A Year of Resolve

The turning of a new year somehow lends some magic to our ability as human beings to go out on a limb and publicly declare goals, as though there is a much better chance at their achievement than at any other time of the year. Personally, though, I’ve found myself a bigger disciple of an annual reflection and life goals recalibration as I near my birthday, because really, New Year’s Resolutions have fallen slaves to bad publicity and a general lack of credibility.

However, as 2014 came to fore a few hours ago, I considered for a brief moment that while resolutions seemed a little flimsy for my taste, it was energizing to think of having a strong enough resolve to be able to make the changes that I want in my life, and to achieve what I set out to do. As human beings, we are meaning-makers, and for the moment, it brings me great joy to look forward to the year that 2014 could be, as I intend to make it a Year of (Unshakeable) Resolve.

What do you resolve to do this year?

I am looking forward to better health, a more thoughtful and deliberate design to how I live, and days filled with love and laughter spent with people who mean the world to me. There will be traveling, (re)learning languages, kendo, good food, beautiful music, and everything else that I will think to do for the year, and certainly, it will be amazing.

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making a comeback

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” (Chuck Close)

 

I’ve been reading the quote above repeatedly over this week with two intended consequences in mind: 1) to get a symbolic kick-in-the-butt that will get me started on buckling down and clocking in the work required to get better at what I like doing, and 2) to come to terms with the amount of work that I will have to do in order to make it.

I have always been writing in some form, for some reason. I’ve always relied on words to help me understand the world around me, to come to terms with realities that are harder to accept, to make my own my daily experience of life. Over time, however, the time to write leisurely has been drastically reduced; as a result, I have not written much, nor enough to be read by a bigger audience.

Fact of the matter is, I want to keep writing. However, the inconsistent approach I’ve given it will no longer work; it’s time to get serious.

Challenge accepted.

ending this hiatus… soon. :)

I managed to score some tickets to travel a little farther than usual sometime later this year. That means that finally, my pending travel blog idea may finally come into fruition. As you may already know, it just takes some momentum to jumpstart anything. :)

currently reading

 

I’m currently reading this work by Mark Bittman, and I’m surprisingly pleased. The “with more than 75 recipes” actually got me to buy the book, but I’m finding now such a nicely argued build-up towards emphasizing that food, indeed matters. What’s more, it’s all actionable and not entirely cerebral.

Also still trying to make major headway into The Elegance of Hedgehog (gets really good midway, in my honest opinion). Behind on reading targets this year, but hopefully the long weekend coming will change that.

a moment of silence, to our generation’s great innovator

our prayers, and the gratitude of an entire generation

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

image taken from apple.com

another bucket list for the road

It might be because of my incessant need to achieve, or my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but I do love a good  list. Regardless of the actual reason, I turned 25 recently (and declared The Year of Making Awesometastic Things Happen), so I figure it’ll be a good time to set “goals”.

I haven’t finalized my list of key initiatives under The Year of Making Awesometastic Things Happen, but I found this awesome list called “A Philippine Traveler’s Bucket List: 30 Cultural and Historical Must-Sees” that made me think: I need a plan to approach the next 12 months. Granted, this list is a little distorted in that there’s just way too much Luzon territories and not much else (I think Dapitan should have made the list, my bias for VisMin as a result of my honorary Bisaya status notwithstanding), but I’ve found this list to be spot on for some of the sites it’s covered. I’ve shamelessly listed the 30 items found in the site, but if you click-through the link you’ll find a short description per item as to why a particular item is worth pursuing.

For the sake of target-setting, I’ll emphasize by underlining the things I’ve accomplished.

1. Pick strawberries in Baguio — Done, in November 2011!

2. Go spelunking in Sagada — to do again, again, and over again ♥

3. Visit the cobblestone streets of Vigan – did this when I was much younger. Maybe to do again?

4. Go horseback riding in Tagaytay

5. Visit the Shrine of Blood Compact in Bohol – Done, November 2011!

6. Watch the Sinulog Festival in Cebu – I’ve been meaning to do this, for the longest time! Will 2012 be the year I get to?

7. Decorate a house for the Pahiyas in Quezon

8. See the Masskara Festival in Bacolod – was there in 2010, and I expect 2011 to be doubly awesome!

9. Dance with the Ati-Atihan in Aklan – I’m feeling that compared to Masskara though, this’d be more my thing especially if the crowds are enjoined to dance along!

10. Go on a Day Trip to Corregidor

11. Go to a pottery workshop at Ugu Bigyan

12. See the windmills of Bangui

13. Tour the Malacanang Palace

14. Visit the Barasoain Churchthe #1 man in my life (aka my grandfather) is buried in the vicinity, so I’m here a lot.

15. Explore the Coconut Palace

16. Ride the old locomotives in the sugar plantations in Negros – I lived in Bacolod City. I am confused as to why I have never done this.

17. See Rizal’s home in Calamba – It was so much fun doing this with my family!

18. Visit the pineapple plantations in Mindanao – The site describes the Polomolok plantations, but I’ve seen the massive plantations in Bukidnon during my stay in North Mindanao. Way too awesome for words!

19. Go on a calesa ride or a walking tour of the streets in Intramuros

20. Tour Fort Santiago

21. See Magellan’s Cross and the Sto. Nino Shrine in Cebu – I managed to tour these sites a second time last year during my CDO Sanity Break (connecting flight via Cebu). Surprisingly still in awe despite having seen these places when I was 12.

22. MacArthur’s landing site in Leyte

23. See the Spoliarium at the National Museum

24. Meet the Igorots of the Cordilleras

25. See the Lights and Sounds Show at the Rizal Park

26. See the pteroglyphs in Angono, Rizal

27. Eat lechon in Cebu – As an Honorary Bisaya, I have very strong opinions about my lechon. If you’re from Luzon, Cebu is a good place to start. Barangay Timoga in Iligan City will be the best place to end your quest for the best lechon. Ever.

28. Eat balut in Pateros

29. Try out the original sisig in Pampanga – although I have yet to try Mely’s!

30. Gallery hop in Antipolo and Rizal

This isn’t a terrible hit-rate, but hopefully the ones that are easier to accomplish (Angono, Rizal, anyone?) should be well within scope to complete before I turn 26.

Time to make my bucket list. ♥

winding down after the long weekend

Except for when I’m taking a trip out-of-town, I’m not a big fan of long weekends. I prefer to take my breaks in little drizzles over a long week of work. That sort of set up allows me to take momentary pauses to reflect on the things I find myself caught up in.

Nonetheless, the long weekend spelled R&R with my family, and I’ve been sleeping, running errands with my mum, and catching up on shows I’ve been missing out on. Not bad at all.

Now, I’m winding down to make sure I’m ready to take on another half-week of work.

Anyway, some last Internet content that’s interesting, to say the least–

Norah Jones & Tony Bennett perform Speak Low

click for a video of their performance (NPR website)

Town of Cats, by Haruki Murakami

A copy of a Murakami work translated by Jay Rubin, as published in the New Yorker

“Jennifer 8. Lee Hunts for General Tso” on TED Talks

This is my favorite find of the day! Really entertaining talk on the Asian-American culinary interaction that does not sacrifice content.