31

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31. My first year in my thirties is already over. What a year it’s been walking the line of both struggle and joy. Coming to realize that every year of life is too special to miss out on.

To commemorate turning 30 last year, I jumped out of a plane. Overcame a fear. To commemorate turning 31, I got a tattoo. (No, I probably won’t do something big every year, or maybe I will). I’ve been wanting one for many years now. 8 to be exact. When, I first had the desire, I actually waited. I waited two years to see if it was just a phase. It wasn’t. Still, I waited, this time much longer for many reasons. Fear of pain. Sin or not sin? But really, I wanted to make sure I knew what I wanted considering it was kind of permanent. At first, I wanted a word. The word ‘fearless’ for the longest time. Slowly, the word evolved into an image of a boat on the sea. Here’s the behind the scenes look.

When I was young, I nearly drowned in the ocean. Since then, I was always afraid of the ocean. By how easily it could take my life. I was enthralled by its beauty but only from afar. It wasn’t until 2009 when a love and fascination for the sea awakened on a backpacking venture. I was able to overcome my fear of the ocean, kind of. I did more than just dip my feet, I immersed myself into it. I swam in it. I sailed on it. I even snorkeled in it. It was one of the scariest thing I ever did at that time.

Love grew for the sea. I longed for the sounds of waves. Thirsted after the waters on my skin. Sounds extreme, but it was pretty serious. Watching One Piece didn’t help either. I wanted to change my career path and become a pirate in my early 20s and follow Captain Luffy. We’ll call it a quarter-life crisis. A strange yet strong desire to be out at sea frequented my thoughts throughout the years. I wanted to sail to the ends of the earth, but of course, never mustered up the time or courage or skills to do so. Still, daydreams are allowed, no?

The sea continued to be a place of fear, wonder and love. A reflection of my God. Him, this endless ocean. I, a little boat, within that vastness floating and sailing along. Some days, the waters of life were gentle and kind. And other days, it seemed as if they would swallow me alive. There were days where I would find incredible joy in the journey and days I wanted out of the mundane routine. Days I felt I could endlessly gaze in awe of his incredible majesty, and again days not. Times where I’d be encouraged by the company of other boats and times where I just wanted to drift away. Days where I allowed the winds of change to navigate me, and others where I would take control of these winds in my favor. I could go on.

One day, a song came along. It was one of those songs you want on your own personal life soundtrack believing it was written just for you. One that will play when you’re reflecting on life and making important life decisions on top of a beautiful cliff with wind blowing in your hair in an epic manner. “Captain,” it’s called. It almost too perfectly illustrates the life I’ve chosen to live and want to continue to live. To venture into the unknowns and uncertainties of this uncharted life with one simple and true certainty …

Jesus, my captain, my soul’s trusted Lord, all my allegiance is rightfully yours.

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