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With just a day and a few hours away from the New Year, I’d like to take this opportunity to list down lessons that have been impressed upon me this year. Although I’ve already mentioned the gist of how my 2013 transpired, below are thirteen (luckily for me I don’t believe in superstitions) important lessons, realizations, epiphanies, and experiences which I hope, would equip me with the necessary spirit to overcome the New Year’s challenges.

Meet People

The past year taught me I can better gauge who I am, and what I am capable of, if I open myself to new people. You learn from observing others. You learn even more meeting them on professional level. Exposed to various work-ethics and life-perspectives, I’m glad to say I met some interesting personalities who added depth to my own field of vision.

Shyness, Go Away

How can you meet people if you’re shy? The last few months of 2013 reinforced the importance of self-confidence. Being anti-social is not exactly being anti-social; it’s actually being proud and self-centered. Why? Well, the reason why people are shy is because they constantly think of the worst case scenario happening to them, as if the sole attention of a crowd is on “them”. Which brings me to another lesson I learned the hard way this year…

The World Does Not Revolve Around You

I hate to break it to you the way it was to me but the world does not revolve around you, your problems, your personal affairs, and your philosophies. Everyone has a problem; everyone is going through a situation which appears hopeless; everyone is stepping on some shit one way or another. You’re not unique in your issues. So shake off the dirt life’s throwing at you, man up, and step up your game.

Stop Overthinking

Similar to being plagued by shyness, overthinking is the modern generation’s plague. People are always worrying over nothing. We’re always hurrying, and yet we’re always late. We’re always speculating about the hypothetical when we can do so much more by taking meaningful and practical actions.

Read Good Books, Magazines, Essays

Don’t just settle for fiction. Go read a history book, a National Geographic magazine, or essays on critical and cultural theories. When you’re in the workforce like me and you cannot afford to put yourself to graduate school, reading academic materials is a great way to gain knowledge. But why settle from gaining when you can always start applying what you’ve learned? Inspired by an entry on environmental awareness? – join a cause which calls for greener lifestyles. Admiring the accomplishments of our heroes? – rediscover the beauty of our country by visiting tried and tested historical destinations and reacquaint yourself with our past to inspire your future. Go to museums, art galleries, exhibits!

And yes, read Randy David!

Stop Whining

Social media has afforded everyone an opinion, and a venue for their existential angst. Just take Teddy Boy Locsin for that matter (he’s always yapping). It’s fine to rant every now and then. But to spend your entire life acting like a pseudo-nationalist, complaining about every government endeavour, throwing out critiques and acting holier-than-thou than your friends or enemies on social networks, is quite simply, a waste of time.

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.

– Anthony J. D’Angelo

Disconnect to connect

It is sad seeing families and friends in cafes and restaurants indifferent to each other and unable to carry out face-to-face conversations uninterrupted by their smartphones, tablet computers, and music players. Make an effort to spend at least one hour disconnected from all your modern devices. And no, I don’t mean by sleeping.

Avoid Facebook Envy

So you saw a friend’s photo album of a trip to Europe on your Facebook newsfeed? Or you chanced upon a cousin’s endless food porn post with her rich boyfriend on Instagram? You start self-pitying and envying them. You start hating your dull life. Get the fucking hell out of the Internet. Or avoid looking at your newsfeed. Don’t allow Facebook envy to ruin your life because life is bigger than those pretentious wanderlust lifestyles, Magalona-esque inspired coolness, and annoyingly materialistic posts. Be your own cool and get over your fucking self. Self-pitying won’t make things better. You know what will? Working your ass off and doing things your own way.

And while we’re at it, don’t make your lives consumable for the public just because social media sites encourage you to do so. We don’t need to know what your lunch is every day.

Don’t believe Thought Catalog

I have an aversion for Thought Catalog’s never ending essays on “what you should do on your twenties” or “how to make your twenties amazing”. I have an aversion towards them because they unsettle the twenty-something’s and ignite in them a restlessness and unquenchable desire. You know what you should do in your twenties? No, you don’t have to get knocked up; or try a hot-air balloon; or watch the greatest 100 films of all time; or try getting drunk; or doing things you will regret for the sake of memories. You should do things that you want, which would make you happy, which will make a positive impact on the people in your life. Fuck Thought Catalog.

Don’t chase experience

Let experience chase you. Don’t manufacture a moment. Don’t even buy a moment. Work hard, and you’ll be repaid with greater contentment. That simple. Who cares if you’re settling for something less than what you deserve. No one knows how much they deserve. The idea we need to know what we deserve, and what is meant for us, is absurd. If you think you know what you deserve, you may have been watching too many Hollywood rom-coms.

Burn Bridges

This little essay here was something I just read the last minute but it’s also which resonated in me. The past year or so required me to “burn bridges” of varying kinds. And truth be told, it was indeed, liberating.

Sometimes burning bridges isn’t a bad thing. It prevents you from going back to a place you should never have been to begin with…

Love Your Family

When people are in love, they tend to think that love is above family, and they forget about their blood ones. But you can’t choose family and whether you like it or not, you’re stuck to them. Love your parents, people. Love your brothers and sisters. Love your grandparents. Appreciate them, flaws and all. I guarantee you, you will need them more than anyone else one day.

Make People Happy

I’d rather be remembered for making people happy than writing some occasionally good posts. I’d rather be remembered for my jokes than my blogs. I love making people happy. I love making people laugh. We all have our battles, and I suppose it’s not always easy to face life carrying these burdens. Let loose, and make it a point to have someone laugh. You don’t have to be a stand-up comic. Just be funny. And be a good person.