To my 30-year-old self

I’m writing this days before our birthday weekend. I’ve actually tried to write this earlier, but something felt off. And the truth of the matter is, I think I was trying to write that letter too smug. We may have learned a lot in the past decade, but we’re still a work in progress. Some days, months or years may come better than others but we’ll still need to work on ourselves every day. Not necessarily to reach perfection, just to be a little bit better every day. Better on ourselves, other people, and the world. 

20s was a decade filled with memories for the ages. Exciting adventures at unfamiliar landscapes, heartbreaks, disappointments, achievements and new beginnings. You’ve shown up for yourself in ways that you never thought you needed to. You’ve grown to love yourself and actually like yourself, even if you do get snotty sometimes and may need some reassurance from time to time. You’ve accepted the freedom of being wrong and being wrong often (sometimes we still need to accept this more if we’re really being honest). You’ve started to have more faith and trust, even when times feel desolate and futile. You’ve allowed yourself to feel every crashing wave of emotion instead of holding your breath until it passes. And you’ve been humbled, and continue to be humbled, to know that you didn’t do any of this on your own. You’ve been gifted the strength to fight through circumstances, but nothing compares to the grace, love, joy, courage, wisdom, peace, and power that surrendering to Christ brings. He is your most trusted friend, heavenly father and faithful partner.

There’s so much to look forward to, even if they are unknown. Many more things to learn and unlearn. And even if sharing with your best friend, Tatay and Nanay, may not be physically possible, they’ll be here in mind, heart and sometimes with a little attitude to bring yours down back to Earth. It’s okay to miss them and wish they were here. That’s part of grieving and moving forward.

Lean into your discomfort. To access the deepest and undiscovered parts of you, you have to let yourself sink into the discomfort. Floating only keeps you on the surface, wandering and wondering – half in and half out. You and I know that staying on the superficial surface has never been our style. So sink. Forgotten shipwrecks remain dormant underneath the surface could still carry treasures. You found the one true refuge amidst a shipwreck, remember?

And one last thing before I leave, you’re going to hate this but I’m going to say it anyway, fall in love with someone else again. You know how to love unconditionally, that’s not what I’m saying. Fall in love again slowly, and let yourself be loved… I saw that eye roll. Do it for us and because we deserve to. 

Always,

K

P.S. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Dear 2021

Boy did you come with very unexpected surprises! Some pleasant, some not so pleasant. All in very interesting timing. You’ve inherited COVID with absolutely no choice, and it most likely will be part of our regular vernacular for years to come whether or not the pandemic dies down soon. I think by now, we’re all pretty exhausted, rattled and/or fed up. And yet, I still stand by what I said last year…there’s hope for something bigger than ourselves amidst all of this. 

Upon reflecting on the past year, I kept circling back to the notion that chaos is necessary to move things forward. We can see this manifested in nature, people, culture and so on. If we look at the labour market alone, remote working conditions are prioritized, top talents are choosing to leave their high-profile jobs to start their own ventures and conversations about what it means to be an effective leader in this day and age finally included traits like empathy. Sometimes we need a little chaos (or a lot depending on the situation) to shake things up and challenge our core. So if I had to choose, the word that comes to mind when I think about 2021, it would be chaos

In today’s definition, the word chaos means being in a state of confusion, disarray or disorder. Although the origins of the word are suggested to come from the Greek word cháos or an open formless space, an abyss or void. Interesting isn’t it? How meaning evolved to denote space and time into a feeling about something. And that something is often out of our control. It feels chaotic to us because we can’t control the outcome we want to have or expect to receive. It feels chaotic to us because we don’t understand what’s going on. But did we actually fully understand before? 

Chaos compels us to trust. To trust in God. To trust that He is in control. To trust that He is an immovable fortress. To trust ourselves enough to try to make wise choices, albeit perceived high or low risks. To trust that if something fails or is not completely what we expected that we won’t fall apart. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3

As 2021 comes to a close, let’s remember that the everlasting light that shines ever so bright will set us free from the chaos towards creation and abundance. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Chaos Theory + tabula rasa. 

Dear 17-year old me

February 22, 2020: Last day of your first culinary arts course

It only took us 10 years before taking our first culinary class at an actual culinary school. It was worth the wait! It only goes to show that oftentimes the thing we always wanted, truly wanted, will come with patience and faith. 

Looking back, had you taken that road defiantly would have changed your passion and appreciation for food. You had to learn over the course of ten years why it matters, how cooking makes you feel, and what about food makes it a big part of your identity. The uncertainty of waiting, yearning for the thing you wanted to do only made the experience that much richer. 

Wearing the pristine white chef’s coat, top hat, and apron for the first time became a proclamation to genuinely and openly put yourself into the world with confidence. 

This is me. This is the woman that God is making me to be.

And what an exhilarating feeling it was! The 6:30 AM wake up routine during cold winter Saturdays won’t matter. Showing up was more important. Acting on your values with integrity matters. 

Though the next 10 years of waiting for this moment may seem too long, frustrating, and most of all exhaustive, the day will come at the right moment. You will feel with every bone in your body that this moment is the right moment. So simmer down. Take time to discover. Making a master stock requires the right ingredients, time and patience to marry all the flavours together. So do you. 

Always, 

K

P.S. Faith is the salt that will help you heal, bring you hope and determination. Sprinkle it in every aspect of your life, generously. 

To my future children

I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait to watch you grow and see the people you’ll become. Most of all, I can’t wait to show you the world that God created for His children.

Year after year, your father and I will dread the moment you leave home in search of your independence and personhood. I hope to have instilled in you enough courage to take risks, with tremendous faith that God will be your guide, ally, and friend throughout your journey. I hope to teach you enough discipline to challenge yourself to do your best in everything you do. I hope to show you compassion and empathy to treat others with dignity and respect.

There may be times when you’d stumble. Or times when you may think that I would be mad enough to stop loving you or caring for you. Hear this now:

I will always support you. I will always forgive you. I will always love you.

That my darlings will never falter. Though, that also doesn’t mean that I won’t give you some tough love from time to time.

As I await the time you’d come into my life, please know that you are always in my thoughts and forever in my heart. I vow to slowly but surely blossom into the woman you would be proud to call your mother.

Always,

K (a.k.a your mom)

P.S. Don’t worry, I also vow to not be a helicopter parent. Mistakes and failures are pretty good teachers. Make them often.