I find it really amazing to receive birthday greetings from people all over the world two hours before your actual birthday and eight hours after. I guess that is one of the perks when you are globally connected and this reminds me of how awesome it is to be an international youth ambassador.
So, I am now 23, a year older and I could not complain. The past year has been interesting, a got myself a job, met a lot of interesting people from the world over, traveled a bit and what not. There were moments of intense happiness but there were also low points, see: abyss-like, but I managed to get through. It starts with making that decision that you want to get out of it and no matter how many times you plummet, there is that option to get up and keep going.
That kind of attitude is something I would like to harness this coming year. I somehow like to be an Anna Oposa, an ambassadress of good vibes, or like Junica Soriano, a woman of overflowing positivism. But apart from this, there are other things I would like to achieve before I turn 24.
1. I need to be more organized
I admit, I am not the most organized person in the world. Sure, I keep my planner with me but more often than not I end up doing things that are unplanned and neglecting those that are. I know that I am very spontaneous but striking the balance will sometimes spell out the difference. Besides, there are things that I have to adhere to, schedules to follow, deadlines to meet and those "one-miss-you-die" commitments and being unorganized will not render positive results.
2. Become a one-day vegetarian
When I was in Swizterland last September, I met a bunch of students from the Netherlands who are advocating the "Meatless Monday" campaign. The idea behind the campaign is simple, the meat industry is one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems, meat production is the number one cause of global warming and is polluting our air and water.
The whole idea of vegetarianism is something I find hard to live with but this campaign makes it easy. I cant see any problem giving up meat for one day. Imagine the impact it will create if more people commits to this lifestyle, it would be equivalent to planting more than 83 million trees in your garden and letting them grow for 10 years or it would save as much CO2 emission as taking 1 million cars from the road! Sounds like a great plan to me and I vow to encourage more people to do the same.
3. Read more books
I said the same thing last year but sadly, I was not able to keep up, partly because of my job, and partly because of my job. There, I said it. But there's no giving up this year. GOAL: Two books in a month. Not a lot but I know it will significantly add up. I just finished The Art of Travel by Alain de Boton and 1984 by George Orwell. Reading next: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I was never good at this bit but I know its never too late to try. I need to start saving. Im not getting any younger and since I am now working, it wouldn't make much sense if I don't get to save up for the future. Now, I appreciate my Tita even more since she placed a great value on saving. Next pay day, I will be opening another bank account intended for emergency purposes. I do not hold the future in my hands and it will be wise to save as much as I can.
I know traveling will entail spending money but it doesnt equate to costing a fortune. Yes, plane tickets might be a little expensive but there are always budget airlines. Accommodation can cost a lot sometimes but nothing beats a well-researched itinerary and researching includes looking at your list of friends on facebook and asking them if they can host you for a night or two.
So far, I have three international trips scheduled. First will happen on January 22-25, 2011. I will be visiting a friend in Singapore and will also try to squeeze in seeing Malaysia again and visit the orphanage I volunteered at two years ago.
I will be flying to New Delhi the month after to see India and be mesmerized by its rich and colorful culture. I would like to see an ashram and if possible, spend a night in it. And then, in March, I will be exploring Bali, Indonesia.
6. Study Portuguese and/or Spanish
Learn a new language is something that will complete the list of the things Id like to achieve for the next year and even in the coming years. I think its essential especially because I meet a lot of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Eventually, I would like to learn Thai, French, and Arabic.