Tag Archives: Relationships

A letter to myself

20 Mar

Dear amazing Jo,

 

Life gets tougher each day and you have constantly reminded yourself that you got to be tougher whenever. Truly, you’ve braved an arduous journey with your head high but with your feet always grounded.

Now that you are a few months close to turning 25, those jitters are flooding in making you feel like you haven’t had much of life and yet you are turning old so fast. But hey, try to look back and realize that you have been so wonderful and keeps on being more fabulous and fiercer as the years go by.

Remember…

When you were still five years old and you were so eager to go to school yet they didn’t want to admit you ‘coz you were still ‘too young’ to be in Grade One. But you still went on anyway and even ranked first that they admitted you in Grade Two right after.

When there was a time when you cried yourself out because the flood was waist-high and nobody fetched you from school yet you still braved the typhoon and managed to get home.

When you almost drowned because you didn’t know how to swim but eventually you were even able to save a life of a little kid from drowning and who was almost lifeless.

When you were seven years old and came running to your mom while sobbing because an “admirer” was doing “harana” and you were very scared for you thought you were already getting married. Then your mom was just laughing and said, “Baby, you’re not getting married. Not yet.”

When you first had a crush on someone but he never noticed you because he liked your bestfriend instead but later on you moved on and found another classmate worth having a crush on.

When you first had a boyfriend and thought you were already in love only to realize you didn’t actually even know what ‘being in love’ actually meant just yet.

When you first cried over a heartbreak and thought you’ll never be able to love again but you fell in love again anyways.

When you would always tell your mom how you wanted to be an office girl like her and right after finishing college, you also had your office like your mom has.

When you were so scared of airplanes but eventually got fond of it that you wished you’d be able to ride in one someday. Then you found yourself going from one place to another, from one country to the next; always marveling at the beauty of the world up in the air.

When you were still a little child and your mom asked what you wanted to become and you immediately said, “Abokado!” when you actually meant “abogado”. You were too scared then but now you’re almost done with your first year in law school.

When you thought you’ll never have good friends but eventually you are blessed with so many great friends in every place you’ve stepped on.

Most importantly, when you thought you won’t ever be able to gain that strength to fight for yourself as you fight for others but eventually found yourself falling in love with all the beauty the world offers. Your appreciation of the beauty of life has made you even bolder and braver keeping in mind that life, no matter how tricky and painful, has always beautiful things in between.

See? Who says you didn’t have much of a life? You’re making your life just as worthy as it has to be. For sure you will still mess up and will weaken from time to time. But I know you’ll manage to get up and keep the lessons you get from each bump. I am very proud of you for at this point in your life you are starting to learn how to save those pennies and how to be more patient in everything that you do (especially in standing in a long line. HAHA).

So stop worrying, my dear Jo. Always remember that you’ve gone through a lot for anyone to just easily crash it down. You’re amazing. You’re kind and have a big heart. You know how to forgive. You know how to be genuinely happy for people who are successful in their lives. You know how to listen and make someone feel better. You know how to love truly. You know how to accept people for who and what they are. You know you need not to change your other half but to accept him and love his flaws as they unveil themselves in front of you. And remarkably, you know that life isn’t always about winning a battle but also giving up a battle that is no longer worth fighting for.

Cheer up and stay as fabulous and as adorable as you have always been.

 

Sincerely,

Joahna ❤

 

 

 

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That Familiar Feeling

21 Aug

Sitting alone, couched in my own thoughts. Watching little drops of water sliding through the glass window, holding my breath as daylight start to unfold. Hot coffee untouched on a table for two. The fog’s getting thicker, people are vanishing from sight, cars tires screeching are the only sounds that reminded me there’s still something going on outside this deserted cafe.

Unconsciously, my fist rested on my left chest as something is pounding furiously inside, my throat’s getting choked. Warm drops started to drop off down my cheeks… just like those little drops of water sliding against the window… just like that familiar feeling a long time ago…

Some things don’t change

28 Jan

He gave me love letters. Those were the first love letters I received.

He has a pair of deep, beautiful dimples. Whenever he smiled at me, flashing those dimples, my breath was taken away. He was simply gorgeous.

He was so persistent, following me wherever I went. He sat with me in the library. Every time I turned the page of the book I was reading, he would turn it back. Until he succeeded in getting my attention, my heart included.

He was smart. He was tall, dark, and drop-dead handsome. There was no single day that passed that he didn’t piss me off. But it was the kind that melted my heart.

He was so sweet he’ll knock you off his feet. And he was capable of making you laugh so hard until your stomach hurts.

He was a very thoughtful person. He sent me flowers and a handwritten love letter all the way from the other side of the world.

He was full of surprises. The best part—he always stole kisses on me especially when I was mad.

Each of these men who came and went in my life, left a permanent trace of memory that no matter how much I try to forget, I can’t. When I see a familiar place or hear a certain song, every single memory I had with them comes playing in the background, like everything just happened yesterday. These are the things that will never, ever change.

But while they left something for me to remember with, they also took a piece of my heart that I, up to now, am still trying to piece back all together.

I fell in love with each of them. I fell so deeply in love that I forgot about a very important person—myself. Because of this, I journeyed on finding the love in myself so I can love again with my whole heart.

For more than two years in this journey, I am not very sure if I did progress at all. But I did feel a sense of fulfilment, a sense of being me. Those many weekends that I celebrated alone and those times I did things alone—running, shopping, going home, watching a movie, and sleeping, I felt something so powerful that I never felt before: confidence, a breath of fresh air, and bliss. But more importantly, I realized that no matter how small the piece of my heart that is left, I am still capable of loving again.

I do not know when I will ever have that beautiful love story like many of the people around me did. But even if I am uncertain of time, I will still believe. I will believe that the love that is meant for me will someday get its way to me.

For while some things don’t change, some things do.

Just like today

11 Dec

When you set your feet on a new environment, on a new place, and feel like everything is fresh, feel it. Own it. When you see a natural attraction just like that of the amazing Banaue Rice Terraces for the first time, immortalize it. If not in photographs, at least in your head. Take some time to let it linger in your mind, close your eyes, and play the scenes over and over in your head. Until it becomes vivid and clear even if you no longer see it.

Just like today.

When you meet new friends at school or at a certain event, take a moment to really get to know them. Laugh with them. Share your stories and listen to their stories, too. Connect with them.  Share a glass of beer together or play the “Never Have I Ever” game. Let the fun flow naturally. And let the friendship stay even if the years keep rushing by. Even if the distance keep getting farther and farther away.

Just like today.

When you chance a moment to be with your family amidst all the hustles and bustles of work, be physically and emotionally present with them. Do anything to make that very moment memorable and full of love that you may keep the happiness in your heart even if it takes another painstaking months before you get to see them again.

Just like today.

When an opportunity knocks on your door, open it; grab it. When you’re given a chance to be a part of an important event, make it happen. Go on the streets and let your voice be heard. Support other people’s advocacy if you think it is what it takes to become an active citizen. Experience a Flash Mobilization once in your life. No matter how simple it is, if you take part in it and lets your voice reverberate throughout then it is, undeniably, fulfillment itself. Opportunities don’t come twice just like lightning that don’t strike at the same place twice.

Just like today.

When you go to a bar and feel like drinking up all night long yet you hesitate because it feels wrong, don’t linger on that feeling. Don’t let what others think dampen your excitement. Don’t keep avoiding that very moment when you can actually do what you’ve always wanted to experience somehow. Dance with the beat. Don’t deny yourself from an evening that could bring so much energy and anticipation, even just for one night. Spending a life avoiding what you’ve always wanted to do only mean avoiding yourself to be just you.

Just like today.

When you meet that someone who keeps your heart beating ten times faster than it regularly does, allow that person in your world. When the universe permits you to be with each other’s arms, hug tighter. When the starts align and lets you experience that spur of a moment once your lips meet, savor it. Close your eyes and listen to your heartbeat while the planet stopped on turning. No matter how uncertain the future is, let yourself experience the wonder of being in love.

Just like today.

When your heart is broken and you feel that burning sensation in your chest over and over again, feel it. When the pain cripples your heart to believe in love again, fight back. When it feels like nothing is going be the same again after your belief in love is crushed into tiny pieces, get up and move on. Pain goes with loving. And so is moving on.

Just like today.

Let go and feel free again. Dream big and chase after them. Stop and start anew. Kiss if you feel like kissing someone who allows you too. Cry hard and smile again afterwards. Keep travelling. Keep doing the things that make your heart filled with happiness and fulfillment. Let you be you. Truly, to get somewhere, you have to be hurt, you have to feel pain, and you have to fail at something. But keep trying. Because just like today, these things might not ever happen again. And they’ll be the days that you’ll surely miss.

12. 12. 12

The cards and my true love

12 Aug

After a very long time of debating with myself whether to have my future read by a psychic or not, I finally decided to do it.

I entered the room where the psychic was. As the door closed behind us, my apprehension was growing a knot higher each second.  However, I convinced myself saying that it’s all right to do this, that there is no harm in trying it. But for the very last minute, I wanted to back out.

As I motioned to the door, the psychic said: “You are very apprehensive.” I froze and as if in a trance, I found myself sitting on the opposite side of the table, fronting the lady psychic.

“I’m sorry,” I said, my hands were trembling. I told her that this was my first time while saying to myself I actually don’t believe in fortune tellers. She seemed not to mind what I was saying even though it was obvious that I wanted to leave as quickly as she read my mind.

She began scribbling numbers on a paper as she randomly asked questions. For the first couple of minutes, she told me my lucky numbers, my interests, my achievements, my dominant characteristics, and how apprehensive I was to have the tarot cards read my past, my present, and my future.

I picked my first tarot card.

“He’s the person who is in your mind right now,” she said. I was stunned by her revelation.

As she enumerated more things about me, I felt how my uneasiness gradually faded in the background. But while the discomfort dipped down, the fire of fear started to slowly burn up.

I asked, “Do you see us together in the future?” She didn’t directly answer my question. Instead, she told me I’ll be meeting two men in the next six months who will bring significant changes in my life. She also noted that one of them will cause me an irreparable damage of whom I should really be very cautious off.

After she detailed events of my past and my personal background along with amazing predictions for my future, I was incredibly happy and scared at the same time as I left the room.

On my 23rd birthday, I once again asked for another reading from a friend. I asked an almost the same question about the matter of my heart.

“You always love very deeply. But the card says that you may not prosper in finding the one who will love you back the same way anytime soon. But you will definitely realize that you are meant for something more important, something bigger.”

Now that five months have passed after my first reading and almost a month after the second, I find myself reflecting back. While I don’t exactly believe in each of every word they predicted about my future, I still feel that twin excitement and fear I felt right after those experiences. And while I hope that they will be right about a huge blessing that will about to come in terms of my profession and aspiration, I also realistically know that those predictions are just but cautions and reminders that may guide me as I stride through my journey.

I have come to realize that while there are actually people who were blessed with an astonishing talent of reading the future and that our destiny is predetermined by something greater than any of us all, still, majority of what happens to us is within our control. That our journey of finding what makes us happy is mostly dependent on us, on our actions, and our determination to make it happen.

With that said, I know that I will always be looking forward to whatever happens tomorrow, the day after that, and maybe for the next 20 years to come. For it is the feeling of knowing that there is something exciting and very intriguing in discovering the unknown that makes life. . . life.

To the psychics’ credit, however, I must say that I am still on a shaky ground of finding the one. But for the past couple of years, I have been receiving overwhelming blessings that has been filling the empty spaces in my heart. And this for me means more than having that one true love.

Why I got more reasons to smile than to cry

21 May

Looking out in the ravaging rain outside from a glass window with a cup of hot coffee on my hand, I am amazed how the downpour of rain could sound like music to my ears. And as I stand longer watching the gorgeous city lights reflected from the rainwater, I can’t help but smile thinking how life has been so good to me.

While there have been innumerable painful chapters in my book, most of the time, I feel grateful than sorry. And as I look back once again, I realize that it is far better to be grateful of what I have than to cry over something I don’t (and can’t) have.

My family. Thinking how far I am with my family, my heart sinks with loneliness. We never really had a time to be complete even in just a single occasion. Not even during birthdays or graduation or Christmas Eve. Everytime I see pictures of a family laughing and going out altogether, God knows how I deeply wish I can also experience such. But then, I know that we are always connected with an invisible but very strong bond that no matter how far the distance we are from one another, the love and care is always present in our hearts. Not perfect and no family picture, but enough to claim I have my own family. And hey, my mom is just the most amazing woman and the best mother a daughter can ever have!

My friends. While perusing my old diaries and photo albums, I can’t believe I’ve made so many friends in every place I have set my feet unto. Sometimes, I wonder how these people could like me and even allow me to be a part of their interesting lives. Then I thought of it again. I realize, it is them who have made my life a lot more exciting and interesting. It really is funny how these people could bring so much happiness in your life. And what is funnier is how you could be just yourself around them but still love you for what you are—with all your flaws and imperfections. And the funniest part? They could make your life a lot crazier than you already are!

My job. Two years ago, I was still uncertain of what the future has in store for me. Though I know that in the deepest of my heart, I want to become a lawyer, I was still uncertain on how to create steps to realize that dream. Two years fast forward, I already am certain that the future I want is already in my hands. My current profession has just been very challenging (though at times literally back-breaking) that I don’t mind working even until the wee hours in the morning and over the weekends. Not to mention all the places I’ve been to all over the country. And because of my work, I realize how important every single penny is. How precious every minute is. And most importantly, I started to understand that you’ve got to be tough to survive, but pleasant enough to stay grounded.

My organizations. Apart from the countries I’ve been to and many more other countries I will be going to, plus the friends I’ve made along the way, my organizations, my advocacy have taught me so much about life. It made me appreciate the ability I have, the talent I possess, and the voice I can freely speak of. It taught me to become a woman, to become an activist, and to believe that change is possible. And the best part is that it taught me to stay strong and steadfast even if my beliefs are challenged countless times.

My heart. When it comes to the state of my heart, I can’t hide it. My friends and this blog have been supreme witnesses on how I became the happiest woman when I was in love. They, too, can attest how much struggles I’ve been through when those happiness turn into unbearable nightmares. My heart has been embraced with loving arms but it has also been torn apart in ways I never thought could be so painful. Yet, it remained with me. It survived all those debilitating chapters in my life. With scars but still alive and beating and ready to fall in love again. And that is another big reason to keep a smile on my face. I believe that love will always find me. It might not be today, but for sure, it will come. And maybe he is just around. ❤

And there.. the smile I will always wear… 🙂

Of being a mom

14 May

It is always a wonder to me how the laughter of little kids could melt the toughest hearts. There is this particular comforting touch that seems to work magic that no matter how toxic the day was, hearing them giggle in a genuine manner could magically keep all those weariness at bay.

There are moments, too, when they drive you seriously crazy. Those times when it requires an enormous amount of patience to stay calm. Those moments when all you could do is release a heavy sigh, shake your head, and could think of nothing else other than how the day could get any worse.

Little kids, really. They are full of wonders.

No. They are not my own kids. They are my sister’s. I let these three kids stay with me for their summer vacation. And with that seemingly short span of time, it actually felt like years because my usual lifestyle had a complete 360-degree turnaround.

But more than knowing all this stuff about having kids around, I also learned how being a mom could actually become the most challenging role I can ever have. And if I am to be honest with myself, having them around took all the energy I have for every single day.

Those times when they randomly show up and throw random questions. If you know the answer, you feel quite like a genius. Otherwise, you try to pretend you know the answers but deep inside you are also wondering. I can’t help but think: “How can these children know a lot more than I could?!”

Those times when you bring them to department stores and they would point to something they‘d like to have. While you wanted so much to grant their wish as often as possible, you simply can’t. And they’d just stare on the floor and stay quiet. In those instances, I could hear my heart breaking because I knew there was nothing I could do for the moment other than to promise I’ll try my best to save for that something.

Those times in the office when one of them suddenly calls you in the phone and you hear all of them shouting or the other one crying or all of them fighting over a toy or whatsoever stuff they can fight over with.

Those times, when, no matter how much you want your sleep remain uninterrupted, it already becomes inevitable. Those times when they wake up in the middle of the night crying because they are having a nightmare and you have to keep telling them that everything is going to be all right until they fall back to sleep. That sometimes takes until the wee hours of the morning.

Those times when you have to leave them at home for a couple of nights because your work requires you to. Those times felt like torture because your mind keeps wandering back to them: how they are doing, what they are eating, and if they are already calmly sleeping, or having nightmares again.

Those mornings when you have to drag yourself out from the bed, no matter how little hours you were able to spare for sleep, just to prepare their breakfast.

Those late afternoons when you go home and they all come running to you asking for the “pasalubong” you promised to give them when they stayed behave for the day.

Those times when even if you no longer have enough energy left due to a toxic day in the office, you still have to use that minute energy left in your store to perform yet another motherly role for the rest of the hours—cook, clean, wash the dishes, and so on.

Those times, when, even if your eyes are already wanting to drop on the floor, you still have to grab that story book and read them bedtime stories in the hope that they’ll learn some virtues.

Those nights, when they are all soundly asleep, and you stare at them thanking the heavens that finally they are resting after exhausting so much energy, including yours, all day long.

Those times when you receive your salary and realize it won’t actually last in your hands for the time you wish to be.

But then, those sacrifices seem to be all worth it. Especially when they would always greet you in the morning and kiss you goodbye each time you head to work. When they see you coming home, they would all rush to you giving  a kiss and a hug like you’ve been away for years. And at night, just before they close their eyes, they would also kiss you good night. Those moments are simply heartwarming.

Tonight, my kids will be heading back home. And as I stare at their backpacks, I can hear my heart breaking yet again. These kids have been wonderful. While my pockets are already empty, my heart is filled with joy. But more than that, they taught me a lot about being a mom.

For just a month and a half, I realized how taxing being a mom could actually be. And only up to this time did I realize how much sacrifices every mom has to make for each of their children in every single day of their life. Yet, their sacrifices remain undervalued. I realize, if those simple acts of thoughtfulness or sweetness could drive my mom’s weariness away, how come I haven’t regularly done it?

I know it is not yet too late to show my gratefulness to my mom for being such a wonderful and an ever-patient mother of 10 kids for 27 years of her life and counting. And I know, too, that it doesn’t really entail for one to bear their own kids before they realize the countless sacrifices of their mom. And truth be told, being a mom is the most challenging role any one can ever have and the most amazing talent one can ever  possess. It is just yet to be further appreciated.

Happy mother’s day yesterday, today, and everyday!

Please hear me out

16 Apr

I feel scared. I feel totally scared. Not that I am alone tonight in my apartment while the storm has risen to its maximum and the electricity all over town is out. Not even the fact that I have to content myself with only single, little candle illuminating my room while I constantly hear weird sounds outside my window.

I am scared, scared that I might not be able to gather myself up to figure things out happening past me.

I am scared that I might just turn around again and run from things I shouldn’t be escaping from. And I am scared to recognize one bitter fact that I am getting tired of waiting for some miracle to finally put my heart at peace.

To be who I am

2 Feb

I have always loved the waters, the mountains, the smell of fresh air. There is this particular serenity and solitude that engulfs me whenever I communion with nature—the towering trees, the rustling of leaves, the humming of birds in the mountains, and the gentle caress of the ocean’s waves as it splashes on my bare feet.

And the thing I love most about it is that it gives me a moment of peace, a time to look back, to clear my head, and to take a little step forward.

When I was in the mountains a week ago, I felt the urge to cry as every memory of yesteryears came flooding back to me like a mighty waterfall. Those were the memories I kept locked in a tightly-sealed box which I promised to open once I am whole again, once I am strong enough to be the woman I’ve known inside me. I stepped outside my room allowed the night’s cold breeze to cup my body as the deafening silence enveloped around.

I thought of my family and friends whom I miss so much. I thought of my childhood years when life was so carefree back then. I thought of high school and college years—the funny and embarrassing moments which keep a smile on my face and even giggle every time I am reminded of those. I thought of how fast life is unfolding before me. The many places I have set my foot unto. The many people I met whom some I am unsure I’ll ever meet again. And as in every moment like this, I am always drifted back to the times where my heart was constantly bruised and my mind was constantly daunted with questions that up to now reaped no definite answer.

I have written more than a dozen blog posts about how I struggled and recovered from the sting of heartaches of which I knew weren’t very easy at all. I constantly reminded myself that as a vital part of my recovery, I should be more vigilant the next time around, the next time I get smitten with another man. But like I said, breezing through it wasn’t very easy.

For another more hour or two, I freely allowed myself to devour on those memories. I thought of my exes, of the men who entered my door without even knocking and left without me knowing, and those men whom I believe have somehow loved me back (and maybe still do). And as I filled my thoughts with them, I once again felt that unwelcome guest and the pain of rubbing a salt in a fresh wound.

I am not sure how far, or if I have even progressed at all, for the last 18 months that I tried to find myself, to love myself foremost. Perhaps this time, I need to take a pause. To give myself a little more time to think over things. To let the wounds in my heart heal by itself. Because even though I am sure that I have gotten over my past relationships, the present is constantly haunting me.

I need more time; just a little more to figure out how to forget who I were and become who I am.

 

19 things for 2012

12 Jan

I must admit I am one of those New Year junkies, failing to actually fulfill what I have set to attain for the New Year (sigh).

But I am not giving up yet. Since New Year’s Eve, I have already mentally noted what my resolutions will be. There has been a grand list, like 50 of them! But just as I start typing them off in my blog, I can’t seem to figure out how not to become another New Year junkie. So after reading some helpful blogs about making New Year resolutions more possible and realistic, I have trimmed down my resolutions to 19 and have given more specifics on each.

  1. Keep organized. Make a separate notebook for my organizations and my tasks in the office. Regularly fill-up my planner, too.
  2. Set priorities. First things first. Never get overwhelmed with whirlwinds both in my organizations and office works. F-O-C-U-S. Refer to my notes always.
  3. Wake-up early. My morning routine usually takes an hour and a half. I often get late since I need to head off to the office every day at 8 am because I usually wake up at 6:45, or worst, 7:15. So now, I should drag myself out of bed just as the hour strike at 6 am. Unless of course if I had a long night, specially working overtime, I still deserve at least 5-6 hours of sleep. Just in case.
  4. Sleep more. During weekends, that is. Since I usually exhaust all my energy and time every single day, from Monday to Friday, I will consider taking more time to let my body regenerate and prepare it for another bloody week at work.
  5. Be more patient. I have always been very impatient especially in waiting for people who have agreed to meet you on a set time; or people responding too slowly. I want things to keep going and beat every deadline as much as possible. And because I have been too wary of time, of deadlines, and of meeting-set-projects, I end up very, very frustrated and all the more perplexed. So this time, I will always take time to review the do’s and don’ts and will always take time to breathe.
  6. Buy myself a television. I N-E-E-D a TV! Period!
  7. A more balanced diet. Eat more vegetables (one vegetable viand thrice a week) and fruits (everyday).
  8. Value breakfast. I am a no-breakfast-fanatic. I only take coffee and head to works straightaway. This time, I won’t skip breakfast anymore. Not regularly, at least two to three times a week.
  9. Cook. I feel like losing my skills in cooking and baking so this year, I should at least cook something special and/or bake some goodies for myself. I could share it with friends, too. Cook at least twice a month (I barely have the time, I swear! My work is so taxing—travelling now and then); and bake sometime in February (Valentine’s Day!) and July (in time for my birthday).
  10. Exercise regularly. Go to gym at least once to twice a week.
  11. Read more books (one book per month). I just finished my first book for 2012—The Devil Wear’s Prada. Am currently reading Paulo Coelho’s “Zahir” and hopeful to finish it before February ends.
  12. Write more. Publish at least one blog per month despite loads of write-ups in the office.
  13. Relax. Find time to hang-out with friends to detoxify from stress and pressures from work. Go shopping or have dinner with friends once in a while, at least twice a month.
  14. Save more. Deposit 15% of my total salary to my ATM account every month.
  15. Learn another language. I should learn Spanish language! If I can’t enroll by June, I should ask someone who can teach me and by December, I should at least be able to speak in conversational Spanish. I should learn at least 20 words per month.
  16. Keep in touch with friends here and abroad. I will make a complete list of my friends whom I should be writing to and send them handwritten letters using snail mail. I was able to send at least 20 mails last year. This should be easy.
  17. Change hairstyle. I just got my hair treated for the first time for this year—long and straight. After seven months, I will get my hairs curled.
  18. Keep travelling. After going to various beautiful places around the Philippines, usually in the south, and being able to roam around New Delhi and Bangkok, I will travel to the north this time—the Cordilleras! Thanks to my work!
  19.  Love again. Majority of my posts in this blog is about what I have gone through in my relationships and how I am working on my self-love journey. I know I have come out a better, more matured person now than I ever was when it comes to falling in love. I might still have some perks and entertain some more stupidities, but I will still fall in love. After all, my heart is built to love and endure pain. Just a little more matured in dealing with this one this time.

I hope my resolutions are more specific this time. So… lemme hear yours, too!