The List

...and the countdown begins

The other day I opened my file that says “Xmas List” and decided it’s about time that I update it.  

I made a template for said list years back.  It starts with “Immediate Family,” followed by “Relatives from Side A,” then “Relatives from Side B.”  Next in line will be “Godchildren,” then  “Mommy/Daddy Friends from School,”  then  “Son’s Friends from School/Baseball Teammates,” then “Personal Friends.”  This will be followed by the “Teachers and Coaches” and then “Business Staff/People.”  Believe it or not, I also have the names of the staff of my favorite establishments — the ones who are really nice to me– as well as the guards at the mall. 

Every year, I update the list.  I remove some names… like of the ones who are out of the country, or those people I haven’t seen nor talked to in years… or my son’s old classmates who are no longer his classmates… or old teachers who are no longer his teachers… 

The hardest to remove are the names of the ones who passed away.   Somehow, by keeping their names on the list, it feels like they are still around. (Sigh.)

To retain order in the universe, of course by removing names, I know that there is a big chance that there are new names that will be added.  A new godchild… a new teacher… that really nice barista at Coffee Bean who knows what to make for me even before I enter the store… a whole new set of chosen classmates and friends for the schoolyear… a whole new set of baseball teammates… the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…

… and the list goes on. And on. And on.  For some reason, it is much easier to add than remove names. 

~*~

were you naughty or nice?

I like Christmas shopping.  Okay, so I love shopping, period.  That’s a given.  But there is something about Christmas shopping that gives me a certain sense of thrill.  I like thinking about what to give this or that person.  I try to think hard about what the recipient will truly appreciate.  It is not always easy.  I do have a budget to stick to.  And considering I give gifts yearly, well I do run out of ideas.

Yet despite that, I still think it’s fun.  No, it’s more than fun. It’s exhilarating.  You should see me coming out of a mall or a bazaar after a Christmas shopping spree… you will surely see that big smile plastered on my face.  My feet may be complaining, but my smile will still be there. 

Ticking all the names on my list is quite a feat.  One friend commented that I seem to have a corporate budget given the number of people I want to give gifts to.  And given that it’s already mid-November and I haven’t really started tackling the list, I will need to manage not just the budget but the time, as well, if I want to finish shopping for this Christmas.

But the ever positive shopper in me is not perturbed.  For one, I know that when you give out of the goodness of your heart, then it shouldn’t be difficult.  You will get something back in return.  I believe in provision.  I believe that as I give — cheerfully, if I may add– I will also receive something… whether it’s more shopping time… or more budget… or a genuinely happy smile from the receiver.. or more gifts that are in turn meant for me.  As shallow as it may sound, the shopping experience, to me, is happiness enough. 

As I look at my Christmas list, in a way, I can’t help but be thankful… because I know that the long list, with tick marks and all, signify that I am provided for.   I give because I have. 

160 names and counting… and I’m saying, bring it on!

~*~

Note at the end of this year’s shopping list says:

Remember: You are blessed to be a blessing!

 

 

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photos via weheartit.com

Bittersweet love

i saw this advertisement in a newspaper about an essay writing contest.  the ad said to write about your personal experience on a given category.  i said to myself, why don’t i submit something?  i love to write… and i know i have had quite a number of memorable experiences… so why don’t i write about them?  — and hopefully win an overnight stay at a really expensive resort?  

not a bad idea, huh?! and so i sat down and wrote. 

the category i chose was Love.  I wrote about a love experience…  something that happened more than a decade ago.  for some reason, as i was writing and reliving the event, it felt like i was transported back in time.  somehow, i could still remember every detail of the story… well, almost every detail.  

it felt like the whole thing happened just last year, or maybe two years ago… not as far off as 16 years back.

i often get that feeling.  whenever i write about MY experiences, or things that happened directly to me, I can recall almost every little detail.  more so, i remember the feeling, as well.  i smile when i relive the good moments, and i still feel some tinge of hurt when i remember the painful ones.  sometimes though, mere words are not enough to describe the feeling.  it’s like it is there but you cannot grasp it in its entirety.  yet you can feel… and the feeling sticks to you.

though i know that people normally would just like to remember the good times, i let myself recall the bad times, too.     it is because of the undesirable things that i have been through that i am who and what i am today.  it is because of the heart aches and the disappointments and the pain i felt at some point in time, that i turned out to be emotionally strong.  it is because i cried buckets of tears over some people in my past life that i don’t get easily hurt or offended now.  and the irony of it all, it’s because i experienced losing love that i learned how to better appreciate and value a new love found.

as i was writing, i realized how much i have changed and grown… from that young, hopeful twenty year old whose love story i was writing about, to the thirty something present me.  truly i am no longer the naive girl that i was back then.  i have come to accept how some things are just not meant to be.  i have come to understand why there are hellos as well as goodbyes. 

people enter our lives for different reasons.   the people who make us really, deliriously happy can also be the very ones who will give us intense pain.  yet this shouldn’t stop us from letting people in.  because regardless of how short or long a person chooses to be in our lives, our experiences with them teach us various lessons.  at the very least, we get to feel something because someone shared a moment with us.

 some people stay for a while, some don’t stay long enough.  but then again, there are also the ones who choose to just stay