If my 2013 was about fitness, my 2014 an introduction to Cultural Intelligence, then my 2015 was a year of wonderful personal gains. However, (my family and) I also suffered a significant loss so how can I daresay that this year was all gains?
In 2015, I was finally able to go back to school to continue my Masters. A goal that I have waited 14 years to re-start after emigration. Coincidentally, this was also the year that I have been naturalized as an American citizen. Other gifts for which I am grateful: securing Les Mills fitness format certifications*; expanding my friends circle; and albeit brief, the opportunity to spend time with my mom and my family in Los Angeles. This year, I also found an opportunity to impact a few animal welfare causes in the Philippines. Truly, it was a very good year.
*finding time to teach fitness is a different story…
In the Summer, though, I have been dealt with a heartbreaking loss — that of my stepfather. While my biological father was around most of the time as I was growing up, my stepfather really took on the role with genuine concern and fatherly love (I personally believe that dedicated, loving stepfathers do not get the credit they deserve and that should change.) While this loss was painful, I have gained invaluable collective learning out of this tragedy. This learning now sets me up for dealing with the new year and onward. I would like to share it with you —
1. The loss made me internalize how really brief life is, and to genuinely appreciate the time we have on earth. To stay away even more from the trivial and mundane; to consider carefully how we choose to spend our time. If an activity does not add value to my life, why should I bother doing it?
2. I appreciate now, more than ever, the true importance of taking care of ourselves — of our health — not just for us but for those who value us. We all have others who think the world of us; those who want us to be around.
3. To really appreciate our parents while they are still around. And I don’t mean appreciate just through constant contact, but more importantly (at least to me), in the consideration we give to them when we make immediate and long term plans. Are they part of it? Or our plans always just about us?
4. I also have a stronger appreciation for a few select College friends, who went to the wake to personally extend sympathies to my mother and sister, even when I wasn’t there. To think that we have not seen each other in years. It is really never about the quantity, but the quality. True friends are rare and they are absolutely a blessing.
So, in the end, even this loss has become a personal gain.
On this start of the new year, I look back with absolute gratitude on 2015, and look forward with a sense of optimism and courage, for all that is to come. May we all have a wonderful 2016!