Entering my thirties is a mixed emotion. I am blessed to have reached this age and excited to welcome another chapter of my life. Looking back, I always felt caught in the middle, confused, and stuck in between. I know most of us get caught in life where not everything is well figured out. It felt forever to pass that Mid-life crisis stage. Sometimes, we do not know what to do and where to turn next. But being alive is fun while the mystery of life makes it beautiful.
For the past 30 years, life taught me countless life lessons. Life experiences vary depends on our age. They say, learn from your grandparents because they’ve been through almost everything that you are just about to experience. You can see their journey on their faces, scars, and bodies. Every scar has a story – a story of childhood, good memories, and some unpleasant things. It’s like our body is one blank canvas and it records every step we make and scar it marks.
As I celebrate life at 30, I just want to share the things life taught me so far. I’m not sure if everyone can relate but in case you do, or currently, in this phase, I hope you can get something that will motivate you to continue and not give up no matter how hard things are right now.
- Enjoy your childhood
I was blessed to experience a pre-technology childhood. I can still remember how paper dolls were still a thing back then. Making doll dresses and house furniture out of carboards was something that added joy to my after-nap afternoon. We used to live in the province, playing with my childhood friends in the rice fields was another experience that I hope my future kids would experience as well. Remember how television was already a luxury during those times? And funny how sleeping in the afternoon was the most dreaded punishment for children and yet it’s all we’ve all been dying to do now that we’re adults. In a nutshell, while you are still young enjoy every minute of your childhood. Don’t just hang around with your phones all day and waste away your time endlessly scrolling on social media. Make friends, explore, and be a kid because once it’s over, you can never go back.
- Don’t rush things
I have 3 sisters and I was the youngest back then until our baby brother entered the scene. The silly me, always watched my sisters play with their friends from afar. Amazed at how they dress up and play dolls. I’ve witnessed their transition from toddler to adolescence and I kept telling myself “I can’t wait until I was old enough to play with this kind of stuff.” They were my role models. I started imitating them too, listening to their kind of music, fashion style, and mannerisms. Watching them do this stuff makes me want to experience it too. And because of that, I started rushing things. One thing I’ve learned the hard way was to slow things down. I was an impatient person, I want an instant result, and how I react negatively when things don’t go my way is something I continue to work on. By constantly wanting an immediate outcome I failed to enjoy my childhood, my journey, and the whole process. In this fast-paced world, take a moment to pause, breathe, and immerse in your present. There is a reason why there are 365 days in a year and 24 hours a day. The same reason why the sun rises on the East and sets on the West. You are where you are supposed to be. Take it easy.
- Listen more, talk less
Have you been in a conversation with someone who talks as if he knows everything? Or came across with someone who always has something to say about anything? Yep, nothing wrong with that, but oftentimes you do not want to associate yourself with those people, right? It is our nature to always feel the need to be on the right side and to know everything. The best deal products, the best restaurants, the right directions, and all that. But when we’re having a bad day or feeling down, don’t we want someone who will just be there to listen? And not someone who constantly has an answer to everything you say? A friend doesn’t have to say the right words to make us feel better, by just listening can make a big difference and the weight in our hearts seems bearable. Be a person who talks less and listens more.
- Finish your school
I’m sure, your parents once said, “This is the only legacy we can pass on and give to you.” They used to say that education is the only wealth you can possess that no one can steal from you. It is an invisible crown you can wear whenever and wherever. Some say it is the leverage you can use to get a life and make a living. I attest to that. Education changed my life. I came from a not so well-off family and I saw education as my way out of poverty. I had to drop out of school several times to make a living and support my family back then. I started working when I was 17 and earning money was never easy. Life is not for fainted hearts. It’s a battlefield. Whether you are fortunate or not, do your best to finish your school and get that degree. Use it to your benefit and you’ll never regret this decision.
- Don’t compare yourself with others
Isn’t ironic how easy for us to spot all good things about other people and always find fault with our own self? It’s sad how fast we criticize our own appearance while freely give praise to others. Big thanks to social media. People selectively post anything they want on it to look fine and fancy. We envy other people’s lifestyles and feeling miserable inside counting everything that is wrong with us. Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop coveting other people’s lives and start working on your own. Don’t be discouraged when you see how your friends are getting ahead in life while you’re way behind. We are all humans – all with two brains, one heart, two lungs, two hands, and feet. Instead of feeling bad about yourself, why not take it as a challenge and be inspired to succeed in life. Let no one stop you from reaching your dreams. If you lack anything, start finding ways. Aren’t we all lucky to be able to access the internet where all information is already available for us to explore? There is no one like you, you are unique because God wonderfully created you in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13-14)
- Learn how to save
I used to always struggle with money because my family lacked almost everything. Everything I have now was a combination of God’s grace and hard work. It was either a blessing or a hard-earned reward I gave myself. Since my family can’t afford to shower us with material things, I worked very hard to buy all my wants and needs. So saving was never an option for me. My mindset was to spend, spend and spend. It kept echoing in my head how deprived I was and all the things that I lacked. This resulted in impulsive buying, maxing my credit limit, living beyond my means, and buying things I can’t really afford. My life could have been better if I’ve learned the importance of saving money a little early. I could have saved more money and invested in more valuable assets rather than wasting it away with what was trending and popular. Whether you are like me or not, start having a rich mindset and learn as much as you can on how you can effectively save. Start as early as you can and enjoy its fruits at the time of harvest.
- Read a lot
Do you get sleepy when you read? If you do, you are not alone. It has been my struggle to finish a book. I have at least 3 books lined up waiting for me to finish. Did you know that an average person can read 12 books in a year but could be more if reading is your passion? What do you gain when reading? When you read, you are not only exercising your mind but also improve your communication and knowledge which helps your mind’s ability to grow. Invest in reading and witness how it can change your mindset. If you are like me and you find it hard to read for hours, allot at least 15 minutes a day to read. It could a book, an article, or anything that you enjoy reading. You can place a book in your bag before leaving the house or when running an errand. You never know how reading can save you from boredom, occupy your idle time when caught in terrible traffic going to work or while waiting in a long queueing line. The book you read is the map of your destiny. Read, read, and read a lot.
How often do you include your fitness goal in your New Year’s resolution? I bet multiple times in a row. We all have a fitness goal and as aspiring ones, we aim to get that body we’ve all been dreaming of – flat tummy and tonearms. Easier said than done, though. It takes grit and determination to achieve that – a combination of discipline and consistency is key. Not only you can enjoy your tone body, but regular exercise can also help reduce heart disease, can improve moods, bones, and muscle. Engage in any physical activity at least 30 minutes a day or 4 times a week to keep our body in good condition. As our body is a living temple of God, let us present our body worthy to Him by taking good care of it. “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8.
- People come and go
I’m a sucker for inspirational Youtube videos, knowledge-rich podcasts, and good read books. At some point, an adage or a power line will leave a mark on your heart, and mind. In one of the many good books I’ve read, I came across this, “We have 3 types of friends in this life: Friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime.” Each of them serves a purpose. These people were placed into our lives either to make us or break us – whether they put you in laughter or tears, remember that it will help mold you and bring you to your destiny. There are friends that last a lifetime and a friendship that’s meant to last for a season. Whatever that teaches us, make the most out of it. Enjoy the journey, filter, and treasure memories you value the most. At the end of the day, ask yourself, what legacy will you leave to those who come and go in your life? Give them something to smile about.
- The first time is always the hardest
Do you get sweaty hands when you introduce yourself in front of everyone on your first day in school? Is it heart-pounding when doing something for the first time? It’s nerve-wracking, right? On the other hand, do you know someone who does something effortlessly? Chewing and braving the crowd like a pro and not even dropping a sweat. I have so many in mind, those lucky bastards. Kidding aside, it is always easy to watch people do their thing and succeed. We tend to focus on their success, all their advantages, and of course – luck. Fixing our eyes on their achievements, we lose our motivation and balance thinking of all possible reasons how we can easily screw up and fail. That’s called self-sabotage. Have you been at a point in your life where you badly want something but all you could think of are the endless possibility of failure? It is always hard at first. Nothing in life is easy. Every single thing was taught, studied, and learned. Every expert started as an amateur. They did not stop until they execute their ideas, master, and excel. Just a quick trivia, did you know that those lines curved on our brains are the knowledge we’ve learned over the years? Our brain changes and forms new connections and neurons whenever we learn new things. Amazing, right? Even our brains have their first times. Eye on your goal and start your progress.
- Always do your best
Life has a fair share of ups and downs and in this journey, we are bound to thrive our way to success. Good fate may not always side with us, and life may not promise us a straight path all time but when we give our best, I believe the universe is fair enough to let us receive what we give and reap what we sow. Give your 100 percent best, be fair, devote and invest your time to excel. Your actions determine your performance and these end results will reflect who you are.
- Put God First
In my 30 years in life, I testify that putting God first in everything continuously keeps my path straight. By honoring God in your life, relationship, and finances, He can and will provide all the things you need. A hundred percent of the time, God did not let me down. I may not understand why and how things happen in my life but His words remain true. Day by day, I continue to stay amazed at how God’s faithfulness becomes evident in my journey.
- Wait patiently
I’m not a fan of waiting, some of you might know that already. It is not fun for me. I bet some can relate. Queueing in line when you’re in a hurry ain’t appealing at all. Patience is wearing thin and it is so easy to snap and get angry about anything. This is one of my weaknesses, I struggle at waiting. I always want instant results, instant success, and instant progress. Waiting makes me sick on my nerve and by not getting the result I want, I tend to sabotage myself by giving in to doubts. Waiting can lead to frustration, and when we’re frustrated we always feel fear. But did you know that fear is not the reason why we fail in life? It is Anxiety. Anxiety is a natural response or feeling of what might happen. Do you know what’s worst with anxiety, it makes you create a problem that’s not even there to begin with. When you are struggling in waiting, pray for God’s peace. When you’ve done your part, rest and leave everything to God. I believe that what’s yours will always be yours. No one can steal your destiny. Wait with an expectant heart. Wait on God.
- Don’t judge too quickly
“The first impression lasts”, that’s what people often say and I agree at some point. I have friends whom I didn’t like before. Either we have different personalities or different interests but my impression of them determines my potential relationship with them. Luckily, most of them are now my best friends ever. Funny how easily we throw judgment on others just because their vibes don’t match ours. We all know that freedom of expression is everyone’s right and we should all exercise this right and use it for good without exhausting it. Casting judgment to other’s fault is easy. But there should be a thin line between stating a fact and giving out our opinion. Whenever you find yourself in a situation, always ask yourself, will it build or break the person? Is there an alternative way where you can express it without destroying someone’s reputation? Can it be discussed privately instead? Now that people are always on their phones and with the power of the internet, people are more exposed and subject to cyberbully. Use your voice to uplift, encourage, and motivate people and not destroy them.
- The right person will come
Fairy tales always tell us that “You need to kiss many frogs before you meet your prince.” Most of us probably can relate to this. How many of us have been in too many to count relationships, invested time and effort to the wrong people only to find out that we just caught another frog in the pond. A few can’t relate and they are the blessed ones. Either they’ve waited patiently for the right moment, took their parents’ advice, or probably because of the unreachable standard that no human ever lived could reach. Either way, whether you are swimming between these possibilities, at the end of the day the right person will definitely come. Most of the time we find things when we are not looking for them. Ironically, only the universe knows when that time will come but believe that someone out there is waiting for that perfect time for you two to meet. While you’re in the phase of waiting, focus on improving yourself and make sure that you are hundred percent ready to welcome him when he knocks on your door.
Life has been good and bad but overall I can say that It has been meaningful. God is faithful, especially on the rocky and uphill roads. Whether you are in a good place or in a bad one, please know that these are some of the puzzle pieces that you need to find and experience before you complete your journey and find your destiny.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6