Earlier this March (2011), I had a sudden panic attack after realizing this was the year I would be turning 30. Our generation seems to be obsessed about measuring our lives by what we have been able to accomplish so far. I guess we all just want to live meaningfully and purposefully. I haven’t been sure how to go about writing my own bucket list but it would be nice to cross things out on a list. There’s a great sense of accomplishment in seeing something marked out.
“Climbing Mt. Everest.”
But instead of coming up with a definite list of things to cross out, I’m putting out here instead a happy memento of the good stuff life has thrown my way. There’s no real count to this and so I’ll be happily adding along the way. I’ve determined in my heart to live celebrating every little ordinary moment that makes life meaningful and deeply happy. It would be something to read when I’m overwhelmed by the nasty bits that would be sure to come.
In no meaningful order, here we go with what I have to thank God for allowing in my life:
1. Swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol.
2. Two funny, surreal and lovely on-the-road incidents: finding myself in a bus full of Australian senior citizens singing Amore on our way to Venice and finding myself in a train heading to Xi’an with a band of Hollanders circling the corridors with their tambourine, flute and xylophone, serenading all the trains’ passengers.
3. Mornings, afternoons, dinners with Mom telling her stories about her life when she was young, naive and living in Surigao.
4. Spending a weekend in a private island with my family.
5. The day my dad looked at me, really troubled, asked my opinion and seriously listened to what I had to say.
6. Mounting my all-desserts birthday party.
7. Championing a national inter-school debate competition in high school.
8. Making pink juice out of bougainvillea flowers.
9. Traveling alone to the US and traveling alone around Europe. It’s liberating, courage-building and pure adventure.
10. Making Ma Chang with Andrew.
11. Having an opportunity to say thank you and honor my bulwarks and influences when I was 24.
12. Receiving my first pay check — literally in a check, amounting to around 1,800 pesos hahaha
13. Spending a week in Bangkok with girlfriends from college — my first vacation I completely paid for.
14. A summer spent being taught by Dad Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — when I was 11 years old.
15. Discovering the brilliance of Charlie Chaplin in film school.
16. Happy reunion dinners with friends from high school — looking around at old familiar faces and sharing our lives together.
17. Riding a helicopter in Australia to look over the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road.
18. Play time with my dogs, past and present.
19. Tea, cake and a good book on a lazy afternoon.
20. Listening to Mozart being played in a palace in Vienna.
21. Laughing til tears came running down my eyes with my siblings.
22. Spending two weeks in Beijing living like a local with Knox and walking along the Great Wall of China.
23. The smell of freshly baked bread in our house.
24. Watching Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof on VHS tapes again and again and again and again.
25. Playing in the rain with my brother.
26. Alive in the knowledge of God and his word even at a young age.
27. Touching the rough back of a sting ray in Florida.
28. Being invited to eat in a stranger’s home and then again to another stranger’s home in a local fiesta celebration in Batangas. Bizarre, awkward but yummy! hahaha
29. Discovering cheese and crackers and grapes.
30. Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
31. Learning what forgiveness really means.
32. Gazing at Cupid and Psyche at the Louvre.
33. Catching a John Williams concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
34. Spending a new year’s eve camped out at the Sydney Harbor Bridge to watch their famous fireworks display live.
35. Listening to my sister gush about her husband.
36. Driving out to an adventure early in the morning when the world is still asleep.
37. Flying an ultralight aircraft!
38. Seeing the stone henge in England.
– October 2, 2011
39. Finding my partner to accomplish life goals with. – December 4, 2011
40. Learning how to ride a bike at the age of 30! Old dogs can learn new tricks!!! – December 21, 2011
41. Realizing how walking/running/movement is not a right. It’s a blessing and gift from God. – August 17, 2012
42. Seeing our main office and production facility burn down but remain full of confidence in our bright bright future because of God. – Dec 31, 2012
43. My son, Leon, being born. – Dec 20, 2014