For some time now I had been uploading on facebook, images of the rubber sports shoes I buy here in Japan. I appreciate it a lot when people comment and react on the type and style of shoes I choose. Some of them have shown keen interest on my collection. So much so, that they ask how much I pay for the shoes. Honestly, some of the shoes I chose come with a heavy price tag even though I buy them discounted or during “sale” time. However, let me tell you candidly too, that for each pair of shoes I buy, i remind myself of a fond set of memories.
The Jordan series
I remember when I was 13, sometime 1990’s. After almost nine years of service in the oil industry, my dad came home from Saudi because it was becoming dangerous due to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. After a few months, my family living on a strict budget by that time, went to Bacolod one day, to buy me a new pair of rubber shoes.
And so we went to one of those department stores, and I eventually ended up falling in love with the Air Jordans on display. And even at 32, I can still sense how much I wanted those shoes. How much my eyes glistened at the very idea of wearing the Air Jordan.
When I asked Papa if we can afford it, he was sad to tell me that we cant. I wanted to cry back then but instead chose to “man up”, make a decent enough face in front of Papa, and opted for a Lotto rubber shoes which fit our budget. Not that Lotto was not good, in fact the shoes served me well. It was just that, as a kid who only had but a handful of desires, it pained me so much when i cant get something I truly wanted.
I never told anybody, until now, how much that incident affected me. From that day forward, I swore to myself I will never ever buy NIKE rubber shoes. It is not that I hated the brand. But I guess I just ended up with the conclusion, that those shoes were far beyond my reach. That I may never afford them.
That incident stirred up something deep in me. Subconsciously, i decided that it is better for me not to get the best NIKE I can find. For some insane reason, the idea of me not “affording” them keeps me plodding on with what I intend to achieve. In part, I guess it is a reminder for me, that there are things in life, better not having, temporarily or otherwise.
“13” fast forward “31”
I celebrated my 31st birthday here in Kyoto, Japan. There was really nothing special to it. If memory serves me right, we just ate dinner at one of the better ramen houses here in kyoto. A ramen meal composed of :
1. Karage Teishoku (4 pieces of fried chicken with rice and cabbage)
2. Chashu hosomen (ramen with thin noodles (“hoso-men”), and chashu (pork) cutlets)
3. Negi tappuri (a lot of “negi” or welsh onion)
4. Ajitsuke tamago (a boiled egg topping)
When the meal was over, we all went home unceremoniously. As I went into my apartment, I was surprised to see a big paper bag on top of my bed. It had a whiteboard sign saying “SURPRISE!! Happy B-day! Enjoy your day -Stabs & Mike”. When I opened the bag, I was awestruck to see a pair of NIKE air direct II running shoes. They were my first ever pair of nike rubber shoes.
I dont know if Mike and Alwyn had any idea what “NIKE” meant to me. But needless to say, they have reminded me of a very wonderful moment in my life. Albeit, a poignant one. And though it has been over a year now since I received their gift, I still keep the whiteboard message from that very special day.
Going Back To “Shoes”
I used the shoes Alwyn and Mike gave me extensively. I used it for running, trekking and walking here in Kyoto. It offered a comfortable snug fit, and was as durable as hell. Recently though, it has shown signs of wear and tear. And because of this, I have opted to retire it. In its stead, as a reminder of alwyn and mike, I also bought a pair of running shoes from Nike. The one I recently posted on facebook. Not too expensive, but looks good and feels good on the feet.
Now dont get me wrong. I am not a sales person for nike. In fact, if I remove the sentimental value of the Nike Air Direct II from alwyn and mike, my favorite shoe of all time would be the Rebook Pump Triple Break. Nothing can beat the triple break when it came to comfort, snugness, and overall toughness. My second favorite is the Gigaride A3 of adidas because it looked good, felt good on the soles and more importantly, poses a challenge to the Shox technology of Nike. Though I gave my Gigaride to my brother-in-law, I bought myself a newer version, known as the Bounce series. And finally, I would give the third spot for Nike’s Air Direct II for its overall performance, comfort, durability and value.
Its never about the shoes
My good friend Alwyn always says “We are what we are deprived of.” So literally I am a shoe. Just kidding. But it does make some sense. I had been deprived of some things in my life, which explains probably the hunger in me. Not that I want to eat a shoe or anything. It is just that a part of me, like everyone, desires a “good life” represented in this blog by a pair of Nike Air Jordans, to a 13-year old boy. I guess, I continued feeding the hunger, by depriving myself of a pair of nike shoes. A constant reminder that I am not yet there, that I cannot afford it yet.
To some it may sound hypocritical considering that I have other pairs of shoes that can match the price tag of the latest models from Nike. But for me, in a very weird and insane way, I feel that for now, I would be better off without buying the latest Nike models. Dont get me wrong though, I am still fascinated by some designs from Nike. So much so that I bought my mom a pair of NIKE shox as a combined present for her birthday and for christmas.
The way I see it, in a very simple way, “not having a pair of wonderful Nike’s” keeps me ticking personally. It is a reminder for me that the job is not done yet, that I have not reached whatever goals I have set before me. In my gut, I can sense it, I am all but half-baked.
Someday, when I feel that my job is done, and that I can rest a little, I will buy my pair of Air Jordans. The very same model I wanted way back in 1990. I will have to save for it though because most probably, it will be a collector’s item. It will become one of the many reminders for me, that in spite of and despite of, I got the job done. I made it through.
In my head, the mental image is that of a son asking a father for a pair of shoes, and the father having to say “NO” due to circumstance. But this time around, the son replies “No pops, I think we can afford it now.” And as far as my context is concerned, “afford” doesnt necessarily mean having a ton of money, but more in the light of a “rightful reward” for finishing a hard-arduous-wonderful-happy journey.
But as for the moment, come my 33rd birthday, I will have to commemorate it by buying a pair of Lotto shoes in Manila or Bacolod. Preferably, together with my father.
How about you? What are the inanimate things in life that help you remind yourself to strive for better things?
Second Part of the series …. (While waiting for my half an hour compilation…)
LIFE HAS TO BE LIVED! Therefore it is not imperative to be 100% vision oriented. Wisdom will tell you that human as we are, we cannot be 100% anything but human. WE WILL FALTER!!!!We will skew from our dreams and ambitions. However before we judge rashly, if skewing is good or not, let me remind you, that it is ONLY in life’s end, that we will eventually realize if the skew was worth it. Sometimes the “skew” can provided us with a serendipitous vision. What I am trying to say is, LIFE IS DIFFICULT AND IT IS UNPREDICTABLE, but it will help you alot if you have charted out a plan for yourself before you proceed on your journey. The plan may be incomplete, just a set of destination points and pit stops, but nevertheless a plan is in place.
REMEMBER : Your vision is your proposal to the fates, it is your heart’s desire expressed tangibly.
When i graduated college, I just wanted to be an R&D engineer. My first job was R&D manager and eventually CEO. Oh well those are just titles. But as an R&D Manager, i was able to guide all my fellow fresh graduates in creating a commercial level device, outsourced from one of the leading hardware companies in my country and invested in by one major conglomerate. I hope you dont see this as “boasting”, but what I am trying to say is:
When our visions of ourselves come to a fulfillment, what’s next? Some people tend to “not mind” and then stagnate. This is the “I already have what I want” policy.
So do we really need to have all forms of visions/goals. My honest answer is No. What i think is imperative though, is our genuine effort to continuously update our visions and goals. And if you can, once you can, Go for the Impossible Dream first. 🙂 Then build slowly below it.
When we climb a mountain, there are a gazillion ways to plan it. The basic school of thought is to attack it from the base. However, if we had an opportunity, wouldn’t we want to see the view from the top first and then plan from there? To chose a path that is not the usual trail but a path we have selected for ourselves, a “probably” unique path. Who said that there is only one actual way to reach Kyoto Station? So our impossible dreams will be our path’s zenith. And we must plot from the view on top. And yeah, impossible dreams are upgradeable too. 😀
Everybody is a freak. So it is normal to have no vision. However, I think, they are in great risk of squandering the time they have and the gifts granted to them. They are also prone to becoming more and more lackadaisical. Of course there are certain exceptions to the rule, extraordinarily blessed people who became SOMETHING out of a series of fortunate accidents. 😀
Have you seen a carriage horse driven in traffic? They usually have blinders on the side of their eyes. (Check this yahoo answer…) Much like scope of the horses’ eyes, an individual has an almost infinite set of possibilities. If left unfocussed it might wander into oblivion. Visions have the same effect as the blinders for horses. Dont get me wrong, I am not saying you better be single-direction oriented. What I am trying to say is that, when we envision something to happen, usually we spend time and resource efficiently. Or should you be like me who likes to ponder and wander around, our visions will grant us enough strength to stop clowning around with our spaghetti and start eating the meat balls. No pun intended here. 😀
Anyways, what is there to lose if we set out simple or grandiose plans for ourselves. Let me end today’s blog in the words of my father, Vicente Belarma Repuspolo Jr., the Gasoline Boy, “pahinante”, Truck Driver turned Instrument Technician …
“Libre lang naman maghandom sang maayo, nga-a indi ka maghandum sang sobra sa lab-ot sang kamot mo….” (Hiligaynon :: Ilonggo)
“libre ang mangarap, bakit di mo pa damihan at lakihan?” (Tagalog)
Visions are for free, why dont you think of many, and make them greater than life itself? (English)
夢は無料でしょう。夢を深く考えて無限レベルを目指しましょう!!! (in my imperfect Nihongo)
“Ang batang nangarap” : The kid who dreamed : 子供の夢
“Trabahong Outsourcing sa Nihon” : Outsourced in Japan : 日本の仕事
As I am already 31 years old, I find myself thinking and dreaming for the young people I had been working and communicating with in the past few months. I am delighted with the spirit and energy they possess, fascinated by the variety of “kangaekata” (“way of thinking” in Japanese) and their optimism which shines brilliantly in their eyes and their smiles.
For the majority of my life, I dreamed only that someday, in the most microscopic of ways, I can be a form of inspiration for those whose paths may bear semblance to the path I have chosen. More so, I also dream of coming across somebody who can either verify my path or somebody who can make me learn more.
For some who know what I have achieved at 31, I have achieved much. To be honest though, I feel that I am still “half-full”. Either way, half-full or not, that remains to be seen in the days left for me to wander this earth. But for the most people to whom I am a stranger, I am practically nobody.
Be it so, I hope that what I have written here be of use to people who might be in a tight spot and might need some amount of focusing. And should you find it useful, and should you believe in a God, I hope you just thank him for granting you the chance to come across my site.
I wrote this blog to share only 5 things. These things in my perspective are by far the most important to me, as far as ZENTAITEKI (“holistic” in Japanese) personal development is concerned. I guess at 31, this is my formula of whatever little successes I have had in life. I am not yet in any way finished building myself, so I too am a work in progress. That being said, though I am no expert, no saint nor genius, I want to share whatever little I have learned over the past 31 years.
The key ingredients and in no particular order to better personal development are as follows :
As this is like my personal quasi-magnum opus, the above items might be too much and too long just in one writing. So for today, I would like to talk about Vision.
Most of the young people I meet have rarely screeched out their visions, their dreams, their heart’s deepest aspirations. In this light, I feel that I should talk more about visions so that the young within my circle of influence should dream more, than old farces like myself. The importance of this key element cannot be underrated. Vision provides us an infinite source of motivation. We never tire nor burn out for as long as we keep some form of goal within our heads.
What is it that you aspire for? Who do you want to be? What do you want to be?
It would be useless for me to preach about vision if I cannot share some things I have learned about it. So here goes what I have in mind. Visions or goals can be classified in my opinion as such :
a. “Impossible Dream” (from Man of La Mancha)– Forgive my copying of the song’s title. But envisioning something beyond yourself is not bad for the spirit. In my current learning I have come to the conclusion that an individual, should he possess an impossible dream, (for as long as he controls his path) possesses an indomitable spirit. He or she becomes virtually infinite in terms of spirit and intensity, though he or she may express it in silence. However, as I have said, one has to be careful of pushing for this dream since the body is not so indomitable.
b. Segmented / Paged Visions – Pardon the play on technical terms, but A BIG IMPOSSIBLE-DREAM VISION has to be compartmentalized into smaller dreams. For example, dream “professionally”, dream “family-wise”, dream “individual-wise”, dream “spirit-wise” so on and so forth. Our Segmented visions make up and streamline our Impossible Dream/s.
c. Episodic Visions – Like a television mini-series, a story arc (ala Onepiece) or a season, is built on top of sub-plots and episodes. What I want to say is that our bigger dreams, are built on top of small goals, which can be achieved over very short-intervals of time. Like the Great Pyramids of Egypt, which are built on bricks, which in turn are built on sand.
d. Serendipitous / Spin-off Visions – This one is what I like the most. Sometimes, in our lives we meet very wonderful people who can influence us very much. In their presence we sometimes end up getting influenced by their natural or not-so-natural gifts. In the process our original vision becomes a bit skewed or what I can honestly say as mutated. These serendipitous (watch the movie SERENDIPITY!!!) moments, or fortunate accidents, which trigger spin-off visions may come from the television, the blog site, your multiply.com friends or probably even from your very own family. Serendipitous visions at surface level may not seem to contribute to fulfillment of the impossible dream, but I believe they do.
What then happens if people don’t have a vision or visions? goals?
Do I really have to be “100% all the time” Vision-oriented?
Do I really have to have all forms of Vision?
Why the Impossible Dream first and not from the sub-plot visions?
And some of my most memorable personal experiences …
At 31, I feel a lot older. And when I say a lot, it means a whole lot. Today, I profess and re-profess my unending desire to be a giant. Or at least die trying. I re-declare that even if I look like a fool to my counterparts, a liar, a diminutive figure or some 2 bit riff-raff, I will not stop trying.
I want to be a giant. I am sick and tired of working, creating and developing solutions for a generally don’t-care-somebody who develops something for somebody. I am sick and tired of such feeling. Nor do I cherish the idea that I will be developing and pursuing creative interest for people who do not value people. And the very day I step out of these chains, is the very day I intend to execute my plan.
This path, though less traveled, is something I want to follow. The probability of living single all throughout my life and being persecuted for not having bigger “bucks”, will take much time to swallow, but it is something I can accept over time. Monty and Rocky will live on with whatever legacy their roots leave them with.
I want to create things and partner with Filipino giants within the industry hopefully to make that dream come true. Or I can work for / work with companies that cater to the idea of “IdeaFarming” which my old mentor Ramon Canumay Jr. has instilled within me. Companies that won’t take everything from you but will have a way of “partnering” with you. Or companies which value employees on a more-than-average scale with well-thought-of corporate solutions. I want to die leaving behind some trace that all I have learned has not gone to waste, that the teachings of my mentors have not gone to waste.
I am afraid of failure, but it is in fear that courage is realized. I might fail but in the end of it all, we all will die anyway. And the “good oft interred with the bones” mentality will always be a looming banner, but I will never hesitate to challenge. We all would only live once anyway.
I am old and I am losing time, my most precious resource. But the thing is, I look forward to creating new ideas the very first day I can. And while waiting for that day, make use of my opportunity to be stronger and fundamentally wise.
No way in hell however that I will ever underestimate any professional endeavour for food on the table and for a better family life. Be it, an outsourced, outsourced-outsourced, outsourced-outsourced-outsourced engineering job, for as long as an individual meets his dreams of “happyness”. I too might opt that someday. But as of now, as of this very moment, I am opting a different path, a path with less than 0.001% success rate. As for failure, it has not come yet, i will face it when it stares right into my face.
I feel very very very good. It is again for a very long time, as far as my life is concerned, winning time.
Thank you very much for this year. Thank you for making me live through it. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Thank you for the patience you had even if I crossed the line. Thank you for granting me some respite from the harsh events within my family. Thank you for giving me whatever it is I have now and for releasing some of my excess baggage.
Heal me please, from the poison that eats me up, from the anger within. Stop me from becoming a beast of burden and make me a creature of your magnificence. Grant me your wisdom, your strength and your humility. I pray you keep me within the fold, and search for me when I go astray.
I pray you grant everyone the strength and not forget my family and loved ones when you wish to scatter blessings on the planet. And though a lot of us dont believe in you, please continue to believe in us. I ask for nothing else but faith the size of a mustard seed.
I was 7 years old and was selected for the 2nd straight year to be the lead of the male cheerleading team. Everything was going right when one day my mom found me burning with fever and with a big lump in my right ear. Scared to death, she brought me to the best ENT specialist in our province. I vividly remember how she was crying at the diagnosis of the doctor. I was to be operated as soon as possible to clear my ear of some strange strain of infection. The operation however, had a great risk of me losing my sense of hearing.
Hopeless, she went to the cathedral in Bacolod City. There she weepingly prayed for some strange miracle, offering my life to God’s loving hands. I guess being 7 I was not able understand the gravity of the situation. On our way home, I even begged my mom for some “batchoy” in my favourite restaurant. As I ate my food with gusto, my mom was crying on hers. That afternoon she informed the school of my situation and requested that I be stripped off the team.
The day passed, with the fever increasing and the lump getting bigger and bigger. I went to sleep that night with a a hot towel on the lump. The next morning, all my teachers were surprised when they saw me at school perfectly healthy. We eventually went on to win the cheerleading competition with me as the lead.
I dont know God’s reasons why he granted me a miracle, but I know they happen. And for those who dont have hope right now, I hope this gives you a grain of it. Just believe like my mom. Her faith healed me. And if they dont happen to you, it is ok to get dissapointed I think. But please give God a chance to show you the reason why.