Tuesday, October 25

MJ Lastimosa and the things that make me smile

Binibining Pilipinas 2010 saw one of the favorites, MJ Lastimosa, asked what are the three things that make her smile. I can't really remember her answer, but should I be asked the same question, here are my three things:

1. The beach
2. Kids (well as long as they are cute. lol)
3. And random acts of kindness

Last Wednesday, while on my way "somewhere" (hmmm, I should add this "somewhere" as one of the "things" that make me smile...), I was given the opportunity to practice what I preach.

First, a guy approached me a couple of meters from our house and asked if I could spare him some change for his fare home. He said that he was applying for a job and he got short on cash. I knew that there was a manpower agency near our place and so I willingly obliged. I knew that this was no scam and the guy was in real need. After handing him some coins, the guy thanked me and coyly walked away.

Still en route to "somewhere," I then saw an old lady - the type that sells packed lunch in offices - dragging a stroller down the underpass. It was actually quite painful to watch. In the sea of hurrying suits and corporate wear that is Makati, this old lady was slowly pushing down her things one step at a time, careful not to go overboard lest she slide down the stairs body, baggage, and all. Everyone was minding their own business, a handful handed quick glances. And so, since I was in my best suit ever - shirt, shorts, and flip flops - I approached her and volunteered to take her stroller down. At first she was hesitant, saying that her baggage was heavy. I was actually taken aback by that statement. Here's an old lady dragging her things down a flight of stairs. Here comes an "able-bodied guy" offering her help. And then she hesitates because her things are heavy. Really, what has the world gone to?! Anyway, I insisted and she thanked me when I met her at the stairs' landing.

Random acts of kindness. In truth, they do more for the doer than the supposed recipient. For ultimately, the opportunity to help is humbling and priceless. When I was younger, I had this fire to be somebody. I saw myself as a game changer, someone who'd make a marked impact in the world. That greatness seems to grow in abstraction as time goes by. Meanwhile, these small things - the very real opportunities to help - stare at me, at us, on a daily basis.

Life is difficult. But still, I am blessed.


On another note, one my parents' friends passed away. He and his wife are my parents' churchmates and it was inevitable for everyone to know each other's families. I remember him asking how I and my siblings were doing whenever we met on the street. And now that I'm reminded of how fleeting our earthly life is, I really am scared. Scared not of dying but of losing people whom I've shared my life with. I am reminded that for the longest time I've been a sheltered boy. And that life still has much to offer, opportunities, grief, joy, pain and all.

Thursday, October 6


I can't help but raise an eyebrow when people refer to themselves as complicated.

"I'm complicated, you can't figure me out."
"I'm complicated, there's just too much about my life to reduce into plain understanding."

Sure, there are many layers to every situation but self-proclaimed "complications" make me cringe. Sometimes it's just a lousy excuse not to act on something. And don't get me wrong. I too may be paralyzed not to act on something, perhaps because I'm too lazy, perhaps because I'm not too bright or perhaps because I simply don't have the balls to decide. But whatever it may be, I don't gloss over things and run to Mr. Complicated for an easy way out.


And speaking of not being too bright, a week or two ago, I hitched a ride with my professor and in that short ride, he mentioned that one of the guys in class is now working for Company A. For the longest time I've been applying to Company A... for every position imaginable. And it doesn't really help when - modesty aside - I honestly feel that I'm smarter than that classmate. Oh well, I let go. There's not much I can do about that anyway.


Hence, I'm seriously considering living my life according to the principles of open space technology:

1. Whoever comes is the right people.
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
3. Whenever it starts is the right time.
4. When it is over, it is over.

Pretty basic principles to live a life of contentment. Plus it adds a little twist of destiny to romanticize things. Oh well, that's that.