Prices and Priorities

Remember my last post about Christmas? Wherein I said that I’d said that I rather spend my holidays at home despite having the chance to spend, say, New Year in New York.

What I totally forgot was that my job does not honour holidays. So, I was wistfully thinking that I will spend my holidays at home while my brother (he’s a flight attendant too) told me we should spend New Year in New York. I declined. Believe me, it was a VERY tempting offer. It was a free trip to New York. All I had to do was work going there. And I can get to see the ball drop in celebration of the coming of 2016 at Times Square.

I declined. I only had one reason why. I can’t leave my parents at home alone on Christmas day. What I thought was a noble idea was something highly stupid.

I was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on the 29th and come back on the 2nd of January. I will be working on New Year’s Day. I tried to work my way around it but there was no opportunity to drop the flight.

Why do I want to spend it at home so bad? Because I am so freaking scared to miss anything important. I experienced coming home from a long layover to the news that my grandfather died. I came home to the news that my dog died. I came home to the news that my father was sued. I see my folks go weaker everyday. I don’t want to miss a holiday with them because I don’t know if it will be their last. And I was not there. That I don’t know how could I accept it. Imagine that my grandfather died more than a year ago and I still could not forgive myself.

At least, I never missed a birthday. I worked during my own birthday. But, it was good. My brother arranged to work with me in that flight so that I won’t be alone.

I have listened to stories of dozens of other attendants missing important holidays, their kid’s recital, and deaths. It was the inevitable. But, it was something that I could not accept. I have successfully manipulated my schedule for the past two years. This is the first that I have failed. Who knows how many more times will I fail after that?

That is the price of the assumed prestige of jobs like ours. We can’t just go on an absence because we need to go to a PTA meeting. We can’t just call in sick. Even if we can, our conscience won’t allow it. Its part of the job. There are people depending on us. We, along with pilots, have to operate the flight because if we can’t go home then we have to bring those who will to their destination.

If I knew that I would be working, I should have just agreed to my brother and spend New Year in Time Square. At least, I will be with him and his girlfriend.

Nurses, along with doctors, have to work during the holidays because who will care for the patients. This is also a rant to those who still handle fireworks recklessly despite the numerous warnings. One misfire and you come rushing to the hospital, crying to your blown-up hand. Don’t you know that you just singlehandedly ruined your whole family’s holiday? While your nurse patches you up, he or she wishes for the opportunity that you just thrown away; to spend New Year away from the hospital.

Cheers and respect to them and to all public servants.

We all have to smile, be kind and courteous even if we want to scream our hearts out. I remember fighting the urge to have a breakdown whenever I see an elderly passenger during the time of my grandfather’s death. Bereavement leaves are only for immediate family members. And they only allow three days off. Yet, I go on as if nothing happened, internally disgusted by family members who won’t want nothing to do with their elderly. Many travel on their own, scared to be in the plane with no one to trust. Then it gets worst when I find out that no one will fetch them at the airport. You people don’t know what you are missing.

So, give us a break. I’m sure you have things hard in your life too. I’d rather that you tell me all about it than you blowing up your rage on me.

I’m still lucky. I have an awesome job. You’re still lucky. You’re watching the fireworks with your family. We still have things to be grateful for.

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Blogtober Challenge 28: Christmas for Grown-Ups

This must be the most challenging one so far. Today’s challenge is about Christmas lists. Funny, isn’t it? The past few challenges were easy for me that I got drafts written days before the actual challenge. I have a framework for every post until the end. But, for this one, I had a blank one.

This is my first chance that I have ever experienced not having a Christmas list. I recall last year that I was wishing for any modern publication and those 4-in-1 smartphone clip lens. Now that I think of it, I made that wish because I was compelled to because of an gift exchange activity that I had with my closest friends. I got both. The year before that I wished for a specific book (can’t remember what) because of a similar activity among my training class. I got a coffee maker instead. I did not mind. 2013 was the best year of my existence anyway.

If those activities did not exist then I would not have a Christmas list to make in the first place.

During my school days, I always had an extensive list and it was more or less the same because I did not get it. I would wish for a PSP, a Sponge Cola CD, the latest phone, and other things. I got none of those during Christmas. I may be a gamer but my last portable gaming console was the Brick Game. I got the Sponge Cola CDs only within the school year when I have enough funds from all the sidetrip selling that I was doing. I never got the latest phone. Still don’t have it. I have phones that are at least 5 years behind the latest model.

I was happy nevertheless. I received things that I did not know that I wanted during Christmas (and other holidays). A candy pink Kate Spade handbag. A Doctor Who anthology book. A PS3. A wide array of coloring materials. A licensed replica of the Elder Wand. A light-up Marauders’ Map. A Twilight paperback (In my honest opinion, the series was a nice read. I am not a fan of the movies though. Sorry.) A Potatohead Family toy collection. So on and so forth. They were all amazing surprises.

I was happy nevertheless. I was raised not to get attached to material things. If I did not get what I want then it was okay. There is always a next time. If not, then something better will always come.

At the end of the day or in this case the year, I may not get what I wanted but I get what I needed.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree with enough recognition to make my parents smile with glee whenever they talk about my schooling to others. I am getting healthier and healthier each year. I got the job of our dreams as a family. I live in our family-owned house. I never begged for scraps. I was born into a family of five. We are still five in the family. I grew up with my folks always at home.

Perhaps, that is why I learned to not make Christmas wishes. I have no need to ask for what I need. I’m just lucky, I guess.

I am a hypocrite if I will say that I do not aspire material things anymore. I want a portable Bluetooth speaker. I want a portable Android-compatible keyboard with a detachable MicroUSB cord. I still want a phone but not the latest but the one that feels as if it was designed personally for me. I want a car. I want my own residential unit. I want a replica of David Tennant’s Doctor’s brown trenchcoat (Imagine walking or running around London wearing it. Ahh). I want a pair of Nike Fly Knits.

Why am I not asking them for Christmas? Because I know I will have them someday so there is no need. Plus, I doubt I would have any of them by Christmas.

I love Christmas. I love it more than my own birthday. So, for this Christmas, I am making a Christmas list. This is not because I am compelled by this task. It is because I am compelled by the experiences that I have gone through this past two years.

1. I wish for the optimum health possible for my family for years to come.

My grandfather died last year. I knew that day would come eventually. I thought I was prepared. More than a year later, I still lament when I think of him. I don’t think that I could take it if I lose another family member. Don’t mind me. I’d wager my own health for the assurance of a long lifespan for each member of our family.

2. I wish for more opportunities for the Philippines and its people.

Like I said before, we have great potential. I will be extremely glad if more Filipinos get recognized nationally and internationally not only because of their beauty but also of their intellect, talent, and skill. I will also be extremely glad if the Filipino people will help one another in lifting each other up for a better nation for more generations to come. As of the current, the Philippines is number one in the list of most corrupt nations, worst traffic schemes, and worst airports. Good, right?

3. I wish for more environmental consciousness and action worldwide.

Ever since, I have been eco-conscious. I throw my garbage in the right places. I avoid plastic and styrofoam. I maximize paper. I recycle things. I upcycle. Things had been unsettling. This time last year, I remember shivering to the bone when I am in Korea. I remember wrapping myself in a blanket during the evening at home. I remember wearing a leather jacket because I want to and not because I need to. This year, I can roam around the cold parts of the world with less layers than I did last year. I break a sweat whenever I am home despite the rainy season. It is even too hot for me to wear long sleeves. What more a jacket? Is it because I am getting used to the cold? Is it because the world is getting hotter? Please God, make it the former.

The United Nations has recently launched theĀ Global Goals worldwide campaign. If you have an advocacy that you are passionate about then please do go check it out. Honestly, you don’t need to be passionate. A little concern goes a long way.

So, that is my 2015 Christmas wishlist. I will have my toes crossed and my fingers working to have it fulfilled. I believe that wishes are just words if you don’t take action.

What is your wish list this Christmas?