Words from my 22yr old self
I’m going through my old emails to delete those I no longer need to free up some space. I stumbled upon an email I sent to my friend when I was 22. It made me smile so I thought to share it here. Enjoy. Forgive any lack of wisdom, it was a long time ago. :)
Hello. Hi. So, in about two weeks I’m gonna be 23 *gasp*. I’m getting old yo. Anyway of late I’ve been thinking of who I am, who I’m becoming, my beliefs and all. And I just thought to write down 22 things I’ve either learnt, grown to believe or come to know for sure in the past year. So here goes …
1. Perhaps the greatest lesson so far has been that we are not meant to live apart from pain and hardships but through it. I know we probably all wish life didn’t suck sometimes and want to go through life dodging anything that is remotely hard or painful. However whatever you do, wherever you are, whoever you are; pain will always be there. Of course some people’s pain seems more intense than ours or vice versa however none of us can avoid it. So you grow up and realize that you’ve got to learn to live through it, and not apart from it.
2. I believe that for as long as I’m alive, WHATEVER happens or doesn’t happen to me, I will always be fine. Each day I wake up and surrender everything to a higher power, to God. Somehow I’ve just grown to trust more in the unseen, because a lot happens there. I don’t try to manipulate people or situations to my advantage. No, I just trust that I will always be fine.
3. I know nothing in the world depends on me. That has made my decision making so much easier. I know whether I pick A or B the sun will rise tomorrow when it’s meant to and set again as it is supposed to. In essence, the world won’t fall apart. Often times we obsess about making the right decision as if the world depends on it (what pressure!). I’ve freed myself of that burden. I do what feels right. If it works out, great! If it doesn’t (refer to #2) I will be fine.
4. Almost everything in life is a gamble. There’s no telling from the beginning if anything you choose to do will work out or not. And so I close my eyes and take a leap of faith. Faith and trust. That’s what that has taught me. I trust that not knowing if it will work out or not; every decision I make is right for me in that moment. If in a few days or weeks down the line it turns out it wasn’t, no biggie. I can start all over. I apply the same principle to dating. There’s no guarantee from the beginning that a lover will be perfect. But you take a chance. And if it turns out great, awesome! If it doesn’t, not a train smash either.
5. People can love you AND still hurt you. Not everything is black and white. Life is one huge grey area itself. We tend to think more in terms of “either/or” instead of “and”. Eg either a person loves you OR they’ll hurt you. Instead of a person can love you AND hurt you. Also, that’s not intentional. They can anyway. Also, the opposite isn’t always true. Just because you think someone who loves you will never hurt you doesn’t mean if they then hurt you they hate you.
6. I have learnt to live in the moment, to be fully present in each moment because the time is always now. This is something I’ve observed in my relationship with my boyfriend. And it’s something I tell him quite often. That I’m not with him cos I think he’ll someday be a great daddy to my kids or even a great hubby. I’m with him because I love who he is now. I hope to love who he will become but I’m not with him for his future self. Because, tomorrow is not promised. What if I die before that future self materializes? Will I sacrifice my happiness now for something that might never be? Well, my answer is no. He makes me happy now and that is enough. Time is always now. Remember that. Always.
7. I am surrounded by the most amazing people in my life right now. I truly believe people are strategically placed in our lives for a reason. And so that forces me to pay attention to the people I’m spending my time with. I’m amazed by what may seem like chance meetings. Blown away by the friendships I could have NEVER imagined! Right now there’s an amazing person I’m friends with who’s originally from the Philippines. There’s absolutely NO WAY I could ever imagined meeting her. Ever. And yet I’m so grateful we met. Oh man! Life can be sooo beautiful sometimes! Always pay attention. No one is in your life by mistake. I am friends with yet another amazing lady from the USA. We met at the airport. And almost 2yrs later, we are still friends. Again, I could have NEVER imagined being friends with a girl with a cute accent. So yea, that leads me to the next point.
8. I’ve learnt to stop being a control freak. Quit all the planning and scheming. If everything went according to MY plans, I would have NEVER met the two ladies mentioned above. Because, how do you imagine two perfect strangers in distant lands and somehow manage to fit them in your plans when you’ve never met them? I know this sounds a tad irresponsible but hey, works for me! I don’t have solid plans I cannot deviate from. Sometimes, if not ALL the time, the universe, God has much bigger and better plans. I promise you guys, I’m constantly blown away by the surprises that happen to me. There are some things we can NEVER imagine because what we imagine depends on how much we already know. We know so little. So most of the time I just show up and oh my, I am blown away each time! Now I wanna hug somebody! Because. Life is beautiful. I live for all the pleasant surprises. Stuff happening without my input or tireless planning. I have really surrendered my need to have it all figured and just chosen to trust. And well, I haven’t been let down so far.
9. I don’t care about being right or perfect anymore. We are all full of shit. The earlier you understand that, the better. That’s also worked wonders for my esteem. I mean, I burnt all pedestals I had and brought everyone down to the same ground I walk on. We are the same. All messed up and broken. I’m not looking to anyone to be my savior. No one is anyone’s savior. I’m not trying to save or fix anyone and I don’t want anyone doing that to me. I am okay, enough. And that makes my heart really happy. I am happy. I am at peace. My mistakes? I own them. There’s no wrong or right way of doing this life thing. After all, we are ALL just doing it for the first time. Trust yourself honey. I have learnt to :)
10. Life is short. Someday I will die. That doesn’t scare me. I mean? What do I have to do that I have to be on earth forever? I’m thankful for each and every day. I will do whatever makes my heart happy until it stops beating. And when that happens? Best believe I will rest in perfect peace. I’m busy earning that rest right now. Live while you’re alive.
11. And that sign everyone keeps waiting for to know they’re doing the right thing or to show them what they should do? Hahah that sign doesn’t exist. If you wait for it, we will bury you while you’re still waiting. Again, I close my eyes and take the leap. The fact that my heart burns for something is often times the only sign I need to know I should do it. If it turns out I was right? Great! If it doesn’t? Not a train smash.
12. I love poetry. I love it so much sometimes it feels like the oxygen my lungs need. And so I read beautiful words, because what is the purpose of life if not to enjoy it?
13. I am happier now than I’ve ever been in possibly all my life. Something to do with that whole surrender, faith and trust thing. You know what? The sturdy hands, they carry me. And by sturdy hands I mean God’s sturdy hands. At least that’s how I feel 99% of the time. Like I am held firmly by a hand that cannot be shaken. So I still my soul and rest in that knowledge because, what can shake me if the hand that holds me cannot be shaken?
14. I’ve found freedom. From all the rules and standards society keeps churning. I don’t have to follow any of them. I only follow what’s best or works for me. And that is all. I am not the general manager of the universe.
15. I’ve stopped being judgmental of people’s choices and actions. You know that saying(proverb?), “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”? Yea. I read a story once of how a young lady contemplating suicide was saved by an unplanned pregnancy. While she was thinking of committing suicide someone commented on her pregnancy and told her that children were a blessing from The Lord. In that moment she really felt like AND believed God had seen her worthy and blessed her with that child. While we may have looked at her at thought she was unlucky or the baby was a curse cos she was gonna raise her alone. To her that was her new found reason for living. So yea. What may look like a curse to you may in actual fact be someone’s greatest blessing. Quit the judgment. I have no doubt God has the ability to use anything to help us out. And he can use an unplanned pregnancy to save a life. You are not God. Don’t place limits on what he can and cannot do.
16. That also has taught me that our priorities will differ just as we are different. You get a job and get a car and suddenly you think anyone who’s working and doesn’t have a car is a loser. Wrong. Someone can very well afford a car but may not necessarily want one. So good for me does not mean good for everyone.
17. Still in the same breath I have learnt to not assume anything or ignore who people are for who I think they are or should be. E.g. because I’m a Christian I cannot assume every person I meet is a Christian. I take that as an offense really if you do that. Cos then you’re choosing to disregard who a whole person is and what they believe for who you think they should be and should believe. Just because I prefer dating guys I can’t ask every girl I meet about their boyfriend. Because they may actually be into girls. So I pay attention. I listen and let people tell me who they are and what they believe instead of assuming. I would like to think that’s what Jesus would do. If you don’t like alcohol, great! Just don’t assume I also don’t like it because YOU don’t. Let people be. If you can’t handle people being themselves around you, then you have a problem.
18. Now I know for sure that appetite grows by eating. I like writing but I don’t always feel like writing. Sometimes I have to write so I can feel like writing. So maybe instead of waiting for inspiration you can let it catch up with you. Yes? Yes!
19. I actually like the person I am right now. As in, I wholeheartedly love me. I would put a ring on me even if I didn’t have to!
20. I don’t have all the answers. In fact I don’t think I have any answers at all. I present all my questions to God each day and hope I’m attentive enough to either see or hear the answers when he gives them to me.
21. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being present! There’s so much beauty surrounding us but you will miss it if you’re always focused on the next thing. Come back to this moment dear. You are here, right now. Pay attention. Be present.
22. “Should be” is a lie. There is nothing I should have or be by now. I am always at the right place at the right time. Wherever I am is exactly where I’m meant to be. “Should be” is a lie.
Bonus: And finally, life is beautiful! Of course they’ll be rough patches here and there but still that doesn’t make life any less beautiful than it already is! So find the beauty. Enjoy it. Someday your heart will stop beating. Let it not be because it was hardened by all the ugliness of this life, but because you lived until you were all lived out!