A Review of My mid- to late Thirties!

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! 

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My Annual Review – 2019 Edition

At the end of each year, I sit down and look back at my year–what worked well, what didn’t, and what lessons I learned. It helps me be on top of my goals, and this practice provides a way for me to remember my goals and assess changes and improvements I need to make.

If you’re interested in doing the same, read about how I do my personal evaluation at the end of the year. Alternatively, read how James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) does it here.

2019: A Year Waiting & Dealing with Uncertainties

The year 2019 entered with a lot of joy and uncertainty. In November 2018, we welcome our second son, Caspian, into the world! Although, we are far away from family (who are in the Philippines), we managed to contain the chaos and organized our lives.

Thanks to the organization I work for, I enjoyed a rather long paternity leave–a paid one at that! That helped me take care of my wife, our new baby, and Kuya Malcolm who was in Kindergarten.

I faced two big uncertainties, though, at the start of the year. For one, our visa expires in March 2020, and unless we receive our Green Card before that, we will need to pack up and go back to the Philippines.

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The Price of Success and Achievement

I’ve been fascinated with the lives of people who have achieved significant success and made a big impact in the world. I’ve read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.

While the author tries to present a full view of these famous person’s lives, I was still left in awe at the magnitude of what they have achieved.

Elon Musk has introduced significant innovations in online payment systems, in electric cars, in solar power, in the race for reusable space rockets. Steve Jobs also innovated many different industries – computers, animated movies, the iPhone, and the iPad.

As a person of faith, I have also read about the life of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. How he established a movement in the 1700s that some analysts say prevented civil unrest in England; and this movement continued and grew into the global denomination that it is now.

There is always a price for achieving huge success and creating big impact.

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The Over-Committed Person’s Guide to Streamlining Commitments & Simplifying Life

Bambang LRT Station, circa September 2012

She turned from me and wiped her eyes as the train sped away from the platform of Bambang LRT Station. Tears fell from her eyes, I’m sure of it. And my chest constricted. I looked up the ceiling of the station, trying hard to prevent tears from falling.

It must have been my wife’s monthly appointment with her OB-GYN. It’s the fourth month of the baby in her tummy.

And I could not be with her…

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Recapturing Our Sense of Wonder

During our trip to the Holy Land, I was amazed at the excitement and sense of wonder of one of our participants. Lawrence would really just say “Wow!” and wonder at all the beautiful places he saw.

While climbing down Mt. Arbel, he marveled at the wonderful view of the Sea of Galilee flanked by mountains, and of the town of Magdala below.

He reminded me and the group about the importance of our sense of wonder.

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On People Skills

My chosen career is in church ministry, particularly in the area of ministry with young people. I had been asked many times not IF but when I was going to enter “full time ministry” as a pastor.

I often answered, half-jokingly, that I am already in full-time ministry. Just not as a pastor.

Why have I not decided to be a pastor?

In my late teens and early twenties, I came to understand myself as an introvert. I literally cringed at the prospect of being a pastor, meeting people and engaging with them every Sunday and everyday.

Pastors, at least in our faith tradition in the Philippines, tend to be very visible. They officiate weddings, baptisms, and funerals. They pray a lot for people on their birthdays, when they have a new house or car, when they are about to take an exam, and when they are going through tough times.

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Should You Fight Your Battles on Facebook?

Back in the day, social media was more of a place to find long lost friends and socialize online. These days, though, social media seems to be more about debates and ugly conversations, especially when it comes to religion and politics.

We all know of friends who stopped talking with each other because of intense disagreement on social media. I personally know of former friends and neighbors who got their circle of friends all caught up in their online feud.

Maybe, social media is making us unsocial and we’re just too deep into it to notice. The TedX video below says as much.

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Tel – The Layers of History

People in Israel cannot just excavate to build structures and building–even in their own property. There is so much lying under the ground that the Antiquities Department of Israel should issue permits.

If a property owner digs and uncovers something with archaeological significance, they need to stop digging and the government will have to intervene. That can delay whatever building project they have planned.

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Back to the Holy Land

I am visiting the Holy Land again beginning August 4th. I am co-leading a small group of 13 people–mostly United Methodist young adults. These young people came from around the world.

One thing I noticed is that traffic feels like Manila. Not quite like EDSA but close enough. The taxi that took us from the airport to the hotel earlier today considered lanes as suggestions in the same way that Filipino jeepney and taxi drivers did.

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