My theme for 2019 was rooted. It was a response to my 2018 theme, grow. After growing in different directions (and manically spending 208/365 days traveling), I needed to feel more stable, like a tree birthing thicker, deeper roots. I focused on fewer projects, traveled less (168/365!), and became more discerning about what to say yes to. I still took on different roles and projects because I’m a pathological multi-tasker who thrives under simultaneity (wuw), but each “yes” was intentional and strategic.
In so many moments, I caught myself being physically present but mentally elsewhere. I’d attend an event but have my laptop open in front of me so I could reply to emails. I’d workout at home but send Whatsapp messages in between sets, slowing down my hard-earned high heart rate. My mind’s real estate would constantly be occupied by my towering to-do list, puns popping up, and big questions like, “Can I still eat the sourdough bread that’s been in the freezer for four months?”
I usually take a lot of pride in my memory, my ability to recall details and observations. For a lot of last year, my memories had gaps — and it wasn’t alcohol, I promise. I can recall the shape of events, but not their colors and patterns. My goal for 2020, I declared, would be to fully commit to what I’m doing, whether it be conversations, tasks, or moments. I would be present.
So that became my first nominee for the 2020 theme: present. It didn’t feel pitch perfect, but it was workable. I could stretch it for another wordplay, to mean that the present is a gift. (Ang cliché, ugh.)
One afternoon, Chely and I were exchanging voice notes and she said, “Maganda din yung ‘Be here.’ Eh di present nga. Maganda din yung here. Here, there, and everywhere,” she continued. “Here, not there, not everywhere. Chereret!”
“HERE. MAGANDA.” I replied. “Gusto ko yung here. Parang, taking up space and being present.”
“Oo, maganda din yan. Owning my space,” she affirmed.
“Staking a claim,” I texted.
“DITO AKO PAK U. Bakit naging ghetto?! HERE NA ME ADJUST NA U.”
Okay na, Chels. Okay na yung HERE.
To live out Here 2020, these are what I’ll do less and more of:
Less: social media
More: reading and writing
In the last two months of 2019, I blocked social media apps from 9PM to 8AM, which made me a prolific reader. This year, I want to write for myself again by journaling more and blogging again. When I get back from this current trip (where I had no internet or mobile signal for five days), I’m adding more hours of no social media with a new plan: setting times when I can check dem apps instead. For now it’s 10AM-12PM and 6-8PM. No one is going to die if I don’t reply outside those hours.
Less: giving into distractions
More: focusing on finishing one task
I have a tendency to jump into Task 2, 3, and 4 without completing Task 1. After Task 4 I’m like, “Ano ulit yung Task 1?!??!” Now I’m trying to focus on one or two deliverables a day and shutting the rest of the world out until I reach my target or overshoot it.
Less: buying shit I don’t need
More: appreciating what I already have a.k.a. what’s already here
Last month, I did an inventory of personal care products, shoes, bags, accessories, and other butingtings I had and gifted the multiples or those that didn’t ~spark joy. I created a list of my personal care and skincare products on Evernote to help me keep track of what I still have, so I can look at it before buying anything new. Chely, Lynn, and I also made a pact not to buy fast fashion for environmental and welfare reasons, and that if we were to buy clothes, we’d buy only from ethical and/or slow fashion brands.
Here, we go. ✨🚩
P.S. Don’t eat four-month old bread. It’s gross.