All Things Wonderful

In the past month, hundreds of thousands of gifts might have been opened from all over the Philippines alone. This opening of gifts has been a long-established tradition not just in the Philippines, but all over the world. Here in our country, as early as September (or as soon as stores go on huge sale!) people start hunting down gifts perfect for every person written on their Christmas list. In other words, the exchanging of gifts on December is prepared for a long period of time.

The preparation also involves looking for wrappers and packaging. Since there is a wide assortment of these things in the market, even wrapping gifts requires decision-making on the part of the giver. Oh, the strains and stress this holiday brings!

Today is the first day of 2020.There still might be gifts under your trees – either waiting for you to open them or waiting for their owners to receive them. Whichever the case, this is not our stop sign for the gift-giving season. It continues, and it must continue.

As we start the New Year, as soon as all the noise and the festivities are gone, let us spend some quiet time to reflect on the past year and on the past decade.

I’m sure the gifts you received did not come wrapped in fancy papers all the time. Gifts come in many form, and it takes keen eyes and grateful heart to be able to recognize them. It comes in the form of people, of events, of answered prayers, in unanswered prayers, and many more.

In the same way, you may also have given gifts which need not be wrapped in paper.

This thought draws me to a post I had in Instagram a few weeks back, when I shared that organizing my husband’s things for his business or leisure trips is something I do for him ever since. It is me sending him all my love when he has to go on business trips without me and the kids. Organizing for him is my love language.  

In his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman enumerated that words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch are five ways in which we can show our love for our significant other.

Organizing falls under the acts of service. With it come time, careful attention, sacrifice, and love – the very same things we involve when we choose a gift and wrapper. Organizing involves a lot of dirty work though, but you become more than willing to do all these dirty work anyway because you don’t focus on it; rather, you focus on who you’re doing it for.

It’s truly amazing how serving others work: you do things for others, yet you yourself learn big along the way.

In the last 10 years, I’m sure you’ve had a facial, a massage, a spa, or a mani-pedi session to calm yourself from whatever reason there might be. In the last decade, more so in the last few years of this decade, self-love has been widely established and campaigned. Why not? We all deserve some time off from our busy schedules and lives.

After a facial, a massage, or any of our pampering activity of preference, it would greatly help to organize or re-organize our space, our schedule, our thoughts. I find organizing therapeutic. I hope that somewhere along your journey of pursuing a life with a calmer schedule and an organized home, you find organizing therapeutic too.

While organizing is a beautiful act of service you can give to others, it may also be a beautiful gift that you can give yourself, if you haven’t yet, this New Year.  

As we welcome the New Year, we also welcome a new decade. I know this sounds scary to some as it is exciting for others. As we look back in the past 10 years, it would be helpful to ask ourselves, “Has everything looked the same to me and my family since this decade began?”

I believe that we all have our fair share of highs and lows, of wins and losses. If you are in the middle of stress right now or you feel stuck in your career or family life, I hope you find the strength one day to shift your perspective. Where you are right now is not the end.

I’m sure you’ve encountered this quotation somewhere in Instagram or Facebook:

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

A little change in perspective, a little movement to the year- or decade-old closet, will do a lot of difference. Have you tried looking at your home or your life from a different angle? Maybe it’s all you need to jumpstart what you need to do for the year.

Maybe you’ve spent so much time and money last month.

Maybe you’ve focused too much on something that burned you out.

Maybe you’ve confined yourself in the comforts of a box.

Maybe you’ve said “yes” too much to work, and “no” too much to opportunities.

The New Year offers us a lot of things new and wonderful. It is up to us to believe, plan, and move. After all, Christmas or New Year or whatever time of the year it is, not only gifts abound. Blessings do. We just have to recognize them.

In turn, we are asked to give, and give generously… not necessarily with things that can be wrapped, but with all the intangible things we are endowed with – skills, passion, time, service, and love.

When was the last time you gave someone a gift which cannot be wrapped in paper?

Happy New Year, Neatropolis! May we all be blessed with all things wonderful!

“Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13