Lessons 2013 Taught Me

I have to say, this year gave me a full spectrum of emotions. I was euphoric and miserable, full and out of hope all in one year. It has opened me to new opportunities, challenges and heartaches. It tested my principles and patience. I don’t even know what I feel for 2013 in general, having trouble deciding if it was good or bad. But here is what I have learned from the old year which I look forward to applying to make 2014 my bitch (which I intend to).

1. Take (calculated) risks rather than having regrets.

I’ve never really expected myself to be owning huge responsibilities this year. I was just planning to smooth my way to graduation. It seemed to work during my first two years. I was just attending classes and then left as soon as the bell rang. I know it makes me sound like I’m antisocial, but I’m an irregular student, so can you blame me? I never had a solid set of people around me, I was a floater. Somehow despite my attempts of being invisible, people saw some potential in me, a potential I never really found in myself. I never ran for office during my younger years, mostly because I didn’t really have that it factor people were looking for. Turns out I did, and it landed me some certain positions in university that I never would have imagined to have.

Of course I didn’t just took the plunge immediately before testing the waters. I consulted some trusted people if I should take the job. It was a big opportunity yes, but it’s also a risk. My main purpose of entering university was getting a degree, friends and extra-curricular activities are just supposed to be a bonus, a luxury if you could afford it. I was doubting if I could. I wasn’t just a student, I was also a daughter, a sister, and yes, a girlfriend. I had other responsibilities which I rather take seriously. I doubted if I could handle juggling everything. Well anyway, it was better than wondering what would have happened if I didn’t try, and so I did. So far, I’m doing alright. I hope.


2. Look through another person’s point of view before jumping to a conclusion.

Sometimes people forget that the world does not revolve around them, because hey, someone has to be the center of the universe every now and then. I remember reading about David Foster Wallace making a graduation speech on a university about looking through other people’s perspective using a fish story. I don’t know if I’m allowed to impart and disclose this information to anyone but back to the point, we catch ourselves falling into a depressing cycle, thinking that our life is pointless. Wake up, get to work, and go to sleep only to start that cycle again the next day. We feel that we are stuck in a routine and there’s no way out of it, and that makes us depressed. When we think about it, this mentality only happens because we are so focused on the wrong things.

Now I’m not saying that we are always wrong, there is the matter of the instincts. We just have tendencies to think that we are always right, which is not always the case. Some people have it worse and yet we still think that we are the unluckiest people in the world. That’s the bad news, we are not. That sucks, doesn’t it? But hey, at least it makes us think that somehow we are lucky at some things, and that it makes our life look a little better than how we see it. Not so sad inside your little bubble now, does it?


3. In order for things to get better, certain sacrifices are to be made.

This year, me and Eric had to make the biggest sacrifice for our relationship and our future. He went back to Canada and I was left here. I probably couldn’t follow him until I graduate. We are now half a world apart. I gotta tell you it was heartbreaking, we didn’t realize he would be leaving so soon. And when it was time to go we were just devastated.

I’m not exactly an expert in long distance relationships, I hardly think I’m an expert of even a simple one. But if we were going to keep doing this for the long haul, certain sacrifices were needed, ones that could make or break us. We would like to think positively. He’ll be out there saving up for us while I finish my studies and eventually migrate there. I’ve always wanted to, even before I met him. I guess he’s just another added motivation for me to do so.

Sometimes you have to let go of certain things and certain people in order for life to get better. It won’t be at first, but it does in time. When you know that it is for the greater good, in a way it makes it less harder to give it up because you know you’ll reap something beneficial in the end. It’s not just about relationships, that was just my example. It could be about anything– giving up on vices, starting something beneficial, and the like. 

One other sacrifice that I’m going to make is cutting off on gelato. Now that’s another hard thing to do.


4. Invest on the things that count the most.

While living in a fast track world, we tend to lose sight of the simple things, when in fact those are the ones that you need to keep. You’ve seen it in movies. Main character embarks on a new journey, loses itself in the process, realizes they’ve lost their way yadda yadda yadda. It gets pretty easy to recover, but in reality, it’s not always that simple.

I don’t ever regret missing a few days off of work for the simple joys in my life– my health, family, love and friends. Everybody needs a day off, or even just a break. No one lives inside their own office cubicle and has no other life than their job. Oh but there are, but it wasn’t always like that.

Your stack of paperwork will still be there the following day, but you’ll never know when those simple things would just be taken away from you. It could be right now, and you would never know. People get tired too, they won’t be waiting on you forever. One day, no matter how high you get, when there’s no one there with you, no one that really matters, everything is just pointless.


5. Breathe. Start again.

Just like every sunset has its dawn, there is always hope to start anew. There’s another day, another season, another year (isn’t it appropriate?).When you fall, you get up and try again, and again until you finally get it right.

Sometimes when you’re just really darn lucky, your life sucks. Like the universe is conspiring against you. It happens. But it’s not supposed to get to you, not supposed to make you want to give up. You just have to pause and take a breather. Let it all sink in. Sure, you’re in deep trouble or you failed miserably. Accept that. And then the fun part comes, you stand up and start over again. It’s like Janga. I know, bad analogy, but you get what I mean. One wrong move and everything starts to fall apart. But you can always build it back again, and start over.

I’ve always been in good faith of second chances, if they deserve it of course. I don’t know if it’s the optimist in me talking, and mind you my optimist side is very, very small. But this year it made me realize that people need second chances to prove themselves worthy. It gets scary to trust them again, I know, but if you never try then you’ll never know (Martin, C., 2005). Sometimes that’s just what lost people need, a second chance and a little faith to motivate them to start over fresh.

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