What I Learned

Five things I learnt this year



1. Quality time is a privilege 

I had mentioned that this year was a “bad” year for me. It was one marked by stress and a full timetable of running from school to school, from doing my research, to teaching in two schools that I hardly had time for anything else. I missed the privilege of quality time with my friends and family and the people that make “life”. I didn’t have time for any of my interests and hobbies or myself anymore, and I was so drained each day.

2. I am bad at many things 

Things that used to come so naturally to me, or things I used to think I was good at seemed to be overturned by all these people who were so much better, or all these situations where I failed, and failed to produce good work. I was made aware of all my weaknesses and areas where I fell short. However, I take some sort of comfort in knowing that having to struggle and fail is an essential part of knowing that we are growing. This was a profound experience for me.

3. I am good at many things ( I didn’t know I was good at)

Life is also a paradox, because while it felt like I was losing certain things, like “quality time” and the things I “used to be” good at, I was also beginning to gain and fall in love with many things, like education; like the idea that life isn’t about me; like the idea of offering a contribution to the world, not as if I could “save the world” as I once naively thought I could, but just in doing what I can to try. This is by far one of the more freeing ideas of life.

4. It is okay to not be okay 

More importantly, I learned in numerous times and numerous occassions that it is okay to not be okay, and that it is okay to feel completely alone. There is a lot of comfort in knowing you are not the only one, and everyone is almost, just like that. I also learned,  you don’t have to “feel inspired” to work. Heck you don’t have to feel at all sometimes. To be inspired is a privilege. To learn is a privilege not afforded to many. To live is a privilege not afforded to many.

5. Finally being able to be grateful 

It was only during this last month where I finally stopped complaining and griping (goodness it took me twelve months to be grateful), which made me all the more aware that I need to enjoy each and every moment, stop and just breathe. I was finally able to appreciate my year for what it was- colorful,  filled with all the experiences of growing up, and the kind of learning that would not have happened if I had not truly been living. I think sometimes we expect life to bring us greatness, with all the great expectations that comes with hope, that we often bypass all the little, quiet, unremembered days that makes life all the more significant.

Maybe more importantly I learned how I am going to be better next year. I’m so excited! Are you?


p.s.// I also discovered I have something called a Mild Thoracic Scoliosis. I had never known it was there for 23 years of my life. This was definitely something.


Finally Learning to Be Better

"Adventures of Dan Board"

“Adventures of Dan Board” via artbyvins.deviantart

” Adulthood” had brought clarity to the things that are meaningful to my life. I used to have these “huge demons” growing up, and I realized that I am still battling them today. I know you must remember how we used to be during our teenage years, it was all about fitting in, “popularity”, whether or not you had enough brains or “talents” or battling body issues. But there’s this other part about growing up, it’s that you finally realized many things you never knew existed.

I found out today that this person I used to be in enmity with had grew up “poor” and struggling, but now she earns enough to support her family. While spending my whole life hating someone for petty reasons, I wish I knew this earlier, it would have helped me give people respect, it would also have taught me compassion. We could also have probably been friends. It finally made me admit to myself, ” You’re better than I am” and ” you win”.

My life needs a lot of humbling. There was always a war within me to constantly strive and push to “be better” at everything. You know how it is, if you’re anything like me, you do this thing where, once you reach that goal, or climbed that mountain that you’ve set for yourself, you immediately make a new one. There was never any time where I truly sat down to celebrate what I’ve achieved and to just be happy. I was never, ever good enough for myself, I had to be the best at everything, my gifts, talents, brains, looks, everything. And this had been the worst part of my life. Not only was it tiring, I never had any fun winning or achieving anything. I had developed this great pride because I have an inability to have anyone else better than I am. I just couldn’t accept it.

It was funny, because I used to call it perfectionism, and I thought it was good. But then perfectionism, I later learned, is the impostor of excellence.

Excellence has the ability to celebrate, while perfectionism nit picks at your imperfections.

Life is a competition, people say, but life is also a lesson, a journey, a lemon…

I am choosing not to live in this competition. I need to celebrate my life. Be it accomplishments or otherwise, instead of sweeping it under the rug and go, ” Oh yeah this was something I did that one time…”

I need to accept that I am blessed.

Here’s something we don’t often think about- as our blessings increase, our gratitude has got to increase with it.

So today I am grateful for my opportunities of education. I am grateful for getting that scholarship. I am grateful that I am able to pursue a life in academia. I am grateful for my supervisor, for being able to intern at BFM, I am grateful that I have an income and two jobs, and that I can support myself. I am grateful that I can play instruments, paint and write, many people don’t get that opportunity. I am grateful for my relationships and family, the two things that are the most precious in my life, and things I would never replace with anything in the world.

I am grateful I’m growing up.