Last week, I talked about six important things that I learnt in my early 20s. To my surprise, some people found number four “It’s okay not to do what most people do” most relatable and inspiring. I thought I’m alone at struggling at this, so YAY batch unity!
Today, as promised, I will share seven more life lessons that has helped me ease out into adulting (and becoming a tita).
Again, to my descendants, pay attention!
To you, dear reader, MORE things to think about.
Here are the seven more grand things that I learnt in my early 20s:
7. Give people a chance.
Because of major disappointments on the “The Real World,” I built my walls too high and shut many people out. Now I realize that opening up a bit to people feels good. It actually makes me happy. I made new friends and reconnected with friends I thought I had lost. I can now fairly handle small talk and I think I smile more at people. I’m not going all-out ~social butterfly~, but I guess I’m more accommodating now/again at letting people in in my life. Most people still disappoint (MOST!), but why wouldn’t I not take a chance on something that can make me happy? Something that can possibly be for keeps? Besides, as I lose friends (“5. It’s okay (and natural) to divorce some friends.”), I have slots free for new and exciting people in my life.
8. Spend more time with your parents.
When I started working, I’d visit my parents only at New Year’s. That was until I read this article that says one of the biggest regrets of the dying was not spending enough time with their families. Since then, I’ve made it a point to visit my parents four times a year. We share news, eat together, and laugh at each other’s antics. I always find it funny how I and my parents have grown so close these past years. When I was growing up, we used to argue a lot and rarely talked about our feelings. Now I hug them and peck them on the cheek. I even baby-talk to them sometimes! Hahaha!
To angsty kids: Give it some time. Give them some credits too. It may get better.
9. Make time for hobbies.
I’ve envied a lot of popular visual artists on the Internet. I scrolled on their pages feeling small every time and wallowed at how sucky my art skills are compared to theirs. It all changed when I stumbled on this motivational poster last year. It goes: “Those who are doing things you admire aren’t blessed with 25 hours a day. They sacrifice. They make time.”
A few months after, I did a 66-day drawing challenge. My friend Kristel inspired me to. I only lasted two weeks but my skills improved DRAMATICALLY. I realized: If I keep on painting/drawing everyday, I might actually get very good at it and people will notice. Kristel agreed.
I still get a case of the envies sometimes, but not as bad as before. I learnt that everybody starts somewhere obscure, is sucky at it when starting, and has to build things slowly and patiently before successfully rising to stardom. Everyone has to pay his/her dues. Even Beyoncé started somewhere too and she’s always had 24 hours in a day like I do.
10. Help people in need.
I used to be stingy. I believed that hard-earned money is hard-earned and should not be given away to people who ask for alms, donations, and sell popularity tickets. But some friends told me once that every plea for help is a cosmic equivalent of a blessing knocking on my door and it depends on me if I’d respond positively or not. I know it’s superstitious, but I tried it myself anyway and saw that the quality of my life improved. This may or may not prove anything, but I learnt that helping others makes me feel happy and this, perhaps, consequently improved my outlook on life. Some may have fooled me into handing over some cash, but that’s out of my conscience. (Their karma.) Money given away to assist/support people is money well-spent.
11. Believe that “the dots will connect.”
Thanks to Steve Jobs, I learnt to believe that, although I don’t understand why I’m going through a certain situation at a certain time, it will eventually make sense in the future and I’d see that things actually fall into place. I’ve learnt to trust that the Universe always moves me to the right places in the right time although the way it uproots me from my convenient place can be shocking and painful.
I learnt to follow my instincts. I learnt that our instincts are our “internal GPS,” perhaps connected to the Universe through some umbilical cord, and although I can’t rationally explain why I’m doing what I’m doing, it is RIGHT because I deeply feel in my guts that it’s RIGHT. Again, it will eventually make sense in the future. Tiwala lang. (Have faith.)
12. There’s always something to be thankful for.
Every single day. Even on a bad day. There’s always something to be thankful for.
This is one secret to happiness that I learnt from the Intarwebs. I tried it myself. I expressed gratitude (on Twitter) for at least one thing in my day for consecutive days and I really felt that my overall outlook on life changed. Seeing it there, verbalized on my feed (a tweet), added some tangible feeling to it. And the effect can be lasting! Sometimes, when I feel extra vain and scroll on my own page, I read these “gratitude tweets” and I am instantly reminded that I’m living a good life (despite all the shits).
13. Twenties is the best time to try a lot of things.
I’ve learnt to accept the fact that I will have tried and failed many things before I figure out what it is that I really want to do with my life. I’ve realized that the twenties is the best time in my whole life to try a lot of things and experiment and wear “odd-colored” hairstyles because I have the money, I have the freedom, and I can get away with it easily because I’m “young.” I can try one thing and if I realize that it’s not for me, I can easily drop it and move on to the next. If I fail, it’s okay. I’m still “young,” and I’m “foolish,” and the world will be quick to forgive me.
I’m NOT saying that we all go running around like headless chickens trying all sorts of things and screwing up our lives permanently. I’m saying we should NOT BE LIMITED by fear and convenience (Convenience is a devil!) and seek to constantly challenge ourselves to try and experience the world while we’re still young and strong (and not yet hitched). I know I have tried a lot of things by now but I still managed to acquire a lot of adult skills and “assets” along the way. So everything in moderation. With great YOLO comes great responsibility.