Out of the zone

I can't believe it's July. In 45 days or so, we will be down to the "ber" months already!

Today I take stock of the first six months of 2014 for me and how close (or how not?) I was to my plans. See I try to  sit down nearing the end of each year and determine what I want to accomplish and how I intend to do it.

No doubt, 2014 offered many surprises. This time last year, I could not have guessed I would be doing the things I am doing now.

For instance, I've traveled a lot already. In January I went to Iloilo. February, Cebu. March, Iloilo again and Capiz. April, Leyte and Eastern Samar. Throw in some Laguna if you like. In May I went back to Tacloban and then Antipolo. The following week, Bohol.

It was only the Tacloban stint that was newspaper-related. The others were because of my engagements with various groups. One group tested whether citizen participation in the audit process was possible. The other tried to document lessons learned from the people's experience of typhoon Yolanda.

In between these travels, there were also meetings and deadlines. I met many new people, and most times I found myself thrust into the company of (near) strangers for extended periods of time. Talk about being yanked out of my comfort zone!

And whereas all I really want to do is go around, talk to ordinary folk and unearth their extraordinary stories, and write about them, in the past few months I have had to do other things I have never done before.

I facilitated discussions and documented proceedings -- neither of which I used to do before. Because I knew next to nothing about these things, and because my training, experience and inclinations are not necessarily in these areas, I fumbled at some tasks, which led some people to dismiss me as incapable (I remember that day and that person!). I also had to deal with that blow, because for many years I have been doing the same things and getting reinforcements that I was doing them well.

It's good to be reminded we're not almighty.

Sometimes I also found myself torn between engagements, my roles in the home included, and I may have made decisions that have given the impression that I fancy myself above the rules. Others were staying, for instance, while I was going out, attending to a million other things. But hey, I try to compensate.

I've had my share of scary rides.

I've learned to impose upon myself some idle time. Sometimes it's perfectly ok to do nothing, to sleep to your heart's content, to lose your cool when you've bottled up so much, and to laugh at yourself once in a while. I learned that we ourselves determine how we are treated, and that some people simply have no place in our lives anymore -- or else they would have fought hard for it. Armchair partners are hardly true ones. (Yes, M.B., I am talking about you.)

Through all these, I have met the most selfless, resilient people who have been through hell and back and yet had the patience to tell their stories to clueless sheltered outsiders like me -- and to offer biscuits and drinks besides. Wow! 

I have met people who are so committed to their cause that they go to all sorts of places for nothing in return. And people who persevered despite being told they were facing a  dead-end.

I've learned I have to loosen up some more, yet never to apologize for my introversion. Because this is who I am.

I am learning there is always, always something to be thankful for, and things always, always do work out.

I am humbled by my experiences. I can't wait for the rest of them -- places, people, insights, lessons, all.