30 things I HAVE to do by age 30

Today is my birthday. Yay! (Well it was yesterday but I started writing this yesterday) One more year added to the slow and gradual decay of my life on this little speck of dust called Earth. I'm not what you would call a "birthday person", really. But I have spent most of the birthdays of my life being in a contemplative (read: angsty and isolated) mood, only to be disrupted by a bombardment of love and warm greetings. It's a great feeling to turn 29 and to know that I have made (somewhat) good choices. These choices manifest themselves in the form of people whom I have handpicked to be with me in this particular moment of my life.

But going back to the contemplative mood. I always find myself thinking about things I could have done the previous year and punishing myself for being unable to do them for the whole of the next year to come. SOOOOOOO this year. I want to do things a little differently. I just needed a little readjustment in perspective. I decided that it would be nice to have the mighty interwebz hold me to a checklist of 30 things to do before October 9th, 2018. Now these things vary. Some of them are for my professional and business growth as a freelancer and as a business owner, others are for my personal growth, others are fear-based (like I want to be able to face certain fears, you know, bucket list things) and still others, are just things I've determined that I absolutely need to fucking accomplish by 30... just because.

1. Set a catch up meeting or coffee date with old colleagues at least once a month

I think it's always good to catch up with past colleagues. Every time I see an old colleague at random, I always get hit with nostalgia; that once in my life, I shared a common space with this person, and for a while that was my normal. Life, sometimes, takes over and I feel that the connections I've made over the years have been taken for granted. It would be good for me (personally and professionally) to put myself out there.

2. Cook/sponsor a meal for my family once a month

The last two years have been a lesson in the importance and value I place on family. And one thing our family loves to do is to share a meal with one another. Now, I'm not completely ballin' but I think I go out and indulge with my friends enough to know that I can reallocate some of these fun-ds (wahahahaha witty) for my family.

3. Travel somewhere new every quarter

I've been doing quite a bit of domestic travels lately (I still want to do more!!!) but I often gravitate towards places I have been to before (hello Bacolod, La Union and Hong Kong). But I have also gone to Gensan (post is so late but still coming along) and Pagudpud and Lakawon in the Visayas earlier in the year and I love the feeling that a new place comes with. I will TRY to go to a new place and just take it in. I find that it is so enriching to just be present in a new place. It also helps that I'm a freelancer so I can take my work with me anywhere.

4. Get that Google and Facebook Marketing Certification

I do a lot of online media planning and media buying. I didn't study this in school (this wasn't a thing yet when I was still in university) and I learned how to do this mainly from YouTube and other online sources. But it will definitely up my street (and biz) cred if I get those certifications. It isn't a requirement, really, because Facebook marketing and Google Ads are kind of dummy proof. BUT, it's always good to have those certifications to fall back on, just in case.

5. Voiceover Acting

My closest (and I mean ONLY my closest) friends know this about me. It has always been a dream of mine to be a voice acting talent. And now, the interwebz knows. SOOOOOO. I need to make this happen! Somehow, I WILL WILL THIS TO COME TRUE IN THE NEXT YEAR. I don't know how and I haven't worked it all out. BUT THIS WILL BE A THING. MARK MY WORDS.

6. Sleep in my parents' room once in a while

I know, I know. I'm 29. But I don't see why I can't still do this. I miss the times when I was just my parent's child. And I'm okay in admitting that. If there's anything the last two years have taught me, it's that we don't have a lot of time left with our folks. As I get older, so are they. So it's time to just stop with this needless obsession to keep moving forward and just be. And if that entails my having to sleep on a cot beside my parents' bed, then so be it. I used to do it as a kid, I don't see why or how or when it became inappropriate.

7. Devote more time for my extra-curriculars

Recently, I was contacted by two of my close friends who want to start up websites for different things. One is a politically-driven website in preparation for the upcoming senatorial elections and the other is a lifestyle website that targeted for people of my demographic: the Millennial Titas of Manila. While both are still in its infancy stages of development, I recognize the importance of being able to give back to the community (in the general sense) in any way that I can.

8. Take a weekend-long social media fast (AT LEAST) every month (or realistically, every two months???)

For a digital marketer, this might pose as a challenge. Like I will need to make certain concessions. I can't completely cut myself off from important emails or texts or calls. HOWEVER, I think a social media fast should be good for my sanity. Sometimes I feel like I'm at the mercy of the internet and social media. But I shouldn't be. The internet is a tool. I should learn to make it work for me. I should not be enslaved by it.

9. Color my hair any damn color I want

Whenever people see my bleached hair (which I should redo very soon), they give me mixed reactions. This year, I colored my hair rose gold, dark pink, purple, a combination of pink and purple and lastly, blue green. Now that it has faded into this bleached semi-ombre of a color (if you can call it that) with the remnants of ashy blue green still waiting to fade out, I still get mixed reactions. Some people live for it. (Thanks guys, same.) But others give me the judgy side eye. And I get it. You're conservative. You live in the past. You aren't very 2017. Sure. Whatever. You do you and I'll do me. And if I want to color my hair with the goddamn rainbow, I will, without worrying about what aaaaaaanybody says. And the next hair color job I want is... (drumroll please)... GALAXY HAIR.

10. Fix my birth certificate

Earlier this year, I was supposed to travel to Taipei with my high school friends. I wasn't able to do it because I didn't have an updated NSO (now PSA certified) birth certificate. Not many of you know this, but I am legally adopted. I was able to get a passport and a US Visa in the early 90s because fuck rules, back in those days, anything went and anything did go. So. Now that they're stricter, when I tried to apply for a Taiwan Visa, I had to do SO MUCH SHIT. Back and forth the Philippine Statistics Office, the Civil Registrar's Office in Pasig and then the Regional Trial Court (for my legal papers, etc, etc, etc.). ANYWAY, long story short, I need to go to Baguio (where I was born) and submit all the papers I've accumulated this year. And then go back to the PSA and FINALLY straighten this shit out. SO. I need to find the time this year for just that. Which brings me to my next point.

11. Go to Baguio and other places where it is cold

I live for the beach. I love this tropical country. BUT I also do enjoy cold weather because as many of my friends know, I am a HULAS MONSTER. However, I feel cold very easily. (As in suuuuuper lamigin). So in order to get accustomed to cold weather, I should go back to Baguio. Stay maybe two weeks? And then head back up to Sagada or some place in the Mountain Province in an effort to reacquaint my body with colder climates.

12. Discover a new place in Manila every month

I already kind of do this by accident. But I'm fortunate enough to have friends who have excellent taste when it comes to new places to eat, have coffee, drink and hang out. I should just be more conscious of this. Just last week, we all discovered Polilya in Poblacion and Apartment (and subsequently gatecrashed an industry insider's birthday party...shout out to Karl, whoever you are! It was an awesome birthday!). I always love discovering new places around Manila. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I've lived in Manila my entire life but I still learn something new about it all the time.

13. Read more nonfiction books

I'm usually stuck in my own head (aka a fantasy sci-fi land) and this is brought on by my love of reading all kinds of fiction novels and short stories. Lately, however, I've also been inclined to reading a lot of essays and short form non fiction books. You know just to broaden the scope of the things I read. I actually already started too! I am currently reading But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman. It's a great book so far and it discusses reimagining the things we believe as facts as changeable, things like gravity and advancements in technology, among other things. Definitely worth checking out.

14. Travel to a different country with my best friend, Iza

I mean, really, even I find this hard to believe. Iza has been my best friend since college. That's eleven years! And we haven't even been on an airplane together! LIKE WHAT EVEN. So yes. This has to be done before I turn 30. We need to go to a place where we can eat and explore a new and different place! Exciting!

15. Get my laptop's battery fixed

I'm using an early 2015 13" inch Macbook Pro but I am already completely power dependent. My battery needs to either be replaced or reset or something. Maybe I'll do this while I go on my social media/internet fast (???). Perhaps I could do this while I'm off in another country with Iza. Possibilities are endless.

16. Go deep sea or free diving

The nearest and dearest to me know that aside from my obsession with unicorns, I have also always been equally enamored by mermaids. HOWEVER, the thought of seeing real mermaids (hahaha I know it sounds stupid), and not the pretty ones in Disney films like The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan (those bitchy ones to Wendy), but like the sirens in those Pirates of the Caribbean films (THOSE SCARY AF MERMAIDS), have always always always freaked me the fuck out. My fear of the mere possibility of these things existing and pulling me under, while looking at corals and fish in the ocean has ALWAYS terrified me. But I need to conquer this fear. Because it sounds silly, now that I've typed it all.

17. Hang out with my siblings more often

Of course, my two siblings, being the world class athletes and  they are (YES NAMAN), they're always in and out of the house. But that doesn't mean we can't allot a few hours every week to have a drink, watch a movie or have coffee. It's exciting to witness my siblings grow up into the adults I know they're destined to be. As their eldest sister, it's a joy to watch. Also, it's equally amusing to see them go through yuppie angst and tell them that it's all going to be fine.

18. Study Adobe Illustrator more extensively

In terms of design execution, I have been far too reliant on Photoshop when I know that if I really wanted to improve my design skills, I should study and learn more techniques on Illustrator. I first learned how to use basic Photoshop in 2011. I gradually improved using it by watching YouTube videos and tutorials. Over the course of 3 years, I was able to improve my skills. Obviously, I am by no means an artist, but I am self-aware enough of my skills to know that I can supplement my income by doing a little design here and there. That tells me that there is potential there. And because there is always room for improvement, I should definitely capitalize on this.

19. Get involved in more film and video projects

Having originally been in media production, film and video have always been my first loves. It's perfect timing to get back into it because bite-sized video content is gaining popularity on social media. Pretty soon, the demand for professionals with specialized backgrounds (much like mine) will skyrocket. I think this is the perfect year to start doing more of it once again.

20. Go back to boxing and swimming

Last year and earlier this year, I used to swim almost everyday! And then I got terribly sick. I was down with the stomach flu for two weeks. When I got well, I had to fly out of the country. And a week later, I was off again traveling to wherever. And since then, I have not been able to regain control of my schedule. Lately, however, my schedule and my health is finally in a better state and I can go back to my normal routine.

21. Go to the doctor once every quarter

This year, I had been sick more than usual. I really need to find a more sustainable model of living, where I can push myself and still have my health remain intact. One way to make sure of this is to make a quarterly visit and check up with my doctors. Dermatologist, dentist, lady doctor, all the doctors!

22. Travel somewhere to watch a concert or attend a music festival

A few years ago, I went to watch Joss Stone in Malasimbo Festival in Puerto Galera. It was the most fun! Not only was I able to watch one of my favorite artists but I was also able to enjoy the beach and that island life (that I love so much). So. If there is another favorite artist coming in the next year, I would definitely love the chance to travel somewhere (I haven't been before) and watch.

23. Be just as strict with my skincare routine

Earlier this year, I reluctantly hopped on the K-beauty bandwagon. OMG. Can I just say that the Koreans know their shit? That 10 Step Korean beauty regimen works. And I've seen it work (on other people) and I have to say I've been extremely happy with the results on my own skin. The only caveat with doing it is in the actual doing of the thing. It's pretty time consuming. If it's an exfoliating night, it can take me 2.5 hours before hitting the sack. So I suppose I'm just putting it here so I can be more vigilant. (KAPIT LANG PLS)

24. Make more friends while traveling

Earlier this year, as described in this post, I went to Hong Kong for a conference. I was put up in a relatively affordable hostel in TST and was in a dorm with a bunch of girls who were traveling solo as well. I met and went out with two of them on my last night (shoutout to Anke and Li Dong!). It was a blast. Anyway, I think I should do that more often. It is quite an experience. You never know who you can come across while traveling.

25. Fix and finalize the incorporation of my family's company

I will write more about this in detail in the future. But for the uninitiated, my family and I are moving towards incorporating our 20 year old real estate business. As I am the eldest, I was the one who was tasked to (sort of) lead this movement. I need to get on this. Fingers crossed that I get this done by the end of this year!

26. Spend one on one time with each of my family members

I feel like the last two years have been a blur. Between my mom's stroke in 2015 and my father's diagnosis last year, my family and I have been in a constant tug of war between trying to help my dad get better and trying to live our normal lives with this... sort of... new normal. It's been challenging. And sometimes, I have a tendency to forget that we're all just people. We constantly try to move as a unit, closely coordinated and working like a well-oiled, scheduled machine, and that's great. But I need to remind myself that as individual people, sometimes, it might be a good idea to just... take a break and breathe.

27. Write more often and of more variety

If I were to classify the things I read, I really am a fan of reading fiction. But when it comes to writing, I used to find great comfort in writing papers for school. Meaning, I really do like writing with proper structure, APA Citation and an extensive review of related literature, like the whole thing (HAHA WHAT A NERD). A weakness of mine is writing creative non fiction and fiction, or anything creative, really. Characters, plots, narrative arcs, those are all weaknesses of mine. I would like to strengthen this.

28. Retain my childlike sense of wonder, play and humor

My logo for this website is a unicorn. Um, I mean, hello? When I made that, I was only being 20% ironic. The other 80% was in earnest. My mother got me the cutest balloon installation with two unicorns (WHAT EVEN). And I really do love imagining mythical creatures. And being a kid. And laughing. And making jokes. And making light of things other people wouldn't. That's just who I am, as a person. But that's not to say that it's not incredibly difficult to fall into the trappings of adulthood and details and optics. It has always been important for me to be unapologetically lighthearted, to always laugh, to smile in times of complete discomfort. It helps keep things fresh and it helps me grow, learn to grit my teeth in times of difficulty. So that in times of seriousness and heaviness, which I know I'm bound to encounter, sooner or later, I can remind myself of this. Life and adulthood can be so serious that it becomes funny. We should all be able to take a step back and laugh at it. And while it might be important to take it seriously, it's just as important to remember that life is beautiful and wonderful, even at its most painful. And there's never any reason to be cruel or mean. So do the opposite. Be a kid, be kind and smile. I need to remind myself of this. Like all the time.

29. Tell the people what I need/want to tell them

If you know me well, you'd know that I am a person of a few words, in that I can talk for hours and hours without telling you anything. This is by design. I have made a lot of friends over the years but only a handful of them are really prescient of the things that constantly run through my mind. Again, this is by design. I am guarded for many reasons. And a lot of the time, this has worked in my favor. But slowly, I have learned that this isn't really the healthiest way to live. My mom used to always tell me that no man is an island. I would nod in agreement but in my head, I would say, "watch me live as an island, I don't need anyone." And again, a lot of the time, it has done me well. I grew up strong-willed, independent and brazen. It helps being confident, especially when you're a freelancer and you work alone. It helps when you're talking to contractors who are trying to scheme their way into your pockets and you have that hidden card left to play because you are less than trusting. But in my personal and family life, it is difficult to express much of anything when you are so used to isolating your thoughts, burying them deep and protecting them. SO. Before I turn 30, this is something I need to be more conscientious about. If I want to live as authentically as possible and as seamlessly as possible, I need to tell the important people in my life what I need them to hear from me.



85% of the time, I live in my head. And anxiety and I don't have the best track record. I have realized over the years that the root of most of my problems are all in my head. I really need to learn the beautiful art of letting things go, letting things happen, letting life do its thing. I also realized that I have lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety, as they are inextricably linked, that things will go wrong. And this is where things actually go wrong and it is also where things go disastrously downhill because of my inability to recover from a foiled plan. Because my guard is so high up, because I've so tightly woven a plan, because I imagine that I've covered all my bases, so when something throws me off guard, the fall can be so much more devastating than it has to be. My constant need for control, even controlled spontaneity (yes, I only allow my impulses to guide me up to a certain extent) is so meticulously thought of, that I'm, sometimes, unable to perform basic functions if they are not in some sort of plan. And while my inability to function is rare, it still happens. The acceptance that life will inevitably and often throw curve balls that are unforeseen is something that I need to work on. Sometimes, I won't get the account I was hoping for. Sometimes, I won't get to travel as planned. Sometimes, you have to make mistakes at work because you're constantly learning. You can catch yourself saying something wrong to your superiors at work after already saying them. You could post something meant for another page in the wrong account. Everyone eventually passes on to the next life. Life happens and it is fleeting and you can't plan every single detail and ultimately, it will all be okay. The important thing I need to constantly tell myself, now more than ever, is the importance of being present. You ride a rollercoaster. It ends and that was an experience and then you're onto the next one. So you appreciate what's there, in the moment and then you move on to the next one. If you enjoyed it, great. Otherwise, you know better than to ride it again. The realization that you can only do so much is crucial to be able to live the best life you can possibly live.

So. There you have it. Those are the 30 things I'd like to be able to do by next year. That was pretty long winded, I know. But also very cathartic. I am aware that this list is pretty ambitious. And I also know that I won't get everything completely right. But it's good to always have a clear set of guidelines. At least I know that when I leave my 20s and go into my 30s, I have this list to reflect on to set the tone for the kind of life I want to live for the rest of my life.

Have anything on your list you'd like to share? :) Sound off in the comments below! I'd love to hear em and discuss.

#Family #Values #WorkLifeBalance #Manila #inspiration #Birthday #Adulting #ComfortZone

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