2014: The Year of Exploration and Experimentation

2014 New Year's Eve resolutions (3)

 

I used to wrap up the year by writing a list of the most memorable things that happened. It was fun looking back at the year that was, but I feel like I should write something that would encapsulate the entire year rather than break it down into specific moments. The year 2014 was beautiful, as I predicted in 2013, but I’d rather talk about it as a whole. Also, I can’t exactly look back because I lost my planner when I got held up last August.

The year 2014 was all about exploration and experimentation. It was the year I quit my day job as a PR professional and decided to pursue writing full-time. In 2013, there was a discontent growing in me like a terrible fungus, and I constantly wondered what it would be like to be a writer. I took on a string of jobs after college, but somewhere in 2013, I decided to pack up and go into the world of publishing.

 

2014 New Year's Eve resolutions (6)

 

I did the same thing before, when I became a contributor to The Philippine Star. I quit my marketing job, but my mistake was I did not maximize the opportunity. The section I write for only comes out once a week, so I had a lot of free time. Instead of taking on more gigs, or going to the office to help close the issue, I became a bum. I vowed to change that in 2014.

Right after PR, I took on freelance writing projects. I had clients from New York, Florida, and the Philippines, and I did PR for big brands like Ayala Malls (which I still do today). I became active at When In Manila and I eventually became the features editor. Every week, I submitted articles for The Philippine Star. It’s not exactly the glamorous life I envisioned at the start of the year, but it was more relaxed. I didn’t earn a lot, though.

Some time around March or April, a college friend contacted me to start a lifestyle website with a businessman from New York. A series of unfortunate events happened, and my friend left. I decided to still push it, and we published GP Gallery (GP stands for Global Pinoy, the businessman’s Filipino magazine in New York). It was a paid gig for me and my writers, but shit hit the fan and he disappeared, leaving me and the website in debt.

 

2014 New Year's Eve resolutions (2)

 

I plowed on, revamping the website to Voyeur, named after a zine a friend and I planned on making in 2013. I tweaked the concept a bit to champion Filipino talent, mixed with critical essays with a specific theme each month. Our first month had 18,000 views, and when I closed the website four months later, we had more than 40,000.

I wanted to continue Voyeur, but it wasn’t sustainable, and I started working at Rogue. Rogue is the country’s most intelligent magazine, and my favorite. They were looking for interns so I decided to apply. My application took less than a week. It’s not a paid gig and I finish mid-January, but I’m hoping to be accepted full-time when I finish. If not, at least I can say I was exposed to the big three in publishing: newspaper, magazine, and online. And oh, I found out earlier this year that a short story I submitted was published by the University of the Philippines Press, in an anthology edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Kenneth Yu.

 

2014 New Year's Eve resolutions (5)

 

But one of the year’s biggest surprises is having a boyfriend. Because I quit my day job, I suddenly had time to date. I met my man on PlanetRomeo, the last generation’s answer to Grindr and Tinder. I still kept my account to look around every time I needed an ego boost. We’ve been talking since the latter part of 2013, but I was so busy that I kept responding late. We met on January 27. We had dinner at Nolita and tea at da.u.de. I thought he didn’t like me because he was quiet, it turned out he was shy. We continued dating until we became a couple on March 23.

I started the year with him, and I ended the year with him. It was our biggest experiment: it was my first relationship in four years, it was his first relationship his whole life. We’re also polar opposites. He’s an introvert while I’m an extrovert. He works in tech while I work in the creative industry. It’s been a rocky year for the both of us, but we chose to learn from our differences and grow together. From him, I learned patience and commitment (I’m now making the commitment to grow plants). From me, he learned how to say charot in everyday speech.

 

2014 New Year's Eve resolutions (4)

 

2014 was all about exploration and experimentation. I ended last year wondering what it would be like to pursue writing full-time. It was an itch I felt since I graduated, and I believed it’s an itch that would never go away until I fully embraced it. I always told myself that I would wake up at 50 and wonder, “what if?” But the thing is, I never fully embraced it. I never took publishing by the hand, I merely followed behind. I wasn’t assertive about my entry. It wasn’t a leap a faith, more like dipping my toe in the pool. It was hesitant, tentative. But as Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

What will 2015 hold for me? Rather than just go with the ebb and flow of life, I’d rather stand my ground and go for what I want. If 2014 was about exploring and experimenting, 2015 will be about grabbing life by the balls and telling it what I want. And like fireworks, there’s no other way to do it but with a bang. God save your fingers.

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