Dear Diary

The Longest January Ever

calendar block showing january
Photo: Laura Chouette/Unsplash

January should be quick, like a trial period that ends before you can even make the most of the product or service you are sampling. But it did not seem to be the case with this year’s January, as it felt longer than it should have been. Sometimes I even wondered if we were somehow stuck in a year made exclusively of a single, never-ending January.

So how was my January? Good and not good. It started quite well, sure. We were camping by the Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales when it arrived. Our friends A and D had taken us there after their wedding in Subic, and we were with other good friends. We made new ones, too. Apart from the great company and the amazing view, there was also so much food.

But while I was having fun at the time, I was also grieving deep inside because my grandmother was in the hospital due to a stroke. Even saddening was the fact that we’d already been told by the doctors that she would not be able to talk anymore and that we couldn’t really do anything about the situation.

Grief consumed me in the days that followed, making me incapable of connecting with people on an emotional level. Because of this, I deliberately avoided socializing with other individuals, especially those I knew would require a certain level of emotional engagement. This also meant I had to stop being a free shrink and coach to some who had gotten so used to turning to me for advice.

Thankfully, some friends were okay with just having fun. One of them was J with whom I had brunch one Saturday morning. There was also my college barkada with whom I had a fun game and movie night at SaLaro Maginhawa. These people assured me that I was worthy of spending time with even when not offering advice or helping them troubleshoot certain aspects of their lives and that I could just be a friend they could gossip, have stupid conversations, watch mindless movies, and play silly games with.

Of course, it wasn’t just my friends; my husband and my family were also very supportive and thoughtful the entire time. I was so glad that they made an effort to keep things drama-free. My husband, in particular, made sure he was there for me regardless of what I wanted to do. And since he knew I did not want anything heavy, he and I just gossiped most of the time.

Then there was something else for me to grieve about: my job, which I took so much pride in and immensely enjoyed. Unfortunately, it was time for me to go. I had been having bad feelings about it in recent months, especially after having survived a series of job cuts and reorganizations and witnessing a sudden increase in workload, but still chose to stay. It was only when I learned about a superior’s departure—something I knew would eventually spell doom for the rest of the team—that I finally made up my mind to also leave.

But of course, I did not leave right away. I had to make sure first that I would have somewhere else to fall back on. Good thing, an opportunity opened, and I took it right away. I guess I got really lucky. Still, at the time, I could not help but get pissed off because, despite everything that had already happened, including all the changes I’d faced, it was still January. I was getting exhausted.

So imagine the relief I felt when it finally came to a close.

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