I’m in my mid-20s and these are the life skills I should have learned years ago

Three years ago (or was it two?) I started listing my resolutions for the next year. The year starts at my birthday and ends the day before my next birthday. In those three years I’ve written stuff for career development (e.g. start my masters, get a new job), things that I’d tell stories to my grand kids in the future (e.g. learn to surf, travel to places, meet new friends), and things that I haven’t done before. This time I want it to be different. I want to focus on improving, not perfecting, myself. Last year, I keep telling myself to go take risks. This time I’ll tell myself to face my fears. Of course I’m still going to take risks but it would have to take the back seat.


Right now I want to focus on rebuilding bridges I have burned in my 24 years of existence. I’m not expecting it to happen right away or even fix everything in a year (it’s 24 years after all). It’s going to be a long time, perhaps impossible. But I’ll try. What matters is I start now. If 60 years is the average lifespan, I’m already 2/5 in.


I guess I burn bridges because I’ve always had this thought that if I’m moving forward I should let go of everything that’s holding me back. I let go of the experiences and the bad people who hurt me. I’ve always been naive to believe that I can classify people as “to keep” and “to let go”, never the middle ground of “ok we’re ok, ok?” Stupid, I know! I believed that people who hurt me once, no matter what happened in the past, is bound to hurt me again. So I let them go. I run away. I burn bridges. That’s why I’ve always felt that forgive and forget is hypocrisy.


More than a year of knowing James taught me a thing or two. He’s right that one of the most valuable things to learn in life is pakikisama (which roughly translates to “deal with people”, but not really). This time I want to improve (not change because I still think that’s hypocritical to change oneself) on my pakikisama. I want to be the person that my future children can look up to. I want them to be proud to say that I inspired them and I instilled upon them the right values and the right attitude to face their own lives. I’ll start with myself.


So these are my things-I-should-have-learned-years-ago-but-will-only-start-now

1.) Stop. Stop burning bridges.

2.) Think. Try to think first before feeling. I could easily avoid #1 if I do this every time.

3.) Say hi and smile to people I know and master the art of small talk. I don’t know. I get really, really anxious some times when I’m walking then someone I know-but-not-really-close-to walks toward me. I usually just bow down or change directions. I must have a problem.

4.) Fix/strengthen bridges. I should start with my parents, and then with other relatives I’ve drifted away from.

5.) Clip my emotions. I’m pretty emotional especially when it’s that time of the month. I really should learn to control my bitchiness.

6.) Value. Know when the value of a relationship is worth more than winning or losing my temper.

7.) Accept. Accept that people are not perfect. Sometimes they will hurt me, intentionally or not. I should try to understand where they are coming from.

8.) Accept #2. Accept that people are not going to do the same.


This is just the partial list. This is a lifelong project. I’ll continue adding more in the future.


Being with someone who is beautiful inside and out like James inspired me. I guess if I could at least raise my/our future children half as good as he is I’d be really happy.


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