This day could pass off as an ordinary one except for the irreversible fact that it is November 22 – my date of birth. It goes on as usual and the world refuses to stop for me. That’s the way with life. Despite celebrating a monumental event, life goes on for everyone else. It doesn’t care if it is your 24th birthday and got accepted in a new job. This type of thinking makes me humble that there is more to the universe than me – that I am not the sun wherein the earth revolves.
But even if it is the case, I still enjoy the normalcy of today. It is calm and serene without the stress of a party preparation (since there is none). My family, best friends, and other acquaintances greeted me, wishing me the best in life (I need that. Thanks!). My mom cooked pancit. Aside from that, there is no other indication that today is my birthday. I did my usual activities – chores, writing, and creating. Maybe later in the day, I will try to do something reckless like buying sorbetes (ice cream) without my parents’ permission. After all, it is my day.
24 years is a great feat considering the complications of the modern world – inflation, unstable job market, intricate technological advancements, crazy work-life balance among others. So far, my life is nothing out of ordinary except for short bursts of triumphs and mistakes. Most of the time, my days are mundane. Regardless of the average nature of my 24 years, I am blessed with unforgettable experiences – whether good or bad. Before, I am embarrassed to admit my failures of the past. I am willing to give up anything to forget them. Now, I realized I am grateful for them. I am also proud of being strong and resilient despite the setbacks I thought that would cripple me. Yes, it did break me in one way or another. But I picked up the pieces and glued them together. There are gaps and imperfections. Still, these are evidence that I tried.
Today, I am on a new stage in my life and my journey is not a smooth sailing one. There are storms and a lot of detours. I have my doubts and fears. There are times I thought the waves would crush me. The difference now is I am geared with a multitude of lessons that will help me survive and thrive – pieces of advice from people whose wisdom is admired by many.
Here are the lessons I learned in my decades of existence:
1. Let go before you move on. –Philosophy Professor
2. Never assume unless stated. –Accounting Principle
On How To Treat Other People
3. Have courage and be kind. –Cinderella’s Mother; Cinderella Movie 2015
On Life’s Challenges
4. There is no Easter Sunday if there is no Good Friday. –Physics Professor
5. From my story I want people to know, if ever they feel that they are on a path and a door closed on them, or they had an opportunity that didn’t work out, I want them to know that they are being redirected and not denied. -Catriona Gray
On Personal Growth
6. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. -Unknown
7. Find your plus, minus and equal. –Frank Shamrock
8. The secret to happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon. –Paulo Coelho; The Alchemist
On Following Your Own Phase
9. To surpass the deeds of others is unimportant; to surpass my own deed is all. –Og Mandino; The Greatest Salesman in the World
10. We are always in a hurry. But we need to know that speed is not as important as direction. Many are so fast going nowhere and the funny thing is that they never get there. –Francis Kong; A 2015 Facebook Post
On Trusting the Process
11. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. –Steve Jobs; 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
12. And don’t worry about losing. If it’s right, it happens – the main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away. – John Steinbeck; A 1958 Letter
13. Things worth having are worth waiting for. –Paulo Coelho; A 2017 Tweet
On Real Friendship
14. For what purpose, then, do I make a man my friend? In order to have someone for whom I may die, whom I may follow into exile, against whose death I may stake my own life, and pay the pledge, too. –Seneca; Moral Letters to Lucilius – Letter 9
15. A sage is not afraid of lack of knowledge: he is not afraid of hesitations, or hard work, but he is afraid of only one thing — to pretend to know the things which he does not know. You should study more to understand that you know little. -Michel de Montaigne; Quoted in Leo Tolstoy; A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World’s Sacred Texts
On Prioritizing Health
16. Remember that your role in this world is to live life through a job, not end it with one. But when the going gets tough and you’re forced to choose, always choose health. Careers can always bounce back, health for some folks may not. -Jonathan Yabut; A 2018 Tweet
On Open Communication
17. Kung may problema, pag-usapan niyo. (If there is a problem, talk about it.) -my father
On Writing and Taking Notes
18. Many people think writing notes is below them–but everyone should be doing it as it can greatly improve what you do. –Richard Branson on taking Notes; Quoted in Richard Branson Says You’ll Be More Successful if You Develop This Daily Habit
19. A commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order. It motivates us to look for and keep only the things we can use. … This is a project for a lifetime. –Maria Popova on Commonplace Book
On Following your Parents
20. Honor your father but make thy decisions. –Paulo Coelho; A 2017 Tweet
There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. –JK Rowling; 2008 Harvard Commencement Speech
On Guilty Pleasure
21. When you find something that you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Don’t feel guilty about the pleasure you take in the things you enjoy. Celebrate them. –Austin Kleon; Show Your Work
On Investing in Fashion Pieces
22. Buy less, choose well. –Vivienne Westwood
On Clothes Fitting
23. Try on a few sizes first. Every designer cuts differently. So don’t get stuck on a number. –Michael Kors
On Flaunting Your Assets
24. Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady. – Edith Head
These are the lessons I learned in my 24 years of existence. I hope my birthday post helped you see the good in the ordinariness of life. Happy 24th birthday to me and here I am wishing for a well-spent life for everyone! Cheers!
P.S. Belated 4th month to my little star Abraham who celebrated yesterday.
Note: This article is inspired by Ryan Holiday’s 28 Pieces of Productivity Advice I Stole From People Smarter Than Me.