusing on the present.” I like how The Minimalists succinctly describes using modern technology, such as TV, with mindfulness:

We’re not suggesting television or any of your other gadgets are inherently bad—but they can be pernicious.

Watching TV is like eating candy: if you eat a piece or two, it’s not bad for you—but when it comprises a large portion of your diet, you get sick very quickly. No, television is not bad for you, but when you get the majority of your cultural and artistic calories from it, then you get sick in a much broader sense.

II.

Speaking of The Minimalists, I tweeted about how they are my “greatest discovery this week.” I know they’re neither a fashion model nor a member of a boy band, but I slightly gushed upon their tweeting back. As in, legit fan girl squeak. I told you social media and the Internet in general are not intrinsically evil!

a

III.

Upon hearing about National Bookstore’s warehouse sale, my brother and I agreed that going there the next day will be one of our best decisions of the month. But like the movie, A Case of You, the sale was pretty disappointing. Discounted books were those about finance, world maps, toddler’s anxieties, and Robert Pattinson. Maybe the much coveted pieces were bought first by early birds or the books on sale just didn’t suit my taste.

c

I thought our efforts of commuting to the bookstore would be futile if I went home empty-handed, so I spent an hour or so browsing through the shelves and debating with myself. In the end, I decided this book haul is worth the money because books don’t depreciate, unlike trendy clothes and high-end gadgets, and are intangible investments.

I have always wanted to buy these books every time I visit a store–mostly to pass time–and I thought, “Either way, I will get these someday so why postpone it? They could run out of stock and ordering online will be more expensive.” The reason I share this kind of purchase on social media is, some people might find the suggestion helpful. I can testify to how many wonderful things I’ve discovered through a Facebook post, an Instagram photo, and a tweet; perhaps someone will experience the same awe upon learning such movie, book, or website exists.

IV.

This month, I have been writing more frequently in The Daykeeper. (I cannot wait for its 2016 edition. Feel free to give me a copy in case you’re feeling extra generous during the Christmas season.) Although I write mostly for the sheer fun of attempting to organize my thoughts and feelings, I realized lack of practice will make it difficult for me to get back on tracklike exercising. (I gave into my couch potato tendencies, ergo depleting my energy levels.)

V.

The feeling from giving my Lola a crash course of using her tablet (i.e. Skype) and pitching ideas for my brother’s writing assignment. In the morning, I was feeling particularly terriblebrought by feelings of inadequacies cropping up, but that’s another storyand I tried an advice from The Happiness Project.

“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

It really is effective. For best results, try along with jumping like a child on New Year’s Eve.

In other news, a social media savvy group with an abundant supply of patience might try organizing seminar-workshops about the Internetwith beginner, intermediate, and advanced levelsfor Baby Boomers.

VI.

After much legwork, I finally finished processing some documents expected of a fully functional adult.

If you want to get a Philippine passport, do yourself a favor and go to the office near you instead of relying on the website for the requirements. I went there with a community tax certificate, along with two other supporting documents, because their website says such document is valid provided it was issued a year ago. Imagine my surprise when I waited for an hour or so, only to be told by the DFA employee that the CTC is unacceptable because the higher-ups say so. “It’s easy to get,” he reasoned. Major stress drilon moment.

In addition, the NBI clearance I brought was an orange onewhich means it is not valid for travel abroad. My common sense must have gone on leave while having my biometrics taken in the NBI Office last month. In my defense, I processed it primarily for local employment. Fortunately, after enduring the humidity and trying to concentrate on a book for three hours, I got a green NBI clearance at 6 p.m.

I know there’s no excuse for poorly treating people but I’m giving a leeway to the NBI Office employees. I’m unsure whether their voice’s tone, which is far from accommodating, is caused by exhaustion or by being used to speaking that way. They must be tired from working overtime and dealing with people who don’t follow instructions.

In this case, processing my passport was an “infinitely complex pattern” of forgetting the specifics of the requirements.

I disliked the part wherein I had to clip my fringe for the passport photo, though.

When I returned the next day, I realized my barangay clearance might be rejected because “it is too easy to get.” While photocopying my transcript of records and NBI clearance, I overheard a woman say a baptismal certificate is acceptable. As fast as I heaved a sigh of relief, the truth dawned on me: I lost my alumni ID. I don’t remember leaving it somewhere so looking for it would be pointless. Although I already have a postal ID, transactions such as getting a passport require two IDs.

I scurried toward the taxi lane, braved the unusually heavy traffic near our home, and searched through my father’s piles of paper. Imagine my grin when I returned to the DFA Office and saw the queue screen change the priority numbersjust in time for my turn! I never told my father about this because he would incessantly remind me, “Ganahan gyud kaayo ka’g last-minute nga mga lakaw.” (“You always like to run errands at the last minute.”)

Now that I’m neither in school nor in the workforce, I find obtaining documents and IDs a hobby. You never know when you need it, right?

VII.

A giddy crush on a friend of a friend. When expounded, this entry would sound every bit as a high school diary entry.

Should things turn out like a rom-com movie and I know him on a deeper level, I’m pretty certain I’ll discover a trait or two worthy of aversion. Let’s say it’s the kind of admiration in which his name is the first that comes to mind when I reach the “who is your crush?” portion of an autograph.

I’ll stop here.

VIII.

My mother trying to take a selfie after watching the latest installment of Mission Impossible.

Movie nights with the family are becoming a staple in our monthly schedule. We’re aware it is more costly than spending the night at home but we agree the experience of watching some movies is different in the cinema.

I still question why some people spend hundreds of pesos to watch movies without special effects in the cinema. The surround sound technology and high resolution big screen for mushy confessions and sobbing? I budge whenever my friends prefer to watch a movie of this nature, though, because the experience leans more on the company than the film itself.

I’d rather watch movies, mostly coming-of-age, drama, and rom-com, with 80 percent dialogue and 20 percent crying in my laptop. Also, being in touch with my emotions is better done alone. Then again, we don’t question each other’s preferences as long as it doesn’t put the human race in danger.

My mother’s constant progress in taking selfies as proven during dinner.

IX.

When you’ve barely noticed the days pass by while deliberately subjecting yourself to a home confinement, face-t0-face meetings with friends become more treasured.

When my brother expressed interest and determination in joining Cru, I admit I was hesitant because I thought being in the same group as him would be awkward. I couldn’t be more wrong. For instance, one of the greatest advantages is having someone pay half of the taxi fare.

“To evaluate people’s worth in your life, imagine the present had you never met them,” I read. Life happens, priorities shift, and our schedules require more effort in syncing but upon talking with these people, I’m glad I literally walked the extra kilometer to see them.

Marion and Alfred—our adventures since high school are enough, both in quantity and quality, to be the bases of a sitcom.

Marion and Alfred—our adventures since high school are enough, both in quantity and quality, to be the bases of a sitcom.

It was refreshing to talk about aspirations and look at teenage times in retrospect, as opposed to majority of our undergraduate years’ conversations which revolved around: alibi for our weekly rendezvous, unrequited admiration, and number of allowable absences left.

X.

Five out of eight

Five out of eight

With my closest cousins, also known as people I don’t mind seeing me look like a homeless person with a greasy face. Sometimes, our taking a break from conversations means being in the same room and surfing the Internet without the need to banish silence with awkward fillers.

Last Sunday was different, though, as we spent the entire afternoon talking about age gaps and must-watch movies before going to the mall without a definite plan. “Naa’y tag-PHP12 nga cheese bread, pwede nato tungaan,” (“Here’s a PHP12 cheese bread we can share.”) Raffy said upon realizing we spent our scarce resource on the 5D virtual reality thing which we wouldn’t recommend. Neneng and I were in disbelief when we found out we can wear sweaters from the children’s section in a new store.

XI.

An irresistible ball of fluff and energy which goes by the name ‘Casper’ and other variations such as ‘Perper’ and ‘Aper.’

(My feet aren’t dirty. Filters can be deceiving.)

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