I had been having bad week after bad week since the year began. Some days warmed up to me, but most were easily puddles of tears on my bedroom floor. I don’t know if anybody noticed but, for once, I was fighting it. When or where I learned to do it is a mystery but I started believing in getting better, even if at the time it didn’t feel so likely to happen.
So I was rewarded with the impossible: I had an amazing weekend.
Friday: Have courage and be kind.
After a disappointing Thursday and a really rough Friday, I went out on my first ever self-date on Friday night. Right after work, I watched a few episodes of a TV show at home, and then headed to the mall in time for the last full show. There was absolutely no question what I would be watching.
Cinderella was the perfect choice for a self-date, a cheerer-upper and a feel-better evening. I’ll talk about the movie more in another post, which will probably have overlaps with this one, but for now let’s say it suited what I was feeling perfectly. The movie was enchanting and glamorous as a fairy tale should be, and Cinderella herself was beautiful, graceful and positive. She was also incredibly human and authentic. I really did not expect to be a crying mess.
It spoke to me in a wonderful way, with loving but challenging reminders scribbled in the margin: Accept yourself for who you are. Fight for what you believe in. Have courage and be kind.
I think maybe my entire weekend was ten times better because of my date. I took a brave step and gave myself a gift I really think I deserved, and Cinderella assured me I was doing great. Every girl should do those two things: watch Cinderella, and take herself on a date.
Saturday: Friends are for hard times.
This happened somewhat spontaneously. I shared a post about yearbook pick-up on my girlfriends’ Facebook group the previous afternoon. Suddenly, it was a plan that we would meet up in school and have a picnic. This progressed into a full-blown and well-prepared plan with a picnic blanket, drinks, and home-cooked pasta. We joked that half of us were account executives but, well, it’s the truth.
Before the picnic started, we assembled tables at the empty outdoor food court and had a round of talking. We caught up, shared happy stories and heart aches, a few hugs, a lot of laughs. It felt really, really great to be with people who cared about me and didn’t know how not to show it. People I could just open up to.
A few years ago, Alex lent me this Korean movie called “Sunny.” Sunny was a feel-good movie about a group of girlfriends who promised to have great lives and be friends forever. Years into the future they had all separated and were having tough times, but one of them took up the mission of reuniting everyone because “friends are for hard times.”
I hope the girls and I never separate and I hope we never face really hard times, but should we ever, I hope we’ll love each other like that too.
P.S. I may have ended the night tipsy?
Sunday: Either a great adventure or nothing.
My mermaid friend AJ and I had been trying to make adventure plans together for a few weekends, but it simply never pushed through for me. Last week she finally told me to hold tight for a possible day trip on Sunday, and then confirmed it with me on Saturday night. I left no room for hesitation and said yes.
By Sunday 6AM we were on the way to paradise. A long drive and a (not really) short trek later, we arrived at a beautiful river with supposedly one of the clearest waters in the Philippines. We spent a couple of hours swimming or relaxing in the water. The whole trip was super quick and low-effort, but it was my first adventure and easily one of the best days of the year. I’m super grateful to the mermaid for this one, and I’m super duper hopeful for more.
Here’s the perfect but funny thing about this weekend: there were so many things wrong with it. I was deeply hurting from something just the other night. I had made all my spontaneous weekend plans because there was something I wanted to forget. I slipped and nearly fell off a ledge. There was anxiety, panic, even a whole bunch of tears I couldn’t hold back.
I seldom ever see an experience for anything other than a sum: I usually weigh the bad and the good against each other. This time, I didn’t. Hurtful things happened, but they in no way reduced the awe of the good things. In case you missed it, that’s a very important lesson in happiness for me this weekend.
Have courage and be kind. Friends are for hard times. Life is either a great adventure or nothing. These are all things I have to choose for myself. I just have to give life a chance.
Here’s to second chances.