I started sharing my stories through creative writing, opinion writing, and finally blogging. It was, I think, more than ten years ago when I knew I loved writing. Ever since, I never looked back to whatever I write on my blog – this or even in my past websites. I was also a proofreader and copy-writer before, but I never edited my own work. I usually was okay with the mistakes, poor grammar, limited wordings, etc. because I wanted my pages to look and sound more personal and natural.

Three days ago, I turned 27. And this article was supposed to be published on that exact day. But I just finished drafting the day after my birthday, and finally finished the final write-up yesterday. What took me so long to complete a personal article? I honestly didn’t know what to share. Why the heck do I need to publish a birthday blog post, anyway?

First, I wanted to share something worth sharing. Second, I thought it’s nice to have something to read about my past self five or ten years from now.

It was my birthday last Friday, and I am more than grateful for the life that I have lived through these past 27 years. It has been quite an experience. Some amazing things, some dark things. I worked on amazing projects with an amazing role, I conquered different mountains, I hopped to many islands, got my own mini me. In 27 years, I had tons of unforgettable experiences, both good and bad. And I am grateful for that.

I have listed here 27 lessons that I have learned in life. I hope you learn from my successes and pitfalls to help you on your journey.

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

1. It’s important to have a “squad”.

I am not usually the first to say hi. I can go through a day without talking with anyone, I mean except for work. In my elementary, highschool, and college days, we had these “groups” we named it. My “squads” are still strong up to now. And they’re actually growing.

When we started to #adult, I knew I’d lose all of them. And I thought it was okay. I mean, they also need to start their own life, right? They started to have boyfriends and girlfriends, they started to ignore the group chats, they started to say no to hangouts. Some of them got married and had babies. When I had mine, that’s when I understood.

Your friends need more time for their own plans, life, families. But it doesn’t mean your friendship should end. It’s important to have a squad because they are going to be your escape when you need to take a break and breathe. They are going to be your confidant for when you don’t know what else to do but cry. True and best friends, though you’re not with them physically, can comfort your and make you happy even in texts, chats, and calls. So yeah, keep that friendship strong.

If you’re a close friend, please don’t be mad if you can’t find our pic here. Send me a copy, maybe?

2. It’s okay to not have a “bestest friend”

I had my first best friend when I was in grade school. We were in a history class and learned about how beautiful the Great Wall of China is, and we thought ” we’ll both go there when we’re 30″ and boom, I knew I had a best friend. (She’s still one of my BFFs until now, so anu na, malapit na tayo mag-30!)

My HS BFF was a boy. He courted me and I said no, and instead, we became best friends. He’s a boy, so I knew what boys do to their girlfriends. You guys cheat in every way possible – sex, fling, and even a flirtatious eye contact like wth. He was my bestest friend that I had to make myself look bad just so he could have a better understanding in life. I don’t know if it worked, but yeah.

So, FO, I had a new BFF. I knew him from Tumblr, and years after I learned he wasn’t a he. I thought I fell in love, but when I knew her secret, sabi ko na nga ba, kulang lang ako sa landi.

Now, I don’t really have a “solid” best friend. I have my squads and they have other BFFs, too, and it’s okay. I have my diary where I can share my feelings and thoughts, and it’s okay. I have my blog, where I can share my experiences, and it’s okay.

3. Don’t leave people just because you don’t like them.

It’s okay to meet different people and stay away from them if you feel they’re toxic. But let them know they are. What if they don’t have any idea they’re doing something annoying or they didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t abandon people just because you don’t like them. Imagine how depressing it is if you notice people are avoiding you and you don’t have any idea why.

I almost sought an opinion from a doctor when I thought I was depressed. I was super, even more than, sad that I wasn’t thinking straight. I thought many bad things I’m glad I didn’t do. All just because I didn’t understand why I feel so alone. And I don’t want other people to feel that. Not because of me.

4. You’ve got to understand that we all are different.

Difference is what makes friendships so exciting. Debates, arguments, and at the end of the day, a sweet hug and Netflix. I love having friends from different backgrounds, thoughts, opinions, and if sometimes when we agree on one same thing, the chat’s boring.

Sometimes though, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that they don’t like the things I like. For example, traveling, adventure, food. Maybe some people don’t enjoy exploring new places and trying new things or maybe they just have other priorities, and I get that.

Friendship isn’t necessarily about always doing things together, or understanding each other, but being always there supporting each other.

Friends can offer us a tons of different things – support, help, encouragement and advice – but we . We have to realize that as much as they love us, they can’t give us everything. Tey have their own life to manage, too!

6. Find a good friend, and be a good friend.

I’m pretty sure I am a good friend. Because if not, my buddies won’t be here anymore. I mean, hello? I’m just not sure if anyone from my groups of friends would verify it. Lol. I think a good friend because I always forget the secret stories they tell me. I am a good friend because when I am craving for an unli grilled meat, I’ll treat them. I am a good friend because if you need my support I won’t give you just because you need it but because I think you deserve it. I am a good friend because I take pictures of you when we travel for the sake of your Instagram.

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

Jane Howard

7. Above everything else there is family.

There is no bigger bond than that of family. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been very close with my family. Well, except from when I started adulting, when stuff like boyfriends, sex, etc., things that are very awkward to share with your parents.

I had Mnemo when last year, when I was 26. I was all set – I already graduated, I got a nice job, I got a boyfriend, but we didn’t marry instead we broke up. I was so scared and hurt and I didn’t know what or how to tell my parents. I remember my dad was talking to me for months because of it, and I felt that I disappointed him or them. But what should I do?

Well, family is family, and no matter how much scared or mad are we at each other, above everything else, there is family.

8. Parents need to let go.

Even if Mnemo’s still a super baby (lol), I’m starting to realize how hard parenting is. And one of the most importing thing I realized is that the parents need to know when to let go. Parenting is said to be a lifelong task but it is when the child reachesr the right age, that the parents have to let go and allow the kid to find her own way.

As a child and as a mom, I find things hard to balance. I want to be a protective mom, and a cool mom. I want to be a supportive mom, but I also have dreams for my baby I’d want her to pursue.

It is said that the parents are known from their fruits.Therefore if parents perform the best job possible parenting, if a child falls short on her journey to adulthood; they will know where to seek advice. The family is the cornerstone for adulthood and parents should know when to let go and let the child grow up satisfied that they have done the best job possible even with the intervention of peer pressure.

Source: https://richardstep.com/life-lessons-2/most-important-family-life-lessons-begin-and-end-with-love/

9. True generosity means giving without expecting anything in return.

I completed my college degree at a private university in Manila. And if you are a lower-middle class family in Manila, keeping your slot in a private school isn’t an easy work. My sister wanted me to graduate there because it was one of her dream schools, and also for me to get a better job in the future. Now that I am already working, I have 75% of family needs on my shoulder. Not because my family requires me to, but because I feel that I have to.

Another thing I am proud of is that being a partner to UNICEF as a champion for children. I’ve mentioned this a lot of times before, and I also included Mnemo in the project. Because I spend a lot for food, and every single time I do that, I think of the people especially kids who cannot afford to eat even a single piece of biscuit. And I am sharing this to boast, but to make people aware that hey there is this organization we can partner with in case you want to help.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”

C. JoyBell C.

10. Anger is a twin sister of Love.

I just realized anger and love are sisters and partners in crime. I realized you can’t be angry at someone you don’t care about, and you can’t care about someone you don’t love.

11. Holding a grudge never works.

In the past couple of years I thought I was having the deepest sadness and depression I ever had. My heart was full of everything negative that it all already affected my job at the office and at home. Okay, releasing those emotions through writing helped a lot, but holding the grudge never worked. That’s when I knew I needed to let go, and magically I did after a long week of drowning myself with tears. I mean, I am thankful I got myself back in just a week. Lol.

Releasing your anger in a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks is a good feeling. But the repercussions last far longer. Regret, stress, and unhappiness are are just some products of angry outbursts. Find healthier ways to communicate your feelings, and when anger arises, step away until it fades.

12. Not all pain are the same.

One simple yet deep thought I learned working with a pharmaceutical company. Not all pain are the same. We’re literally talking about diseases and illnesses here, but it perfectly applies in emotions as well.

I may be depressed in a week, but it doesn’t mean I suffered less than the woman who did for 10 years. Not all pain are the same.

13. Forgive, but never forget.

I honestly think forgetting is a loooot easier than forgiving. But that’s just one of the challenges we have to face in life, right?

14. It’s okay to take a break sometimes.

We all try to hustle harder every single day. Sometimes it’s okay to take a break if you aren’t feeling up to it. Take a day off, eat a lot, watch Netflix, hang out with friends, have sex, travel, read a book, whatever or however you think taking a break means.

15. Life may not turn out as you expect. So don’t plan too much.

Okay, so my plan was finish college, take law, take the bar, take the CIA, save money for my future, save money for mu future kids’ future, buy the stuff I need i.e. cars and house/s, marry, have a kid or two.

Obviously, my life didn’t go as planned, and yes, I am sad that I wasn’t able to earn what I wanted before Mnemo. But now I am not miserable because of what happened. If any, my life had so much more meaning, and I learned toooons of life lessons. And who knows, I might be the next if not the only CIA-lawyer you know. IDK either.

16. Everything happens for the best.

Yes, I learned a lot. Yes, he learned a lot. And I have the bonus part – Mnemo. Sorry, but she’s just the best thing in my life right now so expect a lot of Mnemos in this post and in the next thousands of blog posts.

17. “Don’t care about what people think.” Care about what other people think.

In the past 26 years, I heard everyone say “don’t care about what people think” and now I it’s just bullsh*t. It’s just something we say to encourage people about what we call self care, but it. is. bullsh*t. We aren’t the only ones living on Earth, and we have to care about what other people think and say about us.

He’s a jerk. Why? Because he left his girlfriend for another girl.
He’s not a jerk, as he thinks. Why? Because instead of staying with someone he doesn’t love anymore, he walked away and went to the girl he really loved.
He’s a jerk. Why? Not just because you don’t love a person anymore, you won’t think about how may she fell anymore.

Hearing all these comments and thoughts can change a person. So do not say you don’t care about other people think. We do things not just for ourselves. We do things for and with and to other people, too.

18. Never take anything for granted. Especially the little things.

Remember when I said I am keeping a journal? It’s just humbling re-reading my past stories and realizing things I didn’t realize before. It makes me bolder and stronger and braver and sometimes prouder of myself.

19. Save money, but take it easy.

People usually say take a part of your salary first for savings before other spends. Well, I did that, and it gave me a lot more stress than I normally had. There was a time when I got my paycheck and withdrew some and deposited it to my savings account – a guaranteed and secured savings. I paid the bills, went to the grocery, I ate, I traveled, then I have nothing on my account already. Savings saved. But the day came when I needed money to treat myself to a hair day. I mean, I didn’t have to, but I was stressed and I need to do something, but I couldn’t. So I got more stressed like “omg I have no money anymore omg I need to make utang from my savings omg I cannot omg what to do omg I’m so hungry omg I cannot eat omg.

20. Before everything else take care of yourself.

From that experience, I learned to plan, and finally treat myself from time to time. I travel with ease, I eat with ease, and I don’t drown myself with my responsibility to save. When I have extra, I save.

Of course I am aware this won’t work for everybody. But you can actually take good care of yourself without spending money. You know what you want and what you can get.

21. I don’t know why, but people really lie in social media.

That’s why I had a social media detox. I stayed out of socmed in a month, and it actually helped. I cannot find the exact words to describe the feeling, but I can say that I became truer and a lot of the things I share in the internet made more sense.

22. Be yourself.

I hate including this here because what the heck is the sense of giving advise when at the end of it you’ll say just be yourself. But I’m still leaving this here because it’s damn true and there’s nothing more wise and safer advise out there – be yourself.

23. Failure is good.

Experience is the best teacher? Part of the experience is failure, and we don’t often learn from successes, we learn from failures. I’m not saying this to make it easier for you guys to accept failure. Still do your best, but if you think you failed, think of it more like a chance get better.

Have I shared my FinAct1 story yet? Or is it FinAct2, I honestly can’t remember, but I can dive down my treasure box to check. I initially took Accounting in college, and on my second year, I failed this subject. The reason why I wasn’t able to take the qualifying exam before my third year. The reason why I shifted to Auditing. The reason why I didn’t get enough credits as a pre-requisite for another exam. The reason why I wasn’t able to take the licensure exam.

Now, I am an auditor, holding a junior manager role in a multinational company. I know my fellow Accountancy students is doing better, but what I have now is one of the best my age group can get. Still, this is not to boast, but for the professor who gave me failing grade – thank you pero kainis ka padin.

24. Physical, emotional, and mental exercises are way more important than you think it is.

I suffer from scoliosis, didelphys, and myopia. Who knows I have more abnormalities and diseases just waiting to be discovered. When I gave birth to Mnemo, I realized how important physical and emotional and mental health are. I’m only 27, and and there are more scary illnesses out there I can actually get. And now I am not just scared for myself but for Mnemo’s future as well.

25. Travel expands you.

Travel makes you a more interesting, insightful, and accepting person. It expands you, enlightens you, and teaches you about the variety of people, lifestyles, and cultures. It is a pursuit well worth saving for.

Source: https://liveboldandbloom.com/05/self-awareness-2/important-life-lessons

26. Self-honestly is freedom.

We already know honesty is the best policy, but being honest to yourself is far more important. When you are in denial about something, you are blinding yourself to the truth. Even if the truth is temporarily painful, it will ultimately set you free. Be radically honest with yourself so you can live authentically.

Source: https://liveboldandbloom.com/05/self-awareness-2/important-life-lessons

27. It takes balls to be a woman.

I posted this #beastmode article and I realized, it takes balls to be a woman. A woman should be more than just a blog article or an IG post or and FB link. You have to be more than what is expected. You have to be soft and tough at the same time. You have to let go, and fight at the same time. You are expected to be silent and expected to speak up at the same time. I hate that I have to experience feeling down just because I am a woman. I hate that someone made me feel it was my fault that I don’t have a complete family today because I am the woman and I should’ve known men are jerks.

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