By Karen M. Soriano

IT’S BEEN awhile since my last article…week in, week out, my son Elijah and my dear friend/editor Teng, would remind about my next article. My mind just simply couldn’t get its flow so I can start typing away and get lost in my thoughts. Right now, my fingers are almost unstoppable, as if they have minds of their own.

Many events and issues with great substance could have been written about: a trip to another province (where I am now consultant to) with a successful Reforestation Project and an Environmental Protection Plan that actually works, could have been generously shared in my column… still I couldn’t conjure up an article.

Every time I sit down and try to write something, I would just end up staring at my computer and blackout. Why? What is happening to me? Have I lost my spunk and zest for expressing my thoughts and opinions? Is it due to the successive events toward the end of the year? Elijah’s exam week coming up perhaps, or planning what to do for his birthday? Or was it due to the Holidays and the pressure of coming up with a Christmas list and what gifts to buy for my love ones? I have good topics in my head, I just couldn’t write a body under the title.

Today I realized my mind just simply went on hiatus, exhausted and burnt out from previous challenges that I had to hurdle and just finished ironing out probably just before the 3rd quarter of 2008 kicked in. My mind needed to rest and be put at ease. I realize now the significance of taking a breather and going a vacation perhaps from time to time just to get away from it all…even just for a short period of time. To give ourselves a chance to unwind, re-charge and regain strength.

Since Elijah started studying in XAVIER, coming from a small progressive school, I told myself I shall lay low from work so I can closely over see his adjustment and instill in him a disciplined study habit…taking a break, having time for myself and going on a vacation especially one without him was far from my mind. Elijah and I are like 2 peas in a pod. Even my Mom noticed early on last year that I was burnt out already and suggested that I go to the states for 2 months to relax and put my mind at ease… I declined. My role was limited to a reliable friend to my friends, sister to my siblings, Mother to Elijah, daughter to my parents and Grand daughter to our Nanay…but Ms. Karen M. Soriano, Technical Director of Forestry to our family owned company was nowhere to be found.

It was only October or November of last year that I realized I should have gone on a short vacation to gallivant by myself, but since Elijah’s classes were heavily going on already I knew for me at least it was something I had to put off. So I took the opportunity (when it knocked on my door) to make a short visit to a new province and rekindle my passion for my work and love for nature, found joy in excitedly waiting for Elijah to come home everyday from school and proudly give me his happy marks and tell me how many chips he had accompanied with fond stories of his friends, after which we would proceed to doing his homework and by Friday if he was able to garner 5 or more chips, he would proudly come home with a HAPPY GRAM for showing good behavior and active class participation the entire week, and at the end of each quarter high grades in his report card and even awards that I would proudly share to our entire family and even my dearest friends. I took solace and joy in being there for my friends in need, being a good sister to my siblings and even doing Charity work toward the end of the year…

It was as good as a vacation, for I attended to sides of me that I took for granted to take care of while I was so busy being Ms. Karen M. Soriano, Technical Director of Forestry to Tayben Woodlands Foundation and even in some instances a “run to” person for our workers and farmers and of course juggling it with motherhood.

There is always goodness in situations that may seem unfavorable or negative to us for I realized the value of my friends and family even more, as for Elijah, no matter what the case maybe is always at the top of my head. I got my much needed vacation although not the kind that we would normally have… I got it in the form of LOVE, JOY and HAPPINESS by spending time with those that I love and love me as much.

Too much of everything although well intended will not do us good in the long run after all. I realized I need to learn to strike a balance.

As I welcome the Year 2009 with arms wide open, filled with so much hope and optimism, comes the return of Ms. Karen M. Soriano-Technical Director of TWFI. I am finally back in the groove but pacing myself, laying out plans for this coming year and the years to come but balancing it out with my other but more personal and important roles. WELCOME BACK!