… is just to love and be loved in return. Or so they say in Moulin Rouge. It’s true, though. I’ll explain that further as my #1 advice, but before that, let me start with some background first.
I decided to hop on today’s Blogtember bandwagon last minute. What’s that, you say? It’s a September daily blog challenge. You can read about the rules and all the prompts here.
I don’t plan to join everyday like I did for the A-Z challenge last April, but only when I like the day’s prompt, like today’s one, which goes:
Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.
Now that I’m at the ripe old age of thirty (and turning thirty one in a couple of days), I feel like wisdom is oozing from my very pores. So listen (or read) up, y’all! Here are the best lessons I’ve learned in life.
(1) All you need is love.
And I don’t just mean romantic love, but all kinds, including love for family and friends, and love for life and hobbies. Love is what makes the world go round, and if your world is devoid of love, well, I bet it’s a ridiculously boring and pointless life, isn’t it? “A life without love is no life at all,” Leonardo Da Vinci intones in the movie Ever After. So true.
So learn to love people. Cultivate relationships and invest in people, not things, because things won’t visit you in the hospital when you’re sick or comfort you when you’re crying buckets (except chocolate… chocolate can do that).
Learn to love something. Find a hobby that interests you and figure out what your passion is, because it’s what makes life more interesting. As Nicholas Sparks put it in Dear John: “Passion is passion. It’s the excitement between the tedious spaces, and it doesn’t matter where it’s directed. It can be coins or sports or politics or horses or music or faith… the saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all.”
Luckily for me, I found out early in life what my passion is. Writing, of course!
(2) Learn to say NO.
When I was younger, I was the girl who couldn’t say no. When a classmate I didn’t like all that much asked me to accompany her to a faraway place to run an errand, I said yes, even though I didn’t want to. When a pervy old foreigner approached me in a mall back in Makati and asked me to watch a movie with him, I said yes, because I didn’t want to be rude. Then when he started caressing my arms in the darkness, instead of slapping him and bolting immediately, it took me a while to figure out how to extricate myself from that situation because I was afraid to offend him! OMG can you believe me? :-S
People-pleasing will give you ulcer, in a friend’s case, or might get you molested, in mine. Learn to draw the line and don’t be afraid to say no, even if you’re afraid people will like you less for saying so. You can’t please everybody, and you really don’t have to. And besides, nobody admires doormats.
(3) Learn to say YES.
I know this seems like a major contradiction to my first advice, but hear me out. Learn to say YES to new experiences, even though at first you think it’s not your thing or you’re too afraid to try or you’re just too lazy to go, because who knows, you might end up discovering something you actually like doing or meeting someone you’ll end up really liking. There were so many instances when I was too lazy or tired or just not in the mood to go somewhere, but after forcing myself to go, I ended up really enjoying myself. There’s a saying that goes: “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.” This is seriously sound advice. Heed it.
(4) Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.
“Fear is temporary. Regret is permanent.” When I look back on my life, my best decisions were ones based on huge risks, like that time I left my hometown to look for a job in the big city with only $50 in my pocket. It paid off in ways that my teenage self didn’t even imagine. If I had let my fear get in the way then, I’d still be rotting in my hometown today. Sure, it’s good to be safe, but safe is boring. Safe won’t get you anywhere. And as we say in investment lingo: “The bigger the risk, the higher the reward.”
Of course, note that I inserted “calculated” in my advice. It’s okay to take risks, so long as you are fully aware of the consequences and have hedged against its failure. (Oh dear me, do forgive my finance lingo!) Don’t be too impulsive, think your plans through, and when the possible benefits far outweigh the possible not-too-devastating losses, then GO GO GO!
(5) There are no such things as unfortunate events, just blessings in disguise.
We’ve all had bad experiences in life. I certainly have had my fair share of it. But if I look back on all the so-called unfortunate events in my life, I’m now glad they all happened, because they all led to better things. Like when we got kicked out of our flat back in 2009 and we ended up finding a nicer yet much cheaper place where I’m still living until now. Or when a former colleague yelled the F phrase at me and slammed tables and things in anger, which led to me quitting and ending up at my current company where I’ve been working for 3 years now and where I found some of my closest friends. Or when I got dumped by a guy whom all my friends not-so-secretly hated and whom I now realize was proof of the saying “love is blind.”
Now, when something bad happens to me, I don’t fret too much about it and I even get excited, wondering what good thing to expect out of it. As my idol Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” But the point is that they do connect, eventually. Just wait and see.
And there you go. That wasn’t so bad now, was it? 😛
How about you, what’s your best advice or the best lesson you learned from life?