Dear 25-year old Annie,
Kumusta ka na, Annie? If you’re reading this it means you just turned 25 so happy birthday, girl! And since I’m you, I know that you will be continuing our tradition of hearing Mass or offering a little prayer when you go to church. Lots of people will greet you on Facebook (well, if people STILL use Facebook in 2014), but only the real ones would take the extra mile to actually talk to you and celebrate with you on this day. I hope you get the opportunity to talk to your family because they really mean a lot to you.
I hope that time has been kind to you, and that you are well. It’s going to be a tough year for you so I figured you might want some advice. You wrote this letter some time ago – on your 23rd birthday, to be exact. It was also the first time you woke up on your birthday without your mom or dad giving you a peck on your cheek, surprising you with Barbie or a good book or money for you to spend up until you reached 18, when they started surprising you with a bouquet of red roses (which, to this day, remains your favorite).
Remember, however, that you were in the company of friends. June 20th (PHL time zone), Franny hosted a little post-Philippine Independence Day lunch at the commons and she prepared Filipino dishes like rellenong bangus, pancit, lumpiang shanghai, leche flan, and halo-halo. Yes, halo-halo! She even bought ube and macapuno ice cream. Again (and I know Aisa would laugh at this), YUMMY IN MY TUMMY!)
How have you been doing? Are you still the same Annie who always jumps in excitement when the BX22 bus comes right on time as you wait at Fordham Road? Are you still the same person who never tires of listening to The Fray and BoyceAvenue in the morning and playing the piano, even if the only pieces you can play by heart are “Making love out of nothing at all”, “Minuet in G”, and “Time after Time”? You are a bit impulsive and it’s easy for Donna to convince you to join her for a movie marathon and then you agree to stay for a few hours or so – but eventually you sleep over at her apartment because everyone’s already cast his/her vote that you cannot go home alone in the middle of the night. Also, remember how you used to sleep at the comfy couch right after dinner at Donna, Katie, and Eileen’s apartment – I think you didn’t finish an entire movie during movie nights because you were such a sleepyhead!
It’s summer in NYC right now – do you still watch off-Broadway shows by buying five-dollar tickets from studentrush.org and take advantage of the freebies this city offers such as advance screenings and entrances to select museums? Last week, you watched “That’s my Boy” with Xiaoli in celebration of her birthday, went to a free Liberty Scenic tour with Aisa, and walked around the Met Museum again with Aisa for the Museum Mile Festival. You really had fun. Do you still hang out with your friends? Do you find time to be with your family?
Do you still get excited when you get the opportunity to travel? What was the last country you visited? (I wish you’ve crossed Hong Kong off your list, haha) Have you mastered and applied the concepts of exposure, shutter speed, and ISO when you take photos?
I wonder whether you’ve stayed on top of your goals – your dream was to spend about 1-3 years in NYC to get valuable experience in banking and investments and to take the CFA Level III Exam in 2013. How did that go? Did everything go as planned? Have you figured out whether you really want to be a financial analyst or you just take the CFA Exams to challenge yourself?
This week (and for the weeks to come), I’ll be better than my best. (your status update, a week before your Level II Exam)
Since June 5th, you’ve focused all your energies on finding a job. You’ve utilized CareerLink, SimplyHired, and even CraigsList to look for various internships and full-time positions tailored to your background. But as weeks went by and after a few interviews here and there, you began to lose grip, as you weren’t as enthusiastic and confident as before in looking for that perfect job. The stark reality of scarce jobs begin to dawn on you and you lose composure, and the prospect of going back home seems very attractive and HIGHLY LIKELY.
You can do it. There’s a job out there for you, Annie. Just keep looking, don’t lose hope. (from a pink post-it note centered in your desktop)
I know that it’s really hard to compete with other graduates in New York. It’s also extra hard as employers can discriminate against international students. But by now I know you’ve managed to find a job for yourself, as you are persistent and you firmly believe that things will fall into place, that you’ll be where you’re destined to be. You remain faithful to Him, as He provides for what you really need.
“Unannounced changes in life’s itineraries are like dancing lessons from God”, writes Kurt Vonnegut. If things didn’t go as planned, remember that I’ll always be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Things DO happen for a reason and might not simply be a result of your own choosing. In everything that you do, let go and let Him.
Even though the years and people you’ve met have changed you, it is my hope that you remain the same adventurous Annie that I know – the Annie who went skydiving in 2011 (and still had the energy to watch The Fray with Bea that same day!), did solo traveling in Europe, and hiked the Austrian Alps (and almost got lost! haha). It is my hope that you still have that child-like curiosity in your eyes whenever you get to be in a place you’ve never been to before. It is my hope that you still take time to smell the flowers no matter how crazy your day is. It is my hope that you still have that loud, infectious laugh whenever you hear a corny Pinoy knock-knock joke or when you do silly stuff to make others laugh.
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
—E. E. Cummings, “i thank You God for most this amazing”
Lastly, it is my hope that you don’t let the moment , the days, the years just pass you by.
Your 23-year old Self