HELP AFTER HAIYAN

Travelling at the speed of expectations

Michelle Baltazar

Two years ago an event happened that left an indelible mark on my life. It made me realise (even more!) how precious and fragile life is. I became less critical of myself and the people around me. I became more forgiving and less judgmental. The typhoon that destroyed my hometown made me realise that we are all just trying to find our little pocket of happiness in this world and if our fates could change so swiftly, if people who matter to us could be taken away so suddenly, that we should just live and let live.

There are so many stresses and expectations we put on ourselves that aren't really necessary. I still get caught up once in a while on issues that are, in the scheme of things, quite trivial. But then I go back to that day, that week, and I find my centre once again. I have made a promise to help with fundraising and advocacy for Haiyan survivors for five years and I am now on Year Two.

My goal is to facilitate fund raising and connect donors with charities and direct beneficiaries on Year One and Year Two then put my journalistic hat on from Year Three to Year Five to monitor the disbursement of donations from the first two years. It would be a tragedy if the huge sums that came from all around the world get caught out in the corruption endemic in the Philippines. It would be good to see at least 80% of the funds go to the intended beneficiaries!


I used to be obsessed about my career and kicking goals. But the typhoon made me realise how hard we are on ourselves: that we are constantly traveling at the speed of expectations - from society, from our family and friends, from the goals and bucket lists we've set out for ourselves.

Keeping pace with all that is dragging me down!

I've decided that it's perfectly okay not to chase perfection. I am happy that when I die, my epitaph won't say, "Here lies a woman who kept her house in order and never left a dirty dish in the kitchen sink."

I've felt judged, harshly so, that I'm somehow a failure because I am not married nor a mother. But again, the typhoon has placed everything in context. I'd be glad, and proud, if my epitaph goes along the lines of: "Here lies a woman who never set out to hurt a single soul." I'd be happy with that.


I'd like to thank Marcus Rivera for saying yes to the concert fundraiser this weekend. And to everyone behind the scenes, to those who are coming to the show, to those who have offered financial support, to those who have done their own fundraising over the past 12 months, I love you dearly. To the incredible men and women who have donated since Day One, or who have offered their thoughts and prayers to those affected by the typhoon, this post is dedicated to you. xo

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