Seventeen Things Learned in 2017

As we begin another year full of surprises, blessings, and lessons, I wanted to look back to personal teachings I myself experienced within the past year. While some of you have different paths and journeys, and lessons are different from mine, we all end up with valuable nuggets of realizations; it happens that I listed down 17 amazing lessons I have had in 2017.

  1. Let me begin with my 2017 mantra: loving myself made me understand, accept, and appreciate myself. This lesson is valuable as most people would not believe that they do not matter; it does not hurt to be kind to one’s self. But putting yourself down won’t make any changes at all.
  2. Give back. In relation to loving yourself, I firmly believe that when you have so much love in your soul, it overflows. That is why loving yourself is on top of my list because you cannot give what you do not have; you cannot give back if you do not know how to make yourself believe that you are worthy. Hence, I wish that 2018 will be overflowing for you; and may you remember that you can make other people valued, too.
  3. Never expect, but hope for better things. Perhaps for this generation, this comes too obvious and cliché. But for me, the root of all heartbreak will always depend on the level of expectations one has. However, hoping is a better perspective. Hoping makes you believe in something. It makes me think of ways to interpret my expectation. Some roads may not lead to where we wanted them to be, but hoping that someday they will lead back to us is almost as good as jackpot.
  4. Be informed, and inform others. We have come to the point where transparency trumps trust. The social media generation in which case we belong and benefit from is a double-edged sword. We all want information and stories; but we do not realize we also need others to understand the whole picture. Most hurdles in the relay of information is interpretation; but with the help of our savviness, we can make the less informed more educated.
  5. Choose your battles. In accordance to my fourth lesson, when we become so social and negative energies start gyrating, we tend to be overwhelmed and emotional. I have learned from my past mistakes that choosing my own battles wisely makes life less stressful. I have learned this when I realized not everyone will like what I write about, or agree with me, and it’s definitely not a huge problem for me because I understood the concept of choosing what battles to fight.
  6. Yet, never let anyone dim your light. The presence of demotivated people, pressing news, and unbelievable circumstances may affect how you want your star to shine, especially when you think too much of how it will affect you. There’s nothing wrong thinking about what others will say, but what is important is the intention of your heart. Your reason and drive for success should not be dependent only on the eyes and mouths that surround you, but on how you want to affect their hearts and minds.
  7. If possible, explore. Not everyone can afford to travel. It is both a luxury and a privilege for many of us. But given the extra time, extra money, and your desire to seek new culture, sights, and stories, go and pack your bags right away. Travel is something I will still do while young, and it has been a great teacher about life (and so are the remaining items in my list).
  8. Utilize your time for those people who matter. There is no greater explanation when you dine with your family, have drinks with your circle of friends on a Friday night, and feel the warm embrace of your better half—and see them made the effort to be with you also.
  9. Bridges burn, and it is okay. While I made my circle of influence smaller and smaller as I grow older, I have also understood that severing ties with people who no longer make you happy helps your soul. Not only it lessens the misunderstandings but it also clears the path to more genuine relationships that you will treasure.
  10. And when you do, forgive; forget if needed. I am no teacher; I am no prophet, but let me tell you as a friend that it’s okay to lose some, or hate a few, but never forget to forgive. At the end of the day, you can always tell yourself that you have buried the hatchet and there’s only love allotted in your heart because you forgave.
  11. Why? Because you choose love, always. In my long-term relationship, let me tell you that it is not always rainbows and butterflies; rocks get thrown, road may get slippery, words may be harsh, but you choose love above all. You forgive them, it is love. You accept them, it is love. You choose love just because.
  12. What for? To make your happiness your priority. May 2018 be a year when you fill your hearts with gratitude and love. There will be no more space for hatred, only happiness. 2017 taught me to make happiness my priority, but in what tangible manifestations? I left a job that made me less healthy, forgot the bad people who hurt me, and treated myself with things I did not realize I was depriving myself of.
  13. Know when to stop. Breathe. Look far. And breathe again. Meditation is my newly-found friend in 2017, and it has helped me refocus and recalibrate for my priorities.
  14. 2017 gave me opportunities to foster new and old relationships and make new memories with them. Just like spending time with those who matter, and those who choose you, making more memories to look back on was beneficial during reunions or simply when you miss them.
  15. Inspire yourself and then inspire others. Motivation comes when you fully believe that you are into doing something good—for yourself, and later for others. You cannot row a boat unless you understand that you can brave the waves. Making yourself inspired in what you do helps others see the reason why you’re doing it. So, go. Get psyched that your heart and even your bank account will thank you for.
  16. Presence trumps presents. Time is the best present I have ever given to and received from people who matter—family, friends, colleagues, and my partner. This year also taught me how I never needed a big circle of trust, but only a few ones who chose to make that circle bonded as ever.
  17. Lastly, do something with purpose. Let us not waste our time doing things without any deep ‘Whys’ in them. I hope you find your ‘Why’, too.

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