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Simple Joys

Sometimes we tend to complicate life. We work so hard looking for things we do not have and ignore those that we actually have. I understand why some people look for happiness by acquiring wealth and material possessions. As a young boy living in poverty in Tondo, I realized early on the joy in earning money to be able to provide for your family. Years later, as an entrepreneur, I gained an appreciation of the pride of having to create wealth through hard work and perseverance.



But even as our modern world becomes even more complicated, sometimes it is the simple things in life that bring us genuine happiness. When we get lost in the hustle and bustle of life we tend to forget the mundane, the pedestrian, the repetitious stuff in life. That is why I make it a point to appreciate the simple things in my life even when things in business become confusing. As a matter of fact, I think it is when things get muddled when we really need to decompress by focusing on our simple joys.



Just like my two apos, Emma and Tristan, trying on their school uniforms as they prepare for their first day in school. It’s the cutest thing. I have forgotten the joy of this experience since my kids are now adults. It brought back bittersweet memories of when Cynthia and I watched Camille, Mark, and Paolo leave our nest for the first time. Emma and Tristan’s experience is amplified by the fact that face-to-face classes have been suspended ever since the pandemic. I would want them to stay home so I can always play with them but they need to go out there and have fun, learn, and socialize with others.



Another simple joy arrived last week in the form of mooncake from my friend James who never forgets to send me these yummy treats around the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival. I just enjoy eating its sweet paste inside and the soft crumbly crust outside. I would wash it down with hot coffee and my day just got better.



I also love those short alone time that I get in between my marathon meetings. Usually I would have a series of meetings in one day. As my readers probably know by now, I love to hold these meetings in coffee shops instead of the usual meeting rooms. Sometimes it gets so busy, the next person I am meeting would be sitting down as my previous appointment is just about to rise from his seat. But I get those gaps in between meetings when I am just alone sitting sipping my coffee and staring blankly into space for just a few seconds. Call me crazy but I just enjoy those moments.



It is similar to watching the rain fall hard on my garden at home. Nowadays, there are times when I would hold my meetings online so I just stay home. And with the rainy season, I often find myself in the middle of a downpour as I listen to reports via Zoom. I like those moments when all you hear is the sound of raindrops falling on the leaves of the plants in our garden and that unique earthy smell you get when rain hits the ground for the first time.



I also enjoy waking up early in the morning, getting my workout in, showering, and sitting outside with my papers and coffee, and seeing the sun shining through the trees and plants. It’s not always the same pattern but I like seeing the scattered light that filters through in the morning. Most people now wake up and immediately look at their phones. Not for me. This is the view that I take in every morning.



I guess these musings that I have about the simple pleasures in life are unimportant to some. And I get it. Sometimes we face so many difficulties in life that we say, “Who has time for these things?” But that is precisely my point. Our hard work and persistence only become meaningful if we enjoy life. There is no point in working for a living if we do not actually appreciate the “living” part. So, decompress once in awhile. Look around you and see the simplest of things that make you smile, that make it all worthwhile.




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar