Back to (a different kind of) normal

My life is back to normal. At least, it’s an entirely different kind of normal from the normal I’ve been used to for the past few years.

I’ve somehow chosen a different kind of life to live now. I’ve given up the luxury of driving to and from work five days a week. Gone is the 1.5++ hour drive (one-way) to and from work, and the thousands of pesos spent monthly on gasoline charges and other car maintenance expenses. I am back on the daily commute. I’m back to working in my comfort zone, my timezone. It’s about two-thirds of the distance I used to travel every day. My new work is a short walk from the MRT station. I take the MRT everyday now, going to work in the morning and coming home in the evening. I then take a shuttle after MRT in the evening, and take a leisurely walk (under the stars) from the village gate on my way home.

I try to pack my lunch everyday too. I make myself a yummy sandwich, enough to fill me at lunch. When I don’t get to pack my lunch, I buy a sandwich at a nearby convenience store. It costs a lot less than what I used to eat for lunch, and has a lot less calories too.

Work is both something old and new. I’m starting to get into the groove again. The project I’m doing now is pretty interesting and challenging, enough to give me just the right push to give my best, as I always would like to do with whatever I do.

My personal life is also warming up too. No lovelife yet, though. I’m just loving the time I have on my hands to write blogs, do errands, read books, study/review on some topics and interests, pamper myself, relax and meditate, and opportunities to do many other things.

There’s just something that feels really nice about the new kind of normal. There are less expenses, less calories, more walks and physical activities, more time to just look around and observe the real world, and more time to be me again. I guess I really needed this change.

A better me everyday, that’s the goal. Sometimes it happens in small moments, in baby steps. Sometimes it happens with long strides, or with some jumps. This time, it was a leap for me again. I’ve landed, and am back on the ground, but this is an entirely different land already. Time to continue walking.

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Always Somewhere

Wherever you are, it’s always good to remember one thing – you are not somewhere else. You can only be in one place at any specific time. It’s good to acknowledge where you are at the moment. You can always try to compare, but not one place is above another. There is always the good and the bad. Sometimes we get to choose where we stay long term, but most often than not, we are helpless and we just remain where we can.

It shouldn’t be as bad as it sounds. We should never feel stuck where we are. We should learn to appreciate what is available to us wherever we are. Eat what’s available around. Drink the local sodas and beers. Visit the parks, beaches, and museums around. Go bar hopping. Whatever activity your heart desires, if you find it available where you are, then go for it. If not, then find something else to do.

We usually tend to not maximise or take advantage of experiencing what is available in our locality. I know of a lot of people who don’t really go around unless they have some visitors to take around. On the other hand, they spend so much to travel elsewhere and explore other places, when they haven’t really explored their own city or country. Even I am guilty of this. Would be great to do otherwise though.

I’m doing whatever I can here in Australia. Mostly I’m at the mercy of my family, and my schedule completely depends on them. But I do try to experience what I can with each trip and tour that we take. Still midway through my trip now, and still looking forward to the next few days of experiencing things Aussie.

After my trip, I’ll go back to my beloved Manila. Maybe I’ll spend more time exploring my own “backyard” from then on, even go shopping in the usual malls and flea markets. I will find time to visit the museums that I’ve never visited before. I’ll spend time in parks. There is no need to travel abroad elsewhere to do all these.

How well have you explored and experienced your own cities or countries?

I have the music sense of an old soul

I drive everyday to and from work, and it takes me between 1 to 2 hours each trip, depending on the traffic. All those times, I have my music to keep me company.

Music plays such a big role in my life, more than just a way to pass time. There is something about music that can outwardly sing the song of my soul most times. There is something about music that is very therapeutic.

Most people my age may think me strange, though, if they hear the music I listen to. I have the music sense of an old soul. It’s as if my musical soul is twice my age. I listen to some really old songs, standards, contemporary jazz, classical, instrumental, samba and bossa, among others. I like a wide range of music, which include some current music and pop. I like a number of British bands and artists. Old OPM music are nice too.

I’m lucky to have some good local radio stations that play my type of music. Crossover 105.1, Radio High 105.9, and W-Rock 96.3 are some favorites (all FM radio in Manila, Philippines). I get to discover a lot of the British artists from my sister who also likes looking for good, non-pop music. You can also check out my music player and find out my vast collection.

There have been a number of international artists and bands who came and had concerts here, but I don’t usually spend to watch the current popular ones. The concerts I have watched include Rick Astley, Manhattan Transfer, Basia, and Don McLean. I did want to watch Kylie Minogue too, but I wasn’t able to.

Here’s a taste of one of my favorite songs, just so you have an idea how music plays in my heart. 🙂

Dance

Dancing is my passion. I fell in love with dance during an Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE) on Streetdance way back in 1st year college. Because of this, I took both basic and advance street dance PE classes. I auditioned and almost joined UP Street Dance Club, but the truckload of academics got in the way. I joined dance competitions with the organization I belonged to in engineering. I danced on several events for YFC based in UP Diliman.

Well, I really do love dancing, but a lot of things have kept me from it these past few years. And when I started working back in 2007, I couldn’t find the time to dance again, save for the occasions I had to dance or choreograph for performances during office Christmas parties. But of course that kind of dance is way simpler than what I used to do in college.

Work and life kind of got in the way. Of course, I’ve always wanted to go back to my love. Even during the dry times, I knew I was still in love with dance. I move at the mere sound of a groovy music. Sometime when I am alone, I even dance to imaginary music. I couldn’t take it out of my system.

Imagine my joy when I found a chance to attend dance classes this summer, under the instruction of one of my street dance coach from early college days.

It wasn’t a walk in the park. I worked in Taguig from 9am to 6pm and drove all the way to the dance studio in Quezon City in time for my 7pm class, twice a week. I started attending the classes on my own, with no friends to accompany me. All my classmates were at least 5 years younger than me, and some maybe 10 years younger. It wasn’t a basic dance class. I had a hard time going back to the level that they were dancing with. I wasn’t in good condition because I haven’t been really dancing these past few years. I had to catch up on so much, and I had to do it fast.

There was a bit of discouragement in my heart. It was difficult to manage time and schedules. I also felt like I didn’t belong anymore, that I couldn’t dance well anymore, and it was so hard to catch up. And yet I persevered, and continued on. Passion has a knack for driving you beyond your normal limits.

I know I’m not as good as my much younger classmates in dance, but I know that I was already able to push myself to dance to a tolerable, if not completely satisfying level. And I thank my coach so much for the patience that he has for me. I do hope I deliver a decent performance during the dance recital on Sunday.

And I do hope I could continue dancing, one way or another.