On 25 years

Picture from Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo
I turned 26 years old last Sunday. Yet I was in a mall the day before my birthday, eating and enjoying a chocolate-covered vanilla popsicle ice cream, feeling more twelve than twenty-six.

I remember a friend once said that 25 is a special age, a sort of turning point, where you will do new and different things with your life. Her words turned out to be true. I'm actually still struggling with *adulting*, but so far, it has been a good 25 years!

The past year, I:

I Traveled alone for the first time. I went to a month-long unforgettable trip to Taiwan for the whole of July and some of June and August. I went to Malaysia alone, and these journeys made me want to see more of the world.

Last month, I started painting again. After a long time of feeling frustrated with my writing, I found myself restless. I then remembered that when I was a kid, I used to draw. I had a very strong feeling to try to do art again, even as a simple hobby. Then like a call from the universe, I saw an ad on Facebook for a beginner's painting class near me. I took the chance and I met a great teacher. Here's a few of my first works (acrylic on canvas), the first two are from the art workshop while the third is trying to follow a Bob Ross tutorial:

I mourn the lost years I didn't do this, but then I realized it's never too late to start. I found that painting is very calming and an excellent practice in focus and attention. Even if the work is not perfect you have a serene sense of accomplishment. Filling a blank canvas with color and life, mixing colors with light and shadows, it feels really nice. I'm still at the beginner's stage of copying other works and learning the basics. I want to paint surrealism soon like Rene Magritte, one of my favorite painters.

I didn't really celebrate, since for me birthdays are reminders that I'm getting older. I just ate out with my parents and had afternoon snacks with relatives. My colleagues at work surprised me with a simple cake. That's about it.

The highlight of my birthday though, was meeting an old high school friend who I haven't met in almost ten years! Reminiscing about the old days brings back those memories you've forgotten. Being a teenager was not my favorite part of my life, but seeing a friend reminds me that it wasn't so dark as I remembered. It was actually fun and sometimes you look back on the past and it seems that you're a totally different person now - there were some things about myself that I hated back then but are actually great. After that, I felt like there was more to me than what I think.

As for my future plans, this year I hope to finish my thesis and graduate for my Master's degree, and eventually move out to live on my own. After the year ends and my job contract ends, I may try to find other opportunities. I feel like I'm still searching for the meaning and purpose of my life, something still seems to be missing. I feel restless, like I'm not meant to be in my hometown and I might try to get out of here for a while to see other places and figure out where I want to be.

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