2 0 1 9 : Learnings and Moments

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

This is the part of the year wherein I type out whatever that comes out of my head; it is an accumulation of all my lingering thoughts these days as the year comes to a close.

Here we are during the time of the year wherein we don't have a clear grasp of what day it is or what time it is, and that is okay because we're all feeling this exact same thing (right?!). All we know is that we're slowly creeping into the new year and there's nothing we can do about it, except move forward and look ahead. Before we move ahead though, it's like these days were made for deeper introspection. It's as if the universe knew we needed this time to pause, to rest, and to think about how we are, how the year was, and how we can look forward to the coming year.

Every year is a chance for growth, a chance to do things differently, and it doesn't have to be during the new year that these things happen; it can and it should happen at any time of the year. I took more initiative this year with being more open to new experiences, even though most times it was nerve wracking and anxiety inducing. If you know me in real life, it may seem like I'm such a carefree person, but deep inside I'm actually thinking about so many things all at the same time.

I think I'm better now with that aspect though. It's exactly when I embrace the nerves and come face to face with my anxious thoughts that I'm able to get better. Perhaps it is those kinds of experiences that I need more of in life.

Each time I get anxious, it's always good to go back to the bible and to lift all my anxieties to the Lord. Casting all my cares upon Him because I know I am a flawed human being, saved by His grace.

And so I came up with a list of things I've learned throughout the year. I have to admit that most of them I learned through my days in my office. I consider it a good thing, to have learned all these things while at work because for me it means my workplace has an active part in my development. Taking time to think through my realizations and receiving constructive feedback from my peers has increased my level of self-awareness, which in turn helps me to manage my emotions and thoughts better, whether it be professionally or personally. Perhaps God uses people and experiences for me to learn more, to lean on Him more, and for that I am forever grateful.

I'm sharing all these things because I didn't want to intend this blog entry to become a highlight reel of the year. Life doesn't always consist of happy and comfortable moments. There is character development through challenges, or when changes happen and there's a lot of figuring out to do.

Here are my 2019 takeaways~!

To let go of what I can't control and to focus on what I can do

There are many things outside of our control, but I learned that worrying about it won't solve anything. When things get a bit overwhelming though, it might be good to take a mental note of the things outside of my control and the things I can do something about. Managing my thoughts is one thing I can do about, definitely, but managing how other people react to something is not one of those things, and that is okay. That is theirs to think about, and I shouldn't be adding it to mine. 

To step in faith and not in fear because of my lack in skills or abilities

This has been a way of thinking that I've been dealing with for the longest time. There have been many instances when I hesitated to take on something because I felt like I wasn't prepared, or I wasn't good enough. But then when will I ever be prepared, or when will I ever be perfect? Perfection doesn't exist, and no matter how high my standards can be, I will always be stuck at where I am, doing the same old things that I know I'm good at, not knowing that I might excel in something else. Who am I to boast about my skills? Is it not the Lord who equips for every good work He has prepared in advance? 

To be conscious of what I allow inside my headspace

As mentioned earlier, as I already have many thoughts to entertain in my own head, it means that I shouldn't have to add more of what others might be thinking. It's draining and will not add value to my life at all. Also, another thing is to test my own thoughts. There are instances when I've thought badly about a certain thing, not knowing the full context about it. This is when applying the Benefit Of The Doubt comes in handy. 

To ask for help and to give help

I'll have to add to this, which is that: exhaust all my resources first, then ask for help. I've had this thinking before, that I didn't want to appear stupid, clueless, or naive, so if I'm able to carry on with something, I'll try my best to minimize asking questions as much as possible and move along with my understanding of things. This however, has made me realize how much it may have stunted my growth. Knowledge is power, as they say, and it was when I found this headline on our intranet that I decided to shift my perspective and actively work on a different approach: I'd rather be stupid for 5 minutes rather than be stupid forever. Which meant, ask the stupid question, gain the knowledge you need or challenge ideas, then move on, instead of not asking and having the wrong understanding of things. 

To acknowledge my emotions, feel it, then move on

Feelings sink in late for me, and once it does, it has the tendency to linger for quite some time. Not that there's anything wrong with being emotional. We are all emotional beings, whether we like to say it or not, so it is healthy to feel what we feel. Adding to that, it's also good to think of what to do next. Applying it to myself personally though, instead of telling myself that I'm fine when I'm not, it's perfectly acceptable to be honest and tell myself that: I'm not fine, but what can I do to make myself better? Always looking, failing, forward. Onwards!

To rest when needed, to listen to my body and mind, to care for it

I learned in the previous year and also this year about the importance of taking a break. No one will beat you up for it, trust me. 6 months of working straight took a toll on me, and looking into my computer screen even during my lunch break gave me a higher grade of astigmatism and a strained back. It's never going to be worth it if it's at the expense of your health, whatever it may be, whether it's a night out or working overtime. There is always a next time to see friends, and there is always a next day to finish work (actually, work will never be finished). ; - )

It's during times of sickness that I'm reminded how this body is not mine, it has been bought with a price, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It should also be true during times of good health that I praise God for giving me this body to take care of. 

To start doing instead of thinking it may be too late

Here we go again with the Things I Should've Accomplished By This Age thought that somehow circled around my head this year. It made me realize that instead of actually starting and doing, I spent more time in dwelling with the fact that it might have been too late, when in reality it's not. It's really not too late, and it's never too late. 

To enjoy the moment unhurriedly, to be more aware of the spaces I am currently in

I've written about it before, somewhere in my entries, that the secret to making time go by slower is by being in the moment. It's true, because the moment itself will always be more important than what's posted on your Instagram!
; - ) 


On to the lighter things in life! It's honestly hard for me to think of one highlight for the year. When I look back at 2019, there was no one defining moment that changed my life. However, I can say that there were small accumulated moments that somehow made the year great for me. These moments were times spent with family and friends, work projects and events tackled with colleagues, and good habits and new perspectives I developed that unknowingly built by trying out new things and reinventing myself throughout the year. There were people I met, and people I got closer to in this year. There were many first times, such as

♡ a first to cooking with mom

♡ a first with travelling together with friends. We went to Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia. I gained a lot of new experiences, and I learned to appreciate other Asian cultures. 

♡ a first to try out a brush calligraphy workshop

♡ there was also going to the beach more often because the Philippines has 7,107 islands and I ought to see the sea more! I went to Zambales, Batangas, and Cagbalete Island.

♡ a first to developing an exercise routine that I abide by and love. I get all my fitness vids from Fitness Blender, I highly recommend.

♡ a first to mentor interns and a younger colleague at work

♡ exploring my city-- as much as it's great to be out travelling internationally, it's also great to see my own city once in a while, and together with dear friends. We went around Old Manila and also got to see the Natural Museum of Natural History.

♡ a first to go out on breakfast, brunch, and workout dates with friends

For the coming year, I want nothing more than to have even more great moments with loved ones. I also want to continue on with solidifying all the good habits I developed, and applying all the learnings I gained in order to take myself to the next level. : - )

I look forward to learning a lot more, and growing more in deeper intimacy with God. To be sensitive towards His leading, to look unto Him for guidance each day. I know all things fall into place because it is according to His divine plan.

Hello Anna Jo blog has been alive and well. It is home to many things closest to me, and I'm happy that you are here. Writing has always been a great joy, and it's truly great whenever my words are able to resonate with you. My intention and hope remains the same: to build up and to encourage dear readers through my words as we go through life.

Blessed Happy New Year, Dear reader! Let us look forward to another year with hope and courage. Thank you for being here with me. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

I've written about 2017 and 2018 respectively. : - ) 



  1. This was such a great post and sum up of the year! And you spoke such a word too! I agree that God calls us to seek out things that are outside our power so that in the end we will know that it wouldn't have been possible without Him because all things are impossible in Him. I can't wait to see all the new firsts you'll have in the new year and DECADE, and hope you have a great start to the year!

    - Avalon from www.simplyavalon.com

    1. Praise God indeed, for He is the one who enables. He is truly faithful and unchanging no matter what may come throughout the year. Thank you for dropping by, Avalon! I've followed you on Bloglovin' :)

  2. I love the mindset you have about experiencing each year. We have so many opportunities for growth and setbacks. It is up to us to own up to it. I love the lessons learned in 2019. I totally agree with taking a chance. YESS on giving and receiving help- it goes both ways. Resting is so important - otherwise, we get burnt out and don't perform our best. Love that you grew your relationship with others this year. Hope 2020 will be a great year as well!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. Happy New Year Nancy!!! I'm excited to bring in all that I've learned from 2019 to this year 2020, and am all the more looking forward to new learnings as well. Hope you have a great 2020 dear ♡♡♡

  3. I really like what you said about asking for and giving help more often. For the longest time I hated asking others for help, until I realised just how much it was holding me back! Even if it feels awkward at first, going to others for advice really does save a lot of time and energy.

    Happy new year by the way, Anna! I hope you have a great 2020 :)

    Mani / www.eatyourteacup.co

    1. Asking for help really wasn't a thing for me, not until I started working as a young professional. I was the type to carry on and not minding other people's business, perhaps afraid to take up space? But not anymore. So agree with you that asking for help saves time and energy! And we don't know it, but people are actually more than willing to give a hand :)

      Happy New Year Mani, I've missed you!! I hope your 2020 will be wonderful as well. ♡♡♡

  4. Such important lessons to bring into the new year.
    Sending love and magic for 2020! x

    Isabel x

    1. There was much learned in 2019. Excited to apply these, and to learn even more in 2020. Thank you for dropping by, Isabel! Likewise, sending love and strength to you :)

  5. Hi Anna, Happy New Year! I love how honest this blog post is - not only highlighting the good but also the not so happy side of your life too and sharing the life lessons you've learned along the way. :) And I'm happy for the many firsts you had last 2019 too - especially your Asian travel with friends! Sounds fun!

    - Hazel https://hazywanders.com/

    1. Hello Hazel, Happy New Year!! :) I find that it's good to have a balance of both the good and bad, especially the learnings that came out from them, because that's what life is about. The travels were great indeed; it's great to be out of my familiar routine once in a while. Wishing you all the best for 2020!

  6. Wow, these are all really great takeaways Anna Jo! I feel like I have to work on a LOT of those , like taking a break when needed and monitoring closely what my head allows in. It's so tough doing that though! Also, those are really great accomplishments and first times! I would love to be in a brush calligraphy workshop. I love all these pictures here as well girl! :)

    1. Thanks Geraldine!! :) there really were lots learned last 2019. The mind indeed can be tough to handle at times, but it's part of growth and getting better! Brush calligraphy is a lot of fun, I hope you get to attend a workshop some time, and there are lots of resources online too! Wishing you a great 2020 ♡♡♡♡

  7. Wow! These are such great takeaways from the previous year and I've learned quite a bit myself. I do believe that being mindful is something we can all work on and learn from. I really liked reading this post, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hello Eena, thank you!! :) I'm glad there were some things on here that resonated with you ♡♡

  8. I love the maturity of this post. Totally get you about the maturity. It takes time and experiences to learn more and change ourselves. It is great that you became more conscious about what you allow inside your headspace. YESSS on asking for help!! I tell my interns to always ask questions. I agree with starting things instead of thinking it is too late. We allow that to be an excuse. Hope 2020 will be an exciting year!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  9. I can't wait to see all the new firsts you'll have in the new year and DECADE! Thank you for share this! 🌺🌸

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    1. Thanks Hellen! :) likewise for you, I hope we both make this year a great one!