I promised to write ab0ut the 24 things to be thankful about but I just can not finish it. I already started writing some but I end up thinking that I can not possibly limit myself to 24, it just becomes boring. I can go on and on counting my blessings but sharing it with people will be monotonous. They will definitely not read it adn the writing was in vain. So I deleted everything and began a new thought, I will just write about birthdays-- my birthday.
It is only now that I get to celebrate my birthday and really contemplate about things. I mean, as young boy then, my birthday was dirty competition between my parents on who gets to make me happier. In elementary, I remembered Mommy bringing food to school so that everyone in my class can celebrate my birthday with me. I knew we were hard-up but Mommy insisted that we have a birthday party at school. I do not know where Daddy was at that time. After that party in Grade 5, Mommy left for the States in December and all my birthdays with her were some gift and a birthday greeting through the phone. My Daddy also had his antics. When I turned 11 and was studying at Dumaguete (first year high school), he threw me a party. It was a party with a bunch of people I barely knew simply because it was done in San Carlos and that was only the time I was in San Carlos after 6 years in Manila. I had lechon, my first in any of my birthdays, and that was basically it. I now understand that Daddy was trying to reach out to me but to my young mind then, I simply did not appreciate that. In 2000, I had my saddest birthday as a cadet in PMA. In the night of 21 October 2000, I was told that I was to be discharged from the Academy. The next year, I was at Nueva Ecija celebrating with my friends, it was a time when my life had no direction and I was doing things to keep my mind away from thinking about the future, I turned 19 then. Year 2002 was a bit promising because I was receiving salary working as an administrator in a second hand car dealership. My boss treated me to Outback Grill in Libis and it was my first time eat very expensively. In 2003, I was at another job in Makati. Nobody in the office knew that it was my birthday because I was a new employee and I barely know the people. At that time, I was waiting for the results of the PMA exam to come out (I think that is recorded in my old blog). Although I was working, my mind was set in going back to PMA. A few weeks after that, I received my examination results, resigned from that job to focus on going back and then the rest is history. 2004 was redemption as I tried to look back on my other birthdays and realize how blessed I was to finally celebrate it inside PMA as a cadet. It was redemption of my birthday in 2000... I was back. As a yearling in 2005, I just came from an official business in Manila. I hated it because it was my birthday and Daddy tried to have some form of celebration only that I have to be back in Baguio in the morning of my birthday.
This year I am 24. I was posted as a sentinel this morning at the strike of midnight. Going to the Barrio area to post, I was singing happy birthday to myself. It was cold and sky was clear. The whole hour that I was a sentinel, I was just reminscing realizing how it has been and grateful for everything. I do not have a cellphone to read birthday greetings from people. It is funny but the first one who actually greeted me a happy birthday, was my fourth class squadmate who gave me all the headache as his squad leader. I do not have anything against him, I know he is trying very hard to meet my standards, I just think it is funny that he was the first one to remember. When my name was announced this afternoon about my birthday, it was a dream come true. The joy that I felt was something I kept to myself, I did not say a word. After mess, I retreated to my room fell asleep and I am here now, writing about it.
I do not know if there is something interesting with enumerating the birthdays that I had. It is a realization recalling those events and realizing how much has changed through the years. I would like to state that I have improved for the better. From being a young boy feeling the growing conflict between my parents, to a young man trying to withdraw from reality by having fun with friends as if nothing else matters, to dreaming in an office hoping that things will turn out according to plan, and being greeted by a plebe who was able to remember that it was my special day. Looking back at it now, it was a series of twists and turns, a roller coaster ride marked with frustrations, loss, anticipation and victory. If only all of us tried to look back and contemplate on how much has changed in our lives we could see God in it, working and molding us into becoming a person according to his will. Although turning a year older may be something that happens to many people every year, I think the reason we mark our birthdays and consider it special is because it is a time to look back and be thankful. The 24 reasons I am thankful for are the 24 years that God has manifested himself in my life, teaching me the value of life and molding me into a person that He can use for His will.
A lot is ahead of me, and life just gets better and better. Thank you Lord for 24 wonderful years that you never left me. For the people who remembered, thank you very much and I love you all.