While people are busy making plans of the upcoming 2017, I was struck by the thoughts of how my 2016 went. A friend told me to write something about it before I write anything about my plans for 2017.

My mind is so busy thinking of 2017 that I forgot to reflect on my life for the past 12 months.

For me, 2016 is the year that made me started to think and focus on myself. I had an amazing first quarter where I discovered my passion for travel, writing, and photography. I never thought that I will fall in love with travel and adventure. The risk taker and adventurous side of me unleashed when I began my steps to the Peak of  Taraw, El Nido rocky mountain. I never thought I could climb the mountain which is the highest point of El Nido. I never thought that my fear of swimming in the deep sea will diminish the moment I saw those beautiful creatures and corals under the sea. I never thought that I can easily fall in love with green trees, mountains, blue-green sea water, sea creatures, white sands, and sunsets.

I fall in love with climbing, snorkeling and taking pictures which I thought I was sucked in the first place. My thoughts become wider as I explore the other parts of our country and as I begun to meet new people from other places, I became passionate to share my feelings and photography by creating my own site.

Happy Rabbit Travels is one way that describes “Joe” outside work. That I have life, family, friends, and dreams. It describes the things about me that not all the people knew about me. I’m glad that though I just started it last March, it has now more or less 100 views daily. I’m so grateful for people I met in WordPress and Instagram, for the people who appreciate and take notice of my work. I’m blessed to finally share the things I wanted; the beauty of our world, and the challenging day to day experiences of every individual.

This is my proudest season of the year, as my youngest sibling already graduated from college. I’m so blessed to have siblings who know how much I work hard just to support them. I’m glad that they appreciate my efforts and hard works by finishing college and giving me good grades every semester, and I’m so proud of them. Now, I know our late father is proud of us for what we’ve become.

The first Quarter of 2016 made me meet new people who became part of my life, and until now, we remained connected and friends. The people I never thought I can actually blend, the people that made me proud of myself and push me too hard beyond the limits I set for myself. The people who are level headed, business oriented, traveler and dreamer. The people who won’t judge you for your weakness, but encourage you to be strong, face your fears and embrace your flaws and the real you. I’m so grateful for them, and they will always be part of my life no matter what happens.

For the second and third quarter of 2016, I’ve learned to let go despite how difficult it may seem.

I let go of my friends who are very dear to me. I understand why sometimes people need to follow their dreams and move away. They’re simply not being selfish, but being true to the fact the life is really hard, and that they have to make choices and sacrifices for their love ones.
I let go of the past and the people who are no longer part of my present. I let go of the things and situations that don’t help me grow as a person.
I let go of the old habits and procrastination which are not healthy for my future success.
I let go of the past mistakes and forgave the people who hurt me.
I let go of the fear and the rejections I’ve been.
I let go of the memories that I’ve been playing from the past… and last but not the least, I let go of the old me and instead became fearless, adventurous, and risk taker.

This is the time when I did my first solo travel, and experience the joy of loving myself. I focus all my energies and efforts to do what I want. I strive to get things done and pursue my passion. I challenge myself to do not so ordinary things alone. I met strangers that are now my friends. I discover all my strength, flaws, and weakness. I learned how to control my emotions and ego, I learned how to build new relationships and friendships, I learned new habits and get into training that will improve my personality development. Now I can fully say that I love and know myself more than anyone in this world 🙂

It’s a great discovery and a great adventure.

The last quarter of 2016 has been the most difficult and challenging not only to me but also to some people I know. Drastic changes, competition, and pressure made me exhausted with the things I do. It somehow made me lose the drive to get up in bed, and made me tired all the time. Those hard days, are not yet over but, I’m seeing the fruits of the efforts and hard work that I’ve done for past months. I can say that it’s just a tough year, but not a tough life.

I became brave to face the person I haven’t seen for years. He’s the person I was supposed to marry, I’m glad to finally give him the closure that both of us needs to move on with our lives and start a new adventure with other people. I thought I can’t face the person who causes me so much pain, yet I’ve learned to forgive and forget the pain. Time really heals all wounds. We can get over with the people and situation that hurt us. We can let go and fly away.. and be happy.

I’m still blessed that I have a loving family and friends to celebrate Christmas. I’m blessed to be given opportunities to share my work and been to places I’ve never been before. I’m blessed cause I have the people who inspire me to do good and be the better version of myself. I’m blessed to have my readers who inspire me to write more. I’m blessed cause I’m happy and healthy.  And though I did not get all the things I wanted for 2016, God gave me the things He knew I needed.

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