I believe that I am at a point in my life where I just want to really slow down, keep a low profile and live peacefully. I don't think I just woke up one day with this realization. Instead, I know that I took purposeful and deliberate steps to get to where I am now. Getting our own little home, tightening my circle of friends, being more introspective, letting go of the negative... I made sure I was creating a life away from toxic competition, away from things that waste precious time, away from circumstances and situations that did not make me grow and most importantly, away from things I know, if I'm lying on my death bed, aren't really important.
Sure, a fancier job title, a larger paycheck, a place in the spotlight, a better figure, a nicer pair of shoes, are awesome, but at what expense? Lesser time with my adorable and precocious daughter? Superficial 'friendships'? A strained marriage? Stretched finances? No, I'll pass.
Now don't think I've lost my drive, my zest for excellence, my exuberance, my sense of adventure, my excitement for the unknown. I didn't settle. I just decided to start, oh around two to three years ago, to re-calibrate my life, to find out what truly mattered to me.
I got sick late last year. I had a wound that got badly infected which required surgery. I had to stay in the hospital for a week. I had to be medicated with really strong antibiotics. Then, last December, while on vacation in beautiful Boracay, I broke my wrist. I had to wear a wrist splint. It was uncomfortable and extremely painful. Just putting on my undergarments required maximum effort. I had to ask The Husband for help, as if I were a toddler. I was miserable. But in the midst of all the bad stuff, I found out who my real friends were, and I discovered who truly cared. It hit me: life was really short and what a shame if I were to waste it on things and people that were fleeting and shallow.
My wants have indeed changed. My goals and priorities are different now.
I want more stamps on our passports.
I want a masters degree.
I want a career in the academe.
I want more time with my family - my husband, our daughter and her upcoming sibling, my parents, my brothers, my sister and our relatives.
I want more time with my friends.
I want to read more, laugh more, eat more, dream more.
I want to make our home more beautiful.
Heck, I even want to blog more.
Also, don't laugh.
I want to make a difference.
I also want more ice cream. Ice cream rights a lot of wrongs, y'know.
My daughter, Kaelana, is growing taller, brighter and more beautiful every day. Family, friends and even random strangers comment about how well-behaved she is, how socially adaptable, how friendly, how mature for her age, how NOT annoying (you know how some kids are; they push the cute envelope too far for far too long but hey, I'm not here to judge), how emotionally sensitive and how long and thick her eye lashes are. I smile proudly but deep inside, I still worry if we're raising her right, and if our parenting skills are good enough. The pretty eyes are genetic so that's something I just thank Mother Nature for.
Because of how polite, amiable and sunny Kaelana is, I also get comments from people how lucky I am to be raising a daughter and not a son. They say boys are a handful - that girls are generally easier to handle and that Cyrus and I do not have to worry too much because Kaelana is pretty much the poster child for well-adjusted kids.
I beg to differ. Raising a daughter is not a walk in the park. And you know what, I worry most about her teenage years. The words rebellion, angst, heartbreak, body image and peer pressure come to mind. I went through the same things with my own mother. They say things have a way of coming back to haunt you, but for my daughter, I hope, with prayers and guidance, she won't have to go through very painful, life-altering (in a negative way) circumstances.
I pray fervently that Kaelana will not be a victim to nor a perpetrator of what I call "girl crimes": exclusion, vile gossip, and unnecessary drama (yes, I believe some drama is necessary). I will teach her to avoid toxic people and to walk away from situations that will make her compromise her values. I will teach her to say no. Most of all, I will teach her that what's most important is that she is happy with herself and her decisions. I hope she will remember that I will always be there for her.