A Year of the Self


Today, I write with a new perspective, a fresh take on life, as my recent experience has taught me. The timing has never been perfect. The events that transpired provide a perfect closure to this year and offer a beginning for the next. But before losing myself in the thought of my past and the idea of having a future, let me express how I am grateful for this present, my present.

What am I vaguely describing and alluding to? Have I been touched by the Universe so deeply that I have recently reevaluated how I would like to choose to live my life? Well, there comes a time in one’s life, out of the many if I may say, when we encounter instances that may not change one drastically but at least it serves as a single spark that can rouse a sleeping atom. Unfortunately, my brief encounter had to take place on a plane in a 13-hour flight. I was for a good 15 minutes deprived of life as I know it.

At first, it was like any other flight I’ve had. I went through the usual route, with the check-ins and inspections, my pre-flight meal of French Fries and Hot Fudge Sundae, and long and funny goodbyes with my siblings. I was ready to go, as eager as the first time I found out that I’ll be traveling. I went in and found our seats. We’ve placed our carry-ons in the luggage bin, and I’ve taken out two of my in-flight reads. In short, I was ready to go. Little did I know that with all the preparations I’ve done, I was definitely not prepared for what will ensue six hours into my flight.

I tried sleeping during the flight. After dinner was served, I took off my shoes and wore those socks they provided (together with a small one-time use toothbrush and toothpaste). I was feeling A-okay. Actually, I was in tip-top shape! Or so I thought! So after a few attempts of finding that perfect position to rest, I probably slept intermittently for about an hour. Suddenly, I just woke up feeling dizzy, with darkened vision, and shortness of breath, and then, I passed out. Ah, the horror of passing out while up in the air!

Just before I passed out, in between full and semi-consciousness, I kept on telling myself that I can’t pass out, that this shouldn’t be happening, that of all the times I was actually on land why should it happen now? For some reason, I really thought that it was the last straw for me, the last time I’ll have thoughts in my head, that I’ll feel, that I’ll live. With the help of a doctor (who was also a passenger! how lucky was I!), members of the crew, my parents, two small oxygen tanks, and some medical concoctions, I regained my strength, vision, and full consciousness!

So, there goes that snippet of what transpired, and this is why I am writing about this. During those 15 minutes of uncertainty, I must admit I was scared. I was scared because I still have so much I want to accomplish in my life, that I still have so many things to share with my loved ones, that I still have yet to tell them the things I want to say, that I still want to explore the world that I live in. In short, I was scared because I still want to live and do the things living beings in my capacity do.

It was not a near-death experience, no. That is too grand a story to tell. It was, as I like to put it, my very own year-end experience, one that puts my life this year in perspective. Perhaps, it was the Universe’s way of communicating with me directly. As I always do, I humbly accept this year’s lessons with an open heart and mind, most of which I’ll keep to myself.

Throughout the course of this piece, I had wanted it to be short and simple. To reflect the things I have learned based on my experiences, highlighting this very recent mishap. But in the end, I have found another realization. That yes, this year is the year I have spent with every aspect of myself, be it intellectually, culturally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. That yes, during those 15 minutes, I realized that I love myself dearly (narcissism aside!) and that I believe in my capacity to do more, to live more. All the while, I had been thinking of how I am with others that I have forgotten how to be.

If there is anything I’d like to share it’s this: if I could give each year a theme, I’d brand this one with the “Year of the Self.” Not that I was a loner or selfish throughout the year, I am neither, but altogether with everything that had happened and I’ve done, I was left to my own devices. I have learned so much about myself, of how I truly am, and continuously so, more this year than my years in college. There really is a time for everything, and I am humbled by this year in all aspects of my life. I learned to be with myself more, and I still am knowingly doing so. I learned to accept my shortcomings and my strengths. I laughed. I cried. I danced. I sang. I wrote. I read. I drove. I walked. I ran. I breathed in and out. In sum, this year, I’ve been with what I’d like to call myself, and I am thankful for that opportunity.

As the holidays are upon us and as we start a new year, what I would like you to take from this rather long prose is that maybe it’s time for you to have your own year. A year that does not exclude others, but a year that is aware of the self, of how you truly are. Consider my passing on a spark to you, hoping to ignite something within, as a year-end gift!

139 thoughts on “A Year of the Self

  1. Being self-aware is always a great goal. I strive to be, but then find I falter in some way. There can be a lot of distractions in the world these days.

  2. It’s amazing that a seemingly simple moment like that can change your perspective in such a grand way. I enjoyed the fact that you felt like you had more to accomplish in your life. Seems like we might all be guilty of getting caught up in our everyday activities and we forget about what our lives are really about. Excellent read.

    • Thank you for the appreciation and the insightful comment! I agree with you. We just have to take time off to be with ourselves and reassess what our lives are really about. Happy reading and writing!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. Your writing is beautiful, inspiring, and a gift. I’m glad you are ok. I think it is time for me to take a year for myself. Enjoy the rest of this year and thanks again!

  4. Just when I was resigning myself to my new year’s resolution of being “more insignificant to myself” … a momemntary lapse .. I’m back on my track. Don’t you think we consider ourselves more than we actually are?

  5. Hi there – thank you for sharing. I also am having a year of the self and I really relate to your words. The feeling of wanting to do so much more is one that I’m familiar with (often I think about this on planes actually!). Happy New Year.

  6. Wow. so deep. so real. so true.
    I am extremely new to blogging and this is the first i have read.
    I couldnt have asked for a better launch.
    Guess what? my theme for 2012 is “Year of Self”
    I thank you for sharing a part of you

  7. Thank you for sharing, I recently separated with my wife of 2 years, and this has been a very difficult year for me. 2013 just around the corner, will certainly be, a year of the self. I’ve always done things for others, now that I’m alone, I have neglected myself. Time to consider my happiness.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story, for it really touched me in the best way possible. Truly inspiring -you just made my day a lot better and happier :)
    Wish you all the best and wonderful, wonderful years to come!

  9. Wonderful idea! I think this idea could be very good for me. I can be overly critical of myself and a year of recognizing myself in a different way could be very unlifting.

  10. What a great blog you have written. There is nothing like a near death experience to draw the importance of the moment out. I have often had difficulty really enjoying and living life to the fullest, somehow a little suffering always brings out the truth of life a little more. I used to work in coffee house and it wasn’t that fulfilling, then I started working at http://www.playgroundentertainmentgroup.com and I felt like my life had a greater sense of purpose again. Hope your newfound and renewed appreciation.

  11. Very well understand your experience. I went through a deep self realization period in my life…. few months back…it changed my take on life completely. Cheers to the ‘Present’ we have called ‘Life’.
    I’m new to blogging, this is the first blog I read & its truly inspiring.
    Happy writing!

  12. Thanks for sharing about embracing who you are. I love that you danced, you laughed, you sang. You were You, and that’s the only thing you need to be :)

    Thanks for the inspiration, and I’m glad you made it :)

  13. “A year that does not exclude others, but a year that is aware of the self, of how you truly are.”

    Sounds like a plan.

  14. Such a great post to read as we end the new year and begin another. There are so many things to be grateful for, but we always forget the most important – self.

    Thank you for sharing!

  15. I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve been spending much more time critically evaluating myself recently. In fact, this continual critical evaluation of myself is what lead me to join WordPress and begin blogging. Thanks for sharing!

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