a list of things i thought i would no longer be after 30

During Friday’s night out with the girls, they reminded me about how, at seventeen, I had boldly said that I wanted to die at 35. I remember none of it, but apparently I also said things about wanting to get educational plans for imagined future children, and similar nonsense, so. Yeah, I said a lot of shit as a young college kid who had no idea life was about to be very different from what had been within my imagination at the time.

“Thirty-five,” they said, “is only four years away.”

“Fuck,” I said.

“And we’re doing Greece pa nga when we’re 35, di ba?”

“God, Kate, please don’t die in Greece?”

“I can’t make a 100-percent fool-proof promise, but I will *try*–”

“Bawal mamatay sa Greece.”

“Ok, ok–”


What had I been thinking, really, talking about dying at 35? Well, something has to be said about someone who’d wanted to go at her peak: Suppose this was someone who thought she’d be done by 35? To be fair, I was seventeen, so I must have thought simply doubling my lifespan at the time would have been enough for me to do everything I wanted?

It’s strange and naive, because while the years between turning twenty and turning thirty have taught me a LOT, I am most definitely not done learning just yet.

tl;dr – Kate at 17 was stupid and wrong.


These days, I am still stupid and these days I am still wrong, and I was mulling over these thoughts as I was on the way to the grocery store on Sunday morning: There are a lot of things people expect 30-somethings to no longer be. Such as stupid and wrong, of course.

Over dinner on Friday, we also talked about skydiving. A friend said something about wanting to do it when we were younger. “But then again, married now,” she said, and apparently, that was that.

“So it does make sense to be reckless in youth,” I said. “Growing up, you tend to become more risk-averse.” At which point I dutifully began drawing a graph in my head: Risk-aversion is directly proportional to age.

Later, another one chimed in to note: “However, when you reach a certain age — say, 60 — you tend not to pay attention too much to the risk anymore.”

Which makes sense, so I edited the graph in my head to depict a bell graph, the line dipping after 60.


So older, you could no longer be stupid, no longer be wrong, no longer be reckless. (Or so expectations go)


Which brings me to the point of this entry, which is supposedly a list of things I thought I would no longer be after 30 (but still kind of am):

Continue reading a list of things i thought i would no longer be after 30

#throwback: happy birthday, doc!

Just leaving this here because it’s my sister’s birthday today — I stopped counting na when we both turned twenties. LOL. Hands down the most intelligent and hardworking girl I know. =)

Just me and my sister hanging out at the temple in our leotards, no big deal. (I may be 8; she may be 4.)
Just me and my sister hanging out at the temple in our matching leotards, no big deal. (I may be 8; she may be 4. Also, upo ko pa lang, alam na.)

I’m pretty sure this photo was taken in Cebu, maybe by our mother, who liked taking us places back in the day — and dressing us up similarly. Ugh, mom. Why. Haha. Looking back, perhaps I should treasure this era and call it The Golden Days When My Sister And I Could Dress Alike hahaha. Check out my bangs! Check out her twin pig tails! Man, having daughters must have been a riotous joy for our mother. =)

what i read: the unmothered (new yorker)

Oh wow. What to say about Ruth Margalit’s “The Unmothered” over at the New Yorker.

About two weeks after her death, I wrote in my diary: “The finality of it. When she was sick, at least things kept changing. She felt better, or worse. It was a good time to talk, or it wasn’t. Things happened. Now nothing is happening. This is it.”

A year later, my diary reads: “Hardest thing: overhearing colleagues tell their mothers ‘Love you’ on the phone. So casually.”

Aaaaand just when I thought I was done with Mother’s Day. Heh. Kidding of course — I always read things like this, because every time I do it makes me feel like 1) I’m not alone and 2) I am doing a shit job at writing about my mother, considering. Heh.

Some nights I wonder if my mother and I would have had this Call in the middle of the fucking night kind of relationship — one where I could just pop in and call around midnight just to tell her what I’d been doing at the paper for the past twelve hours. Maybe it would matter to her as much as it does to me? Maybe we’ll be angry at the same things together? Idk. Not that I have a shortage of people with whom I could be angry about the same things, but you know. Whatever.

In my journal from that period, instead of writing how I felt, I sought out and copied everything that seemed to express what to me was inexpressible. From Proust, I took: “For henceforth you will always keep something broken about you.” From C. S. Lewis: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.” From Joan Didion: “A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.” From O’Rourke: “Am I really she who has woken up again without a mother? Yes, I am.” From a short story by Alice Munro: “What he carried with him, all he carried with him, was a lack, something like a lack of air, of proper behavior in his lungs, a difficulty that he supposed would go on forever.” From one by David Long: “Eventually, a truck would come rattling down… a car door would chuff, and the world would go on—not where it had left off but on the other side of this nothing time. And when it did, though she couldn’t quite see it yet, [she] would begin the never-ending task of not forgetting her mother.”

Guess what I am doing right now.

a mother’s day project

When I write about my mother, it feels like the truest thing, which is why I like writing about her/to her a lot. She was 38 when she died in 1997, and I was twelve turning thirteen. It was cancer.

I am twenty-nine now, which means that I have spent more years writing about her than actually having her around. She’s in my head all the time; I feel like I carry her around, most days.

I have been planning this small corner for years, and all these years I have put it off, thinking maybe I’d get an idea soon on how to pull this off in a less depressing manner. Years later, here I still am. It seems like there’s no way this couldn’t be a little less sad; I suppose I could aim for solemn, but not altogether un-sad. I guess that’s okay.

– From the about this site portion of this site, 1997 onwards.


If you guys should ever write about yours (and you should, like, all the time), I’d love to read it. Rec me beautiful things.


Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 55. Auntie asked if I wanted to have lunch to celebrate, and I hauled my newly woken self to the bath and said yes, all the other plans shelved. This was my mother. We had lunch together, the five of us — dad and auntie, Krista and Wy — in a table for six, one seat intentionally left empty.

Continue reading fifty-five