Happiness Is An Extremely Uneventful Subject: My 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

dennis murillo

This feels funny.

Been a while since I wrote here – not that I didn’t want to. There just hasn’t been any compulsion to do so. For what it’s worth, I’m still telling stories – just not here. Elsewhere. In other forms.

But that’s not why I’m here.

My 2019 has been, I don’t know, “unbelievable” seems like a good word, and, well, I’d like to tell you about it – or at least a version of it that I’ve pieced together.

It began well enough. I stepped into 2019 wide-eyed and full of hope, like always. It was relatively calm, the first half. The soul was quite weary, yes. The heart a bit tired, but there we were, marching on.
lakbay norte
2019 kicked off with Lakbay Norte 8 

There were shaky moments. Turbulences that involved matters of the heart, mind, and libido (?). I was in my best shape in the summer, and the pride in the physical led me into temptations – which, to be fair, might’ve just been imagined, but still. Alas, power used for evil does not last long, and soon, the charm and confidence that came with how I looked was taken away. 
Explored Apayao – one of the wildest and most beautiful places I've been

Came back to Camiguin for a Summit-to-Sea experience

I got impulsive. Irresponsible. Abusive to myself – which aren’t really news, but still a shock when they show up for a visit. Mental illnesses, amirite?

At any rate, all this was aggravated by a huge project that landed on my lap. I pegged this as my “last” gift to the natural world – my “last hurrah” as a conservationist if you will. I had this idea that after completing it – it was a docufilm – I’d just focus on my personal little corner and just do what I can. It gets tiring, see, fighting for the world. So, for four, five months, this project consumed me. It ate at me. It drove me mad.
A weeklong trip to Antique in May, where I also spent my 27th birthday.

In these periods, I was at my most chaotic. My god, I don't even know how my husband Dennis kept me in check. It was almost everyday that I contemplated taking my life. I felt so unhinged. I also sprained my ankle during fieldwork for the abovementioned project and it did not help at all. I also broke into a rash several times. And, shameful as it may be, I was self-harming, albeit while asleep, but you know how it goes. It wasn’t just my mind that’s gone out of control, but also my body.

For what could only be the Universe rewarding my strength of will and resolve (or, maybe, taking pity on me), things started to look up in October. The project wrapped up, and slowly, I pulled myself back from the void. I was settling into myself again, trying to create a routine. The ankle healed and I got active again. And I also discovered the miracle of meditation.
Suwag O Suko is looking like it's doing the thing that it was meant to do – help our Tamaraw Rangers, and provide support to Tamaraw conservation

The last three months of 2019 were full of blessings. I'm full of joy all the time, so much so that, some days, I watch myself, warning myself that I’m becoming too happy. But that shouldn't be the case. I deserve what I have now. I am worthy. I’m learning to constantly be grateful and embrace what is.

I am learning to rest in the grace of the world.

This year’s peaks and dives, like it has always been, were made more interesting by the spice of travel.

Mountains, oceans, and everything in between. Natural landscapes filled my world, as it should be. And there were modern marvels, too. Museums, parks, restaurants – these made the map as well. Most were done for work, and I acknowledge how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel for free. I’m even more fortunate that I can also afford to travel for leisure.
The light of all lights: My Dennis

But all these adventures won’t be as incredible if it weren’t for the company.
Last hike of 2019

This year was remarkable (and mind-blowing) in terms of relationships. New friendships blossomed. Old ones were rekindled. And of course, there were losses. But bottomline is I am at peace and so in love with the people I have in my life.
Christmas Party in Baguio

So, I end this decade full of love and light and wonder.

I have accepted that I will never escape my love of the natural world and there will be no such thing as a last hurrah for this aspect of my life. There will, however, be a shift in priorities. I will gather my energy and not be so all over the place. I will wield my strength to do the most good and waste no time. I shall continue to tell stories in the hopes that this will rescue the world I so deeply worship.

That happiness doesn’t have to be something grand is a wisdom I will now forever carry. It could be a weekend at home, annoying my husband and watching movies. It could be the thriving plants on my balcony, the food I prepare. The moments of stillness and peace.

I’ve also learned that letting go is powerful. And forgiveness even more so. Forgiving is a bit selfish because it’s mainly for you, for your peace of mind. And that’s ok. Forgive for your sake. Clear the space for better things. And cutting ties? Well, that’s for your peace of mind, too. But I feel obliged to include a reminder to not walk away without even trying. We shouldn’t give up on people if we can help it. Give second chances. Or at least allow up to three strikes.

Most importantly, I go into the new year with a heart full of gratitude. The magic being grateful brought into my life is astounding. It literally changed my life. Everyday, I feel like I’m living a fantasy, for I’ve learned to romanticize everything: my tiny home is a sacred space. The way the sunlight pours is a blessing. Walking through town is a joy. The simple fact that I’m breathing is precious.
15 years of being in love with each other

No more fears of missing out. It seems that I’ve befriended the ordinary. We like each other, turns out.

The beauty of the mundane, the uneventful subject of happiness, and being grateful and awed by their existence – this is 2019’s gift.

I welcome the new decade. And this message I leave unto you:

All is wondrous if you give it enough attention.

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