Of bitter-sweet changes: what life teaches you


Facebook just reminded me that 3 years ago, I left Manila once again for my life here in Jakarta. It was also at that same time that I was moving from my “bachelorette” apartment in Mandaluyong to our current home in Parañaque, which is more apropos for a bigger family, including my daughter Abby and my Mom.

I have a penchant for doing that: going through cycles of change all at the same time.

Who in her right mind will buy a new house in Manila and leave two weeks after for another expatriate stint abroad?

Apparently, me.

Fast forward to today, I’m about to go through the same cycle of moving and changing. The cycle for me tends to repeat. It just gets bolder and bigger.

Ridiculously crazy – is an understatement for what I have been going through in the past few weeks. But I can’t exactly complain too much, as I brought this upon myself, for better or for worse.

I’m about to change jobs and leave the industry that has been my domain for almost fifteen years, and although I’m not changing countries, I’m again moving to a new apartment. This will commence all in a span of 3 weeks.

I’m probably sadomasochistic, receiving pleasure by subjecting myself to these pain and inconveniences.

I find that personal transformations are only made through difficult journeys, with a lot of pain and discomfort. No matter how much it hurts and jolts me, somehow I have grown bones and nerves in my body that make me adapt to the discomfort.

As I do it over and over again, I realized that no matter how much I toss myself into the fire, it still burns. It just made me more resilient each time I go through it.

At the same time, I have amassed important learnings and insights about change and difficult moments:

Lowered expectations mean less disappointment and more happiness. It may sound counter-intuitive, but when we jump into a massive change, we expect bigger and better, too. GUILTY. I’m so guilty of this.

I also expect people to be better, to know better or to understand better, which leaves me severely disappointed.

Two friends have given me this advice: expect less, or even don’t expect anything at all, especially from other people and your life will be so much happier.

Never expect that when you do the right thing, others will and respond positively. The divide between right and wrong has always been murky. It’s also always affected by perception and personal emotions, too. Nevertheless, let your moral yardstick and integrity guide you amidst the changes.

And even when things go awry, try to always do things right, make things right. If you fail, don’t be too hard up on yourself. It’s a wash-rinse-repeat process.

Finally and one of the most important insights that this experience gifted me: You will realize who among the people in your life are for real and who your real friends are. Some people will surprise you – for better or for worse, good or bad.

Some people who were not even close to me reached out to offer help – any kind of help – that they can give. From packing boxes to sending a bottle of wine (the latter being preferred) and to just offering time to listen to me rant as a show of moral support.

The kind words, the hugs, the show of solidarity and support immensely lifted my spirits up and gave me the cheerleading that I badly needed.

When I look back to this journey, I’m certain that what I will fondly remember are the people in my life who chose to be with me, whether they approve or disapprove of the direction that I chose.

At the end of the day, I am stronger and more resilient because of the love and support given by these people at this juncture of my life. Grateful, I will always be grateful to them when I recall these moments.

Now off to packing boxes, packing and unpacking my life.

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