I made my long-awaited debut to this world on the 18th of May, 1995. That’s a fancy way of me saying it’s my birthday. Not just my birthday but my 25th birthday, a milestone some people never get to reach. As I bask in the afternoon sun trying to find the perfect lighting for a selfie, I got taken aback by how little I’ve changed throughout the years. Before I knew it, my photoshoot turned into a session, I got candid about so many things in my life and started to confront myself. What in the world am I doing? Is this what being an adult looks like? could this be what they call a quarter life crisis?
Hours into my one woman show, I noticed that my skin was burning like hell. So, I composed myself, snapped a couple of pictures and ran as far away as I could from the sun. But the thought of being grown was still lingering in my head. The pedestal I’ve put my future in was way too unrealistic and it finally caught up with me. I realized that I’ve been trying to cheat my way through life one year at a time. I guess there’s no cheating in life. You live and you learn.
Yesterday was my last day as a 24-year-old. So, it’s fair to say that I know enough to talk about it. When you’re young and hopeful, you forget that the world can be filled with so many plot twists. 24 has been, without a doubt, the most challenging year I’ve had to live through so far. I feel like I did years’ worth of growing up in just one. It was the year that I can look back and say I got older and wiser and actually mean it. Before I’m officially kicked out of the first quarter and into the next one, I wanted to share some pivotal lessons that 24 has thought me.
- Never take life for granted: If there’s one thing I learned in the last few months, it’s that life really is fragile. Watching hundreds of thousands of people suffer and die has been heartbreaking. My heart aches for those whose journeys have been cut short and for those who’ve lost loved ones during these hard times. As ironic as it may sound, it took a tragedy for me to promise that every breath of fresh air I fill my lungs with, every ounce of blood my heart pumps, every synaptic message my brain sends out – I’ll never take for granted again.
- Life’s not a competition: No two lives in this world are meant to be identical. Just like snowflakes, we are all unique and so are our lives. Different experiences breed different people with different destinations. The sooner you accept that the sooner you’ll let yourself grow.
- Not everything happens for a reason: Failed relationships, aborted friendships and missed opportunities leave you with a long list of lessons learned. But don’t waste too much time looking for explanations, somethings are just arbitrary. Speaking of time,
- Time is your frenemy: There’s never enough of it yet living in it is a privilege many don’t get.
- You are not as smart as you think you are: Have an informed but open mind, live life as both the teacher and the student.
- Patience takes you a long way: Nothing in life comes effortlessly, be sure to work for everything you want to achieve. But don’t forget that good things come to those who wait. To quote the song that’s been going around lately, don’t rush.
- Humble yourself: before life humbles you.
- Be kind to yourself: kindness starts from within. How do you expect yourself to be good to others when you can’t be good to you?
- Love with all your heart: yes, that sounds like a recipe for disaster but there’s nothing worse than being on the giving or receiving end of a disingenuous love.
- Life is a celebration: there are so many people that didn’t get to make it this far in life. So, your mere existence, despite your situation, is a reason to celebrate.
There’s nothing new about being 25. I still like eating Nutella out of the jar, I still don’t know how to cook ( nor do I have any interest in learning it ), I still buy my cereal from the kids aisle, I still don’t drink ( because alcohol tastes like poison to me ), I still ask my parents for money and I’m still 4’11’’. But what do I know? it’s only my first day out here.
What I know is that, I’m in content with my journey in life. I am grateful for all the 25 years I have been blessed with, for the family I was chosen to be a part of, for the friends I have had the pleasure of knowing and loving, for the roads I’ve travelled and for the days I shed tears laughing or crying. Though I am not the person I had hoped to be at 25, I am alive and thriving. And that’s worth a celebration. So, here’s to celebrating me and my life.
Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes! … and many more!