Gratitude at Twenty-Five

Just a friendly reminder that bad days breed greatness

I won’t sugarcoat it: I had been feeling awful. It doesn’t usually happen, but when it does, it can hit me like a sledgehammer.

On top of that: it’s been raining for days, I got sick last Saturday, I felt totally linguistically isolated from the world at one point, and I had been OBSESSING over end results rather than what’s in front of me until my anxiety crept in, all of which happened when I started writing about my—travel & career journey—story, and… I don’t know, maybe because of mercury retrograde and all that stuff.

I mean, do you ever feel like you’re in Season Five of your life, and the writers are just doing outrageous shit to keep it interesting? That’s sorta how I’ve been feeling lately. Except my character has been the one itching to do more outrageous shit to keep her life interesting. In a nutshell, I’m in dire need of an adrenaline fix.

A PEEK INSIDE MY BRAIN: RECENT DOWNTIME EDITION (Read at your own risk)

• I want to go to Shanghai to get a tattoo but first, I need lots of money because, go big or go home.
• Oh, thank goodness I can use fake dysmenorrhea as an excuse for my laziness every month.
• Am I replaceable? *googles inspirational quotes about confidence*
• I must take a Scuba Diving course and squeeze it into my schedule when I visit the Philippines for a business trip.
• I should skydive in Cebu, too. But how?
• I’m just waiting for Kris Jenner to adopt me TBH.
• Is it still possible these days to date one person, and then boom, ~forever~
• I want Samgyupsal. Pizza Hut last Friday was really good.
• Why do most guys choose to be in a relationship out of convenience over true love?
• WHAT THEEEEEEEEE FUNK
• I need a new tattoo ASAP.
• Imagine having a daughter and seeing her hurt because of some asshole…I would die. Or end up in jail.
• Where to next year? Should I extend my contract here?
• Ugh, I’m torn between what I want and what the society says I deserve.
• Am I ready to go through the process of dating someone new? No.

And sadly, since I don’t have my China Residency Permit for Foreigners yet (I can’t go out of mainland China without that), and I gotta adult to earn a living anyway…. Let’s keep rolling with the punches for now, shall we?

“WHAT MATTERS MOST IS HOW WELL YOU WALK THROUGH THE FIRE”

– How Is Your Heart? by Charles Bukowski

Life doesn’t always have to be beautiful nor exciting nor happy — this is what I try to remind myself on the daily, even though sometimes I fail miserably. Cells, as we all know, are often called as the “building blocks of life” and I kid you not when I say mine are daredevils that I perpetually have to battle against with every fiber of my being — most especially when they shriek “ADVENTUUUURE TIME” at once. Nuts, I know.

On the upside, my first stint in Europe as an aspiring expat made me learn —through multiple Debbie Downer moments — to pick myself back up by listing down all the things I’m proud of and grateful for.

A ONE LUCKY MOTHERF*CKER’S MY PROUDEST MOMENTS:

  1. My very first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, and traveling solo in Paris — a dream I didn’t know I had. Frankly, it wasn’t in my travel bucket list at all. It seemed so far-fetched, but the universe has really been way too good to me. Looking back, I am so, so grateful I went ahead — because it ended up being the highlight of my Euro trip.
  2. Christmas 2017 was extremely special and unforgettable. I had the chance to spend the holidays exploring around Malta & Gozo all by myself 80% of the time.
  3. I now believe in the power of second chances.
  4. My road to healing was a long one. I was coming out of a dark time when I unexpectedly found my person along the way and made me realize that the shattered bits & pieces of my heart still work…Puwede pa pala ako magmahal kahit hindi buong buo, pwede pala yung kung ano lang na meron pa ako, and that’s the purest thing I’ve ever felt — ever.
  5. I braved my way back home, even if it meant diving into empty promises once again. Hence, I focused around a much more crucial goal: a little thing I call not losing my flipping mind…because guys, I was close. However, in the stillness of time spent alone, I have learned to hear myself more clearly.
  6. I worked on myself intensively for more than six months, and while I was at it, the universe sent a brand new opportunity my way. A proof that everything comes from within and it all starts with you.
  7. I’m learning how to need less — cooking my own nutritious food, taking buses instead of taxis, having a small collection of clothes that I love, enjoying free entertainment in nature, wearing little to no make-up, spending money mindfully and paying attention towards purchases that fulfill genuine needs rather than quick fix desires.

Ultimately, it’s always a good idea to give yourself some credit and focus on your best self, what you have, and the goals you have achieved — no matter how big or small…because I promise you, every single thing matters.

Please, do yourself a favor after reading this and LIST DOWN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS SHAMELESSLY. Push yourself to list the things you are grateful for, even when small graces are few and far between.

Today, any bitterness I had towards those traumatic years and nights of excruciating agony — and sometimes, extreme boredom — was replaced with gratitude. Gratitude for the independence that I developed, gratitude for the forgiving heart I adopted, gratitude for the human survival instinct that keeps us putting that one foot forward and function through the pain, gratitude for my family and friends and strangers that provided safe havens in my darkest hours, and mostly, gratitude for the motivation that burned inside me to see the world.

While the previous years were full of pain, they were also filled with progress. Also, I’m sure this year isn’t the last time I’ll fall into a rut and I can promise you it wasn’t the first. But for now, I’m going to enjoy being on the upswing.

So, here’s to another year spent exploring this big ole wonderful world — and finding my place in it. And honestly, it wouldn’t be the same if I couldn’t share it with you all. 💛

What are you proud of and grateful for today?

Alaizza Quiozon

FUN FACT: Nobody has ever spelled my first name right the first time, let alone my full name. So, where will all these lead? Maybe nowhere. But, then again, maybe somewhere — which is the magic of it.

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  1. […] this security blanket of mine has kind of bounced around — starting out as a collection of my personal & travel stories, to solo travel & moving abroad-related content, and ultimately producing […]

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