Quarter a century years old.
One could say that at this age a person is already at the prime of his youth— already in full bloom (and ripe for the picking, if you know what I mean).
Twenty-five marks a significant milestone in everyone’s lives. My good friend told me once that it is true: something changes in you upon reaching this point in your life. True enough, this is a period where you have established your core values, the basis of every mindset and decision you make from hereon. You have a definite idea of who and what you are— your limits, your strengths, your potentials yet to be tapped. You are still a work in progress nevertheless you are fully armed and able to evoke change making an actual contribution to the world. There is still the fire of idealism yet you have gradually reconciled it with reality, that some things can be changed and some cannot… but you are still hoping to be the person you have imagined yourself to be eight years ago.
I am twenty-five, and there is still a long way to go.
Yet life has taught me some extremely valuable things over the years. Some I already knew but had to experience it myself to really understand what it was all about. Others I have seen through vicarious experience and dutiful listening to the wise. The rest I did not see coming and had to deal with them the hard way (and I mean HARD). This is not a surefire formula to attain success or to win the Miss Universe pageant or to go to heaven but I am sharing these especially to my dear students as something to ponder upon… and if you want to increase your survival rate in this world.
1. Be helpful… only AT THE RIGHT MOMENT
- Do not get me wrong on this one. I absolutely abhor people who do not lift even a single finger to help people in need. Like some of my students who say “There are others who are willing to do it anyway” or “I’m kinda in the middle something right now” or “I simply do not want to help.” (You people know who you are and thanks for making the world more hellish than it should be.)
- My point is- You are not Superman. You only have limited resources, time, and capabilities. And while this is not an excuse for you to refuse somebody in need or to give less than what you can really give; this should make you be more discerning when providing aid: “Will I really help and not aggravate the situation? Will there be more who will be benefited than harmed? Will my assistance ACTUALLY YIELD RESULTS? Am I needed in the first place?” If not, your effort is a waste. The thought and intention of helping is nice but the end-result is what matters at the end of the day.
2. Learn to say NO
- Peer pressure is almost impossible to resist. Numerous times we give in to the coaxing, incessant cajoling, and charming persuasions to do this and that. While this isn’t entirely bad, there are times necessitating you to turn the other cheek and walk away. I have succumbed to peer pressure in the name of “friendship”, camaraderie, or reconciliation and the negative impacts it had one me were titanic. Worse, I alone would have to suffer the consequences! (tears) Only recently did I learn that to say NO does not make you a bad person at all. You have all the right in the world to decline especially if what you are about to do is an outright abomination or sheer idiocy.
3. Be yourself. ALWAYS
- Hmmm… how should I put this without being too Vanessa Hudgens (I got to go on and be who I ammmmmmm …) or Demi Lovato (this is me, this is real…. Grrraaahhh!!!)? I guess you really have to be schmaltzy with this. Fact: There is no point TO BE NOT who you truly are. I cannot continue sugarcoating this to my students (because I am soooo fed up ad nauseam to the “I-am- wearing- a mask-pretending-to-be-someone-else” drama) so here it is, THE WORLD IS UNFAIR. DEAL WITH IT, my darlings. With our standards of beauty, intelligence, and other societal criteria of who’s desirable or not, people are conditioned to be eternally insecure— I am too a bit, until now. But unless you cannot accept the fact that someone will always be better, hotter, or sexier than you, you cannot enjoy the perks (not of being a wall flower) of being just simply, errr… you. Is lying to yourself for the rest of your life just to get shallow approval and admiration worth it? If you really think about it, it’s not so bad being you. Just work on what you have and do not be a prick. You’ll do perfectly fine.
4. Crap Stinks. Period
(refer to my previous blog entry…)
5. Tame your tongue
- I used to have the ‘I-don’t-care-as-long-as-I’m-being-real’ attitude once too. Having come into full terms with myself, I vowed to be an avatar of honesty no matter what. Being you is being real in the first place as I would have put it then. It was a disaster. True, I did speak out my mind. I was being honest, too damn honest that I lost the very thing which has kept me from the biggest troubles all these years: discretion. I just said whatever the hell I wanted and did not apologize for it: I was just being true was my justification. Take it or leave it. And there, true enough, I realized later then that all along I wasn’t really being real. I was being crass, cheap, and a total drama queen. I hurt people. It didn’t really make me happy, proud or prove my point.
- Honesty is still a big deal for me… only that now I know better: Especially if you’re not contributing anything to a solution or concession, if what you are about to say is downright in-your-face insulting, or your prattling is just so damn irritating to the ears, LEARN TO SHUT UP.
6. Embrace your past- completely
- We all had issues in the past and we have had our own ways on dealing with them. Some deliberately erased them from memories; some compensated them through some kind of an atonement; some pretended it never happened; and some attempted to undo them (what the!?). We all have reasons for such: out of shame and guilt, mostly. I myself have done things which I am not proud of. And thinking about those now make me cringe and hate myself for the rest of my life. “Why was I so stupid, desperate, and selfish?” And this is where soap operas and Japanese anime enter the picture to save the day. Watching them taught me that no matter how dark, ugly, or painful your past is, embrace it with all your heart— not because you cannot do anything to undo them anyway, but because all of those are already a part of who and what you are now. Good or bad, they have all contributed to the totality of your existence as of the present and you cannot truly be one with yourself without accepting them… (sappy ending song follows)