Unlock your fullest potential

There are epiphanies that we suddenly realize as we grow old. If we are to compare ourselves from who we were a year ago, five years ago, and ten years ago, we’d notice that we changed a lot because of our experiences. I find this constant process of discovery as an interesting journey. You have these expectations about who you are and who you will be and yet you surprise yourself that you have turned out different. As we tread these changes, I think the consistent theme in these different phases of our lives is, we can be at peace with where we are when we are making sure that we fully unlock every version of ourselves, and hopefully before our last breath, we can say that “I have exhausted everything, I did everything that I possibly could.” There will be no regrets nor what ifs.

The next question is, “How do you unlock your fullest potential?” I can only speak based on how I approach life and what I have learned overall, and that is by breaking it in to tiny, actionable steps. 

1. Make an irrevocable decision about the life that you want.
       When you know where you are going, there will be less mental burden about the decisions you’ll be making. Decide what kind of life you want, without any sort of guilt. Do you want to be a millionaire? Do you want to travel all over the world? Do you want to live a simple life on a hill or in the middle of a forest? Ask yourself this question everyday, “What do I really want?” and listen to your gut’s honest answer. Write it down. To be honest, I feel sad whenever I meet someone who is just wasting precious Earth time wandering aimlessly. We all have moments of uncertainties, but at some point, you have to choose your path. Ten years from now, what does a beautiful life look like to you. Make it as detailed as possible and then that’s it, that’s the life you want.


2. Schedule it. 
      If it’s not scheduled, it’s not getting done. This is just honest advice. If you keep on saying that I want to be financially successful, or have a family, or a car, and you’re just sitting there on the couch and praying to be abundant, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not happening. You have to put it in your calendar and make time for each step that will take you closer to the kind of life that you truly want. Start small. Take those baby steps which might seem insignificant at the moment. You’ll see that those tiny actions will accumulate and result to something great, something that only sheer hard work could ever do.


3. Eliminate anything that brings you down. 
      Are you spending so much time on social media? Do you have thought patterns or belief systems that aren’t helping you rise? Well then it’s time to let go of them. Turn your phone off when you have to focus and just concentrate on whatever task is at hand. Stay in the moment you are in. If it’s not making you a happier and better person, then let go of it. It could be a bad habit, or a dragging relationship, or even people who disguise themselves as friends. Choose your energy. Make sure that even if you plummet in to negativity a few times, you still take steps to keep yourself on a higher energy vibe.


4. Ask for help. 
      You are not an island. You belong to a species of organisms who need socializing. The news, COVID, financial setbacks, illnesses, they all are heavy to carry alone. The thing is, you don’t have to face every single one of them on your own. Ask for help. Be brave to humbly seek assistance whenever you need it. I can’t tell you how this simple step changed everything for me. I used to be the person who wants to prove that she doesn’t need any help from anyone. It’s pathological. This attitude has allowed me to be strong, independent, brave and extremely self-reliant, but it also made me a loner and somehow it closed my doors to opportunities and relationships that could have been good for me. Be self-reliant, but when you need help, please ask for it. 


5. Surround yourself with people who want to see you win. 
      Be careful who you spend most of your time with. If you just gossip, drink, or watch TV with your friends, I hate to break it to you, but you are not with the right people. If you want to become successful, you have to make sure that you are in an environment that will allow you to grow at the level that you want to. Talk about goals and how you are achieving them. Discuss ideas, passion, and creativity. Generate that energy of relentlessness. Assess if the people you are with want to see you win. Filipino culture taught us to value family, but sometimes extended family members can cause too much toxicity. You will get opinions you didn’t ask for or unwanted visits and demands. If that’s the case, stop complaining, save up, and move out. If they are not helping you, just get out of that negative space. You can’t possibly grow in a soil that isn’t capable of providing the nutrients that you need to achieve your highest potential.


6. Expect setbacks. 
      This is not a world of unicorns and rainbows. But I guess you already know that. Following your passion or chasing a dream can be equated to going through loopholes with fire on its outlines. It’s like running on a track with lanes with shards of glass or burning coal. It’s kind of morbid but there will be times when you will want to give up because it’s hard and painful. Circumstances will get out of control just when you think everything is okay. Expect setbacks, my love. There will be highs and lows but just hold on to hope. Keep the faith and know that nothing is permanent, even trials.


7. Have a go-to person. 
      To say that we have that one best friend is false in my opinion. I have a friend that I confide in depending on what I am going through. I hope you have these people. They will give you honest advice and a listening and non-judgmental ear. Having real friends is very comforting. They get you back to your senses when you are getting off track. They will patiently hold your hand when you are still healing. How do you have these people? Be a friend. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for others, and when it’s your turn to be punched by the world, someone will always be there for you.


8. Come back stronger. 
      When setbacks happen and you feel like you can’t take another blow anymore, rest. Allow your body and your mind the time and space for recovery. Stop pushing when you know within yourself that you are mentally and physically exhausted. This time frame varies for every person. When you are already rested, roll up your sleeves and with courage, start again. You have learned the lessons, and now it’s time to use that wisdom in getting back up. Know that you are strong because you have gotten through the unthinkable. Nothing is impossible for someone who doesn’t have the phrase “give up” in their vocabulary. 


9. Give. 
      Having a generous heart will allow abundance to flow in your life. I have proven this repeatedly. Whenever I feel like there isn’t enough money or when I am scared, I give. It may be my time, or any form of help that I could give. Surprisingly, abundance follows when your heart is not guarded by the scarcity wall. Volunteer for an advocacy you believe in. Serve. Just give not because you want something in return but do it because it feels good to make others feel better.


10. Surrender. 

For me, life is 50% what happens to you and 50% of it will come from your actions. We can do so much with our precious 50%. When I wake up every morning, I do my best to keep things in order and accomplish the tasks that I need to do so that my dreams will come into fruition. But I also know that there will be circumstances and forces which are out of my control, and so when I pray I surrender that 50%. “No matter how this day goes, I will do my best and the Universe will do the rest for me.” It was hard for a control freak like me to utter the word “surrender.” However, I sleep better ever since I accepted that things will get out of control, schedules will get ruined, annoying people will pop up, but how I perceive these circumstances and my legwork is all that matters. Surrender your dream and each moment and eventually you’ll get there. 

100 Lessons Learned in 2020

As 2020 ends, a lot of realizations come to mind. It has been an admittedly chaotic year. All of us, to a certain degree, are traumatized. I wish I could say that I was on cloud nine but let’s be realistic. More than a million worldwide deaths due to a pandemic is heavy. In fact, I am in awe of how human beings can still handle everything, probably because we don’t have a choice, but, from the farthest corners of my heart, I am proud of all of us just for surviving. Here are the lessons I learned this year. I hope you create a list of your own too.


1. There is magic in spending time with family.
2. Despite the odds telling you that you can’t, you absolutely can.
3. Do not look for what isn’t there, appreciate and be grateful for what you have.
4. The love that is for you will not be forced, it will come as a surprise.
5. Make the first move.
6. Have a power passe.
7. It’s okay to not be okay.
8. Take life one moment at a time.
9. Get a pet.
10. Be mindful of what you consume (social media, news, tv).
11. Yoga does wonders.
12. Meditation will keep you sane.
13. This is not the time to be harsh on your body.
14. Listen to your mentors.
15. When you’re sad, watch Kdrama.
16. If you weren’t productive this year, it’s okay!
17. Quit coffee.
18. Write on your journal.
19. Keep writing on that gratitude list.
20. Watch more movies with your little brother.
21. Think twice or thrice before you post.
22. Stay true to your goals but be flexible with your methods.
23. Communication is key.
24. Everbody’s having a hard time, exude grace.
25. Stop overworking, nothing is more precious than your health and wellbeing.
26. When you’re feeling helpless, help someone.
27. Keep on doing your art.
28. Accept what is.
29. Feeling shitty? Take a bath.
30. Do the workout that is fun for you.
31. Spend time with nature.
32. Stop waiting, start doing.
33. The government, the economy, or any external situation won’t change. Do what’s good for you.
34. Social media is a myth.
35. Structure is key to pandemic anxiety.
36. Keep your study table sparkly and sacred.
37. Stop counting calories
38. Comparison is poison.
39. Honor your body.
40. Drink lots of water.
41. Make an effort to call your family.
42. Everything takes time, especially worthwhile things.
43. Alcoholic beverage is a no no.
44. It’s okay to not be the best.
45. Music is therapeutic.
46. The pain of loss will always be there, but you will learn to live with it.
47. Savor the present moment, you never know when it’s your last day.
48. Make time for your art.
49. You can adapt even in the worst of times.
50. Say I love you.
51. Give yourself a treat, watch netflix.
52. Meditate upon waking up instead of scrolling on your newsfeed.
53. Give yourself a self-care day.
54. Create a schedule.
55. Invest in a good planner.
56. Trust the process, even if the path isn’t clear.
57. You don’t need to follow every self-help guru.
58. Microsteps are powerful.
59. Invest in high-quality content books.
60. Cleaning relieves stress.
61. Just have three goals for the day.
62. Pause and breathe before you react.
63. Be kind to yourself.
64. Breathe.
65. Keep on learning.
66. Stick with the study methods that work for you.
67. Any negativity goes down the drain.
68. Talk about ideas, not people.
69. Focus on what you can control.
70. Are you feeling angry? Put your rage on a page.
71. Have a consistent sleeping schedule.
72. Spend time with nature.
73. You don’t need to add that item to your shoppee cart.
74. Eat less.
75. Learn from every person you encounter.
76. Understad another’s point of view before criticizing.
77. Stop the hate language.
78. Say goodbye to expectations.
79. Be the change you wish to see.
80. Wear your mask.
81. Engage with life. Don’t be passive.
82. Eat meals on time.
83. Prepare for the worst during a typhoon.
84. Recovery takes time.
85. Volunteer.
86. Stop keeping things that you don’t need. Give it away.
87. Honor your pain but don’t dwell.
88. Stay curious.
89. Pray.
90. Trust that the universe has your back.
91. Stop weighing yourself every damn day.
92. Do your best and fuck the rest.
93. A person’s rudeness is a reflection of their own pain. It’s never about you.
94. Maintain boundaries.
95. Unfollow any influencer that makes you feel shitty about your body.
96. Be patient.
97. Choose love.
98. Have faith.
99. Keep going.
100. Surrender.

Prepare and Dare

Do you remember how 2018 was? It was so good to you but it was also heartbreaking in some ways. You won and you lost. So many things happened right? There were a lot of surprises, some where good and some were bad but what matters is you learned.

You learned that gratitude is essential.

Every day there is still something to be grateful for. You might be in too much pain, but the sun still rose, your dad cooked breakfast for you, you have family who unconditionally looks out for you. Isn’t it amazing how everything seems orchestrated? There are people who truly care for you. You can make a list of those amazing humans and also the circumstances which brought you to where you are right now.

Love is found in the mundane.

Our princess mentality taught us that love should be in a form of a knight in shining armor or grand romantic expressions. But in 2018, maybe you saw and realized that it’s actually carved in the simple, repetitive actions. It’s when your bestfriend checks up on you, or when your friend tags you in a meme. It’s when someone listens to your rants or eats lunch with you. Love is when your little brother hugs you or when your cousin plays with you. It is actually everywhere, sometimes we’re just too clouded with pain and anger to notice it. I hope you learn to look for it, even in in the most difficult situations.

Accept. Accept. Accept.

Whatever it is, accept. Whether it’s good or bad accept. This Earth is not a paradise. Maybe you got lucky and got a fair share of wealth or maybe it’s the opposite. You may be slaying your goals or not getting the results you want. Nevertheless, you must still learn to accept what is. Because only with a heart that acknowledges what the present moment offers, can you operate from a genuine place. Learn how to be okay with what you have.

Try your best to see with compassion.

This is really hard to do especially when someone is just rude to you for some reason, and you don’t understand what you did wrong for that person to hate you. Even if the other person is just too mean, you have to do your best to look at the person and situation with compassion. Their behavior is not about you, it’s about their pain. They are just projecting that to you. Probably because you are a reflection of who they can’t be or unresolved childhood issues that has nothing to do with you.

At the end of the day, only yourself can save you.

You should be your own best friend and cheer leader. Stop relying on others. You are allowed to ask for help but you must not put your life on someone else’s hands. Be the captain of your own ship. Discover who you are, your dreams and passions and relentlessly follow it. More importantly, take responsibility for everything that happens in your life. You have no one to blame but yourself. Be mature enough. Respect other people’s time. Save yourself, don’t wait for others to do it for you.

Fake it till you make it.

No one has everything figured out, even the so called geniuses still has knowledge gaps. Sometimes you just have to pretend that you know what you’re doing even if you really don’t. Prepare and dare. Claim success like it’s your birthright. Who knows, you might just wake up living the dreams you never thought you could have.

We still have a lot to learn. This thought makes this new year even more exciting. I hope you do better this year, but if you don’t, know that it’s okay to fall short, what matters is you did the best that you could with what you have. 💕

We don’t need much to be happy

There are three people who make me smile every day when I see them. They are not my friends, and I don’t actually know them. I bump into them at work, at home, and in market, but they don’t have a clue of how valuable their presence is. They just taught me a lot and they don’t know anything about it.

Our School Cleaner

Every day, I would see our school cleaner doing her job. She’s mopping floors and scrubbing here and there. We would greet each other when she comes to our office and when I see her I just see a woman who’s very happy in her job. She would have this big smile every day. Sometimes I wonder how she can smile when her task of making everything clean, for me, is so hard. But every single day, she would say good morning and make the surroundings sparkly. She cleans well. The previous cleaner in our building was a sad lady. But our current cleaner? She is a wonderful person to see very day. She does her job well, and she is happy.

The Egg Vendor

On Mondays, I pass by a woman selling different kinds of eggs. She can speak a little bit of English and whenever I buy eggs from her, she smiles in joy. One time, my money was one thousand and she doesn’t have change for it so she ran somewhere to get the change. In my previous experiences, vendors would often get angry when you give them a large cash and they don’t have change. But with this lady, she was even smiling as she was running to look for change. Every week, I would buy from her just because her happiness is viral. She even gives me one extra egg because I’m a loyal customer. She radiates.

Our Condo’s Security Guard

We have three security guards in rotation in our place. Our favorite guard is the one who always smiles and opens the door when we’re taking a long time to get the key card. He is happy every time we see him. My roommates and I would sometimes give him food because he is just such a nice person. I never see him sleep while on duty and I don’t know there’s just something about him that’s extra shiny.

So what’s the lesson I’ve learned from them?

We don’t need much to be happy.

Happiness is a choice. As long as we do everything with love, we can be happy. I used to think that I’ll be happy if I am rich, if I have nice clothes and a lot of money. Well, if you have a lot of material stuff, it will definitely make you more comfortable in this world. But comfort is not always associated with happiness. You may have everything you want, but still be miserable.

I saw in those three wonderful people that happiness is a decision. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that you should be complacent and be okay with less. What I’m trying to say is, yes, you should work for what you want, but you can be happy along the way. If we’re too serious and too stressed just so we can make tons of money, it will backfire on us. It can be through a disease or through personal relationships being sacrificed.

We only get one shot in life. After this life, there’s none. So why do we have to spend it being unhappy, selfish, and miserable? If there’s one thing we should focus on, I think it should be figuring out how to make our self and the people around us more happy. How do we fight misery, sadness, and even violence? We can do this by creating a happy space. The first step is internal happiness. Start within and radiate. Try it, and you’ll see.

Writing is Freedom

It was a rainy afternoon. I just finished the qualifying exam for a mathematics training. My neck was aching from the brain draining test. I hope I would pass. But still, I wasn’t tired. I was even looking forward to that day because I’ll get to visit my favorite store in the mall, National Bookstore. We live far from the city so it’s not that accessible to us. It is the haven for all the stuff I’m obsessed with. You see, I am the notebook, diary, planner, and pens type of girl. Many of my classmates love to go to Penshoppe or Bench, but I was more on the nerdy side. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by books, pens, and paper.

Writing has played a lot of roles in my life. For me, it is my kind of art. You see, I’m not a visually creative person. I can’t sketch or draw. I don’t have a way with colors and imagining things in 3D has been a weakness ever since. But writing? I don’t know how with just grabbing a pen and paper and using the vocabulary inside your head, can you have such a cathartic feeling. It’s like when I write, I feel that a little bit of me is relieved. It’s as if the stress goes away with every word that I pour on my laptop or on a piece of paper. When I write, my mind gets more organized. Suddenly, it’s more calm and simple.

The Day that Writing became my Best Friend

In my sophomore year in high school, my English teacher asked us to have a journal. Every day, we write on it about how our day went. Our student teacher checked it regularly and I guess my entry was quite different than my classmates’.  It wasn’t a happy diary. That time, there was so much rage inside me, so many whys, it was just what I needed. I had to tell someone or something about what I was feeling. I was being bullied and at the same time my parents were always fighting. I couldn’t pretend that everything was okay, so I decided to write it on that diary.  I can still remember the color of the notebook I used. It was a green Cattleya notebook with glitters and flowers on the cover. My student teacher didn’t like what I was writing, maybe that’s why I got a low grade, but you know what? I didn’t care. Writing on it made me feel better. I didn’t write to impress anyone. I wrote for me. That’s when I knew that writing will always be a part of my life, a hobby, an art, and my best friend.

Writing Gave me Confidence

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t write creatively. In fact, when I write, it’s just expressing what I think using simple words. My grade school writing coach made me write editorials, which I really hated. At that time I just didn’t like it. I felt like it was so forced out of me. In high school, I tried to write news and feature but still, my writing coach made me write editorials. However, when I’m chosen to write for science and math essay contests, I remember how I loved it. It was like exploring a different world. It was analyzing the current facts and trying to communicate your thoughts about something you love. Those were the moments that I felt like this is what I want to write about. I could say that, hey, I can write.  I became more confident that when I was writing about subjects that I love, even the weirdest ones, I’d be like a free person. I knew at those times, that I loved writing.

Writing as a Medicine

When problems arise and your heart feels like it’s going to burst, grab a pen and paper, and write it out. Even if the message cannot be sent to that person, embedding your feelings to something permanent will help you feel that release. I remembered when I fell in love with a boy one time and I just couldn’t say it to him personally so I got my journal and wrote everything that I wanted to tell him. Well, I didn’t give the letter cause that would be too embarrassing (good decision though). When my heart got broken, I wrote there every day until I realized that I was okay again. I got tired of writing about him and just had enough. It was like I transferred all my heartaches to that journal, and so I was left with less heartache until it was totally gone. No more what ifs or whys, it was just  me, moving on. I felt the hurt and writing helped me get through that. Psychiatrists advise patients to have a journal. In my experience, it’s true. Writing makes you aware of your thoughts. When you read that entry over and over again you’ll have an aha moment. You can recognize what you should change or how you can respond to a situation.

Writing as a Pensieve

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might be familiar with the Pensieve. It’s where wizards would store memories so that they can revisit those anytime. I think having a journal or a blog is just like owning a pensieve. You can revisit the memories. I’ve owned a diary since fourth grade and when I want a good laugh, I read it. You can also see how far you’ve went in life. You’ve grown up. Your concerns are different from the ten year old you. And, isn’t that amazing? Sometimes we feel as if nothing’s happening or there’s no progress at all but if you look back, you’ll see how different you are and how many obstacles you’ve gone through. Being able to read your past thoughts will let you have a sense of accomplishment. Or maybe, you’ll realize that things don’t have to be complicated because at the end of the day, everything works out after all. Time traveling is possible when you write.

Writing is Freedom

Remember that moment when you were running on a lawn or sitting on swing or playing seesaw? That is how free you can be with words. Words are so powerful that it wakes up something inside you. I think as human beings, we are so lucky to have this way with words. We are just privileged with the capacity to express our ideas and emotions. We are free. Happiness, I think, has a lot to do with freedom. When you are feeling dangerously free, that’s when you’re happy. When you’re not afraid to express yourself, then what could possibly go wrong? Writing gives me that feeling. Whatever gives you that, keep on doing it. 

What are you here for?

What are we here for? This is a question that many of us want to answer. Some people spend their whole lives finding the reason behind their existence. How do we know what our purpose is and how do we live in line with it?

The unraveling of our life’s purpose starts at the moment we were born. Of course, we don’t have an idea about the things happening around us. We were just little humans crying and being fed. But, our birth marks the beginning of a path that is unknown, yet, meaningful. Yes, each of us has a meaningful purpose. To our parents, we are a part of theirs, and for us, the next events would reveal what we’re here for.

Experience

When we begin to be conscious of our surroundings we gather those little experiences. The things we are exposed to would shape our minds as to what we want to become. If you have so many colors in your room, it could be your first exposure to art, if you grew up in a family of musicians, then, there’s a strong possibility that music might be your way to fulfill that specific purpose. Experience leads us to what we become.

Heart

They say that you should always follow your heart. There are many choices that we are faced with. What is your heart saying? If something is not right, your heart has a way of telling. Well, we should not forget to use our logical thinking, aka, the “brain,” but, happiness doesn’t come from what your head tells you. At least, that’s what experience has taught me. If you choose your brain all the time, it can leave you numb and lonely. To be successful, you need to use a lot of brain but, you have to choose which one you want to prioritize, is it your head or your heart? It’s all up to you. Usually, what your heart says, is where your purpose is aligned to.

Passion

Along with what the heart whispers, passion, is that whisper. It is the thing that your heart is telling you to do. So you love sports so much, then that is your passion.

How do you know what your passion is? It’s when you can’t imagine living your whole life not doing it. It could be music, art, sports, academe, philanthropy, business, or it could even be the weirdest or most random thing in the world. The point here is, live your passion because you only have one life. Passion is the key to knowing your purpose. In one of Oprah’s talks, she tells this story about having the best facial treatment ever. Then she asked the lady giving her the facial, why she’s so good at what she does. Then the lady answered, because picking pimples, and blackheads is her passion. Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, if that is your passion then do it.

Everything Works Out

Experience, heart, and passion, are three key ingredients in knowing and living your life’s purpose. However, a lot of mind setting  is needed. There must be an attitude of, “everything works out.” Life has a habit of throwing random stuff at you, sometimes they’re  wonderful, shiny, and happy stuff. But, sometimes, they are really shitty stuff, to the point that you think you’re the unluckiest human being on this universe. I think it takes a lot of experience to realize and understand that no matter how much and how often bad stuff happens, there are still good and happy moments to come. And that, we should live for the hope of basking in the good stuff.

So what are you supposed to do when misfortunes happen coupled with pain, hopelessness, and a lot of hurt? Feel it. Drown yourself with all the pain you can feel. That’s the first thing you do. If you’re just gonna brush it off, believe me, it will come back haunting you. So please feel the pain. Don’t numb it. Allow yourself to cry and when you’ve poured out all the emotions that’s the time you rise, and move on. Then, start believing again.

That painful journey is part of your purpose. Well, most of the time we don’t understand why those things happen. But should we really know why? Does the world owe us anything? No. At the end of the day, whether you move on or not is all up to you. If you think you were born to share misery to the world, it’s your choice. However, if you will look at the other side, maybe your purpose after all is to be a living example of someone who’s been through a lot, yet smiles and is always hopeful. Maybe you were supposed to be the inspiration of that sick little girl, or that abused child, or the student with a lot of failing grades. Everything works out. Do you want to be a dark existence or a ray of hope?

Patience and Vision

There are two virtues that must be engraved on us if we really want to live a meaningful life. These are patience and vision. We all want to live an amazing life. Though, nobody warned us that it takes a heck of a lot to get anywhere. Sometimes, anxiety creeps in because it seems like there’s no progress at all even if we are working so hard to reach a goal. Getting to the destination needs loads of patience. Maybe, it’s just not your time yet. If we force certain situations to happen most of the time we do end up sabotaging our hard work. I think we must always work towards our goals but we must be careful not to get too obsessed about our expected results. Work hard, be patient, and trust that one day it will all work out. That vision you’ve been wanting to see will appear little by little. You just have to be patient and never lose sight of your goal. Don’t look at what the rest of the world is doing. Just focus on yours. You’ll feel more peace and there’s an element of surprise because you just worked, trusted, and let the magic happen.

Having Fun

Towards the journey to our purpose, we have a tendency to work too hard and forget to be happy. Sometimes we’re too caught up with our goals that we forget to live and have fun. It’s a Friday night, go watch a movie or drink with your friends. Have a blast because you deserve it. Never deprive yourself with the little pleasures. If you have fitness goals, then give yourself a break and have a cheat meal. Go on an adventure. Travel, climb mountains, go to the beach, or get a massage. You deserve it. All of us deserves it.

 

I think we all crave knowing what we’re here for. Maybe you’re already fulfilling it, but you’re just not aware of it.  We just have to make sure that we’re doing what we love. And I hope that what you’re doing is meaningful and is also helping other people fulfill or find their purpose. We have to live not just for ourselves but also for other people. Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we’re all just trying to help one another? Maybe they’ll call you too idealistic for thinking that way. But, you do you. Do something because that’s what your heart is telling you.

22

Wake up, it’s gonna be a beautiful day. Today,you turn 22.

2015 was more of a trial and error stage of my life. I had a job at a university and I wasn’t happy at that job. Why? Because, the pay is low and I don’t see myself going anywhere up in that place. So, without any regret, I left and decided to follow my mom in Thailand.

I thought so much about leaving. My mom wasn’t really in a good financial state but at least I know that I can do better someplace else, somewhere away from all the blabber of my extended family, meaning my aunts and uncles.

21 was the year I fell in love, or at least i thought I was. Thankfully, I bolted out of that complicated “thing” before it destroys me. I now know that waiting for the right person would still be better than forcing love from someone who doesn’t have plans for the future.

21 changed me. I realized what things matter, what should I leave behind, what I want in my life, and what do I allow in my life.

At 21, i learned how to guard my heart and clear my head. I learned to look for the sun when everything around screamed darkness, and sometimes I had to look for it a little bit harder.

At 21 I have come to realize the value of progress, not perfection. I’ve learned how to accept what’s in front of me, how to act more and whine less. I have become more grateful with what I have and more patient with my dreams.

At 21 I’ve met very strong people who would work so hard for the people they love back home, these people inspire me. I was lucky to start meaningful friendships with strangers and hopefully it will last.

At 21 I fell so hard, but I now know that sometimes stumbling is what you need to know where to land.

At 21 I’ve had the best relationship with God. I don’t go to church every Sunday, but I know what God wants me to do and slowly I’m trying to live a life that would inspire others.

At 21 I have fully accepted myself, physically. I’ve never been happier with my wide forehead, flat nose, and wide hips. Why? Because I know the person that lives inside this body by heart. She is a person full of love and compassion for other people. She is a girl who wants to help other people so bad that she wants to be  financially independent so she could help the people having less. And that, for her, is the definition of real beauty.

At 21 I learned how to stop relying my happiness on material things. I don’t care about the latest phone model, or the trends in fashion. Happiness depends on perspective. I have a great family, a job that gets food on the table and allowance for my siblings in PH and that’s enough to make me happy.

Well, being 21 was a life changing experience. This time I didn’t have a cake on my birthday, people didn’t know that it was my natal day because I removed my birthday on facebook, but I was happy. My mom and I went to an ice cream parlor, enjoyed the dessert, went home, and slept.

The lessons I’ve learned was bigger than any material gift I could ever receive. Thank you God for a roller coaster 21. I hope 22 will teach me a lot more.