Saturday, January 2, 2021

2020 Finally Done! How About You, 2021?

Miss this a lot! Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2018. Having family and friends makes everything better!

This past year 2020 has been tough on everyone! Whether it's you whose been affected or someone you know who has gotten sick from Coronavirus or all of a sudden passed away, it's been absolutely tough on everyone. Time has just basically paused, and the chances of a normal life again seem to be less and less these days. I'm very lucky though that my direct family and closest friends are alright. Although it seems like just the most basic task to do like going to do groceries or shopping is either too risky or gives you a severe case of paranoia. And current politics, corrupt government, and police brutality just add to the many problems that all of us encounter everyday here! It seems like this cycle may never end, and everyone just wants to get their life back on track.

I have met people who have cried their eyes out, mourned until their loved ones last breath, or are just struggling to get through day to day tasks because of this pandemic. If anything, I have learned this 2020 to be thankful and appreciate the things I have accomplished, the places I have been to, and the people that are still loving and supporting me. It's given me time to spend with family cause there were many instances I was gone since I lived abroad for internship back in college, and also to discover myself. I felt like living in my bubble in Philippines was getting on my nerves, and I wanted out. I was totally that kid who wanted to see the rest of the world, and would sleep wherever and share rooms, split meals, or share amenities in general, just so that I could see and discover the world without having to go broke. I wanted to discover how great and amazing this world is! So while I am young, I want to explore as much far away countries as I can while I'm still young.

May you find a place that's magical and that changes your life like Fushimi Inari, Kyoto, Japan did!

You see for me, I grew up in an international community. I grew up spending time with different races, different nationalities and people from all walks of life. I grew up my whole life making friends and becoming close to them, but having to say goodbye later on because they have to move due to their parents jobs or the fact that they have to go back to their home country. I was tired of being the one who welcomed people to my home. For once, I wanted to be the one to travel to their home countries, discover new food, cuisines, architectures, and all around culture. There's nothing wrong with sticking to just specific cuisines, and going to only specific places like Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore. But the thing is, I don't wanna live my life just that way! I wanted to discover places that were so far away from me, but be able to love and appreciate them just as much as my own, or even more!

The impact that something as simple as dance was huge in my life! I hope you can experience the same!

I wanted to break free, so I know it can come off as selfish for wanting something different from what my family was used to, or to try something that my family may seem uncomfortable with, but I just knew that there was a great, big world for me to discover. I wasn't gonna let a less privileged passport prevent me from doing that! I knew it was gonna be a lot of money and time spent, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. You see, I've encountered so many people who lost their lives at such an early age. People who were as young as 13 years old or people under the age of 40! And I always thought, I don't wanna leave this world doing things over and over again or going to specific places over and over again. Life is short! Go out there, and discover this great big world around us. Go do more of what makes you happy, and more of what feels good for you! 

I acknowledge the fact that Kyoto, Japan is one of those places that sparks joy in my life!

So to have this pandemic completely pause all of our dreams and ambitions, I want to make it clear that the desire to see and taste the world hasn't stopped for me. I don't even think it will ever go away from me! Spend the holidays being around those you love and appreciate. I'm grateful for that. But after everything is more stable and okay, I hope you have the courage and the confidence to go out there, and pursue whatever it is that you want may be to try a new hobby, start a new career, explore this country you've been so eager and excited to go to (which I highly advise you should), or just pursue happiness for yourself! Surround yourself with people who love, support, and validate you. They are the ones who will give you the courage to go out there and pursue whatever you want! I know it's so difficult to find that support in this day and age full of negativity and doubt, but don't stop looking because there will be people who want to help you pursue your dreams!
Going to places far away gave me patience and confidence! I guarantee it will do the same for you!

The year 2020 had so much plans gone to waste because of this pandemic. It has stopped any of our travel plans, our daily routines, partying with friends on the weekends, and basically involving anything with huge crowds or group of people. But this year may have taught us to appreciate everything we have or to look at life from a different perspective! We all know how important the Internet and Wi-Fi is in this day and age. It should more of a right rather than a privilege! Seeing everyone rely on online videos, group chats, or Zoom has taught us just how much can be done online from school lectures to work related tasks, and basically all forms of lessons! I was able to do a lot of online lectures and dance classes because of Zoom, and basically being online helped keep me sane during lockdown and social distancing. Wearing masks in public along with face shields has become the norm here, along with constantly washing and sanitizing our hands! Other countries have done better controlling the spread, and it goes to show how important following rules, wearing a mask, sanitizing, and maintaining social distancing is! If anything, this may be the new norm for us, even if a vaccine has been available. 

Homemade cookies definitely would put a smile on anyone's face!

2020 gave me the courage to post myself developing and growing as a dancer on my social medias. I took the chance to develop my skills and knowledge to dance since I've been dancing for a while now! I got back into taking classes, participating in performing events and jamming just with friends on the streets with a boom box! I got back into dancing back in 2019 after discovering just how much I missed it! I was traveling so much that one simple moment where I was seeing street dancers and capoeira performers back in Brazil led me to wonder just how much love and joy dance gave me back in my life. You can literally say dance saved me! It saved me during a time where I felt worthless, and where I was struggling as a person. The community and the love and support I got from dance community made a huge impact in my life! I decided in 2020 to take it to the next level by doing one on one training with my teachers at the dance studio online since it was pandemic and lockdown in 2020. It has kept me sane during this time where anyone can get easily depressed. I made it a goal to make sure I am healthy and strong since being strong is something we need to keep doing for our bodies.

Also, I recently discovered that I love listening to podcasts, and that I love to sell my baked goods to others out there! Learning to cut my own hair gave me a lot of self confidence as well, which was on my previous write up. I am forever grateful to the people who have constantly supported me selling my baked products from cookies, brownies, bread, and cakes. Also grateful to the people who were courageous enough to share their problems in life at the podcast! Sharing your stories and problems out there is not a sign of weakness. Seeking therapy and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. We live in a society where asking for help is seen as weak, and that you need to deal with your mental health yourself. The whole year 2020 exposed that our mental health is a big part of our lives, and if it's struggling, we need to acknowledge that, and seek help from others. The podcast Good Times with Mo definitely helped keep me sane for sure. Toxic people are and will always be out there. Learn to distinguish them, and don't be afraid to call them out. Listening to real stories and real struggles definitely made me feel like I am not alone, and that we need to be less plastic and judgmental, and be more loving and caring as well towards other peoples problems.
A little decoration for a Christmas cake to send some good vibes to anyone!

I hope that during this pandemic, you have learned to be more patient, considerate and caring towards other people that are still struggling. I have met several people who even until now don't care about the effects of the pandemic, and do what is convenient for them. I think we need to do better as citizens, and our government needs to do better as well. Other places have handled it better because they care more about what their citizens and communities need, rather than be greedy and selfish about it. This 2020 showed just how flawed and messed up our governments and societies can be. We need to DO BETTER. It's okay if you took a break from social media, working, or seeing anyone just to maintain your sanity. But always remember, you're not alone when it comes to struggling! We lost a lot of people this past 2020, and I want people to know that it's okay to do whatever it is you want to do just to maintain your sanity, but of course, be considerate towards others who seem vulnerable to getting sick. To anyone who is struggling with their mental health, do not be afraid to reach out towards other people because there will be at least one person who will be willing to help you out. That one person you reach out to will make all the difference in your life!

So will this year 2021 be the year where we get a little bit of normal life back on track? Will this be the year where you finally pursue that dream of yours whether it would be to go to that dream destination or achieve that career? Will this be the year that we can all be confident to go out there, and explore wherever we want safely? I don't know. But I hope that this year 2021 will be that year where you have the courage and confidence to make a change in your life in order to be happier. Have the courage and confidence to stand up, and demand change for the better to happen in your life! Don't like the current people in the government? Register to vote, and make that little change yourself! It took just a small amount of votes to change the results of elections in other countries, I'm sure that it would work here, too. I don't know what the future holds for us, but we can start by having the courage and the will to ask for it and work for it! I hope this 2021 will have less people complaining, and more people asking "What can I do about it?" or "What should I do in order to change my life for the better?"

I'm hoping that 2021 will not be as depressing as 2020 was. We can't keep being this way. Our economy cannot keep being this way. Our sense of care and gratitude should always remain in us. To our frontliners and healthcare workers, I salute you for being brave, patient, and strong during this time of pandemic and lockdown. To all those that were laid off and are currently unemployed, may you have endless opportunities and blessings to get back up and keep pursuing. To those who have lost loved ones, may you have the strength and courage to keep living life despite the pain and sorrow. To everyone in general: I hope we can all strive to be better people politics and personal views aside, and care more about making our society better and stronger for those who need it the most! May this 2021 be a year where we make changes for the better in our lives!

May you never lose the ability to smile and find the joy and happiness in life!

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