Ikigai, success and why delaying something is okay

The year was 2013. It was Politics of Education class (one of my electives) with Sir Louie who became one of the closest professors I’ve ever had. We were discussing the works of Paulo Freire (The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation, 1985) when we touched on the concept of Ikigai.

Image taken from forbes.com.

This image represents the best way to describe what Ikigai means. It is a Japanese concept that means a ‘reasons for being’. It’s described as the value of being alive which makes one’s life worthwhile; it’s about finding satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life. When we do what we love, we pursue what we’re good at, we get paid for doing it, and when we do something that impacts the world around us, that’s what our Ikigai means.

According to Freire, the oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption. Linking it to our Ikigai discussion, this means that people (in our context, the students) can make and remake themselves when they learn. When they find their reason for existence, not only they learn out of their struggle but they unlock the knowledge and realise the importance of finding their purpose and taking responsibility for themselves as being because everyone can know that they know and knowing that they don’t.

I used to think that my reason for existence was simple – be rich, live life to the fullest… all I wanted was to live in a nice house without the fear of not being able to provide for myself. I know most of us want to do this but I really wanted travel and experience adventures from time to time. When I started working and when this pandemic took place, what used to be important to me means nothing now.

I realised that growing my savings and earning money is okay but my personal time is more important now. I know it’s not just me when I say that there are days when I couldn’t get out of work on time because of overflowing tasks. However, on most days when I could log off work as soon as the clock hits 6, I find time to do things that are not work-related which includes a lot of sleep since I work night shifts.

Why is this important to me? I discovered that I feel successful when I make time for family gatherings and I never miss one. I am happy and at peace when I find time to play gaming consoles to end a long day at work. I bet if everything was still in the old normal I wouldn’t be able to find time to do these things. I was also determined to finish my goal of reading at least 50 books this year. The sad part I am nowhere near half of my goal.

These days, when things have gone bonkers because of the pandemic, I felt that it’s okay when all I ever thought about was my safety and of those people around me. Delaying something and adapting to the changing times is more important and that does not mean I failed (I still read books every now and then).

I still do not know what my Ikigai is but it now makes sense to me.

  • Things happen in my own timeline and pace and if I keep comparing my story to others, it will only bring more harm than good;
  • What once meant the world to me may mean nothing in future;
  • Changing priorities is okay;

When you found your reason for existence please hold on to it, defend it, and ensure that it gives a positive impact to the community that you belong to. If you haven’t found yours that’s okay. Things will fall into its rightful places to those who know how to wait.

A message to my readers (and soon-to-be-ones)

I lost track of time. I know it’s not only me when I say couldn’t recognise what day it was already. I forgot about my passion projects, thinking that the ‘lock downs’ were only going to last for a couple of weeks, if not three months max. When traveling and seeing my friends were my only refuge and escape away from my cloudy thoughts, I couldn’t do it because of the situation these days.

It’s been more than six months since strict quarantine measures have been in place. The situation has barely improved in my country and it feels like it’s getting worse day after day. I’m quite disappointed and I feel sorry for not being able to write the past months. I wanted to focus on how I can stay alive, and here I am!

(2020 v.1) Of new beginnings, music recommendation, and what’s going on

New beginnings

A sunny view from above.
A sunny view from above.

Summer is here.
Summer is here.

It’s exactly 30 days since I last physically reported for work. Everything has been virtual since 6 March 2020 and I tell you, it’s not always good times.

Despite saving a lot of gas money and time, I kind of miss my night drives going to the office. My drive wouldn’t be complete without my nice music playlist and a cup of coffee on the side. But, really, the main reason why I bring my car to work is because of the terrible commuting experience in Metro Manila. Ever since I started driving going to work and taking advantage of the free parking, my life has never been so easy. Since the pandemic began and the enhanced community quarantine took place, I haven’t been able to use my automobile. I’m not sure anymore if I still know how to drive (LOL!)

I haven’t mentioned I started with new work before 2020 began, have I?

It wasn’t the expectation I had in mind but I’m thankful I found a new home where my talents are not only valued but also taken to the next level. It was tough but here’s good learning that struck me: some things do not go as planned and that does not mean I failed.

One of the many things that I appreciate right now is how agile our work setup is. We are not seat-warmers. In fact, even before the pandemic, I’ve been taking advantage of this work-from-home set up a lot to look after my well-being more and to spend time doing my passion projects. What’s just quite odd is that I have to constantly meet with my colleagues almost every day to catch up on some things.

New passion project

Sums up my feelings.
Sums up my feelings.
Catching sunrise.
Catching the sunrise at the roof deck.
Catching sunrise.
Catching the sunrise at the roof deck.
Some weird statues over good food.
Some weird statues over good food. Somewhere in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Hi, it's me!
Hi, it’s me!

I have planned to read more books this year. Since I was able to finish more than 30 books last year, I want to finish more this 2020. However, with what’s going on lately, I can’t seem to find the rhythm to start reading something. My mind just couldn’t stay focused. I can’t help but worry about everyone who’s very much affected by this COVID-19 situation, most especially my grandmothers.

To keep my sanity intact and make sure I add fuel to my passion this year, I will be posting more of my random outtakes. I am nowhere near being a professional photographer but since I couldn’t find the exact words to explain most of my thoughts and ideas these days, I want to channel it through another medium. There will be moments when I might have to write things but expect that the future posts will most likely feature my photos.

New music recommendation

My cousins and I were supposed to head out of town by late April. It was supposed to be our annual getaway, sans our parents and other family members. Everything has already been booked and we’re extremely excited to finally hit the beach – then COVID-19 happened and so we had to reschedule this sometime August.

Anyway, this F*ck Im High playlist was supposed to be my road trip playlist this summer. I wish to share the vibe with everyone who will find their way to this playlist. Let me know your thoughts about it!

You can check this link if you’re a Spotify user and this link if you’re an Apple Music subscriber. For reference, the playlist contains 23 songs and plays for 1 hour and 18 minutes. Here are the songs and artists included in the playlist:

  • Sunday – Forrest, Biskwiq
  • Through and Through – khai dreams
  • Janet – Berhana
  • Sunday Candy – Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
  • Belong to You (feat. 6LACK) – Sabrina Claudio
  • Somethin Tells Me – Bryson Tiller
  • Every Kind Of Way – H.E.R.
  • Sahara – crwn, August Wahh
  • After the Rain – Willow Stephens
  • Cos I Love You – Tom Misch
  • Say You Love Me – Patti Austin
  • Lover Boy – Phum Viphurit
  • Train in Vain (Remastered) – The Clash
  • Shake It Loose – Astronauts, etc.
  • Shine On Top – Surfaces
  • Scared Money – NxWorries, Anderson .Paak, Knwledge
  • Me & You – HONNE, Tom Misch
  • Younger – Ruel
  • Love Me Less (feat. Quinn XCII) – MAX
  • Good Day – Surfaces
  • Morning – Marc E. Bassy
  • Traffic In The Sky – Jack Johnson
  • Wait – crwn, Jess Connelly

New relationships

My 2019 was a disaster. It’s a difficult year for me, if not the worst one. I have to admit, I made lots of bad decisions last year which made me think twice about how I’d take on my 2020. I made up my mind: I will dedicate this year as my year of redemption. I want to focus on my professional development, to improve my well-being, and to find comfort in solitude. I knew I was ready to shut everything down and disappear. But then, somebody came and changed my mind.

Our first conversation had been about how fond I am with reading books. He said he couldn’t even finish a book. I get it – reading books is not really for everybody. I’m happy that he noticed that from me.

Anyway, we weren’t supposed to see each other until 29 March because we both like things when it’s planned down to the smallest detail. We wanted to go to this restaurant in Antipolo City but the COVID-19 situation got worst and we had to cancel that. One random weekend night, I asked him if he’s free to meet me. I wasn’t sure where to take him. Pampanga was clearly on top of my mind but thought it would already be too late for us since we left Metro Manila past 9pm already. We spent the night somewhere in Quezon City and Taguig over food, coffee, booze, and stories. It was probably one of the longest yet the best night I’ve ever had in my recent memory. We connected on so many levels and ways that I am actually lost for words to describe what I felt at that moment. 

I was afraid that he might be another case of hi-hello-goodbye. After a series of failed dating attempts and cheating incidents in the past, I couldn’t help but remain skeptical and guarded. However, he was a different story.

My worries and insecurities are out of this world, I tell you. Yet he gives me a sense of validation at the right time, without asking for any of it.

I have the tendency to think that I’m not enough. Without any hesitation, he makes me feel that I’m the best part of his life now.

I am apologetic for almost anything in life. Despite his lack of patience, he provides me assurance that my ‘sorry’ should be reserved for something more serious simply because he understands.

You know what? I’m honestly still scared that everything is happening too fast. But the thing is, I’m ready to grab whatever the universe throws my way. I never asked for something big but life has blessed me with so much more than what I have hoped for.

And if you ask me if I’m happy, I would gladly say no.

Why? Because what we have for each other is more than the feeling of happiness – it is that true sense of security that we know cannot be found everywhere.

You are the sunrise to my sunset.
You are the Yin to my Yang.
You are the warmth in my coldest night.
You are the cool breeze in my summer days.

Thank you. Padangat takang maray!

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