We didn’t have Oculus Virtual Reality headsets, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, X boxes, video games, cable TV with over 100 channels, VCR’s, surround sound, cellular phones, computers, online chatrooms.
Instead we had…
1. Dance parties that started at 4:00 PM because martial law imposed a curfew at 12:00 midnight. A permit was required whenever there were more than 5 guests.
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2. Portable typewriter instead of a laptop. When you made a typing error, you had to use a correction fluid . No delete buttons. And you had to have your content ready before typing.
3. Four TV channels: Channel 3, Channel 7 and Channel 9 and Channel 13.
4. No call waiting. No direct dialing. One time, I had the shock of my life when an operator rudely interrupted a telephone conversation with my suitor because of an incoming long distance call.
5. No Automated Teller machines. Since I resided at a dormitory in the UP campus, my allowance was sent through telegraphic transfer. Queuing at PNB for 30 minutes or so was not fun at all.
6. PONG . If you don’t know what PONG is it is a rudimentary side-view tennis game, the ball bounces off a long horizontal line at the bottom of the oscilloscope, and there is a small vertical line in the centre to represent the net.
7. No email. I wrote letters to my siblings with a pen, of course, and rode a jeepney to drop my letter at the post office. Often it takes a week for our letter to arrive. If we wanted instant messaging, we had to use the telegram such as RCPI.
9. No bottled water. I drank water from the faucet or from a hose in the backyard.
10. No portable music player. No Napster. No. torrents. No MP3 ‘s. No IPod. No Spotify, Apple Music. No podcasts. Vinyl records and cassette tapes were so cool. I brought my friends over to the house to groove with the music and dance along with the music- 12 steps (not the 12-step program, duh), LA walk, the Swing.
11. No tablets or iPads. No macbooks . No IBM. No Microsoft. We had a TRS 80. And the RAM was either 4 or 16 kilobytes of RAM . Whaa?
12. No USB flash drives. No CD’s or floppy disk either. Instead, we used cassette tapes to store computer data. If the tape got torn, you splice it.
Do you believe that someone who has caused you so much pain deserves a second chance?
Do you believe YOU deserve a second chance?
Over 15 years ago, I packed my bags and left my husband because I thought I wanted to start a new life without him. Grief had overtaken us so much that we were virtually strangers to each other. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine myself with a broken ankle as I stepped inside my new pad. I had no choice but to live with him and work things out. Truly God works in mysterious ways. It was as if God said, ” you can’t run away from your marriage. Try to fix it. Give it a second chance”
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If you think that my husband is the culprit, you’re wrong. I am to blame too. It takes two to a marriage. I knew I had to take care of myself first and foremost. I had to give myself a second chance. A second chance to be a more loving wife and mother. A second chance to be more financially independent and a second chance to be a better person.
2. I set boundaries. One can’t repeat the same mistake all over again, but at the same time one must be aware that we should also give allowances for recovery to take place.
3. You love yourself. I’d like to believe that “You cannot give what you do not have.” I find that I am a better wife, a better mother, a more compassionate friend, after I have spent time nurturing myself.
Beautiful and meaningful affirmations uplift my day.
Losing my beloved Luijoe, my precious child brought me into such deep sadness and negativity that all I could think was of dying. If it were not for my two girls, I would not have gotten out of the rut. Asking help from God meant helping myself and oh boy, I looked out for ways.
“Dear God, please help me” and all I could hear was “help yourself”.
One person that crossed my path are the affirmations of Louise Hay. One way to empower the good is through affirmations which are just simple positive statements. I am glad I found her. Sadly, Louise Hay transitioned on August 30, 2017 of natural causes at age 90. She passed peacefully in her sleep. Her affirmations have helped me so much that I would like to share of few of them here.
I was borderline obese and this affirmation helped me in choosing a healthy lifestyle. In order for me to think clearly, I needed to have a healthy body.
“I am the only person who has control over my eating habits. I can always resist something if I choose to.”
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As part of my healthy lifestyle, I take brisk walks and these are my thoughts:
“I take brisk walks in the sunshine to invigorate my body and soul”.
Yes, “I am in perfect health”
Acting as if “Acting as if” is one of my favorite recovery tool that worked for me. By acting as if you are a certain type of person, you become that person, what I call the “As If” principle. To practice the positive, I act as if. It’s a positive form of pretending.
“I act as if I already have what I want- it’s an excellent way to attract happiness”.
Healing involved forgiveness and letting go of past hurts.
“I forgive everyone in y past for all perceived wrongs. I release them with love”
The pain of losing a son taught me so much. Pain is a great teacher. It taught me to face who I really am and where I needed to move forward to. What I did with my painful experience defined who I became.
“Every experience I have is perfect for my growth”.
My heart is full of gratitude. Yes, the sweetness of gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. I have learned the magical lesson that making the most of what I have turns it into more. It is not material gifts that make me happy. It is love.
“My day begins and ends with gratitude and joy”.
Sometimes I worry too much and then I realize it is not good to have negative thoughts so I pray.
“Today is going to be a really, really good day.”
Like I told you earlier, I did not live a healthy lifestyle for many years especially those times when I was in deep misery over my son’s death. I chose happiness and being grateful.
“I am grateful for my healthy body. I love life.”
My toes hurt when I walk . I know I must see a doctor soon to check why it hurts. In the meantime, I make sure I meet my step goals.
“My body takes me everywhere easily and effortlessly.”
Ugh, I easily get irritated and need to continue this affirmation:
“I am patient, tolerant and diplomatic”.
Helping myself also meant taking care of myself spiritually, mentally , and physically.
“My mind and body are in perfect balance. I am a harmonious being.”
When I look at myself today, I can only attribute it to the work I did to help myself in the past.
“Today is the future I created yesterday”.
Taking care of myself meant loving myself first. It means loving myself into health and a good life of my own. It meant loving myself into all that I have always wanted. Yes, love myself into peace, happiness, success, joy and contentment.
“I am worth loving. There is love all around me.”
I constantly work at loving myself. One day, I looked up at myself in the mirror and loved what I saw. I saw a new and lovely me. Loving myself had become habitual.
I wrote this 13 years ago, but I thought I’d update it again because today is our couple anniversary. I like to look back at the good old days and dream about the future together. Here is our story:
I gaze at my two lovely daughters and smile. I realize they are much older than us.. when we, their parents, were just college sweethearts. My two daughters wailed and wondered when they will meet The One. Will they be as blessed as their parents who found their true love from each other? I have no ready answers. Love just happens when you least expect it. Who would have thought Butch and I would end up together for better and for worse? He became my boyfriend for the most shallow reasons, which was “I wanted a cute boyfriend”
Butch and I met through my college roommate at the University of the Philippines Shopping Center ‘ restaurant. It was not love at first sight for me. I think Butch was stricken by Cupid’s arrow that fateful night. To my great annoyance, he kept staring at me “You have beautiful eyes” all night long. He never let go of me since then. Though Butch was utterly charming and really cute, I wasn’t interested. First, he looked really wild as in “jeprox” (the slang word for punk during those days). Second, “mestizos” are not my type. Third, he was two years younger than me. I knew he was 18 years old, yet he lied that he was 20 years old.
He was very persistent. Riding on his yellow motorcycle, he’d zoom past the dorm as if “by accident” and pretend to be surprised to see me. I liked the attention but felt he was too dangerous. But see, Butch had a way with words (think “bolero”) which would make any girl giggle. Fear engulfed me when I began to fall in love with him. His wild and dangerous looks were just too tempting. What was it with “bad boy image” that attracted me to him? For years, I poured over my books just to get excellent grades, but for what? College is supposed to be fun. I wanted to have fun. My motto that semester: be adventurous and grab a cute boyfriend. After all, graduation loomed the following semester. I decided I wanted to have a boyfriend. Not just any boyfriend. He had to be a cute.
My greatest fear though was he’d seduce me. Butch looked really reckless and seductive. Heck. I threw caution to the wind and “went along with him” the night he announced to the world that I was his girlfriend.
I thought, “I am his girlfriend? How did that happen?”
Whispering sweet nothings to my ear, “I will marry you one day. I will be a lawyer. You just see.”
I was laughing inside and mused I would never marry this guy. He’s a bum. I won’t have a future with him. He is my boyfriend because I just want to have fun. I hate my boring student life.
True enough, the following month, I found out he didn’t meet the university requirements of passing 21 units, 60% passing of all subjects and to have a passing grade in at least 4 units. He scored a grand slam. The verdict was expulsion from the state university. I knew there was hope, so I dragged him to the college secretary for a reconsideration.
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“No, I don’t have hope. I will move to San Beda then take up Law after college” he moaned.
“You are going to graduate AB Political Science from UP and proceed to the College of Law”, I convinced him to appeal.
Thanks to Dean Martin Gregorio, Butch was granted a reconsideration. Since we became steadies, he passed all his subjects and eventually studied Law.
Despite Butch wild streak, he never took advantage of me. Haha. I should give him credit for being a gentleman in that aspect. In fact, we enjoyed a clean and responsible relationship. Friends doubted that we practiced abstinence. True, Butch would suddenly wrap me in his arms and plant a kiss on my lips right in front of my horrified friends, but that was it. We were a romantic couple for 7 years. Locking our hands together, we sat by the sunken garden and watched the sunset as we wove dreams of being together forever and having babies one day. Amidst the Beegees “How Deep is Your Love”, time stood still for love struck us. Well, mostly his dreams. I wasn’t too sure if he would be a suitable husband.
Two years later…
Holding pizza and a dozen red roses , Butch took me by surprise as he knelt down and proposed marriage. How roooomaaaantic, I gushed .
My brain woke me up from fantasy land.
I said “God, No. You’re only 20. You don’t have a job. You haven’t graduated from college”
We married 7 years after we first met in college.
Our love story is quite long , romantic and crazy so I am not boring you to tears . But see, our love spans 42 years. We have two anniversary dates: March 7 when we first became college sweethearts and May 5 for our wedding day. And of course, celebrating the day we met on January 26, 1978. That sums up 38 years together as a couple who are still so madly in love with each other. You know it is true love when you have gone through the worse moments in marriage and yet managed to survive and make the love even stronger than it ever was.
It wasn’t all roses, sweet nothings, and icing on a cake type of relationship.
We nearly separated 16. years ago. Grief had overtaken us so much. Our marriage suffered during the first few years after my son died. My husband and I had different ways of coping with our grief. He wanted to talk about Luijoe’s death. I preferred to keep quiet and be by myself. This created a distance between us. Sometime in 2005, I packed my bags and muttered goodbye to a tearful Butch. I couldn’t stand him anymore. I wanted a new life without him. I made sure the girls were settled in their dormitories for me to make this great escape.
Alas, God destined me to stick it out with Butch.
As I moved in to my new pad, I lost my footing on the steps and fell to the ground. Were those firecrackers I heard? Oh dear, that awful popping sound came from my ankles. Holding on to the lifeless ankle, my ex-landlord helped me into a cab and brought myself to Medical City emergency room. Fuelled with pride, I refused to contact Butch but asked L to bring me clothes for my confinement. I suffered a fracture which required insertion of metal rods onto my right tibia and ankle bone. Butch got hold of my accident and drove to Medical City. He insisted on taking care of me.
I had no choice but to live with him and work things out. Truly God works in mysterious ways. It was as if God said, ” you can’t run away from your marriage. Try to fix it”. Eventually, with the help of a caring grief counsellor, we sorted out our problems and renewed our commitment to work on our marriage. The secret in the renewal of our marriage was reliving that first time we fell madly in love with each other.
For the next 6 months, I was confined to the wheelchair or crutches . Sounds like those cheesy Filipino scenes in a movie, huh?
Our love is best seen as devotion and action, not just an emotion. Our love during those college sweethearts ‘ days were based on shallow emotions towards each other. Today, our devotion to each other has truly led us to true love.
Yes, young love is possible, dear girls. Our love will always be a work in progress till death do us part
Often when the revival of Beegees “How Deep is Your love” plays in the airwaves, the meaning of the lyrics rings true then and now:
Chorus: How deep is your love I really need to learn cause were living in a world of fools Breaking us down When they all should let us be We belong to you and me
I believe in you You know the door to my very soul You’re the light in my deepest darkest hour You’re my saviour when I fall And you may not think I care for you When you know down inside That I really do
Epilogue- March 7, 2021
I took this picture on December 30, 2020 when my husband arrived home from a two-week hospitalization due to an asymptomatic case of Covid-19. This illness is so unpredictable that I thought the worst. Would he die? Would we both die? I don’t know how I survived those two weeks. Fortunately, my household staff and I tested negative for the coronavirus. But I prayed so hard that we survive this because we have so much to live for. Our coffee project is just starting. We still have to a meaningful life ahead of us. Despite all the hardships in our marriage, I would rather face them than live without the love of my life. Treasure each day with your loved ones. Celebrate life.
March 7, 1978
7 Years Later
25th anniversary shoot at the UP Campus, March 2010
December 30, 2020 – The day my husband went home from the hospital where he was confined for two weeks because of asymptomatic covid-19
After years of denial, numbing feelings of pain and all sorts of emotions, I finally came true to myself. I learned to take care of myself emotionally through practice and learning new behavioral patterns like Acting as if. I forced myself into positive recovery behaviors, disregarding my doubts and fears, until my feelings caught up with reality. I am still a work in progress, of course.
So what does it mean to take care of myself emotionally. This is what I learned from reading self-help books and seeking guidance.
1. I recognize when I’m feeling angry, and I accept that feeling without shame.
2. I recognize when I’m feeling hurt, and I accept those feelings without attempting to punish the source of my pain.
3. I allow myself to feel joy and love when those are available to me.
4. I recognize that my feelings don’t have to control me. I can feel and think too.
5. I talk to friends or family members about my feelings when I feel that it is appropriate and safe to do so.
6. I reach out for help when I get stuck in a particular emotion.
7. I try to seek the lessons that my emotions may be trying to teach me. Then after I feel, accept and release the feeling to the air, I then ask myself, “What is it I need to do to take care of myself?”
Taking care of my emotions means I allow myself to stay with the feeling until it’s time to let go and move on to the next feeling. Taking care of myself means I’ve made a decision that it is okay to own my feelings.
So my dear friend, continue to take care of yourself emotionally. It’s okay to feel angry. You have the right to be. Just be open to and accepting of the emotional part of yourself and other people. Strive for balance by mixing emotions and reason, but don’t let your intellect push the emotional part of yourself away.
Taking care of yourself emotionally means you value and cherish the emotional part of yourself. I know you will be fine. We will be fine.