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Birthdays are a tricky business… well at least that’s how I feel about my birthday.

I’m honestly confused as to what I should feel about my birthday, should I feel happy… should I feel the need to celebrate it… should I feel sad… there are really a lot of things going through my mind right now and as usual, I’m over analyzing and rationalizing how I should feel and why I should or should not feel that way. Then again, that’s just me… and this is probably what happens after you get exposed to Six Sigma tools and have been doing analysis for the last 3 years of your life. I’m not even a black belt and I’m already like this! :P

And since I am able to think better when I put it in writing… why not create a blog post about it? I have been meaning to update the blog regularly, so why not now… on my birthday.

Reason #1: I grew up

I feel all the fairies and lost children in Neverland already weeping with the mention of those three words. I can even hear a song I heard in a Peter Pan musical playing in my head particularly this line: “I want to be like Peter Pan… I don’t want to ever grow up.” I’m not entirely sure that I have the lyrics right – but you get the picture.

When you’re a kid, you look forward to your birthday because it means that you’re going to get a lot of presents and you get to blow out the candles on your cake.  All your friends get to visit your house and your family cooks you all your favorite food.  It’s one of the best days of the year for you – right after Christmas, of course.

Just mentioning all those things, makes me want to be a kid again… Just looking at my kids and the amazement in their eyes as they blow out the candles on their cake or open presents makes me want to go back to the time when I looked at life through those innocent eyes.

When you grow up, however, there’s a lot of things you need to consider.  I mean, let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to celebrate their birthday.  I happen to want to take my family out and show them a good time, because I feel happy when they’re happy.  This leads us to reason number 2…

Reason #2:  Money, money, money…

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not fond of spending or splurging on myself.  Whenever I buy something for myself I tend to feel guilty, because I could have used that money for something for my kids and my family.  This is particularly why I don’t celebrate my birthday.

Reason #3: My birthday usually falls somewhere in Holy Week

More often than not, my birthday would fall on either Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Black Saturday.  This year, of course, it didn’t… but it has happened before and when it does, there’s really little room to celebrate with all the customary Catholic ceremonies and rituals that we need to follow (not eating meat, not celebrating, etc).

Reason #4: Time is running out

Let’s face it… even if I say that I’m only 25 years old and 12 months, the fact still remains that I am already 26 years old – plus, I’m not getting any younger!  Every single day is indeed a gift from God, but your birthday reminds you of how long you have spent on this earth and how much longer you may or may not have.  It’s like a silent wake up call and you find yourself asking: “What have I done with my life?”

Reason #5: Frustrations in Life

Reason #4 now leads us to my 5th reason for not celebrating my birthday – which are my frustrations in life.

Being the overly dramatic person that I am, whenever an event comes up like my birthday, Christmas and stuff… I end up in a senti-mode.  I feel as though I’m at that moment in the movie wherein there’s background music to show that the character is sad, riding in a car, walking around and suddenly remembers something, trying to live his/her life but is really lonely inside – you get the picture.  It’s usually close to the resolution of the movie – but not quite for me.

Whenever my birthday comes around, I miss my family and friends whom I have not seen in years… I end up thinking of the things that I had dreamed of but have not yet achieved.  It’s like one entire day or week of dramatics which all revolve around my frustrations in life.

What am I frustrated about in the first place?  I am honestly confused as to the root cause of that as well… all I know is that I had big dreams for myself when I was a kid… and where I am right now is probably not where I had pictured myself in those days.  But that leads to another question – which makes me even more confused – because had I really known what I had wanted, then?

I end up thinking back during my days in 4th year High School and remembering how confused I was as to what course I wanted to take in College.  My dreams had shifted from being a lawyer, journalist, doctor, director, writer… I really had not known what I really wanted to become – so that leaves me little room to be frustrated as to what my life has become.  This now leads to my 6th reason for not celebrating my birthday…

Reason #6: Lost

Maybe it’s not really good to over-analyze and rationalize things – it really does things to you and ends up making you even more frustrated.  This is what normally happens during my birthday.  I end up reminiscing on my life, which leads to the frustration stage and ends up making me feel – LOST.

There are times when I browse through Facebook and go through my former classmates profiles.  I feel happy for them because they have gotten so far in their lives or when I see that they have not really changed and maintain the same group of friends.  Then, I begin to think – do they also think the same thoughts when they see me on Facebook?  Did I become the person they thought I would become when we were in High School?

Life has definitely led me to quite a different path than I had expected.  I don’t think I can ever become the person I was then, because I am a completely different person now.  I even remember the stuff I used to write and could not imagine how on God’s good earth I had managed to conjure up such fantasy – and romance even!

The mere reminder of how old you are, puts this silent pressure on you – it’s like I can imagine my life as an hour glass and I can see the grains of sand trickling down with me powerless to stop them from doing so.

But even if I do feel lost and even if I can’t stop time or turn back time… there is something I know for certain – that it’s not too late.  If there’s something that has not died with all the things that have happened in my life, it is that small flicker of hope burning inside me.  Yes, it’s still there – still burning and looking at the positive side of life.

Reason #7: I don’t dwell on dates

If there’s something that you should know about me – it’s that I don’t dwell on dates.  I don’t wait for new year’s day to start making a change or writing down my resolutions, because I believe that it’s just a day.  Yes, I will greet you because it’s your birthday – but for me everyday should be something  you should be thankful for – and that’s how I live my life.

I thank God for everyday He has given me, because for me – each day is an opportunity.  An opportunity to make right what you have done wrong… an opportunity to be a better person… an opportunity to show someone how much you love and appreciate them.

I may not celebrate my birthday and I may be a bit sad and melancholy… but that doesn’t mean I am not thankful for it.  I am, indeed, very thankful for this day because it marks my 26th year of being alive.  It also acts as a silent reminder that I’m not growing any younger and I should start doing something about my life.

Reason #8: Why do I need to celebrate anyway?

I don’t need to celebrate my birthday to make me feel special, because simple greetings from friends and family – in fact, just being with my family today – watching Glee and all sorts of movies is good enough for me.  I was even surprised and extremely overwhelmed with all the greetings on Facebook and that already made today extra special for me.

I don’t need any celebration or party to make me feel special, because I already know I am – maybe not in everyone’s eyes – but for God… and in the eyes of my kids and loved ones… I know I am special because they love me – and that’s good enough for me.

I only figured that it was holy week when I caught a glimpse of people carrying palms last March 28.  That was the only time when I really began processing all the posts on Facebook about the long weekend and plans to go to the beach.  Well, working at home can definitely do that to you – you are left with no sense of the dates or even time.  But something about missing holy week definitely got to me.

I grew up in a very pious Roman Catholic family.  We prayed the rosary every evening and went to mass every Sunday.  Our house was adorned with figures of saints, the holy trinity, Mama Mary and a lot of angels.  My grandma had a lot of visitors come to our house for prayer meetings and cenacles.  I also went to a very Catholic school, where the history of Catholic religion was a subject that was hardwired into your brain at a very young age.

So, to sum it all up my origins were rooted in Roman Catholicism.  I could pray the rosary better than kids my age when I was six and I knew the words and parts of the mass like the back of my hand.

Holy Week was something my family and I celebrated with utmost solemnity, which leads to the first reason for missing the solemnity of holy week… It reminds me of my family.

Being all grown up, it is only natural to leave your family and start building a family of your own.  I happen to miss our house filled with crucifixes and figures of saints, but most importantly I miss my family and spending time with them.  Times have definitely changed and have brought forth a lot of things that keep us busy – leaving us less time to spend with one another.

I miss the Holy Week because I remember how we spent it as a family.  I remember going from church to church every Holy Thursday to practice Visita Iglesia.  Each church had their own “gimik” or theme on how they would fix up the area where the Holy Sacrament would be displayed.  I remember doing the stations of the cross while we went from church to church and the laughs we had in the van while we travelled from one church to another.

I recall my aunts and I singing “I don’t know how to love him” after watching Jesus Christ Superstar, because it is often during Holy Week when these shows are aired on TV.

This now leads us to the second reason why I miss the solemnity of Holy week… shows about Jesus and the Bible

Cable TV was not popular then, so people were left with only the local channels to deal with during Holy Week.  And since most of these channels celebrate Holy Week as well, the only shows and movies aired on TV were the Ten Commandments, movies about Jesus and different bible stories. I miss watching those shows and have actually been thinking about downloading them.

It actually makes me realize why kids these days do not know as much about Jesus and Bible Stories as we did in the past – after all, we did not have Cartoon Network and other kid channels to watch during Holy Week.  Due to the limited shows on TV during the time, we were able to focus our attention on shows about Jesus and stories from the Bible.  I recall the local TV channels having a Super Book and Flying House Marathon.  This is probably why we know Jesus and the Bible better than the new generations.

I even recall the afternoon shows like Eat Bulaga and MTV morphing into a drama series during these times.  These were done in order to share moral lessons about God to the public.

3rd Reason why… Jesus Christ Superstar

I love Jesus Christ Superstar and it is usually aired during Holy Week, which is something I miss.  I had been thinking about Jesus Christ Superstar lately and found myself smiling when a friend shared a video clip about it on Facebook, because it was like the universe was conspiring me to watch it.

4th Reason why… memories of my birthday

Since my birthday is on April 12, there are times when it falls on a Holy Thursday and even one time during Black Saturday.  During those days, the entire city shuts down during Holy week and I remember having just a simple roll of cake as my birthday cake, because that was the only thing my mom was able to find at that time.  The cake didn’t matter – really, because I appreciated the mere fact that I had a cake and that I was spending my birthday with my family.

I have a lot of fond memories of my birthday falling on a Holy Week and whenever Holy Week comes around, I am reminded of those birthdays.

This leaves me with my 5th and top reason for missing the solemnity of Holy Week… it reminds me of how much God loves us

A lot of people look at Christmas being the season which reminds them most of God’s love – who wouldn’t, because Christmas is the season when the city is adorned in its best lights and we receive a lot of gifts.  It’s a happy season and most often than not, we appreciate God whenever we are happy – just like we do people when they give something to us (particularly in the form of gifts).

I believe in spending the Holy Week in solemnity, because this was the time when God sacrificed His most precious son out of His love for us.  Holy Week is the one time of the year when we are reminded of Jesus and God’s sacrifices and suffering just to save us.

I was really saddened when the clock struck 3:00 PM on April 2, because I knew that this was the time when God had died.  I felt guilty because I was not able to go to mass or go through the stations of the cross, just like we used to do when I was young.  I offered a silent prayer to thank God for offering His only begotten son because He loved us and He wanted to save us, but it just isn’t the same.

I don’t claim to be a very religious or good person – because I definitely am not a good person. I have made my share of sins and mistakes, but I guess that one of the reasons why I like the Holy Week is because it is a good way of being reminded of our sins.  Not only about our sins – but most importantly about how these sins were washed away because of Jesus’ sacrifice.  For me, Holy Week is a good reminder for us to value Jesus’ sacrifice by living a fruitful life.  It is also a very good reminder of God’s love for us – something that we should honor and cherish with our lives.

The internet is a truly wonderful tool for anyone who has an eye out for good opportunities and who has the courage and wisdom to take a hold of these opportunities.

Ever since I have started working online in April or May 2009, I have found that there are a lot of reasons why you can make more money while working online.  So, let me share with you some of the reasons I have found so far…

1 – you are not limited to your basic pay

Whenever you work in a regular job where your salary gets credited to you every 15th or 30th of the month, your monthly salary is limited to your basic salary, night differential, allowances, etc.

of course, it does get increased if you have rendered over time hours and actually get paid for that – but that’s not how it happens for freelancers.

When you freelance, you are paid for the number of hours you work each week or month or for the completion of projects.  If your freelance work is hourly, of course you are limited to the number of hours you have worked each week – but that doesn’t mean that it is limited to that.

If you want to earn more than your usual hourly rate per week, then, you can get more projects (fixed price or hourly) that will allow you to get more than you initially thought you would earn.

2 – you have less expenses

When you have a regular job, you will need to spend on transportation (fuel for your car or commuter fees for whatever vehicle or mode of transportation you take from your house or office).  You will also need to spend on food and for some –  your wardrobe.

When you work at home, your monthly expenses are the same expenses that you already have – electricity, phone/internet and food.  And as you know – less expenses mean more income. :)

3 – you earn in dollars or a different currency

Since you are earning in dollars or a different currency, your pay is more than minimum wage or your basic pay that is in your local currency.

But this, of course, all depends on the exchange rate – which is actually why I’m a bit confused as to what I will feel now that the dollar conversion is slowly getting lower: should i be happy that our economy is getting better or sadder because that means less income for me? :)

4  – it’s easier on the budget

If you are the type who has a strict household budget when it comes to your finances – then  you are going to love freelancing.

One thing that I have learned about freelancing is that you can allocate certain jobs or projects for a certain expense.  For example, my weekly budget for my kids’ needs is around 2-3k a week, so I take my kids’ budget from job A wherein I am earning around 4-5k a week, so on and so forth – you get the picture.

If ever there is an unseen expense that arises or an additional expense in your budget, you don’t need to lessen your budget on other things, because one thing that you can do is to get another project or job that will allow you to compensate or pay for that expense without touching your budget for other needs or expenses.

There are fixed price and hourly assignments.  The fixed price assignments are usually one time projects wherein you will get paid for successfully completing the task.  If you are in need of some additional money for a certain week or month, then, your best bet is to get a fixed price assignment that will add to your income for the said date.

5 – You allow yourself to focus on your business

Like I said, the internet is a truly wonderful tool – not only for freelance providers – but for business people as well.

If you want to start up a business, working online will definitely help you to your road to financial freedom, by freeing up more of your time, thus allowing you to spend more time with your business.  And just as you know, a better business = better finances.

Aside from having more time for your business, most freelance jobs are associated with SEO or Search Engine Optimization and this is something that every good business person should know, if you want to expand your business exponentially through the use of the internet.  Working with freelance projects and jobs will help you learn more about Search Engine Optimization, therefore helping you and your business more.

If you think that these 5 reasons are just the motivation that you need in order to start working online – then, what else are you waiting for?  Contact us at Blackburn Outsourcing Solutions so we can help jump start your career in the freelancing industry. :)

Since Archie has shared his views on why he loves to work at home, allow me to share my own as well – especially since, I was the one who dragged him into the work at home scheme… and I somehow hope to drag you into it as well! :)

So here goes… I love working at home because…

… It allows me to spend more time with my family

You may notice that a lot of really serious work at home or freelance providers are moms – if not family oriented people.  This is precisely because working at home will really allow you to spend more time with your family – which I have learned is both a good and bad thing (it really depends on your relationship with your family – but we will get to that in another blog!).

If you have kids, this will allow you to have a more hands-on approach on the upbringing of your kids, instead of just relying on your hired nanny or your parents to do that for you.

If you are a wife/husband, this will allow you to provide more quality time for your partner.  You will be able to take care of them by cooking them breakfast, washing and all sorts of stuff.  Yes, it is possible that you are already doing that now, but working at home will allow you to do that without the hassle of having to rush all the time because you need to get to your office on time.

Yes, there are times when your kids are tugging on your arm and asking you if they can play Dora on NickJr.com and the occasional screaming and tantrums while you are on a call with a client, but nonetheless.. the mere fact that you are with your kids and your loved ones is a great motivation, I should think.

… I am earning in dollars

The money I am earning from working at home is in dollars, because I have my own outsourcing set up as my employers are located abroad.  Although not a lot of people are open to this, because they have hesitations about working with clients abroad and how the money will get to them and such, our team (Blackburn Outsourcing Solutions) is working through http://www.odesk.com and expanding to other freelance sites that not only ensure that you have a reputable and legitimate job online – most importantly, they make sure that you are getting paid.

… I am able to put my PayPal and eBay accounts to good use

Since my funds are transferred to PayPal, I am able to shop internationally on eBay, because the money I receive is in dollars and it’s very easy to pay on eBay using PayPal.

… my salary is given WEEKLY

No need to wait 15 days for my salary to be credited to me, because my salary gets credited to my account every week.  This allows me to budget my money better and make sure that I always have cash on hand.

… no dress codes

If you are the kind of person who likes the glamor of the corporate world (having to really dress up each day for work), then I’m sure that  this is not going to be one of the reasons you will like.  But being one who chooses comfort over fashion, I am pretty much content with having no dress code.

… no physical inhibitions

When you work at home, you can pretty much smoke when there are no calls or when you are working – not really good for your health, but hey my smoker friends seem to like this idea!  You can eat while you are working, scan shows on the tv once in a while, chat with your friends over Skype or YM and my very favorite – check Facebook now and then!

You can work virtually anywhere in  your house (although I don’t think it’s a good idea – it’s actually disturbing – to work from your bathroom).  What I mean is that you can choose a venue that you are comfortable with.  Plus, just because you are working at home does not mean that you have to work at home all the time!  You can go over to your friend’s house and work with him/her and share their internet connection.  This will allow you to keep a less hermit-like lifestyle and will keep you from falling asleep most of the time – based on my personal experience.  You can even work from the gym, malls or a coffee shop.

… you are able to manage your own time

Depending on the project or work that you have, there are times wherein you can choose the time of day or number of hours that you work per day.  This will allow you to do other stuff that you have always wanted to do or need to do.

There are really a lot of reasons why I love working at home and I suppose that given the reasons Archie and I have quoted, you may already be interested in exploring this opportunity.  We know how it’s like to start working at home and how difficult it can be – that’s why we’re here to help you.  If you want more information on how to work at home, check out our Facebook page: Blackburn Outsourcing Solutions and join our team!

Top Reasons why I love working at home

Ok.. just a quick one… been doing this work@home gig for over a month now… have had lots of changes recently… but mostly loving it :) so here are my top reasons for loving what I love right now – working @ home

No Dress Codes…
Darn I hated those days that meant I had to iron my pants, tuck in that shirt and don those leather shoes. Working at home means not having to dress up for office. Wear a shirt, wear your pajamas or not wear anything at all (ok maybe not).. but yeah you get the picture (i hope not for the last one I said ;) )

No transportation issues…
Always hated traffic in Manila. So working at home means not having to leave the house and only leaving when I had to or more importantly when I WANT TO.

Food – no problem – always available
My fridge is just a few steps away. Access to Mom’s food 24/7 That’s gotta trump all the food in all the pantry areas of all companies!

Hearing my nephew scream, shout and play…
I have a 2-yr old nephew who’s as active as a 2-yr old can get. It’s been a joy to be able to watch him grow and be part of his life at this early stage. And not just my nephew, but my whole family. I’m sure all those who want to be stay at home moms or stay at home dads would agree would me. And I don’t even have my own child yet? haha

Gotta love the freedom…
Can work any time, take a break any time… and the only boss you hear around is your mom asking you to pick up your stuff. (love my mom! :) ) gone are the days when I had to sneak and take a break or try to act AIDS (As If Doing Something) – yes I know = GUILTY! But yeah, gotta love the freedom.

So those are just a few of the reasons why. I’ll make more but I have to pack for my Baguio trip.. oh and did I mention I can take a vacation when I plan to (stress on the word plan coz I still have responsibilities). But yeah, will be in Bagiuo for the whole of this weekend. Strawberry farm here I come.

To find out how you can work at home too, visit our work at home Facebook Fan Page.

Read about how you can join the team and start earning from home. Go Blackburn! :)

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