Christmas Celebration

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I’m still not a fan of Christmas as a holiday, but I am all for what it should be representing.

I was raised Catholic, so it initially makes me think of the birth of Jesus. When I grew older, it soon became a time of getting gifts. Time passed by and I got to that awkward age — too old to give gifts to, too young to have the money for giving gifts — so it became that time when I’ll either be happy to get cash or feel envious for not getting a new shirt or some article of clothing. Finally, when I got a job, I felt like it’s a time to prepare bountiful feasts for my family while giving gifts to selected people. Looking at how my perception of Christmas has changed over the year makes me feel a bit sad; it looks like a tale of how I lost my innocence.

After enduring this year full of problems , mainly my mom getting sick all the time, I now see Christmas as a time to really treasure my family. My mom, of course, for taking care of our family until now; my dad for not leaving my mother’s side; my aunt, who’s like our second mom, for assuming the care of our house; my sister for treating me to small joys throughout the year like popcorn, ice cream, and milk tea drinks; it also includes a copy of Jewel’s poetry book, which is in the picture above. I couldn’t have gone through this year without my family, and that’s what I’m celebrating Christmas for.

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Hallway

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I’m in transit — at least in my mind. I’m trying to make the best choices that I can, but like what I learned in college, I can’t please everyone.

One of my so-called friends in the office got mad at me, and it led me to think that maybe, I should reassess my list of friends. It’s not because they are mean, though; it’s more on the idea that I might not really care enough about them to keep calling them friends. That thought led me to realize that being a good person isn’t the same as being a good friend. Even if they can be done at the same time, being generally nice doesn’t mean that I would stand by them all the way. On the other hand, being a good friend would sometimes mean that I should not be nice and condone their behavior. Sometimes, I should give them a piece of my mind for them to stop doing bad things.

Like what I said when I stated this post, I’m in transit. I need to arrive at a decision, maybe not right now, but still, a choice needs to be made. Hence, the picture of the office’s hallway.

Virtue, Truth, and Wine

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image I’ve been meaning to post something last week, but I got sidetracked. I rambled about excellence, and that might have been foolish of me because I fell into a trap. According to Paulo Coelho, a warrior of the light can talk to his demons and win just by letting it do the talking; afterwards, he should just walk away. I didn’t do that. I brandished the virtue of excellence at my demons, and accosted them with dagger-like words propelled by righteous indignation. Perhaps, they learned Paulo’s trick; they just sat there and listened. Then, they put the naked truth — that people won’t seek excellence the way I would because they’re not me — in front of me. It made me fume. I swore. I slandered others. And I swore some more. Thus, I’ve lost the good fight. It’s not a total loss, though. Through that day, I realized that instead of criticizing others, I just need to accept the harsh truths. Also, I need to turn my theoretical virtues into real action, not just proclaiming them. It could have saved me a lot of anguish. Now, I’ll resolve to do better. On a lighter note, I went out for drinks with a lady friend. We talked. We shared some intimate details, and though I know it was platonic, I felt glad that I can still get a lady to go out with me.

Owls and Excellence

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I’ve visited the local zoo with my adoptive daughter (well, she adopted me as her dad, really, so how can I refuse an angel’s request) and the rest of the family. I was glad to have the chance to visit the animals; it brought back a lot of good childhood memories.

However, I digress. So I’ll cut that story short, and get onto my actual topic.

I’m consumed with the thought of excellence since Friday, last week. Mostly, it’s because I see people in our office who just gets by through mediocrity. They slack off, and they even have the guts to complain about getting poor evaluations from me when they know for a fact that they didn’t do anything stellar. It just makes my blood boil after it has curdled. I was raised with an Opus Dei philosophy, so it just makes me feel indignant when I come across a culture of mediocrity. As part of my protest, I’ve been putting quotes about excellence as my chat status message, hoping to inspire even just one person to strive for excellence.

I say “strive for excellence” and not perfection because excellence is not something permanent — at least as far as I know. One day, I might be excellent, but if I’m not careful with what I do, I can fall in the same traps that mediocrity seems to lay out in front of everyone. It might be a simple headache, a shiny red balloon, or blinking at the wrong time, and what we have can be spoiled. Could we really account for all those minute variables when we sometimes forget periods after sentences or feel angry at bird poop on a newly washed car? I think not, so we can’t really be perfect — just continuously striving for excellence. Nevertheless, there’s always a vanguard for excellence, and that is vigilance.

For me, it’s vigilance against the illusion of perfection. Yes, I admit that I pride myself with my achievements, but I realize now that it’s unattainable because it’s either the absence of fault or the completion of all requirements. Saying that someone is perfect is just simply turning a blind eye on a minute flaw or saying that a high standard was met when in fact, it’s just partially fulfilled. It’d take an infinite amount of energy for us to really achieve that, making me think that it’s just God who has the capacity to achieve. So really, we can only strive for excellence.