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Things I know for sure


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34/43. For most of the big things in life, don’t wait for “ready” to come. You’ll never really be ready — just a bit prepared.

I wasn’t really ready to go to UP in college but I prepared by having the right attitude.

It helped that Papa is our internal reality check: “You will be a small fish in a very big pond.” (Aw, kutasan lagi sa Organic Chem.)

I wasn’t really ready to go to UP Law because I was reviewing for the medical school exam. But I wanted to be in law school, so I lied to my parents, and took the Law Aptitude Exam at UP instead.

On difficult days, I went back to my WHY, and slapped myself silly: Ayaw na ug atras, Inday, kay atik-atik baya ka ug law school.

I wasn’t ready in many of my jobs. Qualified, but not really ready. Two different things.

Took on a trade campaign without learning trade law in school. Became chief legal of a Senator in my first full-time government job, while Mama was journeying through brain tumor (glioblastoma multiforme). Fought a reclamation issue while struggling to adjust to the demands of work and motherhood — the latter with no manual to read. All hard, all fulfilling.

But we cope, and then thrive by working hard, listening, and being comfortable with the discomfort of being outside one’s comfort zone.

We manage by being honest with ourselves, and the people we work with. We thrive by celebrating the fact that we can’t always wait for “ready” to come.

May we always have the courage, the gift of timing, and a bit of privilege to get out of our comfort zones.

If it scares you, do it.




35/43. In love, don’t aspire to bring everything to the table. You can’t. And that’s okay.

I know this for sure, and this applies to being a wife and a mother.

I’m not affectionate like my sisters, but I try so hard to be present with people I love. Present for the big things, the quiet conversations, the small and almost-unnoticeable moments of our lives.

I’m definitely not patient but I have endurance, especially for difficult days. You can’t survive human rights lawyering without endurance.

Same rule applies to marriage and motherhood.

I’m not an ideal homemaker but I am extremely organized, which is a super power when you’re trying to plan meals, budgets, school activities, vacations, and others.

I often hear myself say marriage and motherhood are hard, but I also know for sure that love is easy….Most days, it is easy. This I know for sure.

36/43. Holy Week is always a good time to re-read the Bible, cover to cover. This year, I have only read the New Testament because of time constraints.

I’m also reading Meditations again. Slow, thoughtful reading.

Meditations has many translations but this one is my favorite. Instead of saying happiness depends on your attitude, it takes the advice to a more profound level: happiness depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

This applies especially in moments of grief, despair, and pain. In moments where my faith and endurance are tested.

We had a difficult start of the year — spent hours at the hospital. Agonizing while waiting for biopsy results and other scans.

By dawn, I felt physically wasted, like I was drowning. Overwhelmed by fear and terrified of the unknown.

Then I sat down, prayed. Lord, allow me to crawl out of the darkness. Let me organize my thoughts. Let me hear my heart. Allow me to see which parts of my life happened to prepare me for this moment.

Happiness is not the absence of grief, despair, and pain. It is the overall sum of the quality of our thoughts. To thrive and love with faith in God — despite grief, despair, and pain.

That, I know for sure.


Author’s email: goldabenjamin@gmail.com


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