The year that was: 2009

As the year draws to a close, it is only appropriate to publish a review of 2009. I originally planned on writing a Christmas wish list, but I think it would be insensitive to list down the things I want while a lot of my countrymen are still homeless due to typhoon Ondoy.
If I were to describe this year in one word, it would be dramatic. I know of two other bloggers who share this sentiment but events have proved that the word dramatic could even be an understatement. So much has happened this year (and about to happen, I.e. the Mayon Volcano), such as the Amapatuan massacre, the typhoon that ravaged the country, the Obama administration, the sinking of M/V Baleno 9, Octomom, and the deaths that for some reason have become so plenty that many Americans refer to May to August of this year as the summer of death. There is King of Pop Michael Jackson, actors Farrah Fawcett, Brittany Murphy, Patrick Swayze, former President Corazon Aquino, media heavyweight Walter Cronkite, and others.
On a more personal note, there have also been plenty of drama in my life. If 2007 was the Age of Parties, where weekends (and sometimes weekdays) were spent partying and drinking; and 2008 was the Age of the Boys; 2009 is the year when I grew up and matured. I learned a lot of things this year, and I have to admit I learned some of them the hard way. I made important realizations about the world I live in and about myself. I know more about myself now, thanks to a little thing called reflection.
It has been a tumultuous year. Arranged here, in no particular order, are some of the great moments in my life this 2009:
1. This may be the Age of Reason, but it still wouldn’t be complete with a peek into my love life. It has been a colorful year, although none of them lived to see 2010 with me. It has been so colorful that when I looked in my date book to list down the Boys of 2009, I saw that I went out on a date with a certain Dru on May 19. Who Dru is, I have no idea.
2. Attending two prestigious journalism seminars. The first was Pressplay, hosted by the official student publications of both La Salle and Ateneo, and Inkblots, the annual journalism fellowship of the Varsitarian, the official student publication of UST. I got to listen to renowned mediamen such as Sandra Aguinaldo, Cesar Apolinario, Ernie Sarmiento, Ruel de Vera, among many others. I even got to meet my fellow student journalists and see Winnie Arboleda and F. Sionil Jose. I was also able to interview JC de Vera in the Feature writing seminar.
3. My nomination for Best Personal Blog in the Philippine Blog Awards. I didn’t really expect to be nominated, I submitted my blog on a whim and forgot about it because my computer broke. I felt honored to be one of the twenty finalists around the country vying for the Best Personal Blog Award. It was a huge deal for me because I have never been nominated for anything my whole life. Jim Paredes from Apo Hiking Society won but to be on the same playing field as an Apo is validation enough. I was also invited to attend a Manny Villar blogger’s convention but I responded a day late so I wasn’t included in the official list of participants.
4. Finally growing up. I made my first major purchase ever, a new cellphone, which was quickly followed by two others until I was satisfied with my Nokia E61i. I also bought a camera and recently, a laptop computer. I became independent after hanging out with my friends, who are all older than me and living on their own.
5. The movie adaptation of Substitute For Love, a short story I wrote three years ago. Looking back, there were a lot of errors in grammar and it could have been written better, but it was good enough to raise the interest of a Mass Communication student friend of mine, who wanted to film it for the school’s Art Film Festival. It didn’t win any awards, but I was proud to say that that was my story. Another friend offered to film another story of mine, Eat Me, for next year‘s competition.
6. Becoming associate editor of The Perpetualite, the official student publication of my school. I was supposed to be editor-in-chief, and there was an altercation that followed which included me walking out, but I accepted defeat and congratulated Anna, the current chief. I’m happy to say there is no bad blood between us, even though I scored the highest in the editorial exam. She won because of seniority but in hindsight, I’m glad that Anna won because she is a better leader. I consider my term as associate editor as training ground for next year, when I will be the most senior staff member. Here’s to hoping!
7. My weight. My weight has been fluctuating my whole life and until now, I’m still not satisfied. The pinnacle of my weight loss was this year, when I weighed in at 150 lbs. My diet was pretty radical, with eating only a pack of crackers a day, but it was worth seeing myself skinny. I gained a lot of weight but after New Year’s, I vow to lose the added 26 lbs.
8. My party at Ascend. Because it was awesome.
9. When Ondoy struck, it devastated the entire country. Pictures and video clips of atrocities shocked the nation. I was surprised to hear that our house in Quezon City was flooded up to the second floor, considering the gate is really high and the house itself is elevated. All the cars were ruined and Georgia’s puppy died. But this was nothing compared to what happened to other people who lost their homes and loved ones. Because I was blessed that all my loved ones are safe and our Las Pinas house escaped the wrath, I donated old clothes to Red Cross and volunteered to pack.
10. The discovery of sleeping pills. Valiums have been around since I was in high school but I only realized their potential this year when I took them to fight my chronic insomnia. It worked like a charm and I have tried others since then, from Mogadons to Acetaminophens, to Sleepasil and Sleepwell.
11. Finishing my P.E. course. It took me five years but I finally did it. It took a while because I avoided it like a plague, never liking the idea of changing to itchy clothes and sweating. I didn’t pass the two P.E. classes I enrolled in UST, dropped two in Perpetual, until I was forced to take them so I can graduate next year. My last sport was swimming, which I didn’t like because of issues with my weight, but I ended up liking it. I suddenly was looking forward to waking up at 7 in the morning to wear my trunks and join people I didn’t know in a pool that only reached my waist on both ends.
12. The Mass Induction of officers. I attended the Mass Induction last year as the secretary of the Psychological Society Student Council, which was a bore because I was with people I didn’t know much. This year, I went as the associate editor of the paper and being one of the most important organizations in the school (and having the second most important position), I requested five extra seats to bring in my jolly junior staff members. We had a riot that night. Because Anna didn’t attend, I had to go up on stage to represent TP in the oath taking. I was the first to be called and spent five minutes alone on stage because there was a confusion about who to call next. I basked in the spotlight, without forgetting to check if my zipper was closed.
13. Psychological Testing class. We had this course last semester and it deals with the anatomy, history, administration, and interpretation of psychological exams. One of the fun things we did was to group ourselves and administer all kinds of tests to the class. What did I find out about myself? That I have a tendency to be schizophrenic and aggressive. I swear psychopathy appeared twice in my Draw-A-Person test. In terms of intelligence, I found out that my IQ falls under Average (Test of “g’, Culture Fair), to which I was surprised. Thinking it was a fluke – I think of myself highly that way – it was soon backed up by the Raven’s Progressive Matrices and the Purdue Non-Language Test, who went as far as describing my reasoning ability as Below Average. However, I got a Superior Rating in my Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (an Achievement Test), as well as a Very High in my SRA Verbal Form. To express the irony in our professor’s words (the class volunteered me to be an example in writing psychological reports), I’m smart, but I’m not supposed to be smart. Touche.
14. My internship. My internship for Industrial Psychology began this semester and I was soon thrown into the world of Human Resource. I was assigned to Generika, the firm that makes generic drugs, and I am loving every single minute of it. First of all, it’s so refreshing to be wearing dress shirts instead of my school uniform. I had to dig into my closet for them (which was gathering dust because I haven‘t gone out in a while) and it’s so much more comfortable wearing Oleg Cassini and Courreges than my old uniform. In fact, I’m detesting the dress down Friday rule of the office where we can be more relaxed with our fashion choices. I also love the process of Human Resource and how applicants call me sir that I might just pursue this after college. Armani sure does make you feel powerful.
15. I said that the list isn’t listed in any particular order (and it isn‘t), but I wanted to save this for last. My biggest moment in 2009 was when I drafted my life plan, the path I’ll take after college. It took me five years because I was still debating what to pursue after college, whether it’s Journalism or Psychology. I love both fields but there has to be one thing. I could minor in the other, like be a journalist and apply what I learned in interviewing people or be a psychologist who occasionally writes columns or maintains a syndicated blog. Both have its merits so everything was hazy. But I finally decided that I would pursue… Psychology. One of my majors this semester (and so far my favorite) is Abnormal Psychology, and it renewed my passion for the field. It’s the reason why I even enrolled in the program. It made every psycho killer film I watched since I was a child a “case”, as well as the profiles of serial killers and psychopaths I voraciously read. Because the class inspires me so much, I have taken to reading mental disorders outside class. So what I’m planning after college is to work in HR (this is where my love for Industrial Psychology surfaces), and after earning considerable money, enroll in a graduate school – preferably Ateneo – to pursue Psychopathology, the study of the development and nature of psychological disorders. And while I study the mentally unstable, I work on the book I’m hoping to publish and maintain this blog.
So that’s it. It has been a crazy year, but it has been productive. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but that is the purpose of welcoming 2010, to clean the slate and start anew. It’s time to take control of our lives and gear it for the better. What would the new year bring us? Only we could answer that question.

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