I am celebrating my 24th birthday on March 11th with my family at home. The virus kept us from celebrating elsewhere. While I am a little bummed about it, being at home is good too. Since twenty-four signifies two dozen years of my life, I thought of writing down the lessons that I have learned to reach this state.
1. Come close to God
One of the things that save me every day is my morning devotion before work. If I arrive earlier at the workplace, I can have a cup of coffee, breakfast, and a session with God. Like everyone else, there are times when I feel downhearted, but these sessions can truly uplift me. During lunch break, I usually eat alone and just pray to God the entire time, like a date with God.
2. Know that things shall pass
Do you have a problem that doesn’t seem to have any solutions? One time, I opened up to my mom about problematic people and she told me that I’ll see the end of the problem because everyone dies! LOL. So if you have problems at work or problems with someone, it will be resolved in one way or another, even if it takes years.
3. People’s opinions don’t really matter.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when it’s a rude one that concerns you, then they don’t really matter. You shouldn’t let it pressure you on how you live your life because ultimately, it’s your life and you’re living it, not them. Learn how to tune them out and if they falsely comment on something, just chuckle to yourself at how wrong they can be! It only shows how they don’t really have a grasp on the topic, invalidating the comment completely.
4. A good night’s sleep or a long nap can do wonders
When I was in my first two years of college, I could stay awake for more than twenty-four hours straight when I had to work on a requirement. When I turned into a junior or a senior, I noticed, I’d rather sleep than work on a requirement due the next day haha! Sleeping is truly wonderful as it refreshes me after a stressful day at work. A girl needs her nap!
5. Don’t be afraid to speak up
If people cross the line, go ahead and say it (in a nice way). If you feel strongly about something, open up and communicate openly. I’ll admit that I didn’t grow up like that. I barely spoke up for myself and I feel bad about it, but growing up made me realize that it can’t go on forever. Nowadays, when something irks me really badly, I don’t hesitate to confront the person.
6. It’s okay not to know
The more you know, the more you know that you don’t know. Admitting that you don’t know or opening about your flaws are not signs of weakness as many hold it to be. It’s takes strength and it takes a certain level of self-awareness to be able to do this. It’s not possible to know everything anyway.
7. Always be respectful of others
I noticed that people these days have lost respect for one another. Could it be that social media has blurred the lines between the private and the personal? Or has social pressures pushed people to become like that? I find it really odd whenever people don’t exercise clear boundaries. It’s part of respecting others, which, sadly, I don’t see very often anymore.
8. Stop apologizing
No, you don’t need to apologize for not updating people about your life. It’s not their right to know about your life (unless they really need to), but it’s your right to divulge or not. Stop apologizing about your flaws. Stop apologizing for things that weren’t your fault. Some people are really good at making you at fault all the time, but always be aware of what’s happening around you.
9. You deserve good things too
Don’t feel guilty about that slice of chocolate cake. How often do you have chocolate cake? For someone who used to extremely suppress getting things I wanted, a slice won’t do any harm. For years, I always just kept what I wanted or what was convenient for me out of reach, but I’m most proud that I’ve outgrown this.
10. What people meant for evil, God will use for good
There’s an instance that I find so funny when I recall about it now. Someone assigned me for a difficult task thinking that I’d be on my way to failure. Thank the Lord, I am grateful for the opportunity as I did really well not only proving my abilities, but ultimately glorifying God. When someone plots against you, they are bound to fail in their own way.
11. Happiness is a choice
You could have everything in the world and still be unhappy. It’s not surprising to see really well-off people being unhappy and still getting jealous of others. It’s not about what situation you are in or what you have, it’s your mindset. The “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” feeling is never true because everyone has struggles regardless of where they are in life.
12. Learn to focus on certain real people
As you grow older, the number of friends is bound to decrease. And that’s okay. The challenges of adulting reveals who are your true friends. They are the ones who will stick to you no matter how hard it is as adults. At the same time, don’t neglect your family and partner. They always come first before friends. Having one or two real people are enough.
13. Don’t look down on others
The street vendor and the janitor in the building deserves the same respect as the CEO or the president of a company. If you think about it, the street vendor or the janitor is also working as hard as the CEO and in even worse conditions and harsher pressures. Don’t look down on them, but respect them for working hard despite all that life has thrown at them.
14. You’re beautiful
During college, I was always confident about the way I looked and I was always so happy skipping around in school in my outfits. Growing older, however, I can’t always say the same thing. I noticed that the world throws women so much pressure to be this and that. The truth is, it’s impossible to be the ideal woman. You’re already beautiful as you are.
15. Control your spending
Ever since I started working, I earned the money I could spend on my wants. I noticed I spent a lot on the initial months, but I have to control it. Nowadays, I spend less by minimizing my daily costs. I am always happy whenever I get a good deal at sales or when I save money.
16. Cut toxic people out of your life
If someone is proven to be a toxic presence of negativity and competition in your life (or to someone else) simply stop engaging with the person in any way imaginable. If that’s not possible, avoid them like the plague. I learned to do this after college and the result was that I have more freedom and a less-clouded mind. I intend to keep it this way and I’m not sorry about it.
17. Staying at home isn’t so bad
When I was younger, I loved being out and about with friends or with my family. There were days when the majority of the time, I was outside and came home only in the evenings. After graduating and getting a job, however, I started craving to be at home. The comfort of that was different this time. Now, I cherish times when I have no schedules and relax.
18. Always look back at how God saved you
When you are downhearted or disappointed, always go back to how God has worked in your life before. You will always find a memory or two where He has turned a situation upside down for your good. Or where He gave you the desires of your heart. Keep those memories close so that when a difficult time comes, they will help you keep the faith.
19. Be aware of the projection play
Social media heightened this up, but projection has always been done. People often inflate their experiences, relationships, and belongings to be more than what they are in reality. That study abroad? Might be fun at times, but there are also unseen challenges that have been filtered to give you the image of the ultimate trip abroad, better than you’ll ever have. So be aware of this and don’t fall to the trap of envy.
20. Appreciate the little things
Ever since I started working, the little things matter more as I don’t have as much freedom as I did when I was still studying. The people who are going out of their way to meet with me are very much appreciated. Actually, just a message asking me how I am is already good enough. Even a day with good weather is something to be thankful for!
As the virus brought sudden change to life around the world, I wonder what future challenges we will all face aside from the regular challenges of adult life. Whatever they are, I’m sure this list will only grow longer as I grow older. Life is all about learning, after all.