26 Things I Learned In 26 Years

It’s my 2nd birthday that I didn’t celebrate it with my loved ones. It feels different not to be with your family, friends or boyfriend on this special day. When I was younger, I remember I wanted to get married at 25, have a kid or two after and be a millionaire by 30. Now, things changed, and I want different things. I don’t mind getting married soon, but I don’t want to have a kid yet. Also, I’m still far from being a millionaire yet. Haha.

Anyway, I’m also happy with the way everything has changed. Too many unplanned happenings, but that makes our life more fun, right? I have a few regrets, but if I have a choice, I still wouldn’t go back to the past and change anything. Well, except my money decisions during the past few years.

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26 things I learned in 26 years

Don't be afraid to end a relationship

No matter how long you’ve been together, don’t be afraid to end a relationship. Being in a long-term relationship makes it more difficult to end it. At first, I thought the red flags in the relationship could be handled and changed. Every year you might feel like you’ve been together for so long and you went through so many things, why not hold on? No. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re unhappy, and your partner is unhappy, what’s the point of being in that relationship? Who knows, you probably might be better off as friends!

That’s what happened between me and my ex. We tried to do everything to save our relationship, but we can’t. We are both happier, and we are still friends!

Let go

Don’t hold grudges. Let go of all negativities because it’s not worth the time and energy. If there’s nothing that you can do, let go.

There are different love languages

Not because you know someone who is affectionate and touchy, doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t love you if he doesn’t do that to you. Each person has their own way of showing you love. Instead of waiting for your partner to change the way they show their affection, learn their love language.

Love doesn’t hurt

Being in a relationship with Miguel, I learned that love doesn’t hurt. It’s not supposed to hurt you. Anger, disappointment, loss, lack of trust, no respect - that hurts.

You can’t please everyone

You have different versions of yourself with other people. To some people you may seem nice and approachable, others might think you’re the opposite. You can never please everyone so don’t bother about thinking what they say. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, you do you.

People can’t read your mind

C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E.

Assuming is the worst thing to do. It doesn’t benefit anyone, so why assume? As much as possible, try to give the benefit of the doubt. If you have something that bugs you, communicate and learn how to express it. Miscommunications are the worst; sometimes you don’t notice that the gap between you and the other person just keeps getting bigger because of miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Learn to listen

It’s not about you all the time. Learn to listen to other people especially when they try to open up to you. It’s hard to communicate if no one is willing to listen.

It's okay to have a few friends

I was a social butterfly. Almost every year, I have a different set of friends or “main group”. I’m friends with everyone. Then I felt I cannot rely on some of them on hard times. That's why it’s okay to have a few friends who will be there for each other.

Don’t compare yourself with others

The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.
— Louis C.K.

Nobody knows what you went through to get there. You don’t know the other person’s struggles, so don’t compare yourself. Forget about your fear of missing out. Each of you has own circumstances and priorities. Also, don't invalidate the hardships of people because they are privileged. Some may have a boost in their lives, but they struggle too. Just take your time and focus on your goal.  

You have your own timeline

As I’ve said previously, do not compare yourself to others because you have your own timeline. Be happy with other’s achievements and make it an inspiration. You don’t compete with others; you compete with your pride.

Take one step at a time

Your grades will have nothing to do with your career

Don’t focus too much on your grades. There’s so much more that you can learn in school. Although you have to pass the course, don’t beat yourself up. Honestly, I don’t apply every thing I studied in college in my current job now.

Don’t chase people

If it’s worth fighting for, then fight for it! Otherwise, don’t chase. The effort, time and energy in chasing people is not worth it if they don’t want you to be in their lives.

Missing out one night is not a big deal

When I was younger — specifically high school days, I couldn’t miss one night. I always go to events or celebrations to the point that I’m never home on weekends. I don’t understand my dad then. I thought he was unreasonable. I mean, how could I miss one night? I assumed that all events are important, but it isn’t.

Apologize

Apologize regardless if it was not your fault, but don’t be too apologetic. It’s okay to admit you’re wrong because sometimes in life, it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. Which leads to the next lesson:

Know your worth

Money can buy happiness. Contentment isn’t.

Personally, I think that money can buy happiness. Every problem that I have now is related to money. So if I have all the money, then I’d be happy. It feels good to be able to pay for my father’s hospital expenses, pay for my debt, support my family, and the list goes on. What you should know is contentment can’t buy happiness. Regardless of how much money you have, if you are never satisfied, nothing will happen.

What you should know is money can’t buy contentment.

Happiness is a choice

In relation to the previous point, happiness is a choice. I continuously choose to be happy because I’m tired of people or happenings pulling me down. Whatever situation you are in, choose to be happy. You deserve to be happy.

Spend on experiences

Material things go away. But, experiences will never be forgotten. I have too many unnecessary material things that I don’t use anymore. Imagine if the money for those stuff is used for something else like a family trip? Now that I’m having financial issues, I wish I spent my money on travels or I brought my family to different places while my father can still travel.

Use your money wisely

A lot of people I know think getting a life insurance is not needed. I personally think it’s better to start investing early while you don’t have other responsibilities financially.

Read more: 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Money

It’s okay if you haven’t figured life out

Don’t feel pressure when you don’t know yet what you want. It’s never a waste of time when you decided to change your course or your career. It’s never too late. It’s way better to quit now and do what makes you happy.

Self-love! Prioritize yourself

Never ever think that you’re not allowed to feel that way just because some people have it worse. I hate it when I hear people say “look at this person, his situation is worse than yours.” No one should invalidate how you feel. Accept yourself first and love yourself before you love others.

Your parents want the best for you

We often misunderstand our parents when we can’t get what we want. But, they are only trying to protect you. Try to understand why they’re like that, and also help them understand your point. We just need to send the message across to understand each other better.

Say ‘I love you’ to your parents every now and then

Growing up, I learned to let them know I love them every time I leave or they leave. Whenever we see each other, I kiss them all the time too. You should know that your parents are getting old too, so don’t miss the chance of letting them know you love them.

You can’t control everything

Things happen for a reason. It sucks knowing you could have done something to prevent the bad things that happened. The least that you can do is learn from it to make the present better. Trusting the process and trusting on people takes away a bit of stress from you. Learn to accept the situation that you’re in and do your best on things you have control of.

It’s okay to be alone

I said this before, but I’ll say it again. Alone people are not lonely. Yes, having company is better, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have friends or anyone if you’re alone. I used to be embarrassed going alone to different places or eating in a restaurant alone. I realized that I like it, and sometimes prefer it. It feels good knowing you can do those things on your own.


In 2016, I created a blog post about the 25 things I want to do before I turn 25. I didn’t do everything in the list before I turn 25, but I still want to do some in the near future (except for the tattoo, I think 😜). I’m glad and relieved after writing this post because I realize how much I’ve changed over the past few years. I still have a long way to go, but I’ll try to keep better each year I grow older. I remember being a spoiled teenager who gets mad when I couldn’t get what I want. Now, I no longer get mad if I can’t get what I wanted. I instead thrive harder to get it! Besides, getting mad won’t get me anywhere, right?

How about you?
  • What are the important lessons you've learned in your life?
  • If you could change something in your past, would you change it?
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