this time last year, i was wrapping up my last days as Department Chair in a frenzy, further caught up not only with pre-enrolment busy-ness but also with ensuring a smooth transition to the new Chair, both for the new Chair who's my very dear friend, and for the students in my Department whom i have grown to love so much in my 4-year stint.
this time last year, i was looking forward to a complete beauty parlor and spa treat by june 1, to celebrate my "freedom". : )
this year, though, as soon as summer classes ended last May 26, i promptly spent May 27 for my long overdue pampering and treat-- hot oil, hair trim, manicure and pedicure with foot spa at the beauty parlor, and a complete facial, body salt scrub and aromatherapeutic swedish massage at my favorite spa! : ) : ) : ) i capped the day treating my self to my favorite dinner of salad and pasta at my favorite little restaurant.
it's interesting how the same team of ladies who serviced me at the spa this year, used to be the same team of ladies who serviced me 2 years ago... and they asked me how i was, how they remembered how i frequented their place before when i was still newly separated and was trying to rebuild my life, how we shared womanly stories and how they remembered how i cried and rushed to the spa for a massage every time to keep my sanity and sense of selfhood intact... and i was happy to tell them now that i've survived and have blossomed even, in wondrous ways i my self could never even have imagined before. and they were happy for me, too.
and i secretly wept, but in relief and gratitude this time, for how i have come so far, despite my self, in spite of my self and my foibles.
this time last year, and all the previous years before, i would be all tired and anxious from having to balance a very tight budget, wondering where i'd get the wherewithdal to pay for the kids' tuition and school opening expenses.
this year, not only have i enrolled the kids early and bought their school supplies soon after, i am also now in the middle of updating long overdue debts which will soon be wiped out in a few months, and we actually have a little left over for little treats and luxuries, like movies and books and some toys!
it's interesting, too, how, for the second straight night now, i've been going to Papa's bakery to settle business for the day there and prepare it for the next day with the staff, because Papa and my brother and his family are currently in Cebu for a vacation, and they've asked me to watch over the business for them while they were away.
it is almost like deja vu-- because i used to do the same thing (and more, as bakery manager) soon after i graduated and until the early years of my marriage.
it felt funny and strange, standing there by the counter now, looking out at the passersby and the busy street, much like what i used to do before. only now, i can look out with the perspective of somebody who's been out there in the world, who has fought her battles well and triumphed against all odds, when before, i would look out wistful and envious for the life that seemed to be passing me by, wondering how and when my life on my own terms would finally begin.
the last time i stood there was 10 years ago, when i felt soo old and used up and useless, as i slowly died each day.
today, at 38, i stand on the same spot but only feel peace and joy and contentment now, for the life i have sought to live, with passion and tenderness and lots of mistakes, but a life truly of my own crafting, on my own terms now. life is just truly beginning for me now, in many ways, in all ways.
the kids and i are in a good place in our lives, at last,
God is sooooo good!!!