STORY: 2013 In Between

The year 2013 wasn't one of my best years. It also wasn't one of the worsts either. It was somewhere in between and it left me feeling in between as well. 

I guess it's only normal to feel like the whole year was a transition/filler year. The year 2012 was filled with so much firsts that I should have known that I would spend the whole of next year simply catching up. I was no longer treated as a baby (which I wanted) come 2013 which meant I had to step up and take full responsibility for everything. In 2012, I would search for responsibility and rejoice in finally getting it (hello, getting a bill addressed to me was a milestone!) but now responsibility is chasing after me! That said, I messed up a lot this year. I made so many mistakes that were no longer forgivable. I finally realized this when I said sorry for something and that person told me, "Ay, bago ka?" I was no longer given as much consideration or understanding because I was expected to have already mastered a number of things. I was no longer a first timer... and we all know things are only exciting at first. 

But when you think of it, 2013 wasn't really just a filler. It was really a learning year. And because it was a learning year, it simply felt boring compared to other years. But then again, learning is always a positive thing so no matter  how "in between" or boring the year felt, there is still so much I am thankful for. I trust God always has a plan for everything so as I look back at my filler year, I'm hoping 2014 is the year that I have been "filling" up for. Here we go...

1. Jose and I went on our first international trip together. Travelling together has really made us grow us a couple and as individual adults. The year allowed us, overall, to experience a lot more things together and this trip in January was a great kickstart to it. 
We still crave for the yummy street food! 

2. What was even awesome was that we went from HK back to back with our second local trip together (and I say that in the most literal way. We were running from one terminal when we got off HK to another to board for Laoag). The trip to Laoag was our celebration of Jose's 21st birthday and our 5th anniversary. It was one of the best trips (although rather short) ever. I planned it in secret and surprised Jose with it on the day of our anniversary. I spent my own money on everything which surprisingly, didn't feel as painful as it was satisfactory. 

The crazy 4x4, the ATV, the bus ride and the waves are still adventures we share with others! 

It was in 2013 that I fully grasped the idea of earning money. Although I've been working since May of 2012, I became a full pledged employee only in November. That's when all the taxes, pag-ibig, insurance, etc came in. I began to realize how much I actually take home and how much work I have to put in to earn it. I began to feel truly independent and fully entitled to spending my own hard earned money.

3. I started my love affair with interior designing this year. What started as a sketch in my notepad became a year long journey with paint, wood and my savings. But in the end, it was still all worth it. When I look at how our house has changed, and how all my family members are also benefiting from it, I can't help but feel proud and think to myself, "I did this. I actually did this" 
I started Project Living Room in February. I started Project BedroomS (note the S) in October.

And because I went all out with my interior designing, I had to have the perfect photos to hang up. So, I set up a photoshoot for the family and had the photos printed and framed. It's like I hated money last year. I would spend every chance I could! See, a lesson I will bring in 2014 - Do not spend like there is no tomorrow... because there is a tomorrow! I can't even count the many times I would scramble for money a few days before the next pay day because I've swept my savings clean. I hope that I won't have to experience those "pulubi" days ever again!
The photoshoot was also a really fun way to bond with the family

4. The summer of 2013 was something special. Besides the yearly family summer trip to the beach (which is usually Zambales), my family was able to join the rest of the Riveras to an unforgettable Baler getaway. The trip happened in May and to this day, everyone still talks about it. It really did bring all of us together more than any of the countless reunion lunches and dinners ever did. I fully appreciated what traveling and experiencing things together can do to people and I hope that 2014 will be be filled with opportunities for the same.
Our Zambales trip will not be complete without our Apo Joey around. 

One of my 2014 goals is to make this summer top our Baler trip!

5. On the physical part, I changed a lot in 2013 compared to 2012. I became lax about my body and overestimated my metabolism (it is really not the same as before). I grew wider and wider and went on so many imaginary diets that I am the XXX weight that I am today. I became depressed about it for a while since I never had to worry about this kind of thing before. I would usually eat whatever I wanted and never grow more than a few pounds heavy (which I would lose naturally eventually). I realized what others would talk about and complain about before and how I should do something about it. I understood that I am not growing any younger and my body will continue to change. I hope that 2014 allows me to be more fit and healthy so I can  bring back my 2012 self. 

The hair front is the usual. My natural hair came back so I spent most of 2013 in a bun. I finally had the sense to have my hair straightened towards the end of the year (when I enjoyed the longest and softest my hair has ever been) then decided to cut it. I got rid of the bleach already and my hair is feeling the best it has ever been. I hope that 2014 will be the year I can be confident in myself physically. I have so many other things to work on, I hope that my hair won't be one of them any more.

Short hair, don't care!

6. I became more sociable and confident this year. I was less self conscious a year before although I still am not the social butterfly I think I am in my head. But at least I enjoyed being young for the first time in forever... and I had a number of nights and days which I woke up regretting. Finally. Haha!
Thanks Jana for revealing my dark side. 

7. I went on my first company trip! It was also my first time outside the country without a family member or Jose (technically, my dad was there too but he was with his friend so he doesn't count!) and I enjoyed it very much. I was able to be fully in charge of myself and for my safety the entire time. 

With my AdSchool peeps in SG!

8. I bought my first brand new phone. I've bought a Blackberry before but that was after Jose used it for a month. I never ever had the experience of opening a brand new box of a phone that was meant for me. To get it, I signed myself up for a new plan which I learned the hard way isn't the best of ideas. 
In loving memory of my S3. I am 100% happy with my Note 2 now. Samsung rules!!!

My bill reached a whooping P12,000+ at one point because I didn't handle my bills well. I spent the last few months of 2013 paying/catching up with all the mishandled finances I made during the first semester and the main culprit is my phone bill. I'm happy to announce though that my Globe bill is back to normal. I've managed to pay off all the overdue balances even if it really hurt to hand over P8,000 that one day. Huhu. Responsibility at its finest, ladies and gents. 

9. I got my very first credit card. After applying so many times, I finally got approved. I remember wanting to apply so badly in January so I can get my new phone (which I eventually did through a network instead) but since I was less than a year on the job, I would get declined by all the banks. But after I reached my one year mark, I finally got the card! I am quite happy with how I've been handling it despite the temptation that comes with having one so accessible. I have managed to use it only when necessary and have paid all my bills on time, if not earlier. See, another learning moment. Because I went through finance hell with my Globe bill, I know better now than to let my bills wait for me to open them when I want to. 

10. Jose graduated!!! I've already made a lengthy post on this but I just want to share that I am soooo proud of him. God knows how much we have been through to get to this moment and I am extremely grateful that the moment finally came. Jose graduating meant we were going to grow even more as a couple now that we are both through with school. We can now learn the harsh realities of the real world together, hand in hand. And to celebrate this milestone, I gifted Jose with a trip to Pico De Loro! Another one of my  money-hating but Jose-loving ways this year. My wallet cried all the way home... but my heart was happy. 
This photo... so much feels.

 11. I turned 22 this year. Even my age feels like a filler. Nothing magical happens when you turn 22, you just turn 22. But I am grateful all the same for the gift of another year. I guess the learning here is that you begin to care less about your age and more about the things you do while you are at a certain stage. I guess I finally genuinely think of myself as an adult, a mature adult this year and I started to feel people treat me that way as well. 

12. I got promoted. Who would have though that in my 7 months of being an employee (just a month after being regularized), I would get promoted? It's a really nice surprise but I wasn't as ecstatic about it as I thought I would be. Maybe it's because I never looked forward to it, even imagined it, thinking it was unlikely to happen. But God knows how to surprise people. But to be honest, although I am filled with gratitude, the promotion made me feel more scared than anything else. Ever since I found out about it, I constantly fear that people will think I do not deserve it. I am more afraid to make mistakes now and I'm constantly trying my best to be better each time. I hope 2014 brings in more work related success and more confidence in my work-self.  

13. I was able to expand my circle with so many amazing people. I have never been a people person so my circle of people will usually just be 2-3 (excluding my family) people. For the past years, that would be Jose and 1 or 2 friends. But this year, my circle is now close to 10! I think I shouldn't have mentioned a number because being excited about 10 friends/acquaintances just makes me sound so lame... but then again, that's the truth. Having about 10 people in my life for a whole year is already such an amazing feat for me. It made me feel like a changed person. It made me feel that I can be liked by other people and that I can also meet and like them. I just always felt a little different from others (as evident in my countless self evaluation posts) and meeting people like me or who will like me isn't very likely. But God surprised me yet again. I realized this during my birthday when so many people greeted me with very specific moments we shared together. A lot of them also shared what kind of person they think I am and I am overjoyed with the patterns their greetings formed. It made me feel accomplished that I am actually turning out to be the person I hoped I would be. Although I am still work in progress (as I will be forever), at least I know I'm on the right track. And for that, I a truly, truly grateful. 

After writing down this post, I officially declare 2013 my Learning Year. I learned so much from the shallow (how to dress well, how to party (sort of)) to the deep (how to handle finances, how to be independent). I also learned that change doesn't always need to happen for things to, well, happen. 2012 was my year of change and 2013 stayed, in general, the same compared to the year it left of from. And it was because things remained the way that they were that I was able to master things, to observe and analyze things and as I've mentioned a number of times already, to learn things. 

Although I am extremely grateful for 2013 and the person it has molded me to be, I am so relieved it's over. I'm so excited for the good parts to come already so 2014, please do not disappoint. Happy new year everyone! 

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