The 5-Year Plan

I was never a good planner. It takes a lot of effort from me to be organized and efficient. My job has trained me to be particular but as soon as I get home, my psyche decides that it’s exhausted and my brain switches with its more laid back twin. When I was still in college, all my blockmates were into having 5-year plans. I always avoided that conversation because I didn’t have a plan aside from (1) Survive, and (2) Be happy.

Perhaps it’s time to look at the past five years in retrospect.


This year was divided into two parts: Riyadh and the Philippines. For the first half of the year, I was working my ass off in Riyadh as I had just transferred to a new department and had duties that were very different than my previous job’s. I learned to love committees and said goodbye to Oracle and those horrid leave requests! The second half was spent in the Philippines where I spent 5 months processing my recruitment papers, experienced Ondoy and other typhoons, and spent more time indoors because I had no regular paycheck. I would have died without the laptop and Mob Wars. As soon as I started working, I got the swine flu and an insta-vacation.


I was stagnant. I don’t remember much from this year except reading books I don’t recall, and watching movies I can no longer name. Jeremy and Tita Villa cheered me up at work and, at home, I wondered if I would ever feel excited again. I was never unhappy but felt more neutral than anything. For reasons that are completely my own, I couldn’t fully appreciate my blessings in life. I had short bursts of very high periods like my vacation in London and losing a ton of weight without doing anything at all. Before the year ended, I met this guy named Chris.


This one was a weird year. This year was a roller coaster of happiness, sadness, and insanity. No explanation forthcoming. I went to Davao to visit Tricia’s family and then went to Singapore to see Alet.


I moved to Neurosciences from the Heart Institute. I loved working with Tita Villa, Jeremy, Ellie and Aui! On a personal note, I was dumped by my then-boyfriend because he fell in love with his best friend while he was on vacation. Janis told me that there’s confident and then there’s stupid, and I can choose which one was I when I left him with the “best friend”. She gave me the break-up bible (It’s Called a Break-up Because it’s Broken) and I eventually realized that it was the best thing for the both of us because we were not suited for each other and had zilch in common.


I met the above-mentioned then-boyfriend and had a moderately happy relationship. It was my first so I had no idea what to do or what to expect. It was like a high school relationship as we were both so young! More importantly, my sister Sofia was born in March of this year. She made our family closer and is still the cheerful light of our lives until this day.

And, today…


Instead of thinking about shopping, I save my money for “the future”. Oh I still shop, but not as impulsively as before. For the past five years, I’ve always thought of when I would leave Riyadh. And now that the day for me to leave and join my fiance is coming closer, I feel like I’m going to miss this place. As strange as it is to most people outside the Middle East, Riyadh is my second home. These days, I’m thinking of having children, of buying a house within three years, of learning how to cook (I need to practice… badly!), and of adjusting to a new life in a place that is so alien to me. It’s funny… so many people from where I come from would love to move to the US for the sake of being there. While I have never even thought of moving or working there before (UK was my first love), I now want to be there so I can build a family and a future with the person who taught me that loving isn’t a list of relationship duties (how to be a good boyfriend/girlfriend), intense infatuation, or buying expensive gifts during special occasions. He taught me that love is choosing to live your life with someone who makes you so passionately happy that you want to be the best you could ever be, accepting each other’s flaws and living with them, and not giving up. 🙂


While it’s sometimes great to plan for something, especially for things like financial goals or immigration to a new place, things don’t always go the way we want them to be. Life can surprise us and turn things around in an instant after a long calm period with little or no change. I chased happiness for a while. I thought I could be a better girlfriend, then a better artist, a better reader, a better dresser, etc. But none of these “betters” made me as happy as contentment with who I am and where life has taken me.

What is your future going to be like? I’m sure you have a rough idea. But it’s always good to have a little mystery. Isn’t it exciting? 😀


2 thoughts on “The 5-Year Plan

  1. OMG! Time flies dear…I also don’t plan too much and let the flow leads me to anywhere.But as time goes by, you get to value time itself with quality touch of our loved ones.We are less impulsive, we are less immature. The bumps and bruises in past had helped us big time to discover and rediscover ourselves – our flaws and strengths. But as your friend I am deeply honored to know you and shared with you our lives…and dreams. Take care and have a great journey ahead!

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