I turned thirty in 2012. It was a huge milestone. I didn’t become depressed or anything. But I remember feeling reflective about my life so far, what I have accomplished, and what the future holds for me.
By the end of 2012, it was a few weeks before my 2nd year anniversary with my lovely wife. We didn’t have a child back then and we were renting an apartment in Anahaw Street, Project 7 in Quezon City in the Philippines.
Although we didn’t have a child yet, we were taking care of three college-age young men–my younger brother Aaron, her brother Chad, and her cousin King. It was fun albeit chaotic sometimes.
I am in my late thirties–and I will reach the big 4-0 in 2022. That’s two years from when I’m writing this post. It’s good to look back and review the milestones of the decade of my thirties.
Here’s a list of how my life changed, including some achievements!
Our first baby was born!
My wife and I wanted to enjoy each other’s company before having a baby. That meant we got to watch movies, go to a concert or a bar every now and then. And we got to travel! We went to Kuala Lumpur, Macau, and Hong Kong before our son was born.
But when it was time to have a baby, we waited and tried for about 7 months before we confirmed we were pregnant!
Oh what joy! What happiness it is to become a father! I didn’t know what I was doing. I was Googling a lot of things about babies and being a father. But our firstborn is seven years old and he’s just full of energy.
I hosted an International event in 2014
In 2014, I headed the Philippine host team for the United Methodist Church’s Global Young People’s Convocation (GYPC). We made sure that the logistics and other needs for the international event were put in place.
Imagine having an event with 400 participants from all over the world. And then a really strong typhoon comes along and destroys retreat center we were housed in! It would have been a total disaster!
Thankfully, we had a capable leadership and volunteer team. Within 18 hours, we secured another venue, got buses, and moved everybody to the new venue.
That was probably the hardest thing that I have ever faced in my professional life by age 32.
Published three books!
I have always wanted to be a published writer. This is the decade when that happened. I published my first book in 2013, the second one in 2014, and the latest in 2015. You can head over to my website to check out the titles: MightyRasing.com.
In addition, I have contributed a chapter to at least three other books! This opened up an opportunity for me to be involved in a radio program at DZAS, which is part of the Far Eastern Broadcasting Company, the Christian radio ministry in the Philippines.
Moved to the USA with my family
I have never imagined myself working abroad. My wife and I considered the possibility but we never made plans for it. She was actually quicker to spot the possibility of me being called upon to work in the USA.
In late 2014, that opportunity came. A new position in our organization opened up. I applied. Went through the process. Then I got offered the job. Within two months I was applying for a visa. By August 2015, my wife, son, and I moved together to Nashville, TN.
It was quite the journey. That was five years ago! You can read the following articles to get a picture of what the transition looked like:
- How to convince your spouse to move to the USA
- How not to freak out about moving to the USA
- The Art of packing and letting go of books, appliances, and things that won’t fit into your luggage
- Don’t convert dollars to pesos in your head
- How to mentally prepare for your move to the USA
- Do we apply for a green card or go back to the Philippines?
- Travel tips for the US-bound Pinoy
Organized an International Event in South Africa in 2018
In 2018, the GYPC was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. This time, I was the staff person at the helm of the organizing team. I’ll be forever grateful to my former supervisor Mike who trusted me and empowered me to make it happen.
Along the way, I learned so much about event organizing, visa requirements, dealing with translations for documents and live-interpretation because the event had several languages: English, French, Portuguese, German, and Russian.
I found myself frazzled and nervous several times before and during the event. But once again, I learned the value of having a great team. This was a great privilege and opportunity for me.
Also in late 2018, we were blessed to have welcomed our second son into the world. We planned and prayed for a second child. And in 2018, our prayers were granted. Caspian came into our lives and our family grew!
Interestingly, he is a dual citizen. He is both an American and Philippine citizen. That led certainly affects our decision for the future.
Traveled to several countries around the world
I am thankful for the opportunity to travel around the world because of the nature of my work. Here’s the list of countries I’ve visited.
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- South Africa
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Israel & Palestine
We received our Green Card
We applied for our green card in May 2018. By October 2019, we received our Green Cards. It was a blessing because it meant that we could stay in the US for a maximum of ten years.
In late 2019, my wife and I learned that we are expecting again! So our two kids will become three later this year! It’s a blessing even though we got nervous for a few days after we confirmed the pregnancy.
From time to time, I will write pregnancy updates on this blog, which I hope will be helpful for other immigrant families in the US who are expecting .
Some lessons learned
The decade of my thirties is not over yet. Here are several lessons I am learning in my thirties.
Life is fast in your thirties.
This decade definitely feels faster than my twenties. There is just so many things going on–a lot of commitments, lots of invitations to connect and do something good and fun and everything in between.
But it is fast! Five years doesn’t seem too long! In fact, I was amazed at how fast five years passed by!
You start reaping some fruits from your career.
If you laid down some good foundation in your twenties, the thirties is when you start reaping the results of your expertise and experience. People recognize your gifts and talents. You get paid for it. And you start building up your name and reputation in your field.
Family and career take center stage.
This is also the time that family takes center stage along with career and work. Before the decade of my thirties is over, my wife and I will have three children! For us to love them effectively, we need to commit and be intentional about it.
Dr. Laura Markham, author of “Peaceful Parent,” said: “parenting is one of the most difficult things that humans do.”
I totally agree! But it is worth it! I look forward to my forties. I still have a couple of years before it hits me. But so far, so good. God has been faithful, and life–even with its twists and turns–has been good.
I think that this is a good practice. I will revisit this blog post when I turn 40.