What's my age again?

5:21:00 AM

Before anything, some background music.

It is so comforting how pop culture and the Internets have such great outlook for people turning 23. Because, really, what would I want more than everything falling apart (again, like we don’t come to that at many points in life) or being liked by nobody?

~leauxls. Luckily (or unluckily) for me, I’ve experienced a lot of things earlier than I should (spread out in my life being forced into “maturity”), having gone to school younger than most, hence usually being the baby (only biologically speaking) among friends. Which is not guaranteed immunity to life’s gifts to twenty-somethings – particularly at age twenty-three, which practically kicks off prepping years to quarter life.

Not that one should look for references when they reach a certain age. I only did so this time because at 22, there was that T-Swift genius that provided ~us girls an anthem. And wasn’t it true? I was happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way…weren’t you? Rhymes, teehee. (I know, soooo matooor.)

What's my age again? | Awesome in Manila

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
One of the people I work with threw a good question a few days back. “So, Dani, now that you’re 23, what are you planning to do with your life?” I’ve had enough time since then to come up with a good answer, but I guess the best is what I already stated: “The same thing I’ve been doing all my life?” Which is, you know…just being alive.

While I may have a pretty good sense of how I’d like this year to pan out, it mostly just refers to the little things I can do with my free time. I haven’t had “the big picture” thought out; I don’t got even the tiniest detail figured out. But unlike the two/three-year younger me, I’m fine with that.

Not that I’m making a big deal out of being 23; a birthday is still something to celebrate – another year of making it in this life, if for any reason at all.


This year I decided to do something for Awesome in Manila that (I would like to think) best encapsulates who I am as a writer. I love listening to other people’s stories and thoughts about life. So I chatted up some of my blogger friends and asked if they could throw in a word or two about being 23. Some reminisced their best memories, and those who had a bad year shared their biggest lessons. Their answers, collectively, left me feeling so blessed for being surrounded with good heads.

These guys have been there, done that:

What was your best memory of 23? 

Jona, Lacquer Lab
"Best memory 1: Fell in love with Hong Kong. Best memory 2: (I don't really remember everything) LaBoracay."

Robbie, The Creative Dork and The Travelling Dork
"The best thing I did when I was 23 was resign from my corporate job and start freelancing. I learned a lot about independence and went through a lot of shit after that, but it made me much stronger. At that point of my life, it was the best decision I've ever done."

Drew, Ang Haraya
"When I was 23, I realized I’m passionate about pageants so I decided to put up a blog about it. My colleague at the college paper forwarded the link to his editor. She 'liked' it and I was offered to contribute pageant-related articles to their online news site. In return I got to watch Binibining Pilipinas for the first time and earned a sum. Nothing beats the feeling of getting paid for something you really love doing."

Jayvie, The Curbside Puppet

"My 23rd year on Earth was one of the most epic years I've ever had. It was the year when I started to go out of my comfort zone. Among my fondest memories include my first ever surfing experience, awesome concerts courtesy of Eraserheads, Lifehouse, Rihanna and Chris Brown, and most especially, my first ever trip outside the country, which I would consider as the best thing that happened when I was 23."

Smarla, Everyday Sweet Notes
“When I was 23, there were two major events that happened: My sister got married (and moved out of the house) and I got to travel to Sagada.

I guess the biggest lesson I learned when I was 23 is that change will constantly happen. The people who are close to you now may not be the same people who are around you tomorrow or next year. The key is just to keep on moving. Look back, relish the memories, but move forward, and don’t be afraid to expose yourself to new experiences and new friendships.”

What was the biggest lesson you learned at 23?

Aldryx, Awesome in Australia
"Sulking up and doing nothing will not solve anything. Chocolate and ice cream [are] just uh, ephemeral happiness. It's not going to help you. So just suck it up and face whatever's in front of you. [It will turn out] that it's not so bad after all. Everyone gets the shits. We're all on the same boat so there's no reason to be scared or feel alone."

Criz, Are You September? and The Magic Room Project
"At 23, I learned that it is important to love yourself the way you want others to love you. How you value yourself sets a standard for how others will value you."

Patricia, Patricia Theory
"I hit bottom when I was 23. I was insecure, pressured and scared. But as they say, when you hit bottom, there's no way to go but back up. I am living the life I have always dreamed of because of my realizations when I was 23 years old. I became truly aware of how important my family and friends are; that the people I have now are most likely the people I will have around me for the rest of my life. I became less apologetic of being selfish because really, now's the time for that. I am being selfish for the most selfless reason - I am making/defining myself. I learned that I can open up to people I just met and it feels good."

Sandie, Sandiestar
"In a nutshell, my 23rd was all about getting back on my feet following a slew of terrible life decisions and bouts of bad luck. I recall being in the 'anywhere but here' and 'anything but this' states quite a lot until life went on and I eventually managed to pick myself up. So despite the mostly-bad-but-admittedly-there-was-still-good-somewhere-in-there year, I will hold close to my heart that it was a year of change, renewed faith, and possibility."

And here are friends who just started their own journey at 23:

How is it so far, and what are you 
looking forward to most?

Carol, Scribbling Block
“The thing I notice about myself now that I’m 23, I’m not scared of being jologs (or idiot). Nandon ako sa estado na nagtatalo ako kung maga-act na akong adult or bagets pa din. But then, I don’t mind appearing childish for others. Parang ganon. Haha. Basta mas wala akong pake sa iba and I just mind [my own business] as long as I don’t do something bad to anybody.”

Larry, oohlalalrry
“At 23, the best memory so far would be staying in Singapore for a month for work and travel. It was like hitting two birds with one stone. I got to earn some moolah while at the same time experience the local culture and cuisine.”


If there’s one thing I could ask for this year…it’s faith recovered. It’s been a loooong time since I last believed beyond sight and stood certain of something I’ve been hoping for. Right now I’m at a point where I’m still sure of what I want but questioning whether it really is for me. To forgo that desire, even if it’s something I’ve worked years for – I’m at a crossroads. This isn’t one of those things I can just go out and get; there are bigger factors to consider. I’m figuring it out by the day.

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it's the most painful thing you'll ever have to do and that you've ever done. But what's yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it'll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won't have to put it back in the sky again.”
― C. JoyBell C.
What's my age again? | Awesome in Manila

And well, I wouldn’t say no to Wade Wilson’s War.

There is a day to seize, Chinese food to devour and a long weekend to own. Let's wrap this up, so you guys can enjoy the holiday.

Cheerio from this birthday girl and this birthday boy:

What's my age again? | Awesome in Manila

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