Well, it’s my birthday! Not quite sure when that happened but yeah, I turn another year older today. *yikes!* I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that I got myself into my first job interview, got hired, and worked myself to the top to provide the best life possible for my family, especially my mom. But clearly, it wasn’t yesterday. Not even close. I lost my mom, got more wrinkles, more cellulite, and yes, more wisdom.
So as an ode to turning older (and a comeback post for being away for 9 long months), sorry I can’t divulge my exact age but add-minus to that, and have you reading my blog, I thought of sharing with you 40 things the great teacher (life!) has taught me.
Ready? Buckle your seatbelt, here we go..
- Glorify God. We’ve heard this a lot of times from churches to the Bible, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31. Why do we have to do this, you ask? Because nothing gives more meaning to the things we do than by offering it all back to God who deserves all of the glory and all of our love.
- PRAY. ALL.THE.TIME. Praying is not just about reciting the same thing over and over. It is our sincere communication with Him. Do you know that He listens? Yes, He does! He hears us– our every cries, our every thanks, our every wish, everything. He already knows what our heart desires however, He is still interested to hear it from us. So talk to Him just as you would talk to someone you love like your friend or your mom. He may not always give us the answer to our questions right away, may take a while to give us what we ask for, or sometimes gives us a resounding ‘no’, but don’t lose heart, for He is a good God. And He wants nothing but the best for you, even better than the best that we can ever plan or give ourselves. Spend time with Him.
- What God requires, He provides. God is always at work, molding and shaping us for His purpose. This sometimes comes by sacrifice — testing us to develop our complete trust in Him.
- Give Thanks. This is not easy especially when everything seems to be falling apart. But regardless of the circumstance, always have a grateful heart. Even in times of pain, suffering or loss, focus on the good. Then you will start to see things differently.
- Violence is not God’s answer to sinfulness. When our backs are against the walls sometimes it is so easy to go back to what we know. But Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of God does not respond in earthly violence but with the grace of God. This one is never easy because I am still in the works with this, but when someone has sinned against us, no matter the pain it has brought us, we must overcome — our pride, our emotions, and respond with humility, meekness, and love. Not an easy task I know, but with God’s grace, we can do it! Live in peace, live in love, don’t allow hatred to have space in your heart.
- The condition of the heart matters most to God. Jesus kept reminding His disciples that what is in the heart tells the true story of the person. Sometimes people appear to love God but can be completely false at the core. Take time to examine your heart.
- Stand with Courage. Sometimes we must stand in courage, even when it is not popular to do so and risk it all.
- The greater the cost, the greater the sacrifice. Nothing we ever want in this life will come to us for free. We all have to work hard for it. And the greater the things we want, the greater the sacrifice we should be willing to endure. But at the end of the day, know that it’s all worth it. You wouldn’t like it for no reason, right?
- Don’t compromise yourself — you are all you’ve got. The most important thing in life, motherhood, business, and all else is to never compromise on your integrity.
- Choose words carefully. I learned this the hard way. It’s very easy for us to spit out hurtful words when someone has caused us so much pain. But hear me when I say this, it brings nothing afterward but more pain to your already existing pains. And nothing is more painful than having regrets for letting out words you don’t really mean. Words are powerful. They shape how we live and how others would feel. Jesus is teaching us to choose our words carefully because they can either be advancing the Kingdom of God or darkness. So starting today, moving forward, I am choosing to keep silent, especially in pain and in anger.
- No one else can make you happy. It is when you have to face your demons — your fears, insecurities, negative past experiences, wrong decisions, and shortcomings — that requires you to look in the mirror, alone.
- Don’t get attached to material things. The persistent pursuit of the next best ‘thing’ creates unnecessary additional stress in your life. Before you buy, ask yourself: do I really need this? will it make my life less stressful, or difficult tasks easier? Buy only what you truly need. Retail therapy is a distraction, never a cure.
- Work less. Love more. There will be no reward in your deathbed for all the long hours spent working. But there is no regret for time spent loving and nurturing relationships with your loved ones.
- If you need a reminder of how happiness looks like, watch your kids playing together.
- Be wary of those who sell you ways to be “successful. There will always be that one more step, one more course, one more seminar, that you need to do. The first question that you need to ask yourself is: what is the teacher’s definition of success? Does it define the place where you picture yourself and everything falls perfectly into place? Chasing fantasy is a powerful drug, and like all drugs, it will make you go asking for more until it drains you of your ability to think independently and think with clarity. You are already successful because you “exist“.
- Don’t believe everything anyone tells you. And the same is true for everything you read online.
- There’s no shame in being wrong, and no defeat in saying sorry. Accepting when you have done wrong and apologizing for the mistakes you did that affected others is necessary for the healing process of both parties. It also helps you become a better person.
- You can’t change the world, but you can be that change you want to see in the world. Don’t neglect to fight for the things you care about just because you think not too many people care or your voice is too small. Remember, one voice is capable of creating a huge echo.
- Go to bed and wake up EARLY. It’s amazing how much stuff you get to do and how much energy you have when you wake up with nature’s curtain. Sleep is not something your health can afford to miss, either.
- Exercise daily. We are made to move. So walk, run, jump, lift, stretch! Whatever you can do, set aside time every day to oil your engine. It makes you wonderful, creative, enthusiastic, and most of all, happy!
- Health is wealth. Simple as that.
- You can’t do everything in life. Those things you wish you had done, you wouldn’t have done them anyway. Those things that you are doing right now and the things you are planning to do, you wouldn’t be doing them had you done the other. So be kind to yourself.
- The best things in life are FREE. And it’s no lie! hugs, kisses, walks in the park, friends, time spent with loved ones, listening to music. Do as many of these things as possible, as much as you can.
- Expectation is a fool’s guide to life. Let go of what you think life should be, and what you think others should be doing.
- Let go of perfection. Everything you think you are getting close, things will take on a new meaning in your mind. Things are already perfect; they are exactly as they are.
- Accept change and grow with it. If you don’t, you will always live in the past and fear the future.
- Life is too short to be living it for the expectations of others. This is your journey. Own your story.
- Don’t rush through life chasing your tail. Stop every now and then to appreciate life. Meditate, chill out, listen to music, or simply just sitting down to your doorstep are great ways to bring your mind home every once in a while.
- Don’t spend too long doing things that make you unhappy. Life is too short to be spent doing things that don’t bring you happiness. Sure, it is necessary sometimes to endure mental pain to get to the next stage on your ladder. But if too often you find yourself questioning whether you really want to do this, it’s time for a change and a switch of direction.
- Be frugal. You need a lot less money to be healthy and content in life than you think. God has no interest in our money. He’s going to take us anyway. Enjoy life while it allows us to dance. Buy what you need to survive and thrive, not what you think you might need.
- Live a simple life. The more things you have, the more things you have to worry about, the more things you have to pay for, the more things you have to concern yourself with, and the more things you’ll convince yourself you need.
- Teach your kids right from wrong but don’t push them to follow your footsteps. Teaching your kids to be like you is the greatest disservice you can do them. Nurture their own talents, encourage critical thinking by presenting both sides of the coin, and allow them to explore their unique characteristics. Remember, it’s their journey, not yours.
- You can’t preach change. If you want change to happen, be the change. Inspire through your actions.
- If something is worth doing, do it with both care and attention. Never get things done in a rush just to get more stuff done.
- Only lend what you can afford to lose. Got that from mom.
- Don’t fall out with friends over politics, religion, or morality. We are all different and are in different walks in our journey. We’re all human. Accept. Understand. Discuss.
- This moment is all there is. Neither the past nor future exists. Don’t let your past define who you are, and don’t let what you think of the future control your destiny. Live in the present and know that every single thing you do today is what affects your tomorrow.
- Take a leap of faith. And build your wings on the way down.
- Don’t listen to people who tell you ‘you can’t do it, you’re late, or you’re too old’. If you feel like you can do it, do it.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but remain a creative being. Mistakes are a valuable part of a creative process. No life-changing invention was ever created, or fulfilling life lived, without committing mistakes along the way. Keep inventing, keep reinventing, keep failing (and learning!), and always explore your ideas as much as you can.
There goes my life lessons. Life is a great teacher, isn’t it? If some of these things resonate with you, write them down, share on Facebook, or with a friend. But if you disagree with some of my points, good. Go live your life, make your own list, and live your life happy, your way. 😉
Thank you for spending another birthday with me. What have you learned about life? Care to share with me in the comments below? I’d love to hear them, too.