Life Lessons

For ad­ver­tis­ing cre­ative Kat Gomez-lim­choc, turn­ing 40 meant keep­ing a prom­ise to her­self to fi­nally write her first book.

Good Housekeeping (Philippines) - - News -

My Book Of 40


you had to “father a child, plant a tree and write a book.” I had al­ready done two things on that fa­mous to-do list to in­sure a mea­sure of im­mor­tal­ity—i had planted a tree and brought not one, but two beau­ti­ful chil­dren into the world. I had long wanted to check “write a book” off that list.

What fi­nally got me started? It was the thought of dy­ing young. Less than a year be­fore Septem­ber 1, 2015, my 40th birth­day, a rou­tine check-up led to a find­ing that needed a biopsy. Some time dur­ing the two-week wait for the re­sults, I found my­self alone on a plane, trav­el­ing to a cre­ative fes­ti­val abroad for work. Mid-flight, closer to heaven than I nor­mally was, I de­cided to stop wor­ry­ing. I had lived a life full of joy and love, ad­ven­ture and cre­ativ­ity, un­apolo­get­i­cally liv­ing on my own terms. I would cel­e­brate my 40th birth­day with the same spirit, the biopsy re­sults be damned!

Within a day, I had planned an al­most-40-day trip around the world, to visit places I had long wanted to see and to be with peo­ple I loved. Then with sim­ple cer­tainty, I also de­cided I would use this ad­ven­ture as a frame­work for my book.

Be­fore I boarded the plane on my way home from that busi­ness trip, I got a mes­sage from my doc­tor that all was well. By then, my heart was set on mak­ing my plans come to life.

And so I turned 40 danc­ing in a foun­tain in Brook­lyn Bridge Park in New York. Be­fore that, I had trav­eled to my fa­vorite city of San Francisco with one dad and vis­ited my other dad in Florida. (You have to read the book to find out why I have two dads!) I went to see Machu Pic­chu and the Nazca Lines in Peru, was toured by my best friend around her fa­vorite city of Barcelona, and fi­nally vis­ited Hog­warts with my Pot­ter­head fam­ily in Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios, Osaka.

A few weeks af­ter I went home, I sat down to write my book. I de­cided it would have 40 sec­tions, each with an idea I knew to be true from my 40 years of life. I elab­o­rated on each idea, shar­ing in­sights and sto­ries. Then I thought of an­other way the idea could be ex­pressed cre­atively, and whom I could work with, among the many cre­ative peo­ple I am very blessed to know.

Book of 40 was re­leased in late 2016. My ideas were brought to life in 40 col­lab­o­ra­tions with friends, fam­ily, and much ad­mired artists in the cre­ative field. For in­stance, to bring to life the idea, “Life will teach you what you need to learn,” I wrote a song and pro­duced it with award­win­ning com­posers and ar­rangers, Mike and An­gelo Vil­le­gas and my daugh­ter Snow (you can hear it on To il­lus­trate the idea, “Since pre-colo­nial times, we knew what great lead­er­ship was,” I col­lab­o­rated with Ang Ger­ilya, a street art group to cre­ate a five-storey mu­ral in a busy Manila in­ter­sec­tion. In­spired by the idea, “Kind­ness can make a world of dif­fer­ence,” a ra­dio cam­paign I wrote with three team­mates was aired all over the Philip­pines. In the book, there is also a de­tach­able greet­ing card, a to-do list you can tear off, as well as other beau­ti­ful art­works.

When I think back to how I got all that done while hav­ing a de­mand­ing job, run­ning a house­hold, and spend­ing qual­ity time with my fam­ily and friends, I hon­estly can­not be­lieve how I man­aged.

Bud­jette Tan, ac­claimed graphic novel au­thor wrote this about Book of 40: “Life is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with your fam­ily, friends, and strangers. Life is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween your head and your heart. Life is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween your soul and your Maker… May it in­spire you and move you to cre­ate a life less or­di­nary.”

I have al­ready writ­ten my sec­ond book, a chil­dren’s story book in­spired by my eight-year-old daugh­ter’s draw­ings. It is about how life will al­ways put ad­ven­tures in our path, so that our hearts may grow even big­ger. I have also re­cently dis­cov­ered the joy of wit­ness­ing God’s cre­ative pow­ers by grow­ing my own veg­eta­bles. I hope that by con­tin­u­ing to be de­lib­er­ate about lis­ten­ing to my heart and de­cid­ing to just do what it calls me to do, I will con­tinue to write a life story be­yond the or­di­nary. Kat Gomez-lim­choc is the Ex­ec­u­tive Cre­ative Di­rec­tor of Black­pen­cil Manila, an ad­ver­tis­ing agency part of the Leo Bur­nett Group Manila. Fol­low @bookof40 on In­sta­gram. Get the book from Fully Booked, Com­mon Room, or Lo­cal Edi­tion.

Part of the pro­ceeds from the sale of Kat’s book will go to the Yel­low Boat of Hope Foun­da­tion.

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