This year was full of surprises. I can't say that about every year, considering how dormant 2017 was. The closest mess of a year was 2012, but let's not get into that. Let's take a look at how 2018 made me stronger, because it sure didn't kill me even though it wanted to.

The wavering pillar

Sandigan Sa Silangan's official birthday: February 11, 2018

Where do I begin with this? Nothing can return the hours of sleep I've lost, the number of people I've became enemies with (and for good reason: thank science they're outta my life), and the time I spent worrying about winning an election instead of celebrating my 21st birthday, a time men should pay attention to.

It was so tiring. For me, for the candidates, for the volunteers, for the advisory board: it was tiring for everybody. You would not believe the number of times I opened Facebook Messenger to see "X has left the chat" only to be returned after a few hours. I was guilty of this too, and probably would be for a long time. I used to live for the drama, but it just got too old that it ain't even worth it anymore.

Look at that face. That tired, stressed-out face.

This 2019, I'll be taking a step back from managing the political party and leave it to the kids. I'm one call away, but being hands-on was tiring and expensive. It was fun, and for the first time in my life I felt like I've been part of making such a huge wave of changes. However, it's time for self-love and self-preservation.

The messy startup

The view from the top: this was the only photo I have about this job. That's how much it sucked.

Earlier this year I was hired by a startup. Accepting that job was one of the worst decisions I've made, ever. I mean there's only a few things that I could think of that could top this. The boss was extremely hard to work with, the salaries were delayed twice (I quit after the second time), and writing code for the system my boss oh-so-loved was so horrible it made me so depressed and I literally never wrote a single line of code for two months.

You would be given a task, and he will literally breathe down your neck and ask for updates every hour. Sometimes, he'll sit beside me at my station and look at my monitor while asking me to explain what I've done so far. This is not how you run a company, people. It was a horrible employer-employee relationship and it was so toxic. Hell, our boss even reprimands people. What are we, children?

My advice for fresh graduates or for job seekers in general: don't work with a startup unless its parent company is decent. My advice for startup founders: focus only on two things: your product and your working environment. Oh, and remember to pay your freaking taxes.

I got a new job and while I'm still in an adjustment period, it's miles better. No one's breathing down my neck and everyone actually listens to my opinion.

Needless to say, there were also people who made working at that startup tolerable. Shout out to Ms. Sam and co. for making life at that startup tolerable, and shout out to the airplanes that took our boss out of the country every two months.

A struggle with health

I didn't know what was scarier: me being confined or me being confined without insurance.

I was diagnosed with asthma. Everyone was surprised, because even though my grandfather has it, I never really showed symptoms until that day.

I still think I was stressed from being overworked and my workstation/office being dusty in a relatively old building. I mean, why now after all these years would these symptoms show up? In case you missed my point, I hated that job. But I'm not bitter or anything.

That photo was actually my second time in the hospital this year. The first time was back in my first week at the startup (I should've taken that as a sign) where I broke my leg after feeling so numb from the UV Express I rode going to work. I was traumatized that I had to book Grab every day.


Looking forward to 2019, I have these points to take with me:

  • Learn to value yourself. Just because a job is near your house or you're scared that you won't get a better job, it doesn't mean that that's the best job for you. Your career shouldn't be rushed by anyone, not even you. Also, don't overwork yourself, especially with a salary that low.
  • Learn to love yourself. You're not a martyr, and you shouldn't be. People have problems? Sure, help out. But don't always give them the solution. Sandpaper smoothens rough surfaces. Photos are developed in dark rooms (at least they used to be, you get the point). Never let your pity take away a person's opportunity to become stronger.
  • Learn to let go. There are a lot of people who will criticize you and everything you do for a lot of reasons. At the end of the day, what they say shouldn't matter. I can't remember the movie, but I remember a quote: "never give anyone permission to make you feel bad". Every time people say something bad about me, I just think of the ways how I'm superior to the person talking and I just laugh it off. Being proud is a sin, but a little ego boost isn't. They need you, you don't need them. You are a strong, independent man/woman/LGBTQIA+.

Honestly, there are a lot more I want to write about, but I wouldn't share them publicly. They would either offend someone (the bar's not that high for this generation, apparently) or they would put me in a bad light (the bar's not that high for me, apparently).

So, thank you for wasting spending your time and bandwidth for reading this write-up, and here's to a (hopefully) better 2019 ahead.