I admit that I got sidetracked while hammering out my “2018-2019” article by the ultimate time-sucker of this generation: Netflix. Stumbling upon the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I found myself mesmerised and inspired to not only clean up our house, but my life.
As I was making a mental list of everything I need to thank, find joy from, and must get rid of (I love her method, BTW), I realised… While I do have stuff I hoard (makeup, clothes, and school supplies are top of mind… Must reorganise!), the process of letting go of physical things has been easy for me since the great flooding of Manila in 2009, when I lost/severely damaged about 75% of my stuff. Since then, I’ve never really put so much sentimentality on objects, preferring instead to treasure the sentiment in my heart, and let go once the item has fulfilled its purpose (something I’ve been doing way before learning about the Konmari Method).
Applying lessons from the series, however, I decided to outline this entry according to what I’ve learned (disclaimer: This is NOT the Konmari Method, which Kondo has thoroughly explained in the series… My outline is based from how I PERSONALLY categorised what applies to me):
As I’ve said, I am not one to attach sentiment to objects… I learned instead that I am thankful for so many life experiences in 2018. I am thankful for being able to work in an industry I’m passionate about (and, as I’ve stressed over the years, working with wine and spirits requires passion and dedication). In 2018, I’ve been able to do provincial and local work, help out in Enderun’s WSET program (where one class I participated in had a pass rate of 100%), wrote for Metro.Style, and managed to continue this website. I’m thankful to have met really cool people through my job, such as His Excellency Ambassador Sung Kim (and the lovely people of the Embassy of the United States of America to The Philippines), international Tiki mixologist extraordinaire Daniele Dalla Polla, representatives from gin distilleries like Jonathan Zammit-Tabona and Matt Ashton-Melia of Langley’s Gin (from whom I learned what a proper Old Tom is), superstar winemaker Aurelio Montes of Montes, phenomenal local Sake Sommelier Tadeo Chua, award-winning local mixologist Lennon Aguilar of Discovery Suites, and proudly Pinoy bartenders from one of the world’s best bars, Gabriel Carlos and Cedric Mendoza of Manhattan Bar Singapore. I even managed to collaborate with two good friends for Metro.Style articles (celebrity chef Jonas Ng and talented mixologist Kath Eckstein). I caught up with old industry friends and acquaintances, like Edna Diaz of BestWorld Beverages (through several fantastic dinners), former WSET student Diego Virata of AWC (who gave me such a treat by inviting me to the Bordeaux 2014 tasting event) and Besay Gonzalez (who matched the wine with delectable Bellota that could only come from Txanton), Manila wine legend Cecile Mauricio (who always dares people, including herself, to really think outside the box with food and wine pairing), friends from the Whisky Society of Manila (big shoutout to Frank and Leonard!), and even people from the Philippine Sommelier Association and The International Wine and Food Society. I even managed to hang out with Tatum Ancheta and her fantastic team from DrinkManila (because women who tipple stick together). The pièce de résistance, however, was having been able to drive a Maserati because of the blog.
I hate writing from a negative perspective, so I’ll try to put a positive spin on this: Learning My Limits. As with the amount of “stuff” one could potentially accumulate during the course of his/her life, I can be in a cluttered state of mind whenever I fail to set limits on myself. I love how Lady Gaga put it in one of her interviews: “Part of my identity is saying ‘no’.”
2018 was a year of setting boundaries for who and what can be in my life, and I realised that having committed to that practice, I’ve said “no” to things, events, and situations that, simply put, didn’t give me joy. I’ve started to limit myself to doing things and being with people that make me happy (without sacrificing hard work)… But more on that in the next part of this article.
In 2019, I’ll limit myself to working at a pace I’m comfortable with. Also, much as I love traveling, I’m not as young as I once was, and constant jetlag has become a nightmare… Which is why we’re limiting that this year.
So, what gives me joy? I’m happy working from home and finding time to take care of our family (and our dogs, including a Golden Retriever named Rita who we got last year). I’m beginning to find happiness in taking care of myself, and discovering creative outlets (I’ve re-embraced playing the keyboard, sewing, and even knitting).
I am so glad to have really connected with my family last year (especially Paulette and kuya, who I’ve mentioned more often on the site last year).
I adore deep conversations, and it’s fantastic to have reconnected with old friends from the south (Hi Kathy!) and made new ones (Hi Karina!) to do that. I even had great beachside talks with some of the most unlikely ones (Hi Nue!).
I love traveling, and 2018 was about going to London, Oxford, Hampton Court, Rome, Florence, and several trips to Bangkok (but again, limits!).
I find joy in learning, and last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to study in WSET London. Teaching and keeping the blog up to my standards (it always has to be educational and entertaining) are constant learning experiences (and thus, are constant sources of joy), what with my propensity to be as thorough as possible when it comes to fact checking.
That being said, I’m looking forward to having a cleaner mindset (and closet, hopefully) in 2019 (after Konmari-ing my life, of course). Here’s to finding joy this year. Cheers!