The tougher the year, the more important it is to look for the good things, because they are all there. In red letter dates and normal dates, in moments and in people. Ines has been reminding me to write down my 2016 gratitude, partly because she knows she’ll be in it, but also because she’s right. Remembering and taking time to be grateful is important, even more so now.
I am grateful for family. For fights over unwashed dishes and barrel-bolted doors, and un-knotted garbage bags and missed curfews. (Curfews! Curfews, still, mother??) Because these mean I have sisters and parents to have the fights with, and we’re never really that angry anyway.
I am grateful for friends and safe spaces. They say it’s harder to find friends as you get older, but maybe not. I think when you grow older it gets easier to spot a kindred spirit, your panic room, someone who will understand even just one small corner of who you are. Maybe it’s that small, dark corner that gets wider, deeper, and hurts more some days, and you’ll find someone who will be ready to pull you out, or stay with you, whatever it is you need. I am grateful I found friends like that this year. Ines, Caryn, Agay, Six, Tara, Dawn. Thank you.
I am grateful for travel, and for Aze, Chuks and Sunny, friends who are willing to get lost and found with me, endure what I turn into when I’m hungry, hot, excited, frustrated, and weary. I am grateful for spring and summer, for long walks and mosh pits. 2016 was Tokyo and Osaka. Cherry blossoms, a stock market field trip, Tsukiji again for mind-bending sushi, takoyaki and okonomiyaki, Summer Sonic with half-naked, half-baked Charlie Puth, wonderful, swaying Matty, Weezer and Panic! and Baby Metal (will stop here, this is a long list).
I am grateful for food. Dear God, thank you for food. I sure ate a lot of pancakes and sushi and cake this past year.
I am grateful for work. For people who make it just a little bit more intense, but still more fun, less like work. For officemates who take time to visit my cubicle and distract me from work, because sometimes I need that. I always promise not to take work too seriously, and I always break it. Maybe serious is okay? Maybe serious means I don’t hate it like I did the old one, and I appreciate it for what it is, and what it allows me to do.
I am grateful for art. For art fairs, museums, postcards, movies and theater, so much theater. For music. For borrowed acoustic guitars, for OPM and gigs. For that moment when you’re in the middle of the crowd, swimming in sound, the drumbeat moving inside you, and you’re there, you’re present, so present, but you’re also somewhere else. In that line of the song that talks about your life in abstract, or in minute detail. In that beat when the vocalist’s eyes catch you, and you both smile, because maybe that was his favorite line in the song too. I listened and liked a few new local acts last year, but the standouts remain to be the greats from my high school days. Sandwich, Ely, Ebe, Parokya ni Edgar (with Vinci, please). Rakenrol hanggang umaga.
I am grateful for books. Dawn said there are still so many songs for me to listen to, and I said that’s like telling me there are still so many books to be read. Both are true, and it makes me panic a little sometimes. But it just means we will never run out, doesn’t it? There will always be words that will take us places while we’re reading in bed or in line at the grocery or sneakily in our cubicles when there’s a report to be finished. I am grateful for books I have written, books I am writing, books I still want to write.
I am grateful for #romanceclass, because you are friendship; a safe space. You are work, and you are books. And you are a promise of more things to look forward to. We will never run out.