Saturday, February 28, 2009

Greed is not good

If you have dabbled with stocks or are still invested, absorbing paper-loss at this point, you should be able to relate to this story.

The stock market is not for the faint-hearted. If you could not swallow volatility, better stick to other instruments. While stocks have the potential to generate an obscene amount of cash for savvy investors, a wipe out of one's nest egg is not uncommon.

Last year, I was able to pull the plug early enough to avert any loss. It was not a perfectly timed exit though, as I saw some of my stocks rise shortly after I unloaded. Had I stayed invested, I could have made another 10% killing, at least. As my stock broker friend would always say, "you should never look back." Luckily, I did not and went my way to cash in my chips. The market went on a free fall in next to no time.

A social contact, several years my senior, was unfortunate to miss the mark. She lost millions on a particular favorite, speculative stock that we both invested in. I sold after gaining more than 400% while she held on. Now, she is whining when she could have been smiling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I am back

It was not until middle of last year when I stumbled over web logs. We set up a new company and were looking for cost-efficient marketing avenues; hence, the birth of my first blog. Although the site was very corporate and marketing-driven, I enjoyed every bit of it. In fact, blogging rekindled my passion for writing.

I have been writing for publications since 2000. From being a neophyte, I evolved into an experienced, paid writer. It was a hobby that generated frequent loose change for a budding writer like me. Even so, I took pleasure in seeing my works either put into print or sent to your mobile phones. My photo that accompanied some of my articles was a bonus for the readers. :)

February of 2006 was my last published article. I lost interest and decided not to renew my contract. The fire was gone. What was once an art form for me has become a chore. Believe me, when you have to beat deadlines, it becomes one.

Now, I am back. After a two-year hiatus, I am excited again, although in an entirely different setting. I hope this one is for keeps.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On time(x)

My business is largely dependent on proper scheduling. While it is no longer as chaotic as before, it could still be stressful on occasion. Good thing, appointments are the only pressures I have to deal with, and since they are self-imposed, they are variables that I can manipulate. However, what I have no control over is the attitude of the party involved, especially on the subject of punctuality.

A friend of mine said it perfectly, "lateness is stealing other people's time." How many of us are in the wrong of robbing others of a luxury that we cannot afford to repay? Frankly, I would rather be cheated monetarily, knowing well that there will always be tomorrow to recover, than to be robbed of time that will forever be lost. How about you?

Over the years, I have learned how to deal with people who are inconsiderate. I have not mastered the craft yet, but I am getting there. Unlike in the past when I would wait miserably for an appointment to show up, I leave. If one does not appreciate my business, I would gladly take it somewhere else.

I am not a big fan of wrist watches; I only wear one on important events. (Incidentally, I would like to thank Mr. M for the constant supply of Timex watches. Timex keeps me on time.) However, I still do make it on the dot. And if Mr. Z, the tycoon client of mine who has businesses the world over, can make it early all the time, no one has an excuse. Actually, it is not the watch but the respect.

Respect is permanently inherent in meetings, whether business or otherwise.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I am not independent after all

For seven years of my married life, I have not exercised my faith. Except for the rare, half-hearted prayers, I could not be bothered. I pretty much relied on my own abilities. Things were going well, why fix it. I was independent, I thought.

I have nothing against those who do not recognize the existence of an even Greater Being. I, at some point, have also embraced the axiom: Comfort is achieved through hard (smart) work. Spot on, in earthly respect. However, is it the true essence of life?

Eight years into my marriage, I became conscious of the creature that was me. I learned to appreciate all that there is to life and beyond. My relationship with God, family, and the lives I touch are of significance now more than ever.

I know I exist for a reason. A journey defined by righteousness is life's essence. I would like to work hard and smart for it. The path leading to the One who blew into me life, I would like to see my family walking with me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Goodbye, friend

Booze and driving are never compatible. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. PLEASE, DO NOT!

My mechanic would still be alive today had he been rational enough to stay partying than go driving. Too much alcohol made him lose his coordination, senses, and life. What a waste!

How unfortunate that his kid's birthday will always be remembered as his fateful day. It will surely be difficult to celebrate next year.

Tomorrow will be my friend's funeral. I will grieve with his family. My classic car will miss him too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living on the fast plane

I bumped into a friend, an airline owner, the other day and asked him how he was. He indicated that he was just surviving. With the global economy putting a major dent on the tourism industry coupled with cut-throat competition, I could only wonder how long he could hack it.

I reckon my friend should have sold two years ago when a client of mine expressed interest to buy the company. He must be living on interest by now, but business was all rosy then. Today, everything is for sale. Unfortunately, there are no takers.

How sad, I never took advantage of the complimentary tickets when things were still good. Too late to call his secretary now and book my first "free" flight down south. Kidding aside, I was just there to help him cross-promote his airline, as I am now.

For the fastest flights to Boracay:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Living in a box

Ages ago, my veiled socials were scary. I was not hooked into the usual party stuff; my festivities were private. All were exhilarating moments, but they were never guilt-free.

Presently, my life revolves around family and work. No extra-curricular spices whatsoever; however, I am content. The joy is simple yet full of meaning. Witnessing the light of day to provide means for my family and enjoying the nightfall with their eager cuddle are all that matter.

Without much socials, I may be living in a box, but I do not care. I am happy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The tale of 4 fathers

I could not ask for any more fathers. I have more than a handful. Perhaps I could ask for more time to understand the past. On the other hand, I realize that the limited interactions which took place are somehow adequate for me to learn from.

Dad 1 may have given up so easily on his marriage to see me take my very first baby steps and be there to catch me when I fall. Whatever his reasons are or the circumstances were, I respect them. Relationships are two-way streets, even the most well-intended unions are vulnerable.

However, what I will always remember are the mistakes that he could have avoided. Maybe he could have not written to me about accepting the fact that I was to grow up without a father. A kid who has not even perfected his arithmetic would definitely be discouraged with calculus. Also, it could have been less traumatic to politely get off the phone than to tell your child not to call ever again. I promised myself not to do the same to my two little girls. I could be out of sight from my Nicole but never brusquely out of love. Her mom knows that very well.

Now, Dad 1 and I are slowly reconnecting. Indeed there is a lot of catching up to do. At least, he is seeing my Stefanie take her own baby steps.

I would like to thank Dad 1 for part of my education, my toughness in facing the realities of life, and for my grandmother who loved me dearly.

Dad 2 was too young to get a grip of the responsibilites that came with formal partnerships. It will take more than love to make relationships work. Emotional maturity and financial capability are likewise essentials.

He came at the right time though. When mom needed stability and I required paternal attention, Dad 2 was there.

The invaluable contribution of Dad 2 is Paolo, my brother. It could not have been any better.

I am looking forward to the day when I would see Dad 2 back to church.

Dad 3 is mom's partner for life. Paolo and I are overjoyed to witness mom experiencing true love that she never had and settling with a lifelong companion that she deserves. He has his shortcomings, but who does not? While now old and gray, his affection is undying.

Mom's purpose for him and their relationship altogether has become apparent in recent years: for him to be brought closer to God and for mom to succeed in strengthening her faith. Nothing is easy, but the rewards are great.

The physical distance between Dad 3 and us kids was never an impediment for him to make us feel loved. It is so comfortable and natural to communicate our affection for each other.

Dad 4, my father-in-law, is a real father to my wife and me. We share laughters and sorrows together. A man of few words, his actions speak loud and bold. Dad 4 does not need to vocalize his love; his cradle is always assuring.

He is a self-made, hard-working man. I am just in awe of the things that he does for his family and the sacrifices that he has to endure. Probably such deeds are normal of a good father. I am delighted to be learning the ropes from him.

I thank Dad 4 for my Shiela. They have made me whole. I had a lot of missing pieces; they solved my puzzle.

Hopefully, I am able to harness the present and enjoy the future.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Turning down an offer

For the nth time, I turned down a job offer from a former client. It has been over two years now since I pre-terminated our engagement due to professional reasons, yet they are still enthusiastic about working with me. I must have declined, either directly or indirectly, four or five times previously.

I am glad to be in a position wherein I could casually walk away from a deal. Maybe if I were that hard up it would have been a different story, but I do not think so. It is not me.

Obviously, despite my falling out with the former client, they are still interested in my services. Truly satisfying. However, the question is: Can I work with them again? Unless I am able to convince myself, I would not be willing to engage.

The culture of an organization is a reflection of its leadership. When cash is king, values are usually distorted. Where there are sacred cows, the groundswell of discontent is broad. When deceit is the norm, honesty will be foreign. Where moral ascendancy is deficient, there thrives the vultures.

Nothing that cannot be fixed; however, change must be embraced. I tried tirelessly to inject principled leadership. Sadly, it was not welcome at all. Shortly after, I threw in the towel. Neither did I want to waste my time nor their corporate money. Futile! Unless the top is revamped, no Houdini will ever be successful.

The problem with a far-from-upright man like me, having depleted my ideals to the brink, I am no longer capable of flexibility. I am holding on to whatever is left in order that I do not lose my self-respect.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My stepmom: her thoughts

I finally got to learn things about my stepmom. In one of our conversations, she confessed that her problem now is how to tell her daughter, my half-sister, about my dad's previous marriage and eldest son: me. I just said, "that's life."

Sins of long ago could really haunt you. I have had my share of misdeeds and, admittedly, they scare me to this day. Mistakes are meant to be corrected, that is what I am doing with my life.

I do not fault no one for the past. I could not question God "why." OK, I may have tried comprehending His plans before, but I am a changed man now to pressure Him any further. I am but a speck, we all are. In the end, I submitted everything up and felt good.

My half-sister is 31 years old now, yet I have not known her even for a day. Will we ever be able to make up for lost time? I doubt it. One can never buy time.

I find my stepmom nice, and I admire her for opening up to me. It requires a lot to speak your heart to a total stranger. Yes, we could be friends, but friendship takes time too. I wonder how much more is left in our lives.