I got inspired to create this by listening to Benjo’s most recent podcast. He is one of my good friends from college, but I have known him since eight grade. Here it is if you would like to check it out but just a side note, it is spoken in Hiligaynon so if you are not familiar with that dialect, I don’t think you would be able to understand it.

To put it into words, he created a podcast speaking about his life lessons and shared them to his listeners – one lesson for each birthday. It encouraged me to reflect in my own life what I have learned in my twenty-seven years of existence.

To be honest, most of these realizations are discovered in the latter part of my life, where I have grown so much in a short amount of time because of the circumstances I unknowingly put myself in. I have so much of these little nuggets of life, but I will be sharing with you only twenty-seven. I’ve chosen the ones that are very relevant personally but also, I think have been very impactful to me and might be to you as well.

1. Never give yourself a deadline for milestones

Early on, I’ve had an epiphany of not counting milestones as successes, and not giving myself deadlines for it. Some people find careers very early in their lives and it may take a while for some. Nothing is ever too late to pursue. Having this as a mindset definitely relieved me from societal pressures of getting things done at certain points in my life. Never ever rush anything.

2. Never compare yourself and other people’s successes

Don’t believe that if some people in your life have achieved certain things and you have not, that you are beneath them. Like I mentioned, never rush anything. So if you are still in the bottom and your friends are at the top, do not think lowly of yourself. You will get there eventually even if it takes time. With that said;

3. Be happy for other people’s successes

Be genuinely happy for other people getting to the top. Jealousy will get you nowhere. Let their success inspire you instead.

4. Always check on your friends

In my case, talking to my friends is such a challenge because of the time difference. But whenever I could I always try my best to see what they’re up to, where they’re at in their lives, or where they want to be. I love hearing stories about their lives especially since I’m living so far away. It is important to keep the conversation going with all of your best friends, because it feels amazing and I really appreciate whenever they do it for me. Also, this is how you realize which people are your truest and most genuine friends because usually despite the distance or time apart from the last time you talked to them, whenever you finally do, you still have the same level of trust and respect for them.

5. Respect other people’s difference in opinions

I have learned that everyone is different. May it be in their race, religion, beliefs, political views, etc. There will not be one person in this world that will share all of the exact same opinions as you. Always be open to listening to other people, and let them share their sentiments. Do it in a way where you are genuinely listening to them and not just waiting for them to finish so you can say your piece.

6. Be assertive

Learn to ask for what you want. Be it in your career, relationships or your expectations from your friendships. This was a little bit hard for me because growing up, I was very meek and quiet, and I always let other people dominate me because I wanted to please everybody. I was told that being assertive doesn’t mean that you are a bitch. It just means, you know your worth.

7. Never ever worry about money

My grandma always told me never to ever worry about money because it will always come back eventually. This is the best advice I’ve been given. I believe people’s perceptions and personalities and problems change depending on how they look at money.

8. Its okay to burn bridges

I believe some friendships have endings. It could have ended mutually, through them, or through you realizing you don’t need them. If these friends don’t love or support you or end up becoming such a toxic relationship then you honestly don’t need to make an effort to keep them in your lives. I think once a certain friendship has run its course, you shouldn’t feel bad or harbor ill feelings. Be happy for them and for yourself.

9. People will always have their own opinion about you, don’t make an effort to change for them

Just like what Mama Ru said: “What other people think about me is out of my control.”

10. Balance work life and social life

Its always good to not overwork. Of course take your job seriously and do it properly, but make sure it does not take over your life. It’s good to be loyal to a company and show them your appreciation but always remember that no matter how good you are, you are replaceable. Know when you are being taken advantage of and never sacrifice your principles for a paycheck. I always believe that if it starts making you unhappy and you are not doing your best then it’s time to find something else. On the other hand, if you enjoy your job make sure you balance it with your life enough not to end up resenting it and losing your passion for it.

11. Its okay to be sad, especially when you need to be

Allow yourself to break down especially when you need too. Never repress your feelings because that will only make it worse for you in the long run.

12. Invest in your health

Eat healthy and exercise. If you can, avoid vices or try to stop as early as you can. You really do start to feel everything as you get older. Enjoy food but also really think about what you are putting in yourself.

13. Independence is great

It’s amazing. I’m on my own time, I make my own decisions and I feel like I can do whatever I want…

14. But, time with people you love (especially family) will always be greater

I always appreciate all the time I get to spend with my love ones no matter how short.

15. Learn. Basic. Skills.

Living by myself, I have learned to do so many things. I’m pretty proud of myself that I don’t require anybody’s help when I need little things done around the house. I have my own little toolbox and I could actually hold my own. Except maybe on electric stuff and with that I think the smarter option would be to hire somebody.

16. Believe in yourself

One of my biggest weaknesses growing up is having inferiority complex. Once in a while the insecure voice inside of me still finds a way to tell me negative things about myself. Never ever listen to your inner saboteur. I have learned to shut down this negative voice and allowed it to become more positive. I’ve gained such a wonderful confidence along the way that I’m very proud of.

17. Always have nature breaks

Hiking or going to the lake is such a wonderful way to reset your mind and body.

18. Surround yourself with people who you aspire to become

Do not surround yourself with toxic people. Get inspired by your peers and learn from what they can share. Listen to their advice.

19. Mental Health is IMPORTANT

I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. Investing in your health includes your mental health as well. This is why I am pretty adamant about having regular conversations with your friends, quality time with your family, and cutting off the people in your life that are just sucking the life out of you. Always have an output, may it be through talking to people or through music, or art. Make sure you allow yourself to release any sort of negativity in your mind.

20. Keep working on yourself

You will keep evolving and maturing and hopefully you stray towards becoming better and not worse. No matter how old you are, you will remain a work in progress. Learn skills, practice, make yourself a better person!

21. Travel

Visiting different cities and countries will give you a bigger perspective of how vast the world is and how big our differences are but at the same time, we could still connect with each other. Traveling will give you such an open mind and a bigger understanding of other people’s cultures which allows you to have respect for it.

22. Lessen your Carbon Footprint

Like investing in your health, also invest in the health of the earth. I feel so strongly about trying to save the world, no matter how small you think your actions may be you are at least trying to make a difference.

23. Do the things you love. Give to yourself.

Whatever makes you happy, do it. Spend money on things or activities that spark joy. You deserve to be loved and not just by people around you, but by yourself as well.

24. Never hold on to grudges

It takes time to forgive. I’ve been in a position where I’ve had negative thoughts about someone who has hurt me, but keeping this anger inside me for a long time will only hurt me even more. Letting go of a grudge is hard, but once you have understood the concept of forgiveness, having no ill will towards another person and genuinely wishing them well, you will feel so much lighter. Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s okay to burn bridges. Feel happy for them, and don’t expect any sort of relationship with them anymore.

25. Have Faith

Whether its to Jesus, or a different god, deity or yourself: have Faith. Believe in something that gives meaning to your life.

26. Love

Never be afraid to love again no matter how many times you have been hurt. It will always be worth it.

27. Be kind

Enough said.

Happy Birthday, self.

xx Gizel

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