I ended 2013 with a statement saying it was best year of my life so far. I’ve said the same thing in 2012, and the year before that, and the year before that.

I want to say the same thing this year, but I just can’t.

It was a “losing” year: a year of lost struggles, of saying goodbyes, and of trying to let go. It was a year that reminded me of my weaknesses, the fears that I have tried – but failed – to overcome. It was a year that brought out the unwanted, undesirable me; the “me” whom I can’t control, the “me” whom I can’t tame.

The past year has taken a lot from me, one way or the other.

The deaths were the worst. I’ve said goodbye to my dog, which has been with us for the past 12 years, in August. I wasn’t with him when he died. But days before he passed on, I’ve told him that it was okay to let go. Everyone, even dogs, has to at some point in his or her life.

Not that I was aware that I will have to say the same words in just a little over a month – this time to my grandmother, one of the most important people in my life.

It was the hardest thing that I have done in my life: telling her that it’s okay, even if it’s not; saying I’ll be okay, even if I know I will not.

I’m not okay, not then and not now.

Her death has caused a permanent damage, which has affected other aspects of my life. I almost lost my sanity, and I thought – after years of not doing so – of ending it all. The series of events resulted in the break-up of an already fragile relationship. It was a hard, but necessary decision that I had to make as I try to go on with my life.

I kept telling myself, I had to. I just had to.

I’ve lost other things: friendships, my beat, and even colleague-friends who were moved to other beats or decided to leave the industry for good. I even lost faith in what I do, in the purpose of it all. It was all for naught, I’d say.

Losing, it seems, really is the highlight of my year.

But the problem with losing is that when you do, you forget about the other things that you have gained, the other battles that you have won.

I’ve travelled a lot, expanded my network, and even co-organized a series of youth dialogues across the country. I have met new people, established new relationships, and realized – once again – how big the world really is.

I have gone back to school and – more importantly – learned more about myself: who I am and what I really want to do.

Admittedly, some of these would not be possible if not for the losses that I had to endure. And in the past weeks, I have extensively dwelled on the “what ifs”, on what would happen had faith intervened and I have not lost the things that I did.

There were nights when I surrender myself to the delusion that everything will go back to where it used to be; because the pain of losing continues to linger, even after assurances from people around me that the wounds will heal. I know it will not.

And I know that my delusions were just that. Delusions.

I want to start the new year right, even if I am clueless as to how I will do it.

Perhaps with this statement: Year 2014 was not the best year of my life, but it was not the worst either.

For the meantime, I’ll look forward to the day when I can say that 2014, while not the best one, is perhaps the most important one. After all, this was the year when I decided to face my demons, and actually tried to live the way I want my life to be.


Wish you had

I vaguely remember what happened. It was a memory that I wasn’t proud of, a memory I tried to bury deep in the recesses of my mind.

But I can still picture the scene. You, moping, seated at the corner of your dark, gloomy room. It was not an unfamiliar sight. You’ve been doing that for years – only this time, you were holding a knife. Or was it a blade?

That was the closest you came to hurting yourself. And I am not sure what it was about.

That was six years ago.

For years I’ve told myself – that was your most stupid moment; a time when you actually revealed how weak you are. You weren’t even broken hearted. I know, because you’ve never really fallen in love, at least at the time. You did not fail a subject either, because you just don’t, at least at the time.

But I know how you felt. You felt like you’re a failure.

Now I know that you – or I – shouldn’t be ashamed of that; because believe it or not, six years later, I’m back at the corner of the room, at 3am, thinking what the fuck happened with my life. I don’t have a knife or a blade with me, at least not right now. I don’t think I’m as brave as you were before. And sometimes I hate myself for that.

Indeed, what the fuck happened with my life? I’d say a lot, and a little, at the same time.

I’ve always wanted to be a journalist. And here I am, six years later, working as one for a major daily. That’s on top of the other things that I do, for myself and (I believe) for the country.

I’m living the dream, some say. I still don’t have the financial capability to buy my own car or condominium unit, but I’ve already exceeded the expectations of most of the people who were around me while I was growing up (not that they were expecting a lot from me).

But here I am, moping, at 3am, at the corner of my dark, gloomy room.

Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do. I love who I am. I love where I am right now. But that doesn’t mean I’m happy.

Happiness, it seems, is more than achieving what you wanted to achieve when you were a child; because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about growing old, it’s the reality that the list grows longer every time you take a step toward your coffin.

And I have committed the worst mistake of all: I kept myself focused on my old list – not noticing that the new entries are already starting to drown me. I grew old, but did not grow up.

Now I’m back to where you were before. Only now I cannot undo the things I have done in the last six years.

I hope I’m not too late.

You know what, I’ve always thanked you for not doing the thing you thought of doing that night. But when moments like these happen, and it’s happened a lot in the past months, I just wish you had.