An Unlikely Conversation

June 21, 2021

An unlikely conversation made me realize that even the smallest achievements and the littlest challenges that we survive should be celebrated.

There are so many things that are considered perplexing in this world – the Great Pyramids, the Nazca lines, why people fall in love with the wrong people, and even Philippine politics. I can dwell on some of these topics, especially those that interest me. Outside of these though, I'd rather keep my sanity.

An unlikely conversation

An Unlikely Conversation


    However, some occurrences are simply hard to ignore. Like when a long-lost friend that you thought was missing suddenly reconnects with you.

    I’m sure you’ve experienced this at some point in your life. A friend whom you thought vanished decades ago suddenly sends you a cryptic “Hi there!” note on Facebook messenger. If I were confronted with that situation, my initial thought would be “Wait, what? He’s still alive?” Then I become wary, suspicious, and even paranoid.

    When I’ve regained my composure, I will begin to ask “What does he want? Will he borrow money?” I have no extra cash to lend. “Will he sell me essential oils?” I don’t like those membership schemes because I feel pressured to sell.

    A casual email


    Why am is telling you this? Well, I recently received an old-school email (yes, people are still using email to communicate) from someone, I used to know. It was just one of those ordinary days when I was busily typing on my computer. 

    A casual email

    I was working from home and going through my usual routine when I decided to take a break by checking my personal email. Everything looked the same; my inbox was littered with unread emails from individuals offering their SEO services and so on.

    However, one particular email caught my eye. It was from a familiar name and it had the subject “Hi there!” I don’t know with you but as plain as it may sound, “Hi there!” is a sentence that carries so many meanings and just begs for attention. “Hi there, look at me. Or else, you’ll be missing a lot!’

    I tried so hard to put a face to that name and when I was able to finally do so, I was mystified. I was never really close to that person although we had some mutual friends and a few common interests. The thing is, it’s been years since we last talked so I was uncertain of his motives. Plus, we’ve lost touch since we went to Manila for college.

    I thought that maybe because people had so little to do while they were cooped up in their homes during the pandemic, they try to keep themselves busy by reliving the past, reviving long-forgotten memories, and randomly contacting old acquaintances. The same is true for this particular instance.

    Beyond all doubts though, curiosity got the better of me. There was this overwhelming question as to why an old acquaintance from a distant past would suddenly make his presence felt to me. And so, I decided to play along.

    I carefully clicked the email open because I thought it might contain a virus. I’m glad it was just a harmless email that went like this:

    Dear Mr. Survivor,

    How are you?

    I hope you are doing well. I know it’s been years since we talked. You might find it odd that I’m reconnecting with you after more than a decade but I do hope that you’d give some of your time to read this email. I know you are busy with your work, your family, and your life. Still, I’d appreciate it if you could spare a few moments and read this message.

    We were never really that close in high school and we had different sets of friends. However, in the few times that we’ve talked, I’d like you to know that I truly enjoyed our conversations.

    I liked how you think, how critical your thoughts were, and how strong you are as a person. I love talking to you because your insights seem to be beyond your age. You were conventional, that’s true, but you had your own character. 

    Even if you weren’t very talkative, I know that you had a lot of amazing ideas going on in your head. I liked your stories, so I hope you’d still tell me some stories even after all these years.

    You said that you’ve been through a lot although you wouldn’t give me details. I respect that, so I didn’t badger you to expound. In retaliation, I teased you and called you Mr. Survivor. 

    Of course, I was hoping back then that you’d be more open but I learned later on that we don’t necessarily have to speak to be understood. Being silent is sometimes what a situation calls for. It’s not conceding defeat, rather it’s a show of strength.

    I really hope to hear back from you soon.

    Take care,

    Old Friend

    I could have easily ignored this message but I couldn’t do so. For one, my old friend provided the validation that I’ve been so looking for through all these years and that is I made sense even as a young teenage boy. 

    You see, throughout all these years, I considered myself a shallow person, one who was always daydreaming and living in his own little world. Just the same, I was secretly praying to meet someone who would nullify my self-doubts, never mind if they were because of an immature mind.

    The words that I read in that email moved me. Finally, here is someone who believed in me, I mean the old me who was shallow and was often the last person that his close friends wanted to talk to. I wanted to keep the conversation going, so I readily replied to my Old Friend’s email.

    Dear Old Friend,

    I’m fine and I hope you are, too. It’s been ages since we last talked. How have you been throughout these years? I’m glad that you still remember me and I deeply appreciate your kind words about me. I also appreciate that you recall most of our most meaningful conversations. Yes, those are memories from long ago but they never fail to put a smile on my face.

    It’s been almost two decades since we left high school. Many things have happened. We changed a lot since we were at our old school.

    Life has been good. There are ups and downs, that’s inevitable. I’ve experienced things that I thought were the lowest of lows but when I look back at them, they were quite simple, really, as compared to the things that we experience these days. I’ve learned that hurdling trials is just a matter of perspective.

    There’s no problem that’s too big to tackle as long as we remain positive and hopeful. We may be getting old but these are the best years of our life. That’s because maturity may be the answer to the elusive peace of mind that everybody is chasing after. Why? Because when we become older, we learn the value of keeping calm and caring only about the essentials when the road becomes bumpy.

    When we become mature, we know that we can survive anything as long as we act accordingly. For one, we are backed by years of experience so we are confident that we will endure whatever life throws at us. We also act based on our logic and not based on our initial reaction. I think those are just some of the perks of getting old and I’m sure you have your opinion regarding this subject.

    And if things don’t go our way, we can always move on. We can also pick up the pieces and start anew; it’s up to us to create our own opportunities. We can choose to be happy at any given moment. In the end, we will still survive.

    On a different note, I started a family about seven years ago, and, for me, it was one of the best things that happened to my life. My family is my inspiration. They put the direction in my decisions because whatever I do will have an impact on them.

    In a way, my family saved me because I have learned the value of sharing and selflessness from them. As you well know, I’m an only child and I often found it difficult when it came to socializing. I guess you have your own inspiration; they may not be your family. The good thing is that whatever it is that inspires you, it will help you survive life’s difficulties.

    How about you? How have you been?

    Stay safe,

    Mr. Survivor

    Life in the pandemic


    At this point, I wasn’t really expecting our email exchanges to progress. At best, my old friend would just write his customary reply then say his goodbyes. I was wrong, and our conversation just got a little bit more interesting.

    Life in the pandemic


    Dear Mr. Survivor,

    Thank you very much for replying to my email. You don’t know how much it meant to me. It’s good to know that you are doing fine.

    Yes, I know that it’s been years since we last talked and I can understand why you might find it a little strange that I’m reconnecting with you. Nothing really extraordinary has happened to me. 

    In fact, I’d just give you the overused excuse of most people these days for not keeping in touch with their friends – I’ve also been busy chasing my own dreams. I became focused on my studies, I dodged the temptation to go on a night out most of the time during college, and I immediately looked for a job after graduation.

    When I finally got my dream job, I thought that it was the only thing that will keep me happy but I was wrong. The corporate world is a jungle; you have to have nerves of steel to survive. Don’t think that I’m being ungrateful for all that I’ve been blessed with. 

    It’s just that over the years, I realized that the simplest of things are the ones that will make us truly happy. More than money, more than fame, it’s the love of the people around us, those who believe in us, that will keep us going.

    And with this pandemic, I realized that life is short. Life is fragile and we can lose it at any given time. That’s why we need to be generous when it comes to showing our appreciation for the people whom we consider important. Our parents, our children, our closest friends, even long-lost friends – we need to make them feel how valuable they are to us.

    Speaking of the pandemic, how have you been coping? I hope you and your family are safe. Do write me back, please.

    Take care,

    Old Friend

    After reading, his email, I had so much going on in my head. Above anything else, I was clearly moved by his genuine effort to converse, so I was obliged to reciprocate.

    Dear Old Friend,

    It’s good to know that you’ve been fairly successful with your life. I do agree with you that happiness indeed stems from the simplest of things and from those whom we hold dear.

    About the pandemic, what I can say is that I’m just as scared as the rest of the people around us. Initially, when the lockdown was announced last year, I was bewildered. There were a lot of questions than there were answers.

    First, I was afraid that I would lose work because our company has to put on hold its services while it figures out safer means to fulfill the needs of its customers and, at the same time, provide us with a workplace and a schedule that will foster health and well-being.

    In the end, I was utterly grateful because our company was able to weather the storm. There was no need to slash the workforce and our salaries. It was a relief knowing that our jobs are secure a big boon to help us survive the pandemic.

    Second, this pandemic has taught me to see positivity beyond difficulties and make the most out of the situation, no matter how bad it seems. Last year, instead of filling my heart and mind with worries, I took the lockdown as an opportunity to spend more time with my family. 

    And so, I was able to finally fulfill my dream of having Unli Dapa moments with my kids. What’s Unli Dapa, you might ask? Well, it’s just a term that I invented and which meant unlimited playtime with my two sons. It was derived from the words “unlimited” and “dapa,” which means “to trip or to fall over” in English.

    But beyond that, Unli Dapa for me represents the strength of the Filipino spirit. We may experience an endless barrage of problems but we will remain strong and stand up with each downfall. We are survivors.

    Third, this pandemic has taught me resilience. We all know that one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic was on schools. Face-to-face classes had to be suspended and alternative online learning channels have to be put in place. Ultimately, it’s the parents who had to make sacrifices to make online learning successful for their children.

    We can relate to the struggles of homeschooling parents because we are in the same boat. Last year, our eldest son was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay (GDD) with a high risk for autism. 

    We initially enrolled him in an occupational therapy program in a school near our old condo unit. After a little over a month in his program, the lockdown was imposed in Metro Manila and his school was one of the affected institutions.

    Again, we were at a loss at what to do. As you might know, addressing child development issues is a race against time. His teacher was kind enough to hand us over a copy of his program so that we can implement it at home. 

    After a few months, his school began to offer a home therapy program that we readily took advantage of. However, despite our initial optimism, we soon realized that the homeschooling struggle is very real.

    Homeschooling is especially challenging for us because what we’re implementing is a therapy program. Ideally, this program something that an expert, a licensed specialist should be implemented because they’d know how to handle neuro-diverse kids better.

    While we follow the activities to the dot, we are unsure if it’s working or if we are executing it correctly. For one, I’m admittedly not so good at teaching. Yes, I read to my kids, we sing nursery rhymes, and we play, but that's just about it. I don't really know if they are picking up anything from me.

    Despite the struggle though, we have to carry on and do whatever we have to do for our son. As people always say, it’s good to at least try and fail than never to try at all.

    In the end, all the hardships are worth it as we can somehow see that the activities are working when we observe some improvements in our son’s attentiveness. Having said that, when a parent tells you about their homeschooling struggles, don’t ever judge them because they, too, are just trying their best to survive. They at least deserve words of encouragement for their effort.

    Fourth, I mentioned earlier that my son was diagnosed last year with GDD with a high risk for autism. Well, I became quite obsessed with the subject of autism, particularly about helping children cope. I never realized that that fascination would lead to an eventual self-discovery.

    With that, I finally found the answer to many lingering questions in my head, especially this one that a friend asked me many seasons ago, “Bakit ka ba mahiyain? (Why are you shy?)” To which I answered, “I don’t really know.” Now that I have the answer to that, it was like having a heavy load lifted off my shoulder.

    Fifth, I was able to fulfill my ultimate dream of being an author last year. Yes, I finally published a book. It took me long and, honestly, I was on the brink of giving up on it. But God works in ways that will amaze us. I encountered a publisher who was willing to publish my blog stories. 

    I just have to rewrite them in a way that is cohesive and will flow effortlessly when published as a paperback. In less than a month, my book was available for purchase. I couldn’t be happier, especially with the support I received from my friends.

    Lastly, I survived being infected with the COVID-19 virus just a few months ago. It started with simple allergic rhinitis which initially dismissed because I felt that it was just an ordinary sneezing bout. Nonetheless, I immediately wore a face mask at home, even if I slept. I believe this helped curb the spread of the infection at our home.

    When I was still feeling a general weakness after a week, I decided to take a rapid antigen test even if didn’t have the classic symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. The test yielded a positive result, which I still found surprising because I was very conscientious when it came to hygiene and sanitation.

    It was then that I realized that indeed life can be taken from us in an instant; one moment you are healthy and well and then the next moment, you are battling sickness. Thus, live life to the fullest and do the things that make you happy as long as you are not harming anyone.

    Thankfully, my condition did not worsen during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. I can feel that my lungs are generally weakened because I run out of breath at times even when doing simple tasks. Still, I’m just relieved to have survived COVID-19.

    That’s it for now.

    Thank you for listening and keep safe.

    Your friend,

    Mr. Survivor

    The journey to self-discovery


    Quite frankly, I never realized that my friend would still find my last email to be interesting because it was too long and dragging. 

    The journey to self-discovery

    You know people these days, their attention span is too short because of the type of content they consume on social media. But I guess I just took the opportunity to say all the things that I wanted to say.

    Again, I was wrong. Here is a person, almost a stranger to me, who still willing to listen to my story. I felt empowered.

    Dear Mr. Survivor,

    I love reading your story. It’s so relatable and at the same time moving. I’m just a little busy right now, but I emailed back just to ask you to please tell me more about your story of self-discovery.

    I’m sorry if I have to keep my email short but I hope you’ll get back to me soon.

    Take care,

    Old Friend

    Of course, I was happy to tell him about this facet of my life, even if I had my hesitations. It was my opportunity to finally be heard about something that I was excited to discover about myself.

    Dear Old Friend,

    I honestly didn’t know that you would be interested in my story. Admittedly, this is something that I’m hesitant to share because it’s sensitive in the sense that it requires an official diagnosis. 

    Autism online test
    My online Adult Autism Test results from Clinical Partners

    I took some online tests and I basically self-diagnosed but I want people to know that I don’t promote it; they should always aim to be evaluated by an expert. Just the same, I’d be happy to tell you more details about it as long as you promise not to judge me.

    Anyway, to proceed with my story…

    Last year, when I was doing research about autism and how to care for kids who fall within the autism spectrum, I realized that I could relate to many of the symptoms such as stimming, social anxiety and keeping friends, making small talk, making eye contact, doing pretend play, and working in a team.

    However, I couldn’t quite classify myself as being within the autism spectrum because I wasn’t developmentally delayed. In fact, my parents told me that I began to speak at an early age, and by the time I was 10 months old, I can already talk in complete sentences.

    I also had an exceptional memory. My father would humorously tell me that when I was two years old, he would often try to lead me to another area of the public market but I’d tell him that it’s not the way to my favorite toy store. Naturally, any parent would be proud of their children if they achieved developmental milestones in advance.

    I realized just recently that this progressive language in kids could be a tell-tale sign of what was formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome, now classified within the autism spectrum.

    Moreover, looking back at my life, I can say that I’ve also followed basically the same routine ever since I started college until the week before I got married. That was more than a decade of repeating the same pattern daily. When my routine gets disrupted or when something unplanned came up, I get upset immediately.

    Guess what? Nothing has changed. I still follow a routine and I’d still feel uncomfortable when it’s disturbed.

    I think when you are on the autism spectrum, the small quirks such as the routines are not the real issues in a real-life scenario. What I found challenging was maintaining a good working relationship with many of my previous superiors. I was branded as slow, careless, and indifferent just because the expectations in the office are daunting for me.

    I struggled, although I couldn’t tell people why I was struggling because I just didn’t know what it was called or how I would describe the challenges brought by social interaction as well as my lack of ability to quickly grasp new concepts.

    It proved to be hard for me to cope and it eventually affected my rating whenever my mid-year and annual performance evaluation. I wasn’t among the favorites and I would even be given low scores just because the company’s system dictated that there should only be performers and laggards within a team; there could never be equals.

    My less-than-stellar PR skills in the office and relationships with my colleagues had me questioning my own abilities. For a long time, I’ve been feeling unhappy with my career because of all those questions and self-doubts.

    While it’s not easy to recover from past trauma, I’m still thankful for having found the answer to my questions when I realized that I might be within the autism spectrum. 

    What I thought was a quest to find answers for my son turned out to be an unexpected journey toward self-discovery. When I embraced that possibility, all the answers just came rushing into my head. Now, I know the reason why I might have behaved the way I did before.

    I now knew the answer to why I couldn’t multi-task and why I insisted on following a routine and everything that disrupted my routine caused me great distress. I now have a more accurate description when I describe the noise in my head, and it’s that my brain can’t handle multiple concepts all at once.

    Best of all, it’s finally realizing my own strength and giving myself a pat on the back because of the thought that I was able to survive the daily struggle of someone in the autism spectrum for the last 40 years. 

    In the end, my son doesn’t have to navigate a foreign landscape on his own. He has me, his Dad, to hold his hand as we both discover more about the autism spectrum and continue to survive.

    That’s it for now.

    Your friend,

    Mr. Survivor

    After this last email, I feel like I’ve said everything that I wanted to say. I bared my soul but on many occasions, we have to speak to be heard. We can’t wait for people to take notice of us, we can’t expect them to know what we’re going through unless we tell them.

    Epilogue


    The road to the big 40

    My old friend and I have a few more email exchanges after that and then one day, it just stopped. I figured he got busy again and decided to shift his focus back on his life. After all, it’s General Community Quarantine in Metro Manila again. Businesses are slowly opening and employees are being summoned back to the office.

    There’s just one thing that I realized with our conversation and that we should never invalidate our small achievements. We don’t have to wait for a big enough reason to celebrate because just being able to survive each day is a blessing that we should be happy and grateful for. 

    In a few months, I will be 40 years old. The road leading up to it has been full of excitement, probably because I promised myself that I will never let anyone steal my joy after all the things that I've been through. 

    Hey, life is short, let’s live it to the fullest!

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    An unlikely conversation

    ***

    ComCo Southeast Asia Write To Ignite Blogging Project Season 2

    This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you book or purchase anything through one of those links, we may earn a small commission but at no extra cost to you. All opinions are ours and we only promote products that we use.
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    95 comments

    1. Life is short. Always a good reminder to connect with old friends.

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    2. It is always nice when you find someone to email with. My son has autism and was diagnosed as a little boy.

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    3. That is cool that an old friend reached out to you. Letters are always a good thing.

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    4. What an interesting read. Pen pals don't really exist anymore, this seems like such a fun and new thing to do even though people had been doing it for some time.

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    5. My dad has always been one to celebrate the little achievements in life, not just major ones. It makes you appreciate life a bit more when we think like this.

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    6. Very insightful in understanding how important routines are. Thank you for sharing this story.

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    7. This was a super interesting read. It's a shame that the emails just stopped out of nowhere. That put kind of a mar on an otherwise unexpectedly nice exchange.

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    8. Wow! Thank you for sharing this. It's really nice and heartwarming to reconnect with your old friends. And I enjoyed reading your exchanged emails. It's inspiring!

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    9. What a crazy thing to happen. I would have immediately had all of those same thoughts, as well.

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    10. It is a very touching post. I guess Im tired of product reviews, "15 things to be happy" and what to cook on Father day. This post is like cool clear water during hot day. Thank you!

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    11. Thanks for sharing your conversation. I didn't realize that people weren't emailing one another anymore. I email all day, every day.

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    12. Richelle Escat21 June 2021 at 18:57

      As a fellow Filipina, I could totally relate to the moment, when you're still trying to think about of "what his motives are" hehe.

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    13. Thank you for sharing dadi iv. Another great blog with great content po. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam yung old friend na makakaalala sayo ang handang makinig tungkol sa life and success mo sa buhay. Unexpected kala ko mangungutang din😅😅 I love your quote po. "Life is short, let’s live it to the fullest"

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    14. Thank you for sharing dadi iv. Another great blog with great content po. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam yung old friend na makakaalala sayo ang handang makinig tungkol sa life and success mo sa buhay. Unexpected kala ko mangungutang din😅😅 I love your quote po. "Life is short, let’s live it to the fullest"

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    15. Just An Inspiring Story Dad, Really Sobrang Sarap Basahin from Start to End, Kung Paano Tayo nagiging Masaya even In Small Things Na Naaachieve natin sa Buhayz At Kung paano NaAppreciate ng mga Friends Or Old friends Natin ang Story natin in life about Life and Success, Kaya So Thankful and grateful in Everything, Salamat Ulit sa pagShare ng Napakagandang Kwento Mo Dad...

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    16. Very true daddy. We should be more appreciative nowadays. Be thankful for small achievement.

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    17. This was one of the most insightful things I have read. Beautiful and honest and it showed how much depth you have as a person. It was as if I was reading pages straight from your thoughts and heart and I thank you for sharing this.

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      1. Thank you, Papa Joms! I deeply appreciate that you liked the message of this post.

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    18. Scarlett Brooklyn22 June 2021 at 00:50

      That conversation is beautiful awkward and kind of romantic? Romantic coz of the platform and of course because he confidently catch up with you even though it's been almost decades.

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    19. These inspiring stories are necessary and beautiful because they lift the soul!

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    20. That is such a beautiful conversation with your old friend. It feels so surprising receiving an email from a friend that you never see nor talked for a decades. I am glad that you and your friend have really a great time talking to each other.

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    21. This is so wonderful. I think it's amazing how much you can connect after years. I thought this was all so beautiful. I love it.

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    22. It was an interesting kind of conversation that you would not expect to happen. But this unexpected things and unexpected visitation from the past makes us appreciate life more. Nice story to read

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    23. Sometimes the best way to work through our own thoughts and life events is through unlikely conversations. You have gone through a lot in a short time and I'm glad you have found some balance..

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    24. some of the best things in life come unexpectedly. makes for nice stories later

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    25. Such a lovely post. An unexpected message from an old friend makes us feel good about life. I think, we should also try to reconnect with our old friends to refresh ourselves.

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    26. I do love writing letters to friends, even if I have not seen them in years, I love staying connected by mail

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    27. Grazie per aver condiviso questa storia. Il mondo di oggi corre veloce e a volte bisogna fermarsi e prendersi un attimo per riprendere un contatto vero con gli altri

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    28. This is heartwarming and made me miss my friends even more. The pandemic has shifted and changed most of our priorities. And this post reminded me to just pause for a bit and reconnect with good ol buddies!

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    29. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy. Make a good memory with your friend and loves one.

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    30. I learned a lot reading this post today! Thank you so much for sharing this really great coonversation.

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    31. We all have different struggles especially during the pandemic. Every small wins should be celebrated. It should be a springboard to more success in life.

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    32. This is really nice, yes being in contact with old friends are always best thing. I miss them. A letter brings back all the emotions.

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    33. This is of one the blog that I love and I am starting to be your fan. Great blog and I wish I have my own unlikely conversation from someone I used to know from the past, from someone who have touched and made impact to my life. I am thinking now, what if instead of waiting...why don't I start... Sending "Hi, there" to that person.

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      1. Thank you, Daddy Clavy! Nakakataba naman ng puso ang mga sinabi mo.

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    34. Yay 😍😍 This is so nice .. Talaga namang nakakagalak na makipag-ugnay muli sa ating mga kaibigan Thankyou for sharing this daddy ivan.. Sobrang nakaka inspire po. Sobrang natutuwa po ako sa pag babasa ng mga exchanged emails..

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    35. Wow, that's amazing that your conversations left such a long-lasting impact to the point where he thought about them decades later. Amazing!

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    36. I found your post funny because I can totally relate. Haha! I can't help but think if he/she will sell essential oils or insurance or borrow money. LOL

      But this is such a well-written piece and I am glad that you realize your own strength and for being a survivor.

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    37. Life is too short. Well, its a saying that I guess we can totally relate nowadays. It's also a good time to reconnect with people, asking how they are just like your old friend did.

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    38. This is a great read. A reminder that life must go on despite what is happening around. Time to reconnect with old friends too and checking up on them can mean a lot. Also, cheers to surviving and keep inspiring.

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    39. Thank you so much for sharing this article! Now is such a good time to reconnect with old friend and amily!

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    40. Nice topic. I read it all. In times like this thanks for insipiring us and reminding us that life is great.

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    41. Thank you for this conversation. I learned so much reading this.

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    42. This was such a great read! Thank you for the topic!

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    43. Fascinating to hear about this exchange between you and an old friend!

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    44. Such an interesting read, emails aren't a thing anymore with all the social media apps .

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    45. Thats such a beautiful conversation. I really loved reading it.

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    46. I've never been through social anxiety but my friend did and it wasn't the best to be honest. Great conversation!

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    47. That's interesting. I know with everything that has happened a lot of people are feeling more cooped up and closed in. I know I've had a couple of people reach out to me that I haven't heard from in a long time too.

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    48. You've had a nice email conversation with your old friend out there. Such an interesting read!

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    49. Such a heartwarming read.. and it is always glad to connect with old friends

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    50. Thank you for sharing your conversation.

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    51. Text message presents words while letter presents emotions. Thank you for sharing this amazing conversation.

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    52. Its so nice to connect with old friends over an email. I feel its a great way to open your heart and write and express things which sometimes you may find difficult to say face to face.

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    53. It's always fun to catch up with an old friend, whether you're close or not.

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    54. I loved reading through this post. It’s super refreshing! I guess because we are just so busy, life passes us by, but it’s great when we slow down and just reconnect with old friends and shared memories. They might mean a lot more than we thought they meant.

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    55. I have learned that life is short this year when I lost a friend suddenly due to a stroke. Life is short and just being with others is a blessing.

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    56. Ang gaNda po tlaga nakipag reconnect sa old friend. Yung sabay kau mag reminisce ng past. Thank you for sharing po.

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    57. Life is definitely short. i keep getting reminded each time my kids grow a year older.

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    58. What a beautiful, human thing to do - reach out and reconnect. NVM if the relationship before wasn't that close. I thought you did the right thing. I hope this grows to an even more tight friendship in the future.

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    59. I suddenly missed my Dad. I'm pretty sure if he's still with us we'll be having unli bonding too during this pandemic. Indeed life has lots of surprises for us. I'm glad that you and your were able to manage and cope with the pandemic. Your family is lucky to have a strong dad in you :)

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    60. Such a inspiring convo from your old friends. Nakaka gaan talaga ng pakiramdam knowing that someone is inspired dahil sa mga achievements mo.

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    61. An inspiring, thought-provoking post especially from a busy, hands on dad. It makes one yearn for a former place and time when friends were just within reach. Its nice to know that friends can still connect after a long time. Thanks for sharing.

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    62. Wow! This is such a moving post! I would have also doubted and think baka magbebenta lang ng kung anu ano yung mga biglang nagpaparamdam na old friends/acquaintances. But good thing your conversation with your old friend progressed into something meaningful. :)

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    63. This is such a creative way of writing to reflect more on yourself and the things that happened around you. I bet the exchange of "conversations," have been a good instrument to see a better light of life. :)

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    64. I read from start to end. It's an engaging story that captures your most essential reflections and challenges in life. I also learned more about autism. Your son is luck y to have you as his father in this tough journey. Good luck on the contest, ivan!

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      1. Thank you so much, Danica! I appreciate your kind words.

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    65. My biggest takeaway here is to not let anyone steal your joy. this is very true. We gotta prioritize ourselves and not sacrifice any moments or experiences that make us happy and to not let anyone derail us from the things that make us happy. Thanks for sharing this

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    66. Whenever I get messages from people who I haven't spoken to in a while, I get paranoid as I automatically assume that they're going to invite me to join some networking/MLM scheme. Hahaha! No joke! On a serious note, I remember reconnecting with an old friend and we had a lengthy exchange similar to yours. Through those messages I was able to reflect and got to know myself better - I hardly ever 'reflect' as I am a very busy person. I'm so sorry to hear about you getting the virus but I'm glad that you and your family are doing well.

      Stay safe!

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    67. dont forget bro, any win big or small is a BIG WIN especially during this pandemic! wish I get to receive an email from an old friend too. kahit sino. nakakamiss din

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    68. There's something about emails that feels more genuine! You have said many wonderful things but this one stood out the most to me: "That’s because maturity may be the answer to the elusive peace of mind that everybody is chasing after. Why? Because when we become older, we learn the value of keeping calm and caring only about the essentials when the road becomes bumpy." This is so true. I am always a reactive person, but I'm starting to learn how to choose my battle well. After all, we really have to manage our energy better - to give attention to the things that truly matter. I wish you well and your family!

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    69. I knew where you were coming from when you thought of things such as "will he ask to lend him money?" or "sell me essential oils?" because honestly, it feels like we've all been there before. This is such a nice and fun read. I don't remember the last time I read a blog post this long. Haha!

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    70. A very inspiring post written in a unique literary style. I have read and reread it several times and each time gives me a renewed inner strength. In this time of pandemic, its nice to be reminded that life is short, let's live to the fullest. Thanks for posting. You are a blogger's ideal blogger.

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      1. I'm glad that you have found strength and inspiration through this post. It makes me happy to know that. :)

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    71. Such a great post, I am glad you managed to chat to your old friend and also that you found a reason for your shyness as a child. I often feel like this is me!

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    72. What a unique email. I’m so glad that you reconnected. It’s amazing how time works. - Elle

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    73. I loved that your instant reaction of virus message ( this would be mine too) was changed to a lovely Unexpected message from an old friend.

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    74. I basically live in my email! I email my grandparents and parents all the time - I didn't know people had stopped using email.

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      1. People hadn't stopped using email but you have to admit that it has declined in popularity, especially with social media and all those messaging apps available these days.

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    75. This is amazing and very insightful! I love that you reached out to your friends and acquaintances, this is awesome and very very thoughtful.

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    76. What a magical experience to unexpectedly receive a message from someone whom you've never heard from for a very long time. I believe that magics happen. " Things which once have been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed "- James G. Frazer (The Second Principle of Magic). During this time of pandemic I believe it is not childish to believe in magic. Thanks for the inspiring, magical post.

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      1. Thank you so much! My heart is brimming with happiness because of your beautiful words.

        I've always believed in magic and I've personally experienced it a lot of times. Indeed, it's not childish to believe in magic.

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    77. A great read!!! During these difficult times it is inspiring to read about experiences of people whose courage defies the idea of failure. Life may be short or long but short or long its up for us to make that life meaningful. And a meaningful life is one that is lived to the fullest. From now on my mantra is "Live Life to the Fullest".Permission to share. Thanks.

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      1. Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, I'd be glad if you shared this post so that its message can reach a lot of people.

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    78. Loved the post and enjoy every word. I love when I was younger as a kid and we would have pen pals and such. I actually love writing actual letters to people via the mail.

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    79. Thank you for sharing this blog daddy Ivan 🥰🥰🥰 nakakatuwa Yung kahit na hindi mo siya ka close nuon ay naalala ka pa rin ang sarap pong basahin nito at talagang sarap sa pakiramdam Yung di mo na mamalayaan may mga taong tumuturing pa rin sa iyong freinds ka🥰

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    80. Thanks for sharing this . You are a survivor,we can actually relate to us ...at the end of the day ,nalagpasan naten to,at tunay na kahanga hanga.

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    81. Done reading this blog po. Love this and ang ganda po ng story. Nakarelate po ako dun kung sya ba may may tinda or mangugutang hahaha 😅🤣 Pero ang sarap po sa pakiramdam kapag may taong matagal na nating di nakakausap tas biglang nag email or chat sa atin and nandyan para sa atin kapag may problema. Unexpected things are the best talaga. ❤️🥰

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    82. Done reading this blog po. Love this and ang ganda po ng story. Nakarelate po ako dun kung sya ba may may tinda or mangugutang hahaha 😅🤣 Pero ang sarap po sa pakiramdam kapag may taong matagal na nating di nakakausap tas biglang nag email or chat sa atin and nandyan para sa atin kapag may problema. Unexpected things are the best talaga. ❤️🥰

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    83. This is worth to read. It persuade us to try new things, throwing fear of failure to the wind. I realized, living my life to the fullest would represent an advernturer who would care less about what others think of them. Going on adventures with the people I love. Helping those in need. Living life to the fullest would involve me in taking the biggest risks ever thought of and overcoming my fears.

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    84. I agree po that every win, big or small should be celebrated.
      I enjoyed reading the exchange of messages, I was curious at first why all of a sudden an old friend will keep in touch with you. But as your exchange of messages progress I appreciate it. It's nice that there's someone out there that can see through you, unexpectedly. There's a lot of learnings and I love it.

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    85. I never read such a long conversation. I have short attention span. But i read it all just now. What a beautiful conversation by two old friend. Reminiscing the past and connecting to each other. Its great to know that there are still people who wants to reconnect with you.

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    86. What a blog!!! Honestly, I have read this a few days ago but i didn't bother to comment because...well, its just that it is not my personal style to give comments especially to people I am not really familiar. But this time, I can't resist the idea of commenting. You have just told a beautiful story. A story where everyone can easily relate. A story of acceptance: to accept things beyond our control. We cannot choose the family where we are born and in the same manner, we cannot choose the children we are going to have. A mystic once said, children are made in heaven. Special children are born without having fully developed as human beings and therefore, their angelic characteristics are still dominant (retained). When your child is special, it only means that you have an angel under your care. A story of resiliency: the ability to recover from any difficulty. Resiliency is akin to survival.This pandemic is a battle for survival. Survival of the fittest. The physically unfit will have to be always on guard to protect themselves to survive On the other hand, the emotionally unfit are most likely not to survive for they will find it very difficult to follow the health protocols. And finally, a story of hope: hope is that soaring optimism that enables us to move forward in spite of all difficulties and achieve the things we have set our minds to attain. May I say it again...What a blog!!!Thanks for posting.

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      1. It look me a long time to respond to your comment because, well, I was speechless with the many kind words you have said. But thank you, I never expected to receive or hear such beautiful words from a reader. My heart is overflowing each time I read your comment.

        As a blogger and writer, my mission is really to inspire and not to impress. I feel fulfilled when people draw inspiration from my words.

        Again, big thanks to you. I hope you and your family are always safe and well.

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