Monday, December 30, 2019

Goodbye the Twenteens

The decade that was. I call this decade the Twenteens decade.

This was the decade I turned golden. I started to feel it, too. I continued to be active at the gym, but I am nowhere near the strength and stamina at the start of the decade. The years have also taken its toll on my joints, especially my shoulder and knees. Though I reached an ideal weight around 2017, maintaining it became a challenge in 2019. And I fear I am back on my flabby self again as the decade ends.

I started the decade single. I had been single since 2008 and was just dating and hooking up. I eventually gave up singlehood in 2010. But that relationship ended by 2012. I am ending the Twenteens in a relationship, six years and counting.

The decade had me going back to living with my parents but in a newly-built house. After 8 plus years of living in a condo, it was back to staying in a house with all the creature comforts and amenities. I.e. household help. I am happy I made that move as I would be losing my father by the time the decade ended. 

Aside from being able to build that new house, I got to build a new one with my design, my ideas as the decade was ending. And this time on a dream location by the sea. 

The company I used to be part of continued to grow tremendously at the start of the decade. It peaked in 2012 then things went south. Competition had set their eyes on us and they were relentless. It has been downhill since until eventually, by 2016, the competitor swallowed us whole. The company still exists but by end of the decade, I will not be part of it anymore.

That, I believe, is the biggest change that happened in the Twenteens for me. I take on a new role, I say goodbye to the old role in my previous company. I never thought this day would come, earlier than retirement.

This new decade will see me turn 60 in 6 years. What that holds for me, I am excited about. Happy New Decade! 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Goodbye 2019

While 2018 ended on a good note career-wise, 2018 wasn’t as pretty with my dad’s deteriorating health. 2019’s first 4 months challenged us as we took care of him. By April, he went back to his Maker.

Work took a beating in 2019. Targets were not being met. There were issues on supply, employee performance, support from the trade. And the year ends with flat growth. 

All that will change in 2020 as I wave goodbye to a company I have been part of for 29 years, more than half of my life. I got “the call” to talk to the president of the company. That talk led to a re-assignment, effective January 2020. A new decade, a new responsibility.

It is not my area of expertise. I cannot even say I have been trained for it. But my general management exposure has given me enough of a background to handle this new role. I am more anxious about negotiating through the work relationships: new boss, new clients, new direct reports. And it comes from being an outsider suddenly thrust into the mainstream. And in a position that holds some power and influence. 

But I am equal parts challenged and excited, too. I will be learning much. And hopefully be proven worthy of the immense task. Management seems to have the trust in me. I just need to do the right things.

Finally, 2019 is the year a dream came true. I found a piece of sunset to call my own. I never imagined though I have fantasized about it. That I would have a vacation house on a beachfront, with a lovely sunset to gaze at. It was only in January when I stumbled on the property for sale over at FB marketplace. By October, I was having the house blessed.  

I write this post on the way to the property. I am maximizing the last days of 2019, of the decade, by spending time there. I know that come 2020, my life will be upside down as I take on the new role.

Cheers to 2020! 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

My Own Sunset

Dreams do come true, kid.

I imagine myself telling some young ‘un “to keep on dreaming.”

Sunsets have always been ‘my thing’ (just like millions of people). Best when viewed as the sun disappears into the sea (or a body of water). I chase sunsets, everywhere I go.

And the dream has always been to have my own beachfront place to watch the sunset, in the sunset of my life.

Cut to... tiny homes, container homes

The movement is booming now. As early as 4 years ago, I have been fascinated with recycling containers into livable tiny homes. Sure there are HUGE residences made of plenty containers connected. But I was always attracted to tiny homes, to maximizing little space and making them beautiful.

Putting the two together, I used to fantasize a dream beach house made from a used container.

By Saturday, I shall be having it blessed. I never thought it would happen. But I honestly feel that it was Divine providence.

I didn’t think I could afford a beach property. I always thought it would be wayyyy beyond my budget. I didn’t even bother to do research, just to check.

But an ad in FB marketplace changed all that. A simple ad of a beach front property about 4 hours away just popped up. And at a stated price that was ... within reach.

In a month and a half, the papers were signed. Payment were made. It was unbelievably fast, yet with the required due diligence.

Finding my container home contractor was tougher. It was a search that took me 3 1/2 months, spanning about 4 suppliers. Again, divine intervention and I was able to handshake with a contractor willing to build, respecting my budget and my sensibilities.

Through monsoon season, the containers arrived, the build started. I honestly thought I would have a hard time balancing that with work and everything else in between. But I managed, splendidly, I must say.

I am so proud that it will be build according to my design, my aesthetics, and no one else’s. From the fence, to each and every bit of the interior, I had them all planned out in my mind’s eye, well and Pinterest, too. Haha

My dream is happening soon. A sunset to call my own. If it happened to me, it can happen to you, too.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

End of an Era - New Assignment

I never thought I would ever leave this company before retirement. 6 years to go before turning 6-O and in my mind, I would stay here, as I have done for the past 29 yrs.

But Fate has other plans. Just as we transferred to our new office (must say that I still like our old office better), I get a new assignment. This time, with the mother ship, and not even in my ‘core’ competence of IMC.

I foolishly thought they would allow me to do both, stay with this company while taking on this new assignment. But that new role is just too demanding. The responsibilities are in the billions, literally.It needs my full attention.

I have mixed emotions. I leave a comfort zone. I leave my graceful exit, my pre-retirement plan and jump into a space full of unknowns and uncontrollables.

I am excited. I am challenged. It’s my way of getting into the mainstream business of this huge corporation. And it is the shareholders’ way of showing trust. I cannot break that.

But I leave my ‘baby’, my 29 yo baby behind. I leave all those friends and faces I have acquired through all these years. And there is no turning back.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My Own Endgame

Today marks two months since Tatay passed. Yes, time flies fast. And I’ve given up on my ugly cry. Today also makes me think of the time when my endgame happens. 

Preparing my living will

I haven’t prepared this yet. I should. And as I acquire assets, I should manage how each will be ‘disposed of’ when I die. 

How do I want to go

As if I can control this. But I believe in wishful thinking. I fear pain more than death. Perhaps that is the only thing I want to avoid when I go - pain. I feel that was also how my dad was thinking. Maybe. Can I just go peacefully in my sleep? Heart attacks will cause this massive pain, I feel. Maybe even strokes. Ugh, cancer will be one protracted descent into pain-hell. Would a gunshot wound, direct to the brain, be less painful (if instantaneous)?

Tatay went in his sleep. And that was what I had been wishing for him. But days leading up to it, he was going through breathing attacks, wretched gasping for air. That must have been so painful, some kind of drowning. As he would go through an attack, our worst fear was that his heart would just fail in the middle, and he would die painfully. The Lord was merciful enough to him. He slept and never woke up.

Now a part of me understands why some people would want to control this, through willful dying. I will not go through the thorny ethical arguments. I just understand why.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order

Hosptial bills, wake and funeral bills. That would just zap all the money I have saved up for. And when I am gone, only the hospitals and the funeral would be wealthier.  I need to have a plan. I need to give directions.

I will put some of my cash into a medical fund. Loved ones can only spend what is there. They will not liquidate any other asset just to continue reviving me. Sounds good but I have no idea how this can actually be executed. Oh the burden this will probably place on the my loved ones as they ‘monitor’ the expenses and make a call for a ‘hard stop’. It’s like watching a taxi meter when you are almost out of cash. “I’ll get off HERE” just as it reaches the limit. 

My siblings and I had an emotional discussion (over FB messenger chat) on this DNR order for Tatay. I wouldn’t want that for my time. So what do I want them to do when my heart stops beating and/or my breathing stops? 

The routine: Pumping the chest. IV shots of epinephrine. Intubation to bring air in. And that awful electric shock. It looks so violent and desperate. Do I want this done on me? Maybe only up to a certain point - 3 minutes. 

Artificial Life Support

Then there is this question. What if I end up in a vegetative state? How long should I be maintained on it? Or should I even be? 

I can be placed on artificial life support but only up to 3 days. (Is “3” the magic number?”). Beyond that, pull the plug. Just recently, I read an article about how AI (artificial intelligence) predicted (at 90% accuracy?) those patients who will pull out of a coma. Maybe if that becomes the practice, that would help determine how long I should be maintained.

Burial or Cremation

I’ve long decided that I want to be cremated. I have bought a niche at the nearby columbary (at the back of the Parish church) where my ashes will remain.  Some people still frown upon cremation. Tatay was totally against it. Perhaps they argue that the resurrected body has to be ‘whole’. Of course I find that baloney. 

Wake and Viewing

I don’t mind lying in a casket first for viewing and paying respects. But the practical me kicks in. If I will be cremated anyway, why spend for the casket? So perhaps this should become more of a visiting and paying respects to my ashes and my picture. 

Funny how articulating all of this makes it sound so technical and matter-of-factly. Well, maybe at this point, it is. And it should be. So when my endgame comes, and all the emotions start pouring in, the people I leave behind would have basis for decision-making.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Endgame: Post Mortem

I have not had my hysterical breakdown, my sustained ugly cry yet. I have had moments of tears and some sobs. But not as much as I had thought or maybe even wanted. I thought at first because I had to be person in chrage.

It was a flurry of activities from last Friday, April 12 to Tuesday, April 16. One had to arrange for the mortuary and funeral services. One had to coordinate with the hospital for the settlement of the bills and the release of the body and the death certificate. Thankfully, Tatay had a life plan that covered some of the expenses. But more importantly, they (The service provider) assisted me from start (pick-up of body from hospital) all the way to burial. Loyola Lifeplan and its service provider, Santuarium, were very professional and helpful. I cannot thank them enough.

It seems almost surreal now. I was there when the doctors and nurses tried to revive him. I was there as they wrapped his body. I had to go down to the hospital morgue to ID his body before it was taken away (they might pick up the wrong body!). Late afternoon, I checked on him again, to approve his appearance, especially his make up. I didn’t like to be the one to do this because I honestly didn’t know how to judge whether it was done correctly or not. Tatay had lost so much weight so even using his pictures as reference was inadequare. Yet my Ate No. 2 didn’t want to accompany me (because that meant leaving my mom). Thankfully, the base appearance was improved. Visitors also commented how well he looked.

Then I was on full event organizer mode as the wake details were being planned. My biggest concern was the food. How does one plan for the feeding of thousands (I exaggerate)? I have to give myself credit for executing that well, including the logistics and venue set-up. (We were so fortunate to have been allowed to hold the wake at the nearby Home for the Elderly, run by nuns. Tatay used to be their doctor.)

And as all of that was going on, I also had to entertain the visitors, especially from my side (colleagues and friends). Telling the story over and over and over again to different people!

Then came the plans for the funeral Mass, and that trip to the cemetery to bury him. I thought this would be my breakdown scene. I even decided not to sing at the mass. But I surprised myself by being so composed, managing to even be lector and singer.

Heritage Park is quite far from our place. But that was where we were able to get a lot. If I had my way, I would have had him cremated and his ashes at the columbary near our Parish. But he explicitly did not want cremation.

It was super warm and sunny that Holy Tuesday. By 2pm, the funeral convoy had reached the park. We started the last blessings and viewing by 230pm. Though sunny, there was a nice breeze all around us. A handful of friends and family joined us. There was a lot of crying, except me. I was holding up very well, till they lowered the casket six feet below. And we all solemnly went home, mindful most of all of our mom’s condition.

With all that over, there still wasn’t any major breakdown. tried to induce crying. I listened to my playlist of super sad songs. I watched “Dad”, that 1989 movie of Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson about father and his son. Yes, I teared up but again, limited waterworks. I remember crying much more when I broke up with an ex. I was thinking that would be the level of my anguish.

Did I love him less? Is there something wrong with me? Have I become this husk of a person? Ok, a bit over the top. But now, after almost two weeks, I have stopped wanting to cry. I suppose it would just come. And even if it wouldn’t, it didn’t mean any of that nonsense.

I love you, Tatay and I miss you terribly. i honor you for being a humble yet exemplary doctor who brought healing, humor and genuine concern to your patients. I hold you in the higheat esteem for being a loving husband and dedicated father to us. I have the distinct pleasure of serving you and being with you to the very end of your mortal life. I hope that when my own time comes and we meet in heaven, you will tell me that I have made you proud.

Till that time, Tatay.

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