… but that’s okay.

Independently living for two months now made me ponder and realize a lot of things – things I wouldn’t have learned if I was still living in my comfort zone. In fact, I wish they’ve taught us this in school, or that I was raised ready for it. Well, I guess, learning it the hard way makes it a bit more rewarding, or so I tell myself.

But I’m not writing this post to talk about how difficult or costly it is to live by yourself in the city, I’m here to share an epiphany I had while I was doing or not doing (rather) my household chores.

Back then, we have a helper that does most of the things around the house and the only time I help out is whenever I wake up early and without hangover on Sunday mornings. During those moments, I quite disliked how meticulous the house has to be kept but I got no choice but to do as my stepmom likes, because after all, I’m still mooching off her and my dad.

Little did I know that her thing for cleanliness would set a standard for me as I leave the nest. During the first month in my condo, I diligently cleaned everyday (sometimes more than twice a day), without fail. My 24.0 sq. meter unit is tidier than I expected it to be. I’m a tad surprised, if I was being honest – I was never one to keep my room my tidy.

But then came long meetings, tedious tasks, fatigue from working out, and bouts of sadness and anxiety from a major issue my family had to go through that hindered me from doing my supposedly daily routine. There were moments that I’d rather be lying on the bed, doing absolutely nothing but listen to my breathing rather than sweeping off that bundle of hair fall on the floor. It wasn’t a complete mess, but it was for from my standard, let alone perfect.

It went on from time to time, when my emotions got the best of me. And then one night, as I was doing the dishes that’s been sitting on my counter throughout the day, it dawned on me: It’s okay.

It’s okay to come short of your standard.
It’s okay to fall far from perfect.
It’s okay to hit and miss, sometimes.
It’s okay to stay down for a while when life knocks you out.

What matters is that you keep going, you keep trying, you keep pushing.
Dory was right after all: just keep swimming.

Not Your Ordinary Salmon

I have always stayed away from the kitchen. ALWAYS. The times I cook when I was still staying at our family home resulted to either injury, smirks of disappointment, or worse, combination of the two. It didn’t help that we still have a helper inside the house that takes care of the household chores. So when I decided to put my foot down and seek out the independent life, I had no clue how the hell am I going to feed myself.

Dining out isn’t an option for me, at least, given that the Philippines is still badly affected by the pandemic and of course, it’s gonna take a fortune to be dining out all the time. I can opt to have food delivered by meal plan businesses or from small local food stores but combining its costs will also take a huge chunk out of my budget. The best way to keep me and my wallet healthy is to learn how to cook.

It’s been almost two weeks now that since I moved in to my condo unit and after filling up my ref with groceries, I realized that I completely suck at grocery shopping. I ended up buying incomplete ingredients, stuff I don’t necessarily need (I have a whole level of my ref with beers and chips), and produces that I don’t know how long they’ll be good for.

I may be good inside the academe, I may have take on numerous tests, and even passed a licensure exam without much trouble but I am in utter surrender to the fact that I am yet clueless to the things that matters most in real life. I am taking it as a challenge and allowing myself to learn from experience, even if this feels like it’s the hard way.

At the start of my journey, I was able to whip up a truly delicious grilled cheese sandwhich and Filipino Pork Adobo. But what truly inspired me to write is the Pan Seared Salmon I did for lunch today. Not only because it ended up having perfectly cooked meat, and surprisingly delicious, it also challenged me to improvise and cook by my guts instead of the page of the recipe.

I am far from being an expert, I am not even knowledgeable, but I was able to come up with a Pan Seared Salmon with Calamansi Garlic Butter and if you’re interested, continue to scroll down.


Ingredients:

Salmon Calamansi

Butter Salt

Garlic Pepper

Oil

  1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves horizontally. Personally, I like to use plenty of garlic.
  2. Slice the calamansi in half. (It was supposed to be lemon but I forgot to include it in my grocery list.)
  3. Pat dry the salmon using paper towels.
  4. Rub some salt and pepper on both sides of the salmon.
  5. Put a little bit of oil in your pan and set the heat to medium.
  6. Cook the salmon skin side up first for like four minutes first or until you think the flesh is crusty or crispy?
  7. Flip the salmon and put in some butter and add in the garlic cloves too. Baste the salmon with the butter.
  8. Wait for another four minutes or until it is cooked (but do not overdo it).
  9. Dish out the salmon from the pan and put squeeze out calamansi juice all over it.
  10. Let it rest but serve while still hot.

Leaping Out of Comfort Zone

None of us has imagined this is how things are gonna go when the year started. 2020 took all of us in a path we aren’t accustomed with, and shaped us into a new version of ourselves, or so I believe.

When the pandemic hit and the Philippines was declared on lockdown, I was living under the roof that my dad pays for completely. Quick note: it is part of the Filipino culture to stay with your parents well until a.) you get married, b.) you rent out closer to your workplace, or c.) you put your foot down and start living by yourself. And most of the time, Filipino parents wont allow you to take the C path. As a 25-year-old young professional, I was living under the privilege that my parents paved for me. We aren’t crazy rich, but we can live comfortably, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

In a previous post, I mentioned how half of the year in lockdown took a toll on my mental health. But I opt not to discuss the factor that also affected my deeply was members of my family not taking the pandemic seriously and not doing their part on trying to flatten the curve. You see, the Philippines isn’t the country best equipped to battle out pandemics like the COVID-19 – as what happened in the earlier part of the year, our health care system can’t keep up with the demand. And for this reason, I believe we all have a civic duty to do our best to flatten the curve, not only for our own good and those around us, but also for the frontliners too, our modern day heroes.

One anxiety attack after another, I finally lost the patience and had the last straw when my family took my 70-year-old grandmother to the casino. I told my dad I’d be staying a few days with a friend to avoid further confrontation but I realized that this is a recurring issue that I have to work on. It costs me my inner peace, and I have to do something about it.

After contemplating and basically begging my dad to let me, I stayed with my mom for a few weeks while condominium hunting online. I realized that the only way I can deal with my newfound work without the risk of a burnout caused by anxiety while staying in my dad’s house is to finally get a place of my own. And for someone starting over career-wise, this is such a bold move that requires tons of faith, adding the fact that I know nothing how to keep the house or live by myself.

As one of my best friends called it, I bravely took on the last quarter of the year by stepping out, no scratch that, by leaping out of my comfort zone. And as I adjust to this new found independence, I will write about it as a series of posts. Hope you enjoy the ride with me!

Close Them Now Please

from 1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

Did you do it? Even for just like 5 seconds, maybe?
You did? Nice!
You didn’t? Well, I probably wouldn’t have either. But you might want to slow down for a bit and read my two cents on it.

Why am I, a stranger, being such a pushover and asking you to close your eyes or maybe take some deep breaths?
Because we all we have to. At least once in a while. Living in this day and age, amidst a pandemic, in an economic dip, being bombarded with news filled of abuse, hatred, and hopelessness, things can be pretty upsetting and overwhelming. And yet, even in this “new normal” while we’re still being forced to live in quarantine life for everybody’s safety (including our own, please wear your mask), we are being expected to push ourselves to our limits for the sake of our jobs, finances, stability, hell even the comeback of the economy.

We’ve been programmed to measure our “worth” in our productivity. However, more often than not, this so called productivity is being wrongly measured as simply the amount of time you’ve worked. Which then leads people to think that in order to be productive, you have to work your ass off as much as you possibly can. This I believe has created a generation of young adults so desperate to prove their worth in this big world and has ended up with so much cases of burnout that it has now become a household term.

Burnout can come at you no matter how far you’ve risen in the ladder, how many medals you got, and how many times you’re revolved around the sun. It has gotten to me so bad. So bad that I considered quitting my job without the prospect of another opportunity, so bad that I found myself crying at 3 in the afternoon feeling miserable and unaccomplished despite of everything I’ve achieved thus far (engineering school ain’t for the weak, the board exam rattles most, getting promoted).

I am not immune to this. I simply don’t know where it all went wrong – I have a stable relationship, a career, hell even a title I don’t ever use (except for this site obviously), and yet I feel trapped in a perpetual state of exhaustion. With my fear of failure and love for challenges, I always strive to come through and do all that has been tasked to me without considering my work-life balance and in total disregard of my time. I do all that I can to meet deadlines, and deliver what has been asked of me, not even pausing to ask myself if I want to do it and why. AND THIS, THIS IS THE REASON WHY I STARTED WRITING AGAIN.

It feels like I hit rock bottom and you know what they say, there’s nowhere to go but up. But damn do they made it sound so easy. In reality, this has forced me to read on self-help books I used to shy away from. Instead of staring blankly at my laptop thinking that I’m working, I tap into resources that poses information that could possibly do me good. It also forced me to think about how I overcome all the hurdles I had to pass and how I’ve succeeded. I was forced to look back and go after my passion – what drives me to live and not just exist.

It forced me to take a break. I cannot stress how important it has been to me and this journey to getting myself back up on my feet. I know I am not there yet and I’m in no position to instruct somebody, but if anything and it helps, do not forget to let yourself get some rest.

Take a break.

Close your eyes. There is nothing to see here. That’s the point.