As the year 2013 draws to a close, like many of my friends who’ve already done so, I’d also like to pen, or type in this case, some of the more striking lessons and thoughts I’ve learnt from the year past.
A lesson that I’ve been reminded in the final month of the year. I shared with a few friends that I find it hard to forgive a friend/person when the other party doesn’t apologize and/or ask me for forgiveness. It would be too obnoxious to go up to them and go “It’s ok that you didn’t ask for forgiveness, but I forgive you.” As I thought about the friends that I needed to forgive, I realize that as much as I felt that they wronged me or took me for granted, perhaps they didn’t know that I was mad at them. And if that’s true, then perhaps I’ve also unintentionally wronged or took some friends for granted and needed to seek forgiveness from them. That thought’s a humbling one. With this thought, leads to another – that if we care enough for a friend, we won’t let misunderstandings come in our way. We’ll find a time for a HTHT, we’ll learn that forgiveness is just part of imperfect human relationships and we’ll find that our relationship/s emerges stronger through the tough times.
2. Focus on what’ve we’ve got, not what we lack.
On hindsight, I’ve been placed in several situations this year that found me lacking in the resources I need. Resources to organize stuff and such. And through them all, I realize that, by the grace of God, I made it through because I focused on who and what I had on hand, and not on whom and what I lacked. That, is a very important lesson I’m so glad that I’ve experienced without any hiccups. I say this because the reality could have easily seen me in a pity-party crying and wallowing about all the people and things I lack in my life to make it an awesome one. But it would be like missing a yellow colour pencil in a full set of colour pencils and saying that I’ve got no colours in my life. The truth is, life has always been what we make of it. Yes, we can choose to let life make us and define us. BUT, we can also acknowledge everyone that we have, every thing that we’ve been given, put them in a pinata, shake them up, let the confetti burst into the air and celebrate life and all that we’ve got. Because, why not?
3. Love people, not things.
There are many awesome people in my life whom I regularly thank God for, but as I grow older, I’ve come to really appreciate my eldest sister in a new and different light each time I grow to a different stage in life. We tend to share similar items at home like clothes and tech stuff whether we use the same items or we have the similar items. To cut a long story short, I allowed a phone charger cable to take precedence over my sister in my life; and as I reflected about my behaviour I was ashamed that I’ve hurt my sister in doing so. Thankfully I apologized and she also forgave me. It was after this incident that I came to the realization that 1. I must not let things take precedence over people in my life. 2. I must not, in any situation, say words that are unkind that will cause hurt to people I love. Especially if I love them, I must not say words out of spite which I cannot take back.
4. Let the walls down.
I thank God that I’ve had an extremely carefree childhood and teenage years growing up. But it’s almost like when I hit 18 y/o (5 years ago, for those who are clueless, ha) that all the problems started coming in. I know for sure that my walls started building way back in my secondary school days, and then exponentially more through the recent last few years, especially after the rose-tinted effect of my innocent, childhood dayz totally wore off through people I’ve met and through my experiences in life. There’s so so much I can talk about this, how I got in and then finally out of my depression deserves an article on its own, it didn’t happen this year if you’re wondering, it’s mostly stuff that I never talk about here. But what’s important as I reflect on this point, is that I’ve finally learnt that I need to let my walls down. I’ve got to learn to stop hiding behind my safe walls and fortress that I’ve built over the years. It’s not gonna be easy, I’m still afraid to be hurt by people I love, but at least I now know that humans are imperfect; we make mistakes, we hurt and get hurt. No, it’s not ok to be hurt. But just like feet that toughens and grows a thicker skin through walking, weathered feet is better than a spotless one; they’re a sign of a well travelled man. After all, what’s life, if it’s not experienced? What’s a book, if the pages are not filled in with words? I’m not asking for people to come love me and then hurt me, since now I’m wiser. But I’m saying that I’m better prepared to experience the highs of life, along with the downs. 🙂
5. Don’t let disappointments get you down. Fight it with all you’ve got. Know that everyone struggles, but you can emerge victorious.
There’s a certain struggle that I’ve been fighting with for the longest time. The point being, I struggle with a false sense of justified in-action because of certain disappointments, albeit unaddressed and repeated, that I allow to get to me. I was going to say that I don’t know why I let the disappointments get to me, but then I know that’s not true. It got to me simply because I gave up trying to fight it. I’ve got to learn to accept and let go of disappointments, even unaddressed ones, in order to move on in my life. I’ve let them bog me down for far too long. It’s really time that I overcome this seemingly silly struggle and with hope I pray that God will allow me to, in 2014!
6. Choose wisely, that which defines you.
I was going to say, don’t let others or situations define you. And I wanted to say, define yourself. But what I really mean to say is, take control of what defines you and know that it is your conscious decision that allows people and situations to define you. As a Christian, I choose to allow biblical values to define my way of life/lifestyle. I allow the family I am from and the values that I’ve been brought up with, to define me. I choose to define my skills and knowledge based on the schools, courses, teachers and peers I’ve met. I choose to define myself as a Christian, daughter, sister, real estate agent, blogger, confident, empowered young woman and the list goes on. People in life will expect and try to define you. But you don’t necessarily need to allow them to. Not even if they are simply older and wiser. Because only you will know what it is that you want for yourself in life (unless you don’t, and if that’s the case I would say, you need to find and know yourself first). I would suggest taking others’ advise into consideration, as reference; but ultimately your life is yours to live, and live it the way you deem fit. It would be a waste of one’s life trying to fulfill the potential of another’s dream instead of exploring one’s true ambitions.
7. Be the real you, and be ready for Change.
In continuation from the point above, we have the choice and the power to decide for ourselves, who we are. And I hope that you will take the courage to face up to who you really are. Acknowledge your weaknesses, embrace your fears and failures, know that it is all your imperfections that make up the beautiful you. The world will rather have the real you than a second grade copy of another person. In the same way, know that you are the best version of who you are and can be, no one else can come close. We are indeed all different and unique, wonderfully and fearfully created by God. Know that people will judge you for who you are, and they will judge you for who you’re not. No matter what you say, or not say, what you do or not do, people will judge. So, why not speak up, laugh out loud, smile widely, love deeply and simply be unabashedly you. That said, know that Change isn’t an option, but that Change is a part of life. We are all bound to change. We will grow older, yet not all will necessarily grow wiser. Only the brave will acknowledge that Change is necessary for improvement to a person’s spirit and soul. We would be fools to do the same things repeatedly and expect different results. Therefore to experience growth and maturity, we have to Change for the better. Start exercising to get healthy, start thinking positive to be happy. Everyday is another day to be a better version of who we are.
8. Live in the moment.
Don’t wait for the next time to pause and admire the morning glory on the fences, smile at your neighbours, greet the good-looking colleague in another department, introduce yourself to the fellow bus passenger on bus 28 whom you’ve met for the 2nd time in the month or tell your mum/dad/bro/sis that you love them and mean it. Always remember that life is vulnerable as much as it is precious. Death to illnesses and disasters are real. It is an assumption that we will always have tomorrow. Don’t assume. We may only have today. If you’ve never tried, just for one day, live it as though it were your last. What will your last words be to each person that you’ll meet? Will you do anything differently? If so, why wait till you’re dying to live truly? I always find most chinese funerals to be such an ostentatious affair of wasted affections. We can’t be sure that the dead will appreciate the dirges and euglogies offered. Why not pay your respects to people you love and celebrate the goodness of their lives while they’re living? Why not gather the people you love and remind them you love them, often? Live, in the moment.
9. Dream big, set realistic goals and never stop moving.
I’ve always been big with dreams. My ambitions are so big, they go beyond the shores of Singapore. Because, while others may see my dreams and scoff, I’d go, why not? Dreaming is never an issue, but setting, planning and achieving the goals are the real gritty stuff we hate to handle. The secret, I’m still learning, is to never stop moving. If you don’t hit your goals, it’s not a problem, cause if you’re always taking steps towards your dreams, you can be assured that you’re one step closer to your dream.
This list has turned out to be thrice longer than what I’ve expected. Up ahead, I plan to write down a list of things I’d like to openly announce to achieve in my life, on my blog and I hope that that will give me more confidence and spur me to get them done!
What’s your 2013 learnings? Let me know in the comments below!