19 Life Lessons for 2019

In a few days we are bidding goodbye to 2018. I had my fair share of ups and downs. Nonetheless, I got an amazing year with lessons to keep.

1. Love (yourself and your neighbour)

I had a crush who eventually became my friend. During the early time of our friendship I knew I secretly love him more than a friend but that friend is in a happy relationship. At some point I let that person to somehow take advantage of my love because I had hopes for an ‘us’. As time passed by, I slowly learned that he loves me but not the way I wanted it and it’s ok. First, I didn’t want to ruin any relationship and second, I wanted to retain our friendship. The experience allowed me to love myself even more, to realise that you should not feel abused when it comes to love. Loving yourself will allow you to generate more love to share to other people; love that is guided by my favourite bible verse – 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. 

2. Be kind and gentle

I was not feeling good that day but two things happened. First: a random woman gave the jeepney driver a P100 bill for an P8 fare and since it was still early, the driver had no loose bills as change – he scratched his head maybe because of disappointment and returned the P100; The woman looked embarrassed and really wanted to pay but got no smaller bill, then to my surprise, a stranger lend her P8. Second: I was inside the tricycle, still not in good shape when a random guy offered his food to me. And those simple gestures of kindness instantly brightened my day. Everyday someone (rich or poor) is fighting a battle – she/he may have a financial problem, lost something important or failed a final exam; you may look at it as a petty thing to think of – but, we have different coping mechanism and can be extremely sad. Try not to be harsh to people regardless of their social status and extent of their problems.

3. Stay true to yourself

You want to colour your hair? Do it! You don’t like drinking alcoholic beverages but your friends are hard core drinkers? DO NOT DRINK!  Do whatever your inner self want to do. Stop being pretentious. People who love you will stay and accept the real you.

4.  It’s ok to say no

I used to be a ‘YES’ person even if I have things to do. I didn’t want them to feel rejected. Then, there are some people who will take advantage of you (e.g. coming super late in the meeting place). Lost time is irreplaceable. You could’ve done so much things by missing one of those officemate’s night out. Stop trying being everyone’s cup of tea because in reality, you cannot please everybody. A ‘NO’ doesn’t always equate to rejection as it is also a form of acceptance – accepting that you have important matters to attend to.

5. Prioritise

In this fast-paced world it looks like that the 24 hours in a day is not enough to juggle all your scheduled activities. But, remember – we all have the same amount of time and we just need to prioritise and manage our time wisely. You have finals tomorrow morning and haven’t finished reviewing but have a family event today until midnight? Determine which is more important to you – either you know that the exam will be easy and attend the family event or excuse yourself from the gathering and review until morning – besides, they are your family, they’ll understand you. 😉

6. Stop procrastinating

Guilty of beating the deadliest deadline? Hey, I am! It feels like all your creative juices are acting efficiently when doing things the day before due-date. But, if you come to think of it, you could’ve finished that even weeks before the day your boss or professor needs it. Accomplishing things ahead of time will allow you to think clearer and make further improvement of your work. You can’t turn back time. Start doing what needs to be done – not tomorrow but NOW.

7. Do not stop learning

The world is changing pretty fast. Some things impossible before are now tangible. We used to grow 45-day old chickens but I learned that it was reduced by 10 days to meet the growing demand. From Nokia 3310’s space impact we now have lots of touch-screen phones with several features. Innovations grow day after day. Do not lag behind. Several media to gain information are available online and offline. Let every wake up day an opportunity to learn.

8. You are beautiful

Do you think you look bad just because you don’t have fair and smooth skin, small nose and lips, slim figure? Nope. You don’t need to conform by these standards set by the society. Don’t let your insecurities swallow the goodness in you. Examine your self, explore your soul and know that YOU.ARE.BEAUTIFUL! We are a piece in a puzzle; irregular in shape but completes the whole picture. Beauty is subjective. You are perfectly imperfect.

9. Travel

“Don’t collect things, collect memories”. If there’s an opportunity to travel go for it. Going to places will allow you to witness the beauty of the world and meet people from different walks of life and these experiences will allow you to grow into a person with broader understanding of life.

10. It can’t rain forever

First, you broke your shoes going to office and then learned that you are forced to retire because of company’s lack of fund and while thinking where to apply next somebody will call you to tell you that your favourite dog got hit by the car. What a day, eh? Then they’ll tell you that there’s always a rainbow after the rain which I will beg to disagree. I usually observe rainbows if rain comes during a bright day. What I am certain is that it can’t rain forever. Some days may seem that problems pour non-stop but surely that too shall pass; do not lose hope, better days are coming, my dear.

11. Stop gossiping

Did you ever talk bad about someone? Or did someone spread fake news about you? Both situation will drain your energy. Always try to see the positive side of people whether you like them or not. If you heard bad things about someone do not judge them right away; look at every sides possible. If you think it’s no big deal then don’t give a sh*t about it but if it seems potent to harm someone go straight to the person involve and tell them what you know and your insights. Do not waste your ATPs talking about other people’s lives. Mind your own business.

12. Be healthy

Sounds cliché but yea start eating healthy (enough carbs, protein and plenty of fruits and veggies) and on time, exercise regularly, drink lots of water and get enough rest. Stop activities that deteriorate your body like smoking and excessive drinking. Start early and your ageing body will thank you.

14. Be patient and stay calm

There are times you get really impatient waiting for someone or something – e.g. your late officemate, long line at your favourite resto, love of your life or dream job. Do not get tired of waiting yet, everything has its own perfect timing. Maybe your officemate was late because the universe is preventing you from getting into an accident; the long line in your favourite resto will allow you to better appreciate your food; probably the love of your life is also busy establishing him/herself and when the time comes that you meet, you are both ready; you haven’t landed on your dream job because what you are experiencing now preps you to an even better opportunity. You are destined to go somewhere, to do great things so work at your best, don’t get frustrated, relax and wait.

15. Forgive and let go

When someone did something awfully wrong to you, forgiving looks easier said than done. But, holding grudge is a load that gets heavier as the day passes by. However, do not force yourself to forget what was badly done to you. We deal at circumstances differently. One thing is to admit that someone has done you wrong and then try to understand the situation. Slowly, you will feel better as you unload the burden of that grudge you were holding. This doesn’t only apply to the people who hurt you because you need to include yourself. Most of the time we are so harsh to ourselves whenever we did something wrong but let us not forget that we are humans capable of committing mistakes.

16. Break bad habits

Scrolling through all your social media accounts until midnight? Drinking and smoking non-stop? Cramming for the project given to you months ago? Playing online games instead of studying? Those things somehow relax you instantly but in the long run they aren’t healthy and I know that you are aware of that. As early as you realise that you want to break these habits – start the process. Take your first step by  logging off all your social media accounts, reducing drinking and smoking activities week after week or uninstalling your online games. And to track your progress you can write it down or download a habit tracker. Each day will be tough but gets easier as your body becomes adapted to the system. This will be a lot of convincing yourself to reverse bad things your system thought right for you. Repairing years of damage will require hard work and discipline. But it is not impossible – start now by taking baby steps towards better habits.

17. People and things are temporary and the only constant thing is change

It’s heartbreaking when a family or friend of yours for years leave (e.g. getting married, migrating, working abroad); like you’ve been together for a long time and then tomorrow you need to live your life without them. It is sad but do not resent them. Give them happy memories while they are still there and when the time comes that they want to spread their wings and fly, give them your full support. Plants develop by cell multiplication, expansion and differentiation. And just like plants and other higher form organisms, we all need to undergo changes in order to grow.

18. Go out of your comfort zone, believe in yourself and do it!

Do you want to start a Youtube channel but hesitant because you’re thinking that no one will view your upload? Are you a painter who doesn’t showcase his/her work because you believe that it is not interesting? Do you have a dream of becoming a lawyer or doctor after your undergraduate studies but consider yourself not smart enough to survive the course? Have a leap of faith. DO IT! Start your Youtube career, join painting exhibit bazaars and take that LAE or NMAT. Every single day you face risks in your life (crossing roads, climbing stairs, riding PUVs) so why not walk towards something greater by thinking that you can and just do whatever your gut is telling you? At some point you will get frustrated, disappointed and rejected; but passion will feed your dreams/goals to become big, strong and hungry enough to easily engulf all your fears of failing. It is more frightening to look back and realise that you’re stuck to a place where you’re not supposed to be. Do not let your future self regret what you haven’t done today.

19. Have faith

Trust Him or the universe (if you’re not a believer). You need to have faith on the process. Everything happens for a reason. The choices you made and your situation right now have specific purpose. It’s normal to question why things happen but eventually you’ll understand why it didn’t come the way you wanted it. That phase in your life will pass and you will be awestruck by the outcome.

So there…rock on 2019!


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