A few days ago the whole world rejoiced as we celebrated New Year. We said goodbye to 2018 and welcomed 2019.
Back in the Philippines, my family was very busy cooking and preparing food for Media Noche. As a tradition, they bought round fruits from the market. Yes!!! They have to be round because they symbolize money. 12 different kinds mean overflowing abundance and blessings for the 12 months of the year.
They also bought fireworks. Fireworks and firecrackers that certainly brought those deafening sounds. Loud noise to drive away the bad spirits and the unpleasant memories of last year. And they leave stains on the sky, too. But these stains are the most beautiful of all. For in the darkness of the night, one is often reminded of the joy and hope that a new year brings. Another chance to start again.
Me on the Ship
On the ship I prepared myself for a night of solitude. I was scheduled to work until 1 in the morning, an hour past midnight. It’s the first time that I missed the New Year’s Eve Party on the cruise. Whenever I’m on the ship I look forward to joining the big crowd for that New Year countdown. It always helps me get by. It makes me feel I’m a part of a family. A surrogate family to spend new year with while I’m away from the people whom I truly love.
My co-worker friend stayed with me until I finished my shift. She thought I needed help. Surprisingly, it got busy as the teens kept coming to our party. Usually they would go out and join the parties outside.
As expected, the ship rocked and shone bright at sea while we sail for Tortola. The next day, I marked my new calendar. We stopped in a port. We were in British Virgin Islands.
New Year celebration is a grand event on ships. There are parties everywhere – inside the clubs, theaters, atrium and even on the open decks. Everyone is busy and in high spirits. That goes both for the crew and the guests. As I’m surrounded by friends and strangers, I feel less home sick. Maybe because I am highly distracted. Good distraction I must say because I think less of being far from home. I’m less burdened by sad thoughts. I don’t feel alone.
A Different New Year
The coming of 2019 was quite different. It has been the quietest New Year’s Eve I’ve ever spent on ships. And it went quick, too. As soon as our teen party started at 11 at night, everything went fast. I lost track of time. It was only this one teen-aged girl we had (who was doing her own countdown while filming herself most likely for Snapchat ) who reminded me the new year has officially come.
I felt peace. In the quietness of my heart a short prayer was uttered. A sweet and sincere prayer of thanks. As I look back, I know how blessed and loved I am. Exactly one year ago, I was confused and didn’t know what to do. Primarily because Mama got sick. But many things happened along the way and it’s been quite a journey since then. It’s not necessarily easy but I found gems in all the struggles I met in the last 365 golden days. I learned lessons I would not have learned if I didn’t go through all those tests. There were many unpleasant memories but there were also beautiful surprises that far outweigh the hurt and the confusion I felt.
Goodbye 2018!!! You’ve been so good to me. Thank you for missed opportunities that lead to unexpected bliss. Thank you for all lessons learned amidst the struggles. Thank you for families and friends, those who left and those who stayed. Thank you for all the blessings, the love I gave and received.
2019 is already here and I promise to change even more for the better. Resolutions are boring and frustrating. They are meant to be broken. That’s what others think. One is off to a good start and at some point, one goes downhill from there. But I will keep trying until I succeed. I will stay committed, feed my focus and ignore things that matter less. Hopefully when December ends, I will look back with a sweet smile on my face having achieved everything I wanted.
So for the next 365 days I promise to always be true to myself. I will enjoy being weird and be proud to be different. I will watch what I eat and look after my health. I will be more loving and less judging. I will always be ready to help. I will make more friends. I will smile to people I know and people I don’t. I will listen to others talk but also use my own voice. I will do more and complain less. I will give cheerfully and ask boldly. I’ll make more time for family. I won’t be afraid to make mistakes. I will forgive others and I will forgive myself. I’ll dream more dreams and make them real. I’ll write those books and give those talks. I will earn big, so I can share. Even when it’s hard, I won’t stop loving. I will always be inspired by Your love. Because Your love is far and wide. I will feel it and bask under it for the next 365 days and beyond.
I welcome another year and can’t wait for all the goodness it will bring. Cheers to a happy ending and a new beginning.
Follow your dreams.