So, where do I start? Well, I guess I should introduce myself first. I’m Aldrich, a father to a charming little girl, and I’m a bona fide disaster magnet. Throughout my life, I’ve been constantly followed by crashes, mishaps, setbacks and adversities.
Wherever I go, disaster follows me.
From a life-altering electric shock to everyday vexations, my life seems like a never-ending series of unfortunate events.
And, that’s all because I make terrible decisions all the time.
And, a terrible decision maker.
My records are full of blemishes, whether it’s in school or at my previous workplaces.
And, guess what? I will continue to live a disastrous life because I will make a ton more bad decisions.
But, I have no regrets.
It’s true that I often wondered what could have happened if I did things differently. But, I don’t feel bad about my wrong choices. Furthermore, I don’t overthink each small decision I have to make in my everyday life.
And, today, as I recall my hike in Sibonga, Cebu, I’m going to confess the things that make me a disaster magnet.
Shall we begin?
I say yes and figure out things later
My vivid imagination was running wild.
Perched on a verdant mountain in Libo, Sibonga, I thought of a multitude of possibilities for this spontaneous hike.
What route should we take for this hike?
Are we going to hike all the way to Mount Kalatkat in Carcar?
Or, is a hike to Mount Lanhan from Libo a more satisfying option?
What about hiking to Pangpanga in Barili or to Dumanjug?
I’m not really sure.
When it comes to life and hiking, I don’t have a specific plan.
I just go with flow, and follow where the Universe takes me. I just say yes, and figure things out later, which may seem like a disaster for some people.
I hate making detailed plans.
To me, having a plan creates an illusion that you have absolute control over your journey.
We set goals, build a timeline, and do whatever it takes to execute our plans into perfection.
But, the reality is, we have little control of our life and journey.
Only the Universe, God or Allah has full control of our life.
I may sound like a free-spirited hippie with no plans for life. But, answer me these questions. What happened in 2020? What happened to your pre-covid plans? Did everything go according to your grand plan?
Like life, hiking is full of surprises. Some surprises are pleasant, while others like 2020 seem like a disaster.
And, don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to work on plans, but a complete and concrete plan is an illusion, and rarely comes out the way you want.
What’s more, having no plan means you won’t feel disappointment when things don’t go your way.
After a light-hearted discussion, we decided to hike all the way to Mount Lanhan from Libo.
Like most of our spontaneous hikes, we didn’t know how to get to our target destination. As always, we just say yes, and figure things out later.
Along the way, we made some unique discoveries, including stellar views and the ruins of a mysterious house that experienced a tragic disaster.
Whenever we see something captivating, we pause, and soak up its beauty.
That’s the beauty of having no plans.
The thing is, we spend a lot of time getting ready for the future, stressing over things that have yet to happen, and setting plans that we forget to live in the moment.
And, we forget to appreciate how far we have come because we’re so obsessed with our blueprint to a brighter future.
I always take the road less traveled
We were standing at the crossroads in the highlands of Sibonga.
On our right was the road leading to Sayao Cave, Mount Binabag and Mount Kalatkat.
On the left side was the road to Mount Lanhan and a cluster of towering cliffs.
The right road was easier, while the left one was full of uncertainties and may even led to a disaster.
The RIGHT road leads to well-known sights, while its left counterpart only has Mount Lanhan.
Although we had agreed to hike to Mount Lanhan earlier, we still had the opportunity to change course and take the right way.
And, guess what? I didn’t take the RIGHT road. Didn’t I say that I’m a disaster magnet and a bad decision maker?
Somehow, this crossing reminds me of my life. The RIGHT road is a metaphor of an easier and more financially richer journey where I just have to follow the pathway paved by my ancestors.
And the left road? It’s a risky foray with no mentors, no plans and an unknown outcome. In other words, it could lead to a disaster.
If I followed the RIGHT road, I could have been something big in the eyes of today’s society.
A nurse in the US.
Or a businessman.
But, the glamorous and wealthy life has never been appealing to me. And, besides, following someone’s footsteps isn’t an alluring option in my world.
I want to create my own path, and live a fulfilling life, without any “backers”.
My journey won’t make me a millionaire, and some might say that my life is a disaster.
But, at the end of the day, I’m fully satisfied with my life.
I’m living a technicolor life because I didn’t take the RIGHT road.
All the sadness, joy, frustrations and anger have added pigment to my journey. Without these emotions, my life would be soulless, and everything in my world would be black and white.
I know I’m the one confessing to you. But, I want you to see why I chose to take the road less traveled, and learn from it.
There’s a vast, beautiful world out there with infinite possibilities. With a little courage, we can walk new unknown trails, create new perspectives and live life in a way that best suits us.
We don’t have to follow the path that masses expect us to take. And, you don’t have to pressure yourself into becoming something big.
If you’re artistic and dreaming of becoming a tattoo artist, go for it.
If you’re talented in video editing and want to be a videographer, give it a shot.
Even if people think you’re headed for a disaster, keep walking on your path, and create new perspectives.
Take it from me, a disaster magnet, and a BS education degree holder who took an unusual career path instead of teaching.
I’m a risk-taking disaster magnet
I take a lot of risks.
And, it’s probably one of the reasons why disaster is drawn to me.
On our hike to Mount Lanhan, we took another risk. Instead of taking the established road, we hiked a trail that we didn’t know where it would take us.
And, it wasn’t a great choice. It didn’t bring us closer to Mount Lanhan, and was in fact leading us closer to Mount Binabag in Carcar.
It wasn’t a frustrating experience, though.
We stayed calm, and even just laughed about it. Furthermore, we had a blast chatting with the locals and residents in the area.
As I’ve said, I’m a disaster magnet who makes a shitload of risks and bad choices.
I’ve failed so many times throughout my life.
But, I don’t see my failures in a negative light. In fact, all my failures have made me a more resilient and stronger person.
Even with all my failures, I’m still going to take more risks. Heck, we were even thinking of taking another risk, as we were resting and evaluating our options after this little mishap.
Risks are essential to everyone’s life. Sure, some risks are dangerous and have all the ingredients of a disaster. But, I always believe in the saying “if you’re doing nothing, then nothing will happen”.
Inaction leads to nothing and nowhere.
So, if you’re dreaming of getting a new job or a new life, go and take risks.
If you want to date a drop-dead gorgeous lady, go have some balls and ask her out.
If you won’t, then nothing happens.
You might fail, and it’s okay. Even if you could have done things better, you’re now equipped with a powerful piece of information. At least, you’ve gained insights that you can use on your next try.
In life, each choice you make, whether right or wrong, gets you closer to where you should be.
Whenever I fall flat on my face, I just rise up and learn from my mistakes.
Speaking of risks, everyone was so eager to hike another different path of Mount Lanhan.
As we were resting, and gathering information, we saw a wide pathway that leads to the top of a mountain.
I must say it was tempting. And, once again, we were about to make another mistake.
Thankfully, experience has taught me that not all risks are worth taking. My failures and experiences, as a disaster magnet, have taught me how to approach situations like this.
I remembered that Mark brought his drone. I asked him if he could fly his techie target, so that we could see if the trail leads to Mount Lanhan.
This time, our failed experiences have saved us from a potential disaster. While there are pathways leading to Mount Lanhan from our current location, it’s a rather dangerous route with disaster written over it.
So, we took the paved road, and after a hearty lunch in the nearby school, climbed our way to Mount Lanhan.
The view from Mount Lanhan never gets old.
Despite the strong gusts of wind, blankets of fog and rain, it was still such a spectacular sight.
As I was admiring the view, I saw a cliff that we tried to climb a few months earlier.
The pursuit of this cliff or pangpang was a failure. But, there was one big takeaway to this failed attempt: to get to the cliff, we need to pass by Mount Lanhan.
Thanks to a sprightly old man, we found out that this cliff can be accessed from a trail near Lanhan.
And, since we didn’t have any plans for this hike, I suggested that we venture into this cliff.
Can you guess what happened next? Well, it’s a no brainer.
They all said yes to my proposal. I wasn’t sure how we’d get there, but I knew we’d figure it out. And, if we fail, I won’t call this experience a disaster either. At least, we’d gain new insights from this hike.
I don’t strive for perfection
So far, this hike hasn’t been a disaster. But, it hasn’t been a breeze or perfect either.
We got lost a few times, we got soaked in the rain, and we were headed to an unknown cliff. Not to mention, Dian had a headache, and Jay was dealing with an upset stomach.
I didn’t care if it was flawed and full of hurdles. On the contrary, I’m loving it.
I don’t strive for perfection, both in life and hiking,
I know some of you might say that I’m weak, nonchalant and a bum for not having lofty goals. I guess I just don’t fit in today’s hustle culture where everyone is striving for perfection.
Chasing perfection, to me, means you have to live with a relentless and forceful inner voice that consistently tells you to work harder.
And, sometimes, this bossy inner voice will remind you that nothing you do is good enough. If you leave this unchecked, it will lead you to burnout, anxiety and even depression.
You may feel so emotionally and mentally exhausted that you’ll find it easier to give up.
We, eventually, found a trail that leads to the summit of this cliff.
Suddenly, I could feel adrenaline rushing in my veins. Thrilled, inspired and enthusiastic, I shuffled my feet, and followed the trail that would hopefully lead us to the top of the cliff.
I was like a shark that sensed huge amounts of blood in the water.
Then, we arrived at a clearing where we were amazed both by the views and our journey. There was one more thing to do on this hike: get to the top of the cliff.
It was a risky endeavor, but I knew we could pass it with flying colors.
I’m not afraid to take these kinds of risks. That’s because I’m not a perfectionist, and I’m not afraid to fail.
The more you strive for perfection, the more you prevent yourself from taking such risks. Perfectionists are afraid of failing. Perfectionists are afraid that taking risks can turn into a disaster.
Perfectionism creates an unhealthy mindset where you tell yourself that some things are not worth trying if they can’t be perfectly done.
Perfectionists shy away from different challenges and new opportunities that can be rewarding and worthwhile if pursued.
Our spontaneous hike wasn’t a disaster. After a few twists, turns, scrambles and crawls, we arrived at a scenic vantage point with a breathtaking view of South Cebu and Negros Island.
It was a sight to behold.
As I was standing on the summit, I realized that we wouldn’t have found this hidden gem if we strived for perfection.
Perfectionism also suffocates my creative impulses. I can’t really rely on my imagination or creativity to solve problems, if I keep thinking of creating a perfect trip.
I’m about to end this confession.
Before I leave, I just want to say that I love being a flawed old man, and a disaster magnet.
And, I hope you learn to love being imperfect too.
We’re all inherently broken and flawed beings
Even with our state-of-the-art technology and intelligence, we’re full of errors, regrets and longing. .
Embrace your imperfections, and learn how to live with them. You’re perfectly imperfect, and that’s just okay.