The year that was

- Paula C. Nocon () - January 4, 2003 - 12:00am
The end of the year is here; another time to say, "It’s all over now." All is quiet, except perhaps for the rustle of curtains closing, the whisper of a last page turning. The lull before the tolling of bells and the cracking of fire.

This was the year, the year that was.

This was the year that I got that first call from my editor, and in the peal of the telephone ringing I heard the signal of my return to journalism. "Literature in a hurry!" she told me, and of what she meant I’ve striven to be worthy.

This was the year a young actor died suddenly, and thousands mourned. In that immense grief I glimpsed at the fragility of youth. A youth worth dying for.

This was the year that my 13-month-long jet lag finally came to an end. If life is a journey then it is about moving on; a place you grew to love will always be a part of you just as much as you become a part of it.

This was the year that our president admitted she had plenty of sex and a senator endorsed a brand of brandy. While somewhere in the country a mother of nine starving children found herself pregnant again, and a desolate alcoholic father decided not to quit drinking.

This was the year that I rediscovered Boracay, my paradise; Cebu, my birthplace; and Davao, my favorite. Love of country is bittersweeter the second time around.

This was the year that Martin Burnham was killed and Gracia Burnham was saved. Sometimes sacrifice is all it takes to live again, and life is somehow made possible by death. The blood of a Lazarus heart.

This was the year that was the end of a love affair. It was a moment of truth, when everything I was taught as a child I finally made my own: honesty is indeed the best policy, patience is the supreme virtue, forgiveness the ultimate deed, and grace the most sublime state. And unconditional love is truly possible.

This was the year that bombs went off all over the world in the name of freedom, or hatred, or both. The opposite of love is not hate, it is fear. One man’s conviction is another man’s terror.

This was the year that I visited Singapore and intuited a home; there I glanced at the greatness of the Asian. While our country keeps looking across the Pacific for direction and guidance, the rest of our neighbors are watching the great civilization just a little bit up north for inspiration. And I remembered gladly that my great-grandfather was a Chinese immigrant.

This was the year that George W. Bush ruled an America that was not as kind, not as tolerant, as the America that has embraced millions of my countrymen over the years. Some things are not changing for the better.

This was the year that I uncovered my true calling, my dharma. As your deep, driving desire is, so is your will; as your will is, so is your deed; as your deed is, so is your destiny.

This was the year that Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski took home a gold and the Ateneo Blue Eagles executed a miracle, and I wept at their victories. This is what great athletes teach us: only when you dream the impossible can you fathom what it means to give your very best.

This was the year that I watched Amelie and In the Mood for Love. One was about a heart that does not judge; the other about a heart that could not act. In the depth of one’s feelings one can find the greatest strength.

This was the year that a cabinet secretary and a congressman quarreled in public, themselves the very bastions of this nation’s law and justice. Perhaps we no longer have leaders, only people in power.

And this was the year that I realized that the yearend is just as meaningful and poignant as the New Year. Events in my own little life merge with events from all around the world, and nothing is ever the same again.

You can see tomorrow as clearly as you can see yesterday. Memories are no different from dreams; you can imagine the future as easily as you can conjure up the past. This is when you begin to live in the moment.

And so this was the year, the year that was, and the moment has come for the year that will be.
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