Our performance will not show it but, thirty-five years out of high school, our bones are creakier and many of us consider Arcoxia as our friend. Every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays of the past two months have become a mini reunion of sorts for the AC 88 Infinitas class, with a potluck buffet that—in the extreme—found a lechon from Cebu flown in and dropped in the Student Commons Room of AC San Lorenzo. Of course, there’s the occasional cakes, pasta, lumpia, siomai, pancit, mechado, kare-kare, turon, and so much more that have found their pride of place on long tables during the thrice-a-week reunions that are intense workouts culminating in the Old Girls’ Day weekend that is the Velada. In our workout clothes, we don’t recognize the doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and professionals among us. In our minds, we’re still plaid-wearing students chatting and laughing with each other, and it’s as if it’s high school 1984-1988 again.

But everything has changed. The changes in our bodies would be the most noticeable: we have more gray hairs, more lines on our faces, but that we’ve grown more comfortable in our skin is the biggest change of all. The years have seen us raise families, achieve personal milestones, go through terrible heartbreaks—and live through these joys and pains with (we hope) grace and acceptance. It is inevitable that thirty-five years would reveal to us who we are, while showing us glimpses of who we may still become—but perhaps the hardest lesson learned over the years is having the courage to accept ourselves.

The theme of our Jade Velada is SELF-LOVE. Assumption has taught us to love, sacrifice, and serve others. Staying true to these values have made us realize that each time we give of ourselves, we lose a little bit of ourselves too. Thus, we have learned that what can make us whole again is the tough lesson learned to love ourselves too. If there is anything the years have shown us is that there can be no overcoming without valuing the self. So, we celebrate our victories in the various industries where we’ve become leaders. We rejoice knowing we have contributed to our communities and our country. We revel in the successes of our loved ones, whom we have supported with our love and resources. But, most of all, we celebrate ourselves because we’ve succeeded, we’ve failed, we’ve endured, and we’ve carried on.

Selflove is not just a Jade hashtag on our Facebook profiles, it is an ongoing process that we live every day as we struggle to tell ourselves: “It’s okay.” “Great job!” “Imperfect is fine.” “You did well.” We are grateful to have been reminded of this by our Assumption sisters for Velada 2023. #letsgogirls