Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life-Changing events

I have a theory that events throughout your life determine who you are - they shape you.

In order to understand & appreciate who you ARE, you need to see where you WERE.

Here are what I think are the pivotal moments/developmental stages of my life:

2 years old - I would always stack phonebooks if I wanted to reach something on a ledge. Birth of my resourcefulness?

3 years old - My parents brought me to my first midnight mass at Christmas. People around me kept talking throughout the mass so I stood up and said(in Tagalog/Filipino): "Who's the dumbass that won't keep quiet?" It was a pre-dominantly Filipino area/church and my parents were SO embarassed. I guess this was the birth of my bluntness.

Junior Kindergarten - I tried to convince everyone in my class that the human heart wasn't shaped like this: <3.>The birth of my argumentative nature?

Senior Kindergarten - I made a girl cry. We had to make a display of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Mine was a computer designer. I laughed at her & told her that she was never going to be a princess. Birth of my rationality?
- I also remember throwing dirt in my cousin's eye for no reason whatsoever. I felt really bad about it for years.

Grade 1 - I was put in a split class where I could read better than any one older than me (even the older "reading buddies") I think this is where my passion for reading started.

Grade 2 - I moved. I had to make new friends all over again. Everyone in my grade each wrote me a letter after I moved (I still have them). I realized that it made more sense to embrace change instead of trying to resist it.

Grade 3 - I realized that I wasn't a lucky guy. One of the prizes for the school fund-raiser were hot wheel cars. We had to pick popsicle sticks to decide who got dibs on cars. For two years, out of 15 boys...I somehow managed to end up picking last. I also raised the most money both years. At this point, I decided not to let luck be the reward for how hard I work. I also decided not to rely on luck, even if it makes everything easier. Birth of my diligence?

Grade 4 - I went to Philippines and I saw poverty first-hand.
- This was also the birth of my motorcycle dream
- I passed the first gifted test, but failed the interview by 1 point. It was at this point that I realized that I was only a little bit above average in terms of intelligence. I didn't like that, so I decided to work on it.
- A teacher tested us weekly in random facts about the world. I always got perfect - the beginning of my interest in knowledge

Grade 5 - I joined the w5h team, which I found so rewarding - the affirmation of my interest in knowledge.

Grade 6 - I had my first depression: I realized how fucked up the world really was. It bothered the shit out of me that I couldn't do anything because I was only 11 years old. Oddly enough, hip-hop was my therapy & it's why I got into it.
- This was also the year where I realized that my parents were older than average and it saddened me to come to terms with how they're most likely going to die earlier than most die. I realized that kids my age took their parents for granted, which is why I try not to.

Grade 7 - I learned my first relationship lesson.
- My grandpa died. I learned not to take anything for granted.
- I lost faith in god & found it again

Grade 8 - I had my second depression: realized that I depended on other people too much. I became more independent

Grade 9 - I decided to give up any extracurricular activities to work
- My cousin taught me to aim higher when in came to girls.
- I Lost faith in god AND religion (most likely for good).

Grade 10 - I realized that I cared too much about what people think - this is the introduction of my indifference.
- A summer fling taught me that "time is the most valuable thing you can give someone."

Grade 11 - A friend convinced me that I shouldn't be so much of an introvert. He taught me a lot about confidence, too.
- I saw a video that changed my life. It was titled: "are you happy with who you are?" This was the final step in me becoming self-sufficient.

Grade 12 - I realized that blood isn't thicker than water - at the end of the day, loyalty isn't determined by who you're related to...but by who does what.
- Also most likely the beginning of the greatest years in my life. I've had the best batch of friends that I've ever had since then.

Socrates once said that "the unexamined life is not worth living", and I couldn't agree more.

Where you're at is only significant because of where you came from. I can only appreciate moving from a not-so-decent apartment to a nice house because I can remember what it was like not to.

If you can look back at pivotal moments in your life, and be happy with how you turned out...then good for you. If you don't like how you turned out, then there's always room for change.

(As cliche as it sounds,) I try to learn from everything I do wrong. We shouldn't have to learn lessons the hard way...but somehow, we always do. I can choose to try to prevent things from happening, or sit back and hope that it doesn't.

It takes a lot to become satisfied with who you are (I wouldn't even say that I'm even close, yet). It's always a work in progress. My life's always been foremost about self-improvement - If I'm at the same point in my life that I was last year, then I haven't spent that year well. For me, it's always about growth.

I'm not saying it's the right way to live (I really wouldn't know)...but it has worked for me.

Post your life-changing events. If it's personal, leave an alias and let me know who you are via e-mail/text/whatever.

I look forward to seeing your lists. Don't worry if you can't remember some years, post what you CAN remember - even if it's just a year or two.


+ knowledge


  1. Okay well, I have a list of events in my life, but I don't know what to say about them. Only that the events I list had a big impact on my life.

    Junior Kindergarten: This was when I first kissed a girl. We were sitting on the floor in the front foyer and the girl's bus was late. I told her I'll wait with her and she said thanks and kissed me right on the lips. I missed my bus and my lola had to come pick me up. I guess this was the most innocent and kind I have ever been.

    Senior Kindergarten: I changed schools and moved to a new home. I had to make new friends. I wasn't too upset, I was actually really curious to what change had in store. I think this made me curious of change all my life and not turn away from it.

    Side Note: Do you think there is a constant flux of change in the world? or is there consistancy?

    Grade 1: Joined a hockey team. First sport I ever played and we came first. This encouraged my interest in sports.

    Grade 2: I was up with my family and cousins at our cottage. My two cousins and I were playing on tree stumps; hopping from one stump to the other. I raised my hands in the air in triumph declaring that I was indestructable and I can do anything. I jumped onto the next stump, only to come short and impale my shin on a nail that was sticking out. There was a LOT of blood. I realized that I can't do everything and that I am not indistructable.

    Grade 3: My dad and brother got attacked by a rottweiler (my brother was only 3) while we were playing baseball out at the front lawn. The dog just ran past me and went streight to my brother and dad. I ran into the house without even looking back. When my brother and dad finally came in, my brother was balling his eyes out. He had a cut on the back of his head and a big gash on his right thigh. My dad had a big chunk of meat spilling from the side of his right shin. There was blood everywhere. Instead of going with them to the emerge, I went to my taekwan do and cried silently as I was punchin' shit. This has probably made a big impact on my life by making me put others before myself. I probably never put myself before others ever since. Sometimes it's a bad thing.

    Grade 7: Lost my verginity. Couple months later, ended up breaking up with my girl. Sometimes I wish I didn't do what I did. This has taught me not to take anything for granted

    Grade 8: I came home and my mom and dad were fighting. Apparently, it was because of me. I had no idea why. My mom threatened with divorce. It was a real domestic violence issue; chairs being thrown around and shit. Then my dad came up to me and said, "I really hate your! You're useless!" This made me feel really useless. Made me realize is that in my family, I always seem to be the one that causes problems. This made me want to be a problem solver and never leave anything unsolved.

    Grade 9: Got evicted from my house. Spent one night out on the streets. Made me REAL cautious with money.
    Also, I realized that I had never had any faith in God. I only had respect for the belief.

    Grade 10: Got evicted a second and third time. Moved into my aunts house. This caused a year and a bit of extreme depression.

    Grade 12: Things were getting back together. Felt a lot more happier with my life.

    Just this August: Realized that I genuinely hate my dad, and love my brother and mother. Moved out, and living away from home. I realized that I can handle myself out there.


  2. Ages 1-5: My mom and I lived alone for 4 years while my dad worked a job that required him to constantly travel. Financially, my mom and I weren't doing too well. The whole shitty financial situation taught me to appreciate what I have and not ask for too much. I STILL have a hard time asking my parents for things, even though our current financial situation is a thousand times better than it was back then.

    Junior Kindergarten: a boy asked me to marry him, and I started crying because I was scared of the idea of marriage - I guess that's where I started realizing that promising someone life-long love is unrealistic. I don’t want to call it a fear of commitment, because I don't have a problem with being committed... I just can't make a promise like that knowing that feelings aren't always permanent.

    Senior Kindergarten: I befriended a freckled boy who everyone alienated and ridiculed. I eventually started to like him, and he became my first crush - that's where I began to look beyond appearances.

    Grade 2: Long story short I forged my dad’s signature on a note my teacher had written for him. I ended up getting caught and my dad wasn't very pleased... to say the least - From then on the majority of the lies I tell are little white lies... but who doesn't lie from time to time :P

    Grade 3: my grandfather died, unexpectedly. He lived with me at the time, and I was in the room when he died. I was so young, it really frightened me. - From then on I never took anything for granted. Another biggie - that's when my fear of death started. [And I guess my paranoia?]

    Grade 4: My favourite uncle went to jail. I was extremely close to him, and knew that he was a really good person, he was just influenced by the wrong crowd. All my friends knew and loved him, but after his happened they started thinking he was a horrible person [can't really blame them, they were 9 years old]. It really hurt me to see other people think bad things of him - I definitely remember thinking about this and promising myself that I'd never judge a person without knowing them / their situation.

    Grades 4 to 6: I moved 5 schools in 2 years. I was forced to create friendships under a short period of time - This definitely helped shape me into the outgoing and social person I am today. BUT it also made me despise change. Although I was able to make friends, I couldn't adjust to the constant flux. Unlike Alvin, I haven't yet learned to embrace change.

  3. Grade 8: This guy I was obsessed with 2 years FINALLY asked me out. It was shitty relationship and he broke up with me after 43 days. Don’t ask how I remember. I realized later on that I'd liked him so much that I'd failed to see all the flaws in our relationship. From then on, I learned to not let my emotions prevent me from seeing reality [Alvin DO NOT even bring certain things up... I've gotten a lot better at not letting my emotions manipulate me...even though it may not seem that way to you :P]

    Grade 9: My “best friend” decided to start a fight me for some stupid immature reason. It was then that I realized that she’d been taking advantage of me for the past 3 years of friendship and I’d put up with a lot of unnecessary drama and attitude. From then on, I made sure to never let anyone else take advantage of me.

    Grade 10: I ended up getting a 91% in English with one of the toughest teachers at my school. I’d gone into the class thinking I would never be able score higher than an 80 because the highest mark she’d ever given was an 85. I ended up working my ass off and exceeded my own expectations. It was then that I realized I can attain anything I set my mind too; impossible really is nothing if you set your mind to it.

    Grade 10: I dated a guy because a) I felt bad for him; b)he threw himself at me and for some fucked up reason I felt obliged to give him a chance. To make things worse, he was my friend’s ex, and although she encouraged me to date him and she was dating someone else, it ended up fucking up our friendship. I learned 1. To not put anything or anyone before my friends. 2. not to force myself to do something I don’t want to do just because I feel bad for someone.
    Grade 10: I joined leadership, and consequently student council. Getting involved presented me with so many opportunities. I definitely learned to have a voice and value being an active member of any community I’m a part of. I also got many leadership skills out of it, obviously.

    Grade 11: December of last year was brutal: My dad was diagnosed with a heart problem and had to get surgery. (There was a good 3 days during which all I knew was that he could die an instantaneous death without the surgery, so all I could basically do was hope he was strong enough to make it until the surgery). Also, one of my closest friend’s mom died. My cousin was also very sick. – during this month I learned how to stay strong when it seems like happiness is unattainable. I also started to lose faith in God… I kept praying, and things didn’t seem to get better.

    December 10th, 2008: I met Alvin Resurrection Gaela. Definitely a life changing experience. Hahaha all jokes aside, meeting you really changed my perspective on a lot of things. I definitely look up to you and how you deal with things. I’ve learned to be a lot more rational, and I must say it was the beginning of a great friendship! Boyz. [I also met Jonathan, my one and only <3, lmao I just had to add that in]

    May/June 2009: Got in that fight with Jonny - realized how unpredictable people can be and that nothing is for certain. Definitely have even more trust issues now.
    Grade 12: realized how contradictory and fictional Catholicism is. I still believe in God, but Catholicism is definitely not for me.

    November 7th, 2009: visited Schulich. I was having doubts about wanting to go there, but after visiting it and speaking to some of the professors, I feel so much more inspired about going and excelling at everything I do.

  4. KINDERGARTEN - Some girl tried to steal my ring that my mom gave me. It had my birthstone on it and I wore it with such pride.

    GRADE 1 - I hated going to washroooms, so I peed myself during recess. TWICE.

    GRADE 2 - Some boy who sat behing me cut my hair during class.

    GRADE 3 - I got bullied.

    GRADE 4 - I became the bully.

    GRADE 5 - I remember two things happening to me that year. I got fat. And, I let this girl that I thought was my best friend cheat off of me during our histoire quiz. I got in trouble because the teacher thought I was the cheater.

    GRADE 6 - My parents got divorced/seperated. Whatever the hell you want to call it.

    GRADE 7 - I moved to a new school and became self concious.

    GRADE 8 - I got my first kiss and I hated my best friend.

    GRADE 9 - I changed my friends and myself. I also grew boobs.

    GRADE 10 - Had my first encounter with drugs and alcohol. Didn't like the after effects.

    GRADE 11 - First time a rumor was said about me. Made me cry so much that I didn't know what to do. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore. I confronted the douchebag and said no more.

    GRADE 12 - I failed two courses, ergo no grad.

    Its not all that self-reflective. Most of these are just memories. Events that stand out in those years. Some did shape me. Some didn't. At this point, I can't say I've grown up yet. I still have my tantrums here and there, but what I can say is that I know what I can and can't do. My impossibilities are my fears. So, fuck it.

    Martinne Palanca

  5. @ Anonymous:

    Post deleted. Sign it with a legitimate name, and I'll gladly keep it on there. Simple rules.

    For the record, it's quite the opposite.

  6. Well I'm guessing,that what your trying to say is that in the battle between nature vs. nurture nurture wins I guess, it's weird because I've always sided with nature of course contrary to what everyone else seems to believe. But we all know they work together don't they.. anyway I'm just ranting. Here's a snippet of my life.

    March 12 1991 - A mistake A.K.A me was born from the one night my parents tried to have one last go at their (insert adjectives here) marriage.

    Kindergarten - I was late for my first day of class, and I met my first crush there. I was also placed in class late and everyone was a year older than me. Everyone else could tell time, I couldn't. I excelled at everything but telling time. Up until this day, telling time is a bit difficult for me.

    Grade 1 - I skipped senior kindergarten. I compensated for not learning time by being the best in spelling, counting and speaking English in a country where they value a foreigner's language more than theirs.

    Grade 2 - I fell in Love, well obviously not but this is the first time I've ever liked a boy and that was interesting.

    Grade 3 - I was the cockiest fat girl ever. Everyone called me chubby, but I didn't care I competed in ballroom competitions, and beauty pageants and won them all. except for my last ballroom competetion when an understudy had to step in to become my partner we lost horribly, havent danced competitively since that day. too ashamed.

    Grade 4 - Moved to a new bigger school with a high school attached to it where my sister went too. My sister was considered one of the prettiest girls in school, I was jealous so I tried to outdo her. didn't work. I met *him* my honest to goodness first puppy love. I met him in the Philippines and until this day his name and his face still makes my heart skip a beat. (I've recently added him on facebook, he lives a lot closer to me now, and were talking again)

    Grade 5 - The boy, stopped liking me. Got sad got over it, did I tell you I was always happy. Oh and I was raised by a lesbian aunt and a trigger happy grandmother. then I met my oldest and a few of my closest friends that year. Then I got shipped off to Canada. WOOHOO welcome to my uncool fob year. I was the new girl that said ohven.

    Grade 6 - My shell was opening up, my confidence was high, I became close to Bianca that girl who pretty much introduced me to Canadian culture I can honestly say she guided me and helped me be who I am right now she probably doesn't know how much she has changed my life.

    Grade 7 - First boyfriend, first heartbreak. NOT first love. I established my bestfriends Hazel and Jenn and WE ARE STILL bestfriends.

    Grade 8 - same same, had boyfriends. wrong ones. One in particular, probably left me scarred about boys for the rest of my life.


    Grade 9 - wtf. Mary Ward enough said.

    Grade 10 - met and were friends with the best people imaginable unfortunately some things never last.

    Grade 11 - things just went downhill, I broke a nice boy's heart thinking it's okay because well, I was shallow. Still regret it. I lost one of my best friends because I refused to believe that changes happen. I found out how my (can't do no wrong perfect mother my hero my inspiration) is weak. a weak woman who can't even.. well we won't go there.

    Grade 12 - depression. because I was cocky because I was inconsiderate because I was untrustworthy I lost the rest of my friends. Instead of graduating, I failed I just stopped moving. I couldn't function.

    5TH year now present - there are a lot of underlying issues I personally believe I never address, and in all honesty I'm not going to address them for a while but certain events in the present has helped me become more confident and stronger.

    hmm now that I re-read it and I wrote all of that down I feel kind of relieved. I do believe I just went to therapy.

  7. Good stuff, guys.

    "what your trying to say is that in the battle between nature vs. nurture nurture wins"

    Not at all. I personally think that it's a mix of both... sort of like choosing what to do with the cards that you're dealt with. It still comes down to what characteristics you have, but you can choose what to do with those characteristics or decide what potential they have.

  8. "Grade 10 - I realized that I cared too much about what people think - this is the introduction of my indifference.
    - A summer fling taught me that "time is the most valuable thing you can give someone.""
    *smiles* :) Note, that quote was from Purpose Driven: Life and as you know I was reading those religious/spiritual related books at the time :)

    ... No wonder you asked me to think about these moments in my life time. Sorry it took me a while to get to this, we all get busy (productive) so it takes some time.
    I don't know if it's just me though, but I'm feeling rather emotional, lol so I'll quit with the "irratonality" and get with my list...

    JK - dad brought me into my class, he asked for a hug and i simply was like "bye dad!" Basically, I was really excited to learn and I was, for the most part, independent in my learning.
    - first crush! taught me how to tie my shoe laces.

    SK - I remember having show and tell. I realized my fave colour was purple (and still is!) I used to kiss pretty girls who were my friends on the cheek. I'm pretty sure I was always gonna turn out to be the caring type. haha.

    GR 1 - grandma passed away. Wasn't really fond of her, but my mom was quite devastated. She left Canada to go to the Phils, and I was left here with my dad and two siblings. My dad was actually really sad because he got used to my mom doing everything at home and it was different without her. Here I learned that I still had an attachment to my mom as I clung on to my stuffed elephant. It's actually a complex concept for a child to realize what isn't present in their lives (according to pscyhology).

    GR 2 - A++++ STUDENT! and tutored my bully in reading and writing. Predominantly, I still love helping those around me, even if they don't like me!

    GR 4 - Got bullied by a couple guys, and had boys chasing me around the school yard for no apparent reason. Oh and this one guy called me an "angel." This was also the first time I made a guy cry. I realized that I was a heartbreaker, I guess. Met my ex-best friend as well.

    GR 6 - marks dropped. I started hanging around more people, embraced the social life and drama some how found its way toward me, without me even saying a word. I didn't talk much growing up. Here, I learned that I'm able to take crap even if it isn't my fault.
    - also started rebelling at home because I wanted more 'freedom.'

    GR 7 - lost sleep, msn was way too addictive back in this day. Realized that I had to pick up slack at this point, ended up in summer school.

    GR 8 - enjoyed my last year. became well rounded within my peers and classmates. I learned that being around people became my thing. I came out of my shell more and more.

    GR 9 - Life-changing. Was in the hospital too many times to count and at this point, I became stronger in my faith. My spiritual encounter with God led me in so many ways to believe and possess faith.

    GR 10 - Got into a relationship as well and felt that he learned more than I did in the relationship. I loved to share a lot about my experiences and talk about things that were not normally mentioned. I read a lot during these times and loved sharing it with people who would actually take the time to listen.

    GR 11 - became more involved spiritually. stopped caring a lot about my "outer man" and really focused on my inner self. Struggled with my beliefs, and prayed harder to become enlightened, wise, and understanding in the Lord's ways.

    GR 12 - lost a lot and gained much more. Basically, "lost the world and gained my soul."
    - one of my closest boys started calling me "mssoul" and honestly, life changed drastically. Life became spontaneous, life is spontaneous.

    Love from me to you A.G! thanks for posting. :)



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