Today (27th May) is my 23rd birthday and no matter how many birthdays I have, every single one seems to be quite different. But there is one commonality between all birthdays, reflection. I always look at birthdays as an opportunity to reflect on what happened in the past year and a chance to assess where I’m taking my life in coming year. In this reflection process, arrays of depressing thoughts creeps into my mind including but not limited to, regrets, lost opportunities, hours and hours of wasted time, white hairs, and the fact that I still can’t fit into my favorite pair of jeans! Aging is not such a pleasurable thing, and for me, no matter how much I accomplish, when my birthday rolls around, I feel the exact same way; I could have done more, I didn’t do enough. It’s a scientific truth universally acknowledge, we all get older. Knowing this, I realize I’m part of this natural process and I have to deal with it one way or the other. In pondering my age, I realized how I changed and how my thoughts matured. So I popped the inevitable question: what did life teach me? I decided to write my thoughts down as a reminder for myself on the many important lessons I’ve learned throughout the years until today. Mind you that I learned these lessons from painful firsthand experiences, wishing you can learn the outcome without having to go through the hardship. I tried my best to make this post as short as possible. So here I present to you in bite-size 23 valuable life lessons I learned in the past years and plan to apply in my coming days.
- – Life works in mysterious ways you will never completely comprehend, enjoy it while it lasts and rest assured everything is going to be alright.
- – Happiness is a journey not a destination. Enjoy the present, feel happy in this particular moment while reading this post.
- – People are not always going to agree with you. They will hate you and for no apparent, logical reason. Be true to yourself, be friendly and smile; still some people are not going to love you. It’s the way it is, accept this fact and deal with it but never give it more of your precious time.
- – Keep smiling even if you don’t feel like it, stretch those lips to the ear and make a curve out of your mouth. In other words, fake it till you make it.
- – Perfection is impossible. Your energy should be channeled towards quality and excellence.
- – Family comes first, anything else is a second priority. Despite the importance of friends, they still come and go, but family are there for you no matter what.
- – Don’t apologize too much. It makes you sound guilty when in fact you might be not.
- – As a teacher, the more you have respect for your students, the more they will respect you back.
- – Be the teacher you always dreamt of having as a student.
- – Don’t sweat the petty things. Never over think silly matters. Focus on the big picture.
- – Regret is good. Regret cut scars, leaving you broken but with a precious lesson. Learn the lesson, ditch regret, and move on with a positive, powerful, energized spirit.
- – Cling to the people who truly love you, appreciate them while they’re there and try to never let them go. (see previous post)
- – Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Know your worth and don’t sell yourself short. You deserve the best!
- – Spend time, money and effort on the people you love (esp. family). It’s the most rewarding investment you will ever make.
- – Make mistakes, try new things, and make mistakes again. Just try to utilize them properly. Mistakes are not failure. They are experiences and experience is knowledge.
- – Try your best to be organized, at home, in the office, your purse, your computer storage and that drawer that is filled with papers you think are going to save your life one day yet haven’t been touched for years. In three words, declutter, simplify and minimize.
- – Select your friends and the people you choose to be around. Better stay alone than be surrounded by the wrong crowd.
- – Read, read and read. Read everything and anything. Ignorance is a horrible state of darkness. So widen your mind, be curious, read about unusual topics, don’t limit yourself to your academic major of studying or your usual routine interests. Pursue your passion to the unknown. Read!
- -“Talking with quiet confidence will always beat screaming with obvious insecurity.”
- – Don’t drive people away from you by not returning their calls, or responding to their text messages or emails. It’s rude.
- – Listen to your mother. She knows better, in fact she probably knows you better than you know yourself.
- – Trust your intuition and instinct, but don’t form snappy judgments accordingly.
- – There are some words better left unsaid. Learn when to stop talking.
So now you know them, the 23 valuable lessons life has taught me the hard way. Mind you those pointers were initially intended to be as a reminder for me, sharing them was a last-minute decision for the general good. I know life has a lot to offer, a handful of lessons I yet need to discover but always ready for and taking great pleasure from.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”