If there is anything I have learned very well in life up to this point, it’s this—that there will be tradeoffs all the time, all our lives. And that we simply have to accept, deal and live with this simple fact.

Say for example the bag of Ms. Vickie’s chips I opted for instead of fruit for my midnight snack. I chose that bag of crunchy, Jalapeño goodness to end my day after a night of running about a busy store with my full make-up and heels on. The tradeoff  is gaining more pounds in order to shed off some stress.

Say for another example my decision to forego sleeping before midnight in order to write this blog post my heart burns to create. The tradeoff is I will wake up late tomorrow, might feel sluggish and tired while doing errands, will develop more wrinkles under the eye, and will gain more weight having completely assaulted my body’s natural cycle. All that for the sheer pleasure of expression, setting my soul on fire, and hearing myself think aloud.

Say for one last example my decision to migrate to Canada where I have nothing and  everything to prove over staying in the Philippines where I had a full and tight social circle and a budding, almost stable career. The trade offs are quite big and complex and hard to get over on this one but I now see why that choice was sound and why it had to pan out regardless of existing difficulties.

I had to leave my comfort zone in order to grow. I had to feel weak to feel strong. I had to feel alone to be at home. I had to be removed from the people I thought I could never part with to realize I won’t lose them even if I tried. I had to be sad and angry and depressed to feel capable again. Capable of building, of healing, of loving, of trying over and over, of moving on, of coming back up after each mishap or fall or poor choice, of seeing life for all its beauty and gore and still appreciate it. I had to let go to hang on to  faith and my sanity and eventually be up to speed with my changing soul. I have to understand that I will keep changing and there is no need to feel guilty and punish myself with regret when things aren’t exactly going my way or the way I envisioned life to be.

Two years and eight months in since I left Manila and I have already missed five weddings of very close friends, three Christmases with my Dad, sister and brother-in-law, many semesters and classes and graduations of former students, and three funerals of classmates and relatives. I’ve survived two winters so far, four jobs and many boss-related woes. I’ve come across the weirdest, meanest, nicest strangers there are. I’ve cried my being out several occasions. I’ve seen my lowest and most beat-up state and have come back alive with hope nestled on my shoulders and a head screwed on tightly with humility and gratefulness for it all.

I am still nobody at this point. I am still finding my way and figuring things out. But I feel fine; I feel like I can reach places my eyes are yet to see and cover distances my feet are yet to tread on. I feel like I can. Because my tradeoffs have helped shape my courage and my faith. Because I have found many parts of me in the process.

I want to move on with the full knowledge that my choices will always have implications but regardless of where I end up, I will always, always pull through. There will always be joy and lessons and experiences and memories that will amount to more than what I think I have lost. I will always, always win—even just for trying like a fool.

I only have everything to gain with a heart open to the world unfolding before my scared but brave feet.

Happy 2016, everyone. May our choices and tradeoffs be lived with happiness always.




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