Monday, January 04, 2016

7 things I learned in 2015 and what I hope to learn in 2016

Happy New Year! It's back-to-work day today and I hope you all had a fantastic holiday because we're going to need all those happy memories and good food to sustain us for another year!

Another year. Imagine that! I'm extremely grateful I still have a new day to spend with my family. I really pray that God gives me not just another day but many more years to be with my husband and kids, and to do His will—which I think is to serve my family. I need Him to give me more time because I haven't really been the most amazing wife and mom in the world. I'm not terrible but I know I can still do better. I'm just not there yet. I'm still trying. There's no peace yet (will there ever?) about how I am as a wife and mommy.

As I was scrolling down my Facebook feed this weekend, I read many thoughts on the past year (my husband mockingly calls them New Year's Essay Contest hehe). Many of my friends on Facebook apparently had a horrible year. Wow. You'd never think that, looking at their updates throughout the year. Just goes to show that what we share publicly is just a snippet of our lives.


I didn't have a fantastic year either... if I choose to focus on the negative, that is, and there was a lot of bad stuff that happened indeed. But there was a lot of good, too. Lots and lots of good. So I will focus on that and declare that 2015 was also a great year. Not the best, but it had its wonderful moments!

I don't want to brush aside the bad, though. We have to learn from the past so we can have a better future. And here is what I learned from 2015:
1. Commitment is a constant state. I don't think my marriage has ever been tested as much as it was tested last year. Nothing movie-worthy—no affairs, no fell-out-of-love feelings, no torn-apart-by-destiny plot line. Ours was more insidious. Vince and I were just drowning every day in everything three kids could possibly throw at us. Consequently, we simmered in resentment and neglect. There were explosive fights and long silences.  
It was horrible because we still loved each other so much and yet we weren't showing it. We couldn't seem to be able to! The kids' needs were so constant and in our face! There would be entire days that we would pass each other in the hallway and eat meals without talking to each other simply because we were attending to a child crying, another one's bump from a fall, another one's feeding.   
I finally realized that the best thing I can do for my children is to prioritize my marriage. Vince and I talked and talked and talked about this. And, more importantly, we made changes. While the needs of the kids haven't abated, we now make sure to look at each other over the little sweaty heads, to touch hands or pinch a butt as we rush past each other to attend to a child or two, to steal a kiss whenever we can. It's just little things and sometimes they don't feel enough but they are constant reminders to each other that we are committed to our marriage. 
2. Liking isn't necessary to loving. I hate Legos. They're messy, noisy, constantly getting lost, and extremely painful when I sit or step on them. All those wise quotes people keep posting on Facebook and Instagram sagely advice to get rid of everything that makes you unhappy. Well, Legos make me unhappy. Extremely so. But they make my kids happy. Extremely so. So I keep buying those blasted things. Why? I may dislike them passionately but I love my kids. What can I do?! 
Sometimes I think these Legos are a foretaste of the future. My kids will like friends, hobbies, music, clothes, girls, and lifestyles that I may not like. But does what I feel matter? No. Granted of course those things aren't dangerous (like drugs and toxic friends and girlfriends) and then I will need to step in. But I have learned to love what my kids love even though I dislike whatever it is—an important attitude I learned really early. Thanks to Legos. 
3. Friends can save your sanity. They do. I don't know what I'd do were it not for my tribe of wise women. Everyone needs somebody to say the truth as well as offer comfort, to make you smile as well as get mad at you when you're being dumb, to get mad and fight for you when you're being too scared or stupid. I'm glad I have these women in my life! 
4. Bad people are difficult to shake off. Towards the end of 2015, a couple of friends revealed their true colors. One tried to sabotage my job. Another said the most awful things about me and when I confronted her, she spat out so much hate at me all because I asked why she was voting for a certain person. These on top of the other blogger friends I used to have, the mean bullies. These betrayals really messed with my head. Someone I work with told me, "Don't let it stay in your head. Rebuke it. Reject it. Better yet, cut off these people from your life!" Yep, remember that advice about getting rid of anything that makes you unhappy? Well, it's not so easy when it's people. I'm still "friends" with these Judases. I don't know why.  
5. Letting go is hard. This must be the reason to the above situation. But this Lesson #5 is meant more for the material things I can't seem to let go of! After three pregnancies, my body has changed. I believe that 90% of my wardrobe don't fit or flatter me anymore. And yet I keep them around in the vain hope my pre-kids body will return. My husband says whether it returns or not, I should just get rid of the clothes and shoes anyway. They're all from 6 years ago. More than not fitting me, they're not on trend anymore. He says, "Just buy new clothes and shoes!" But I caaaaaaaaan't! 
6. Aging bothers me after all. I have always looked forward to 40. I thought that that would be the age I would start being wise, I can finally have a stylish wardrobe and all the great things that come with old age without looking old. Well, this year I'm not liking what I see in the mirror. My face and my body reflect my life now—sleepless years nights, exhaustion, fast food and junk food, no exercise. The white hair, fine lines, sun spots, sagging lids, yellowing teeth, and everything else a young body doesn't have doesn't sit well with me, and my unhappiness about it bothered me.  
You see, I always thought I would welcome aging with grace. I'm not a vain woman, I celebrate my age, I like growing old, I am realistic about aging. But when I saw it happening to me, I was surprised at how upset I became. It made me rethink who I am. Am I vain after all? Am I going to be one of those Botox-stiff people after all?  
7. Being a Christian is really hard. I think I questioned God a lot last year. How can I pray without ceasing when I can't even think straight? Is the Proverbs 31 woman even for real? Is keeping quiet really the best way to respond to the awful things this person did to me? Are You really going to provide for us? Am I ever going to be the wife and mother You want me to be? 
That's what I learned in 2015. Here's what I hope to learn in 2016: I want to learn to love.


Yep. Love! Love in every sense of the word. Love in all its forms. Love that's real and fierce and spiritual and God-led. Love that informs all my decisions and actions.

Wow. That's hard. Big goal. I'm already intimidated just thinking of it. Love is my word for 2016.

I have words for every year since 2013. It helps define that year. In 2013, it was simplicity. In 2014, it was family. In 2015, it was courage. This 2016, I had decreed it to be abundance. I had a good year financially and career-wise in 2015 so I wanted that to continue and flourish this year. So I decided on the word abundance.

Vince disagreed and said, "Your word should be sex."

We laughed. Yeah, while it's still happening, sex isn't happening as often as we'd like! Two reasons: the kids and the exhaustion. Then I thought, "If I really loved Vince, I should honor his needs. Being married means making love and, yes, we must make more time for more of that!"

My motivation to make love is because of love. Love must always be my motivation for everything in my life!
I will be more patient, more kind to and more fun to my husband and kids. I will serve my family with grace and joy because I love them. 
I will spend more time with my friends and other family members because I love them. 
I will take care of my home, not allow mess to pile up, make everything pretty and clean, and use my nice things because I love my home and the ones who live in it. 
I will take care of my body, drink more water, eat healthy food, and exercise. I will apply the lotion, moisturizer and sunscreen, exfoliate weekly, pat on the eye cream. I will get rid of the clothes that make me sad and take up space in my closet and buy clothes that will make me look and feel good. I will go to the salon every two months. I will visit the derma and the dentist. I will sleep!!! I will love my body because it's the only one I've got and three little boys need me to be healthy, fit and beautiful. 
I will be more conscientious with my work. No more missed deadlines. No more "That will do" attitude. No more lateness. I will be the best magazine editor, blogger, writer, PR manager I can be because I love my work and how it puts food on my table and allows me to live my wonderful life.  
I will spend more time with God in devotions because I love Him. I really do. I haven't given Him any time at all last year, sadly. Maybe that's why I was so stressed and upset! Besides, I don't think I can succeed in this love project without the God of love to help me and guide me. 
Love is what will define and shape and move my year! The abundance will come after all that love! I wish you also love, love and more love in your relationships and in all you do! God bless our 2016 with soooo much love!

*image from Christlike Ministries NWA

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7 comments:

  1. happy new year, ms. frances! :)
    you are really such an honest person, that is why i am an avid and loyal reader :D

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    1. Oh thank you! More posts like this this 2016! Promise yan =)

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  2. Happy New Year Frances! In my case toy cars are everywhere! At pawala ng pawala yung mga cars kasi madalas ipagbabato ng mga kids ko. I learned to deal with it everyday. I love my crazy life! Though sometimes tinetest talaga yung patience natin He He He

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    1. Yes! We love it and hate it at the same time! =D

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  3. Have you read about the KonMari method of cleaning? Maybe it'll help with the getting rid of all the clothes/things that make you unhappy. I'm devoting the first 6 months of the year to this (let's hope the husband and kids cooperate). Happy New Year! Love this "essay." =)

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    1. Yes, I have. I like it and will do it if I ever find the time! Hopefully this week!!! =D I can only do it to my things, though. My clothes, shoes, bags, etc. The rest of the house... I dunno. I hope I can also KonMari some people in my life haha

      Happy New Year, too!

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    2. I hope I can also KonMari some people in my life haha - love this sentence, Ms. Frances.... posible yan, alisin na natin sila sa sistema natin... hehehe mukha bang may pinaghuhugutan ako.

      ngayong 2016, let's all wish for more love, less (if not zero) hate.

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