It was a trip that almost didn’t happen for me because I was late. You see, sometimes, I don’t know how to say no. On the evening of my trip to Benguet, I said yes to a friend when she asked to see me. I should have said no, then I wouldn’t be so late during the assembly for the Mt. Ulap climb. Now that I mentioned it, I am now going to say no to some things especially if they are going to conflict with a plan.
I get epiphanies at an inopportune time in the most inconvenient of places. Like when I am about to sleep, or when I’m in the toilet. The latest one came to me a few days ago while on a motorbike, traveling my way home. I covered myself with a shawl because the sun bore down on us and it felt like I was getting a tan against my will. The idea that came to me, it’s this, 2018 is the year for “I can.”
Let me expound.
I think there has been a going-on theme for each of my year; 2017 is when I stopped asking for easy, 2016 is all for building belief that dreams are possible, and 2015 is about self-healing. I was depressed for most of my life that I truly believed I would never recover. I treated this mental condition as a home and I owned it. It’s weird to say, but it’s true, I was comfortable with my misery that it made me arrogant. People would offer help and I’d scoff at their “lack of understanding”. I didn’t think I could be helped, I didn’t think I could get over it, I thought I’d have to carry the demon forever. There’s something in my head, my chemistry that was fucked up and people just couldn’t understand. It’s clinical depression, it doesn’t go away.
Or so I thought.
I knew I was in for a challenge; depression to me is like an imaginary friend that I never grew out of. It was with me constantly that I couldn’t see a life without it. Almost like I would be crippled, almost like I would be naked. Many people have left this world without escaping their mental prison and I could be one of them. It was going to be tough and I knew I might not win, but I also knew that I could try.
I can’t recall the specific date but I can identify the year, it’s 2016. My life turned around that year. The hows are a number of things; I removed toxic people from my life, I started traveling more, I got a new job, I limited my exposure on politics and social media, I went ahead and make new friends and stuck with those who have a positive disposition. The thing with depression is, it’s relentless and it’s a terrible foe. It cannot be defeated with one method. To beat it, you have to be stronger than it and you have to keep on trying.
It was long and arduous but I pushed through it. You know how when people work out and then one day they saw muscles starting to form and suddenly they don’t want to stop lifting weights, that’s kinda like how it felt for me. Once I started reaping the fruits of my labor, nothing can stop me anymore, not even depression.
As a result, blessings have started pouring in. When before I used to be so broke, suddenly I always have more than enough that I’m even able to send my sister to college. When before I could only travel a few times a year, now I can go abroad and out of my own pocket. On blogging, I made wonderful connections that I started getting gigs, one of them is a sponsored trip to Japan. My crowd has also changed, new friends have come in, most of them are as passionate as I when it comes to traveling. Being with them made me aspire to do more and be more. Things have indeed begun to look up for me. It was thrilling, to say the least.
Personally, I noticed that I’ve grown mellow. I can now stop myself from saying something that might be hurtful to others. I no longer lash out at people. I also stopped burdening other people with my personal problems. When I am faced with adversity, I keep it mostly to myself and would only share when it’s over, and only to a select few.[Read: Travel Recap 2017]
Some people from the past have tried to come back, but I didn’t want to open the door anymore. It was not because they didn’t deserve a second chance, or that they didn’t change, it was because I had to stick with my decision to get better. We are all passing by on each other’s lives, and when our part is over, we have to accept that and continue our journey. That’s how I choose to look at it. My part in their lives and my part in theirs are over. For what it’s worth, I wish them the best and I hope that in my own little way, in the short time that we’d been given, I was able to make them happy.
My life is not perfect, but now the better days outnumber the bad. It’s all because I tried and I replaced my I can’ts with I can.
If you are currently having a difficult time or if you are struggling with depression, I hope I can convince you to take the path to recovery or at least give it a try. That’s all you need to do, try. It will be tough but there is a reward for perseverance. You have to drop the false idea about yourself; you can find hope, you can change, you can learn. There is a strength within you that’s been keeping you alive, tap on that.
So this 2018, let us start living with these two words in mind, I can. This is the year we are going to make it all happen. We will face a challenge head-on and say, “I can beat you,” we will stare fear in the eye and say, “I can conquer you,” we will look at our dreams and say, “I can reach you.” Even if it seems impossible at first, even if it takes everything you’ve got, never say that you can’t.
When the year is over, let’s meet again and talk about the things that have happened when you started saying, “I can.” I hope you give it a try, I hope you start believing. I am rooting for you, may you achieve amazing things.
Physically she was in the Philippines, mentally she was still in America. I used to listen to a friend recounts the life she left behind in the States. I would lend my ear everyday, even when she tends to repeat her stories. Before her, I never had such a burning desire to travel. In a way, she opened a gate to a world that both fascinated and tormented me. In my head, I told myself, “I want to travel,” to which my pessimistic self would reply, “you wish, traveling is expensive, you’re broke.” I am writing about this because even when I believed that pessimistic voice for a very long time, I was able to break free from its truth. I didn’t have an epiphany, it didn’t take a broken heart to make it happen. Just one day, I started traveling and continued doing it to this day.
2017 is the year I’ve had more trips than ever before. It wasn’t a goal, I didn’t have a number in mind, I just went whenever I could. And to start the New Year right on my blog, join me as I journeyed back in time to relive the memories of my travels in 2017.