Thursday, January 26, 2017

My late 2016 life review

2016 was a terrible, terrible year for mankind. America placed the wrong person in the most powerful seat in the world, and here in the Philippines we failed to elect the most qualified leader our country could have. Current president Duterte might not be performing—or behaving—as most Filipinos would have him perform, but one could argue that Miriam Defensor-Santiago could do so much better at the job. I reckon she might even still be with us today as the presidency would have been her driving force to stay alive.

Santiago wasn't the only famous personality who came to the end of their road in 2016, however. There were Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher, among others. Less famous but in no way less significant were the people who lost their lives in the various horrific mass shootings worldwide. And much closer to home, there was Mines. (I've written about the passing away of a former colleague, Cyrill Tan, also last year, here.)

Mines was my best friend in college and I considered her my sister. I knew her family and they lovingly let me into their home, for school projects and for when we simply wanted to hang out after church on Sundays. Mines and I shared a lot of interests and had the same view about many things, one of which was an aversion to constant communication. We love that people keep findings ways to bring everyone closer together through technology (not only can you post a video on Facebook of what you're doing right now, you also have the option to Facebook Live it so your friends can watch you in real time!) but when it came to Mines and me texting, our messages to each other could go unanswered for hours, days even, and it wouldn't be a big deal to us.

I guess that kind of attitude towards technology and constant communication comes with age too. More and more I'm preferring face-to-face conversations over texting and sending cards or gifts over writing greetings or posting photo collages on someone's Facebook timeline for their birthday. More and more, too, I'm realizing that special experiences don't always have to be documented, whether to be later posted online or not, which is why I haven't been recording videos as much for my year-end videos anymore (hence the absence of one for 2016). It's the people with whom I'm having these experiences that matter.

I never thought there would come a day when I'd be comfortable living with someone, but I now am. With my partner and a kitten we had rescued, no less, in a more well-ventilated and spacious apartment which I hope would help make me less sickly this year (I've had several bouts of illness last year, two of them resulting in hospital confinement, one in a minor surgery). I've reconciled with a close work friend I had a major spat with, and my college friends and I have been keeping contact more since Mines' passing. I'm also happy to report that the number of times I visited my family last year is a staggering 4, compared to just 1 or even nil in previous years. Because if there's anything that Mines' death has taught me, it's that life is too short and I wouldn't be living it at all if I weren't cultivating the few true relationships I have.

Back when we were still unemployed, Mines and I would sit under the night sky at Glorietta Park in Makati and talk about this "ugly feeling" weighing on us, this sense that something wasn't right, that we could be doing so much more with ourselves. These days I would still sometimes get that ugly feeling, but it no longer has anything to do with unemployment. My best friend has left me, and there will now and forevermore be that void in my heart that only someone as pure and beautiful a human being as Mines could fill. But at least I had enough of those moments with her when I got to cultivate our relationship. In real life, face to face and disconnected from social media. Now go disconnect and cultivate your relationship with your loved ones too.

A photo posted by J. Faller (@leeflailmarch) on

8 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I am sorry about your loss. To an extent I somehow understand this. It's a wishful thinking that I could have offered my condolences during these hard times. What I learned recently is that life is generally all about "Change". You are never the same person with each passing day.

With you settling down with a loved one and a kitty cat and spending more time with your family, I believe this is what your friend would have wanted. Life goes on but the heart never forgets.

Thank you for sharing a piece of your mind and shedding some more positivity in this dark cruel world. Gives me hope.


Anonymous said...

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you knew wһere I couⅼd locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?

I'm using the ѕame blog platform as yours and I'm having
tгouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

leeflailmarch said...

Thanks, G. And to the very first one who commented on this entry. It's a free theme/template which I tweaked. I just changed it to a new one last night though.

leeflailmarch said...

Thanks for the kind words!

Anonymous said...

Hey writer,

Your comment section is infestated with bot/spam comments. Napadaan lang ulit ako at napansin ko walang sense yung kumento nung iba. You may want to consider removing those that do not address the message you inteded to share. Hope kitty is well like you are.

Yours again,

Anonymous said...

Very nice post! I really like your blog.You’ve done a good job.
Keep going... :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one
and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses?

If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you
can recommend? I get so much lately it's driving me insane so
any assistance is very much appreciated.

leeflailmarch said...

G and Anonymous1, thanks.

Anonymous2, not sure if you're a spammer too but I don't think a spammer would ask about preventing spam in their own blog. I actually am clueless as well. I just ensure comment moderation is enabled, but I don't know of any method to prevent spam comments. Sorry I can't be more helpful.