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26.

When I was younger, I’ve always thought that when I reached 26, I’d either be married, or engaged or financially stable. I’ve always thought I’d be in a supervisory position, have my own business or have the best profession ever -a mother..

This month, I turned 26. I realized, as I grow older, I grew less excited about each birthday I celebrate and try to focus more on looking back on the years that have made me who I am now. While none of the expectations I had back then had materialized as I turned 26, I am positive that God and the Universe is working its ways in realizing great things in my life.. And even though I am nowhere near those expectations, I believe I have made some decisions in life that have changed the course of my life, for the better..

As I turned 26, I’ve listed down things that have made me feel like a certified “grown-up”, even in the most simple way.

  • Work Abroad. I think this would have to be the wisest decision I have ever done in my life so far. It took me years to prepare myself and a lot of the “right attitude” to be where I am now. As a yuppie living in a developing country, I have always struggled to balance the salary I get monthly to spend on necessities and leisure, most of the time, the latter being sacrificed. When I decided to work abroad, I only have one thing in my mind, it’s to succeed. And here I am now, right where I picture myself to be. So in terms of the “financially stable” part of my expectations, I can say I am slowly making my way up there.
  • Burn Bridges. This year, I broke my ties to someone that I should have not build relationship with. You see, when you fall in love, you lose sight of what is wrong and right. Most of the time, you grow blind and deaf of all the wrong things that pollutes you as an individual. It was not an easy step, I had to go through the “Yeah-No-I-Miss-Him-We-Should-Get-Back-Together” phase, and boy that’s the worst thing in the process. But I had the best support system in the world and have helped me divert all my attention to anything but him. In no time, I realized I don’t need him and that life is much better without him. I don’t hate him, I just have no interest in involving him in my life anymore. I think it’s important to acknowledge the amount of happiness a person can give you. I’ve always believed that being in love means being at your happiest, as my favorite book have said, “I don’t understand the point of being together if you’re not the happiest.”
  • Learn Baking. I know it’s just a small thing in life but this year, I’ve learned how to bake! That’s “Yay!”  for me! I’ve always lived my life having my Mom do most of the stuffs for me. Literally serving food on a (not silver) platter and in my younger years, literally and figuratively, have spoon-fed me.  Learning how to bake is a liberating experience knowing I can do something that my Mom didn’t taught me. Trying something new in life would have to be the most commendable advise I can give to anyone in their 20s. Of course there’s comfort in that monotonous life we all lead everyday but I think, one doesn’t just stop learning. You have to keep learning and re-learning, it should be a never-ending process.
  • Get Acknowledged at Work. I work in a Multinational, Multiracial Freight Forwarding Company where I get to work with Chinese, Muslims, Singaporeans and other individuals that are of different race and ethnic groups. It’s a bit intimidating at first but as time went by, I was able to show my colleagues, and most importantly my bosses what I’m made of. I was more than happy when my bosses praised me and my performance, saying I was one of their “better” staffs and I should continue the good work. I think bosses should practice these kinds of stuffs giving motivations to their subordinates when they need it the most. Logistics is not an easy industry and personally, that compliment from my bosses had somehow lighten my mood and attitude towards work. Actually, it motivated me to be better-er, and eventually, the best.
  • Get Out Of My Mom’s Shadow. One of the reasons I decided to work abroad is my Mom’s protecting love, sometimes, over-protecting love. I guess it’s the reason I’m convinced I have the best Mom. But being overly protected can sometimes lead to full dependency and sometimes, it’s not a good thing to have as an adult. Back home, Mom would do almost everything for me, cook for me, do my laundry, buy my underwear, decide which haircut I should get and the list could go on. While it’s very reassuring in my younger years, it got a bit frustrating as I get older. I have always  withheld certain decisions in life I’ve been dying to do because my Mom wouldn’t let me. Now that I live away from home, I feel like she have given me the power to decide on my own and stand up to its consequences. Last year, I had the full bangs I had always wanted and she so detestably hated, I bought as many dresses of shapes and colors that I wasn’t able to wear back home ’cause my legs were “too big” to flaunt. My Mom don’t mean no harm, I guess it’s just her way of saying, “I don’t want you to get hurt so please don’t do it.” .. But sometimes, I need to get hurt to learn and stand up on what I believe in.
  • Do Things On My Own. One of my colleagues asked me previously if I have ever tried watching a movie alone in a Cinema, to which I replied “Yes, I have” and that surprised her. Looking back, I think doing things on my own is something that almost comes natural to me. I started doing things on my own since College and it doesn’t scare me one bit if I have to eat lunch on my own, or go to the mall unaccompanied. It’s something I cherish because I get to have my “me” time and I don’t need to wait for somebody while she/he checks on an item on sale. I think it’s important that we spend time on our own once in a while so we can contemplate on things in our lives without anybody’s opinion — just yours.
  • Trust God. I was never the most religious girl in town and I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t go to church every Sunday and I don’t memorize the Bible page to page, cover to cover. Despite of all these, I always make it a point to says thanks to Him and try to live a life according to His will. I have faced a few trying moments in my life and some have made me lose my confidence in myself and my abilities. I even got to a point where I just wake up and feel empty and without a purpose in life. On times like these, there is this little voice in my head saying, “don’t worry, God is working on something special for you.” On rough days, this thought always keep me going. Because in a world where expectations turn to disappointments too often, Faith is a very important weapon.

Life is not always how we expect it to be. As we grow older and celebrate one birthday after the other, we get to realize that oftentimes, it’s not the presents that makes it memorable but the amount of experience and learning we get from it, year by year. And as we look forward to the next birthday which will add one more year to our age in this world, we also look forward to being the best we could ever be, with the people that brings out the best in us..

Happiest Birthday to me! :o)

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