Another long weekend is almost done this year and another anticipated celebration is already done – that being halloween. Next to Christmas and my birthday, Halloween is the next celebration that gets me so excited probably because the celebration allows me to transform back to a kid. Despite my age, I am still a kid at heart. It also brings out my creativity as I transform to characters straight out of my childhood stories.

This year, deviating from my office’s yearly tradition of scary themes, we decided to go back to what our childhood dreams were made of – fairy tales. We all planned to bring to life characters from our favorite fairy tale. Every staff was getting excited as Halloween approached, with some secretly planning their costumes with the intent to outdo the others. I was one of the guys intending to compete with the others.

I planned to get all my guys in the sales department to come in as characters from the story of Peter Pan. I had planned to come in as the main character – the fun loving and adventurous Peter Pan. He was a character that exudes positivity and just simply bannered the call for happy thoughts. This was the same message that I wanted to send through last Halloween.

We all need to banner out the call for positive thoughts especially now at a time where it is much easier to focus on what is going wrong rather than what was done right. However focusing on the positives is a lot easier said than done. Being and staying positive, even at the most difficult time, is a choice that one needs to take.

I remember about three years ago when our family had to deal with the deaths of my brother Leo and sister Kate due to a car accident. Everyone was just shocked that in just a matter of hours, we had lost two of our kins. My family in Baguio had to rush me, my wife, and my baby girl to Manila. The days after their death was just a flurry of what needs to be done and I had to take charge. I remember that I didn’t even have time to get my clothes in Ortigas that I had to buy my stuff in the nearby department store.

I remember having a discussion with a tita days after my siblings were buried. I was asked how I was doing. I was stumped with the question and I was actually surprised with my realization that I was probably recovering faster than other family members. I remember giving her the answer, there was no other choice but to move on. I cannot grieve forever because Leo and Kate will not return to life even if I did so. That the only viable choice was to move on and that was also the way my brother and sister would have wanted for us to do. I remember my tita telling me that it was a good way of thinking. But I guess it was really more of a choice at that time.

Yes, being happy is a choice and so is a lot of things in our lives. Being positive is a choice that we need to make everyday. We can always look around us and we can always say a lot of “if onlys”. We can easily point a finger and say that another person is to be blamed. We have to admit…it is a lot easier to sympathize on how bad our friend feels against somebody rather than trying to understand why. A lot of people prefer to just feel the bad rather than finding a solution to a problem. All because it is easier to feel rather than make a choice to look at things positively. It requires work – working on the choice that we make.

As Peter Pan, my Halloween character, would say…think of happy thoughts so you can fly. Positive thoughts will always make you focus on possibilities. These possibilities open new opportunities to take. In the end, these opportunities will always make you discover new things about yourself and the world we live in.

I lighted a candle each for Leo and Kate and I am planning to visit them when I am in Manila. Although their deaths may have brought us grief and pain, they also gave us a reason to understand each family member and to be closer as a family. Both of them have shown me how resilient I am and for that I am thankful to both of them.

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Rave: I am happy that UNICEF has given me a venue to teach my little girl to care for others through their Trick or Treat for UNICEF. The idea was to get other kids to help out other kids by donating the amount collected during the trick or treat. I like the idea that it helped me introduce the idea of helping others to my little girl.

Rant: As I was on my way to pick up my car from a car service center, I chanced upon an ambulance bearing the name of a politician. The ambulance even had her name on it. I wonder if she “donated” that ambulance from her own money or from taxpayer’s money. I will take a picture when I get across it again.

Rave: The news have been saying that a number of volunteers helped out in collecting garbage from cemeteries this year. It turned out that these volunteers were also victims of Ondoy and that they were doing it to send out a message to the others. It is great to see that we are learning from our mistakes.

Rant: News of PNoy giving out yellow baller IDs when he visited the graves of his parents at the Manila Memorial was out last weekend. What’s with the yellow baller IDs? Early campaigning, Mr. President?

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