a farewell note

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This week, two colleagues bade us goodbye. Since I got back, almost all of the staff I worked with previously have moved on to other job opportunities. It’s quite sad and heartbreaking to see people go, especially those whom you have shared fond memories and bonded with over difficult and stressful client moments.

But, realistically, that’s just the way life is. People come and go. Change is inevitable. We all need to make choices and embrace changes sometimes, in order to grow and find ourselves and what makes us happy and gives us fulfillment. I speak from experience.

Once upon a time, I also had to leave my first job to fulfill an answered prayer of being given the chance to work abroad. It was a frightening but brave move for me. On the night before my last day, I wrote this farewell note and posted it together with a short video to thank the people I have worked with for almost five years:

This is just me trying to find a unique way to say, “so long”.

I take tonight as the eve of a graduation day. I’m a mixture of emotions.
I feel excited and yet at the same time melancholic.
I’m looking forward to an upcoming adventure yet memories of my five audit seasons in the office keep flashing before my teary eyes.
This is both ‘goodbye’ and ‘not goodbye but so long’.
This is bittersweet.

My stay in the office has changed me a lot. I’ve grown up.
I’ve overcome my shyness. I fostered new and deep relationships.
I have had first-time experiences. I have been to different places.
I have fulfilled some of my dreams and accomplished things I always hoped I would.

Busy seasons are tough but I will always look back to those years with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Eventhough I’m guilty of complaining a lot about our work, the clients and the deadlines, it breaks my heart to say goodbye to a place I have spent countless hours in – working, taking pictures, laughing, crying, eating…. the list just goes on and on. It is harder still to say goodbye to the people whom I have had the chance to work, play, laugh, argue, cry and talk with during the fun and difficult times in audit.

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I’m sad that I have to close this chapter in my life, yet I’m glad and will forever be grateful that I met and had the chance to work with the best and brightest people with big hearts.

Thank you so much and God bless.

Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. – Richard Bach

my current mantra

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Hello blog, its been a while!

I’ve been using a lot of brainpower the past month that I didn’t have enough brain energy left to write. But now i’m back to my musings and self-reflection ( at least, the part I am comfortable sharing).

It’s been more than a month since I commenced my new (old) job and i’m amazed at my new-found discipline of waking up early and being at work before 8 am, sometimes as early as 6:30 am. It is a successful collaboration with my husband who goes out of his way (literally and figuratively) to bring me to the office on most days of the week. I just don’t know how long it will last though as the busiest work days are now looming and I am particular on getting enough sleep due to my iron-deficiency anemia.

Being at work early gives me a valid reason to go home early, at least whenever I can. I have an issue with nerves (and worry) so I try not to leave with something crucial hanging over my head. One of my secrets to work peace of mind is to make a quick list of my to-do’s for tomorrow. When i’m satisfied that the list (plus unexpected issues cropping up) will not be overwhelming, I feel free to walk out the door with no laptop in tow. I make exceptions for important occasions such as date with hubby and meet-up with friends and I compensate by praying harder or going to work earlier than usual.

On hindsight, I think the key to longevity in this job is to avoid being burnt out. That’s why I make time for myself and my family. I also try not to be deeply absorbed in the daily challenges of the job. It’s not easy when you’re re-learning and new things pop up non-stop (parang pringles lang). Nonetheless, I try to leave the worries on my desk at the end of each day and not rant about them at home. …Although sometimes they still crop up in my dreams – the power of subconscious mind.

People ask why I’m back in the first place. Well, my job engages and enriches me though admittedly, it also stresses me out on some days. I have a love-hate relationship with my work. But then, who doesn’t?

My current mantra (which I borrowed from Martha Beck’s article in O! November issue) is:

I refuse to burn. I claim the time it takes to make me happy!

Hopefully, this mantra will help me ride it out season-in season-out.

(Note to self: Read this again if ever I’ll find it hard to drag myself to work.)

Choose peace over panic. It’s a skill that would take regular practice to master. In the long run, it is most beneficial (for physical and mental well-being) to find time to chill when things heat up.

toddler’s sleeping problem solved

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I’ve been having a good night’s sleep since I got home from the hospital after my surgery. I can’t say the same thing about hubby since he is temporarily fully in charge of our toddler while I am recuperating. Our dilemma over our son’s sleeping problem stretched for almost two months.

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Thankfully, our toddler has begun to sleep early and soundly since the night of my 30th birthday. What a gift! He now sleeps by 9 pm, rarely wakes up in the night for a feeding, and gets up at 5 or 6 am. Hopefully, he will stick to this routine for good. Husband on the other hand is having a hard time adjusting to the change in sleeping pattern. He’s been so used to having intermittent sleep that he involuntarily wakes up in the middle of the night or early dawn. Kawawa.

Our son’s pediatrician prescribed a vitamin called Mosegor Vita Syrup to supposedly help our child fall asleep. It’s an Orexigenic Agent with Vitamin B Complex and it contains hydrogen maleate, thiamine, riboflavin phosphate, pyridoxine and nicotinamide. I must say it did help my son fall asleep but then he wakes up after two hours for a feeding and gets too agitated that he wouldn’t go back to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. The medicine merely induced his appetite. We’re thinking of changing his pediatrician as he has the tendency to prescribe medicines all the time instead of giving some practical tips or advice that really works. We need a doctor who is also a parent.

Advice from friends, google results and some common sense helped us address our son’s sleeping issues.

Our mistake is that we allowed our son to get too addicted to Pocoyo videos on You tube on his itouch and on my iPad. He would spend hours watching videos and we let him keep the gadget in bed. Hubby and I are also guilty of bringing our gadgets to bed engrossed in twitter, facebook or blogging, setting a very bad example to our son. I am specially adamant of bringing my iPad to bed, reasoning that it is the only time I get to surf the net, read magazines, or blog.

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For weeks, we did everything possible to make our toddler stay sound asleep. We banned his DVDs, limited his daytime naps (no late afternoon naps), dutifully gave him his vitamins before bed, and prohibited gadgets in bed (that was the hardest part for all of us).

Nanay has been telling us to forbid the use of the itouch or iPad before bedtime. From what I read, technology engages our toddler’s brains, keeping them alert and therefore wide awake. It is advisable to ban it out of the bedroom an hour before bedtime, which should be a quiet time. We have less monkeying around in bed to prevent toddler from getting agitated. We also follow a bedtime routine – bath time by 8 pm, some quiet activities in bed such as reading a book (an actual one) or doodling, hushed voice, and a massage. We also encouraged our son’s yaya to engage him in physical activities during the day such as running around in the neighborhood or kicking ball in the house, anything that will exhaust him of his high energy level.

This baby sleep profiler from Johnson’s baby helped us assess our child’s sleeping pattern and yes, we’re using their bedtime baby wash, baby powder and baby lotion.

We had the best intentions when we introduced the gadgets to our toddler as a means to entertain and educate him. It backfired because we did not set a limit on its use.

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What I’ve learned is that there are no black and white guidelines in parenting. Each child is unique and we have to learn to adapt our way of parenting to our son’s individual needs and quirks. We just hope that even if we are not experts and we commit mistakes as parents, we’d still be able to raise our son the best way we know how, with the help of family, friends, books and google.

and finally – the big 3-0!

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And finally (drum rolls please)… the most-awaited day arrives! Today is my 30th birthday. Yey!

The past thirty days of self-reflection, leading to my birthday, was enriching and engaging for me. In a way, by the means of my blog posts, God has prepared me for the trouble that was to come halfway through my countdown. I would not have looked at my surgery in a positive light if I had not already started to view life through rose-colored glasses. In appreciating and dwelling on the good, I have learned to embrace the bad.

I must give credit to my doctor for saying that a birthday is just a day for it dawned on me that it has a ring of truth to it. We mustn’t put our hopes and expectations of happiness and magic on a single day. The best way to look at a birthday is to take the product of the year that was and the sum of the other 365 1/4 days to come. It makes a birthday more special and lasting, rather than just being a 24-hour thing that fades when the calendar turns another day.

Today, 23rd of August is just another day. But my husband made it a point to make this day a memorable one for me.

Hubby managed to pull off a surprise birthday dinner for me last night with my current circle of girl friends at one my favorite restaurants. I am blessed to have a husband who goes beyond his inherent tendencies (albeit sometimes reluctantly. Haha!) to fulfill the whims of his wife. Life is full of pleasant surprises!

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the sweet gesture and for being able to spend a few hours of the night with my good friends, who brought a yummy chocolate cake with them. I am not exactly a sociable and likeable person but I still manage to keep myself surrounded with the most dependable, pretty and cool friends. Life is sweet and delightful!

Thanks to those group buying sites that are the fad these days, hubby got us a discounted overnight stay in a hotel in Makati. His review – the elevator was slow, the breakfast lacks variety and wi-fi sucks. The room was okay though for the rate. Life is a gamble, sometimes we get the sh** end of the stick. Sometimes, we get lucky!

I thoroughly enjoyed the sinful pleasure of having a big tv screen while lounging in bed and the hot shower in the morning – life’s simple pleasures!

I woke up on the day of my birthday a little under the weather because of my colds. Life is sometimes made of sniffles and sour moods!

And it didn’t help that the girl from Sweet Bella said they forgot the happy birthday sign for my birthday cake. We had to fetch it ourselves from the home branch and when husband handed it to me, it read – Happy 13th birthday “Lianne”. I had to laugh despite of my bad mood. Hahaha! Life is full of mishaps!

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After a delightful lunch at Focaccia, the rest of the day was spent taking a nap, playing with my son, delighting in the hearty greetings from family, friends and acquaintances and writing this blog post.

I am grateful to and for each and every person who have crossed paths with me in this journey called life – 29 wonderful years so far. Bits and pieces of you are interwoven with my life story, making it unique and worthwhile.

I am now thirty. Not surprisingly, no fairy godmother came and gave me a makeover or magical secrets to having a fine and dandy life at thirty. I still believe though that i’m living a charmed life.

countdown 1: i’m 29 until further notice!

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Finally got the surgical pathology results on my dermoid cyst today. I’ve waited with bated breath for this and at last, the doctor says its BENIGN. I got my birthday wish a day before my birthday. Sweet!

Two specimens were taken from my ovary. The smaller tissue (4.5 x 2 x 0.8 cm) appears to be brain-like material. Even my cyst has brains! Hahaha! The larger tissue fragment (9 x 5 x 1.5 cm) has attached tufts of hair. Sana sa ulo na lang tumubo!

The doctor who removed my ovarian cyst on her birthday told us araw lang yan. But to me, it’s much more than just a day. It is a special day, a day meant only for me.

Just for fun, I googled “what’s in a birthday?” and the search results were quite interesting. I decided to give some of the entries a try.

First up was a quiz: What does your birth date mean? The answer has some ring of truth to it.

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Did you know that apparently, there is a bible verse specific to your birthday? Here’s mine:

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There’s also some science called Birthday numerology where you can find your lucky number. Mine is 5!

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I also found out what my birthday color is – it’s RED!

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Finally, let me end this post with an excerpt from my favorite “birthday” song – Forever Young by Bob Dylan:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

I’m 29 until further notice!

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(photo taken on my 29th birthday)

countdown 2: what’s in a name?

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No post for day three because i’m not feeling well. I’m down with colds and sore throat, which I hate much more than my surgical wounds. Let it remain a gap in my countdown to remind me that 30 days before my birthday, I had one really bad day.

I must admit, when I started the countdown, I was an energizer bunny. I was sooo looking forward to my 30th birthday celebration. I’m supposed to be in a picnic now with my family and high school barkada, celebrating the big 3-0 together with a cousin whose birthday is only three days earlier than mine. But i’m at home, nursing my colds, feeling old.

I remained optimistic even after the surgery but there are times that I feel like crying, especially now that i’m also suffering from headache and runny nose. I try so hard not to sneeze because my wounds hurt so bad every time I do. Ouch!

Enough with my rants. On with my countdown.

I remember when I was a kid, I found a little notebook my father kept to note details about me before and when I was born. I loved that notebook dearly but somehow I lost it growing up. Sad. I also hope I made my son a similar (maybe online) one.

It is from that notebook that I first learned I was born on a sunny Sunday and my zodiac sign is Virgo. I was supposed to be named Lea Cecilia, after my parents’ names. But my cousin, who was born 3 days ahead of me was named Lea so my parents had to change it.

They named me,instead, Mary Lianne.

Mary, in honor of the blessed Virgin. I remember there were a number of virtues written on the notebook about Mary, some (or maybe, most) of which I have not lived up to. That’s why I don’t fancy being called Mary, I don’t think I deserve to be.

Lianne was supposed to be a play of the words Leopoldo and Cecilia, but really it was from the name of a sari-sari store near the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and my parents’ Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board Exams Review School. Maybe this means i’m really meant to be a CPA after all.

I have already forgotten most of what was written in that small notebook but

I will forever hold in my heart its symbolism, what it meant to me growing up – that I’m deeply loved and cherished by my parents and that I am a precious GIFT from God to them. That alone makes my life worth living.

countdown 4: same old me

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I’m going over my previous blogs and notes and is quite amused with myself. Here are two of my previous posts:

August 8, 2010, 11:21 am

2 years ago I thought I was having a quarter life crisis. I think I still am. I think I always will be. The truth is, I’m crazy and disorganized and no amount of dreams coming true or milestones happening will ever change that. I am me, quirks and all. Well-thought decisions or rash actions. Mommy or not. Jobless or a raving workaholic. Single or married. Some old quirks just stay the same. I just must continue to love the fool in me. =)

September 6, 2007 1:32 pm

When so many good things are happening at the same time, I can’t help but wonder what bad thing could be brewing for me, fearing that the fair wheel of fate will soon catch up and I’ll find myself at the bottom again. The fear of the unknown and the uncertain sometimes keep me awake at night and make me think back to those nights I was bawling over in pain over a heartbreak or was crying over a disappointment at work. I can still vaguely remember the heartache and the feeling of despair. But I don’t feel any remorse or regret nor do I wish that I have not been through the experience. Because I realize that all the good and the bad things that happened to me in the past helped me become the stronger & more confident person that I am now. I have learned a number of lessons that will guide me as I go on to live a fuller life. ..And it dawned on me, I should have nothing more to fear. All I have to do is lay down my worries to Him & He’ll take care of them for me as He always does.Ü