Sunday, December 11, 2011

“Opportunity: Fate or Perception?”

Opportunity is synonymous to the word: “chance” which could open doors to rewarding and stirring experiences or unexpected and sometimes disappointing undertakings. Life is a game of chance that could be both fulfilling and frustrating and despite this disparity, both play a special role in what we usually call: “experience”. In every opportunity lie life lessons and values that chip away the rough edges to reveal our facets.

We all have different interpretations of this seemingly simple but ironic word. For some people, opportunities are usually connected with future careers or working abroad that would ultimately lead to financial stability, while those left behind are hoping for that chance of being reunited with their loved ones already working overseas.

In some cases, there are some individuals who join competitions to have the opportunity of being known and eventually uplifting their status in life, while some only wish to have the chance of a lifetime to meet their so-called “idols” that have somehow influenced their lives in more ways than one.

Opportunities abound, but it ironically also eludes us in the most unexpected and atypical of circumstances. It is therefore a question of whether opportunities are bound by fate or is it really about choice and perception?
Is it fate if we plan our paths and work hard towards our aspirations only to end in disappointment, simply because it wasn’t meant to be? Or is it a choice of perception that an opportunity that has gone awry is also an opportunity in itself?

I personally would like to think that opportunities abound, it depends only on our perception of its existence and whether we choose to see it and accept it at the right time and place. Opportunities do knock only once, but some can repeat itself unexpectedly.

So, if people ask me what opportunities have I had, I could say that I have had the opportunity of being an EFL instructor/Fitness trainer and having the privilege of working with colleagues that are the best at what they do as well as learning from them in the process.

I am also thankful to have met, helped and worked with students/clients of different backgrounds, age groups and beliefs. It was an opportunity to see life through their eyes and be a part of their experiences as well as them be a part of mine.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity of learning that life is not just about accolades or recognitions, but it’s the chance of enriching your life as well as that of others with every unique experience.

Everything in life is an opportunity, chase it, wait for it or ignore it – it’s ultimately a choice.

winning essay in the 15th essay contest hosted by the:
International Online Teacher's Society (Dec 11, 2011)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Four Before Forty

What is it about the age of forty that makes people apprehensive? There's even a phrase: "Life begins at Forty". Is it because of the mortality of men and the inevitability of death? Is it because of the start of the downward trend of one's youth, coupled with the usual physical, emotional and mental degradation?

I guess, I can't argue with the inevitable. Although my mind is still in "retro-mode", as if I'm still stuck at 23, my life now is in "hyper-space" mode, trying to catch up with the fast pace of the ever-changing situations of my life. Being a late bloomer really has it's downsides, nevertheless I take comfort with the idea that there's no such thing as "too late".

It's only now that I get to enjoy myself in terms of making decisions not based on what somebody tells me, but based on my own volition. It is only now that I get to discover and develop more of my potentials without any external influences. It is also only now that I can actually say "no" to people and not live my life as to what they expect me to be, but how I should really be regardless of external validation or influences.

Friendship on my part has a different meaning at this stage. I do help, generously, patiently and so willingly without expecting anything in return. If there are things that I say or do that for some reason offends them in any way, I do apologize. But despite this and they still magnify the negative rather than the numerous positive things that I've done, then I humbly apologize because I'm not in the habit of begging for friendship, because stooping lower than low maybe humility, but on the other hand, it's already an idiot's way of being humble and I'm not in any way an idiot.

I'm lucky to have a wife who understands what I've been through and therefore knows me more than anyone else (except my family and closest friends of course). I could safely say that she's the closest friend I've ever had.

There has been a lot of changes going on, both emotionally and mentally. Emotionally, because I can say that I'm more tolerant and capable of diverting any negative encounters or situations that come my way. It's a process I call "desensitization". It's almost like being "numb" to anything painful or offensive, but I'm still fully aware of the circumstance I may be in. Mentally, because I do have more foresight and hindsight. It's not just about planning about the future anymore, but it's also about making intelligent choices based on the "risk-benefit ratio" in comparison to past experiences.

I'm also more concerned with more sensible things and what's worth my time and attention. Frivolity and unnecessary anxieties had their place in my twenty-something years and I'm now geared towards career and personal enhancement as well as being a good husband and best friend to my wife, Ana.

I guess in short, I'm a little bit wiser. But it's also safe to say, that wisdom just like knowledge is infinite. You're only as good as the next experience, so to speak. There were also a lot of times that people I converse with would tease me about my age or would say bluntly: "Matanda ka na!" ("You're old!") or "Naku, nagkaka-edad ka na!" ("You're aging!") with a smirk or a burst of laughter. It's kinda ironic that in just  a few years, they would also be in this stage, so who has the last laugh?----> Moi (mwa- "me" in French)

So, if people ask me, how do you prepare for forty? or What do you expect in being forty? I just smile and tell them, it's like any stage in your life, it's just a number and yes, there are a lot of changes, but it's nothing I can't handle and it's something that WE will all go through and nothing WE can't handle. Why worry?

Live your life on your own accord, help a needy soul, stay clear of maligning and overly-critical people, avoid being prejudicial and judgmental, desensitize yourself from negative comments and unreasonable expectations,   work for a cause and not applause and most of all, savor every moment as if' it's your last, because every unique experience (good or bad) is worth the journey.