Ten Things I Learned in 2013

Early this year, I already knew that 2013 would be different, much different from the previous years. While 2009 was significant because it was a crossover year from High School to college, and while 2011 remains to be one of the best years in college because I met lifelong friends and the best four months of my life happened, 2013 has been loads of crazy. Do note that 2010 was also important because that year I learned that I can’t be Superman, and 2012 allowed me to have a taste of the real world.

2013 has been this weird year when the most extreme points of my life have happened. From experiencing cloud nine to going deep down in some dark abyss, from pushing myself too much to just settling and moving on, from being the one pushed over to the one pushing others.

Admittedly, I hate this year because of the many low points and to be honest, this is one of my worst years ever. In a way, I am grateful for experiencing so much pain and confusion as I have learned so much along the way. These lessons will guide me as I welcome a new year. And so let me share with you 10 things that I have learned this 2013.

1. Sometimes, signs don’t lead you to anything. For the longest time in my life, I relied on signs to make decisions or to figure out what’s happening. I learned that sometimes those things we consider as signs don’t really direct us anywhere. Sometimes, those things are just ends in themselves. Next time someone tells me that something is a sign for whatever, I’ll just brush it off. No point in being too hopeful only to be disappointed.

2. Having a personal diary keeps you sane. Since I graduated, I got myself a journal which encourages me to write everyday. It’s where I pour out my feelings. My journal is my punching bag of sorts and writing on it allows for my daily dose of catharsis. It’s quite therapeutic actually and it allows me to be honest to myself. so much drama, I know.

3. Working in an agency is crazy-in a good way. Maybe I’m saying this because I know I’m set in life that I want to work in an agency, whether it be PR or Advertising or something else. For the past 7-8 months that I’ve been in the industry, I can say that I’m enjoying it a lot (well, yeah there are those down days but overall, it’s great). Beyond the events, and meeting people be it heads of companies, people from the media, and everyone else in between, agency life has been great because being in an agency has pushed me to wear different hats, to be ambitious and to trust my gut.

4. The real world easily wears you out. If there’s one thing I wish people back in school told me it would be how life after school can drain the life force out of you. Yes, it maybe just because I have started, but how easy do I get tired. I enjoy what I do, I really do, but it’s a general feeling among my friends that even if we’re focused on doing one thing, fatigue just gets to us. And this leads me to number 5.

5. Sleep is not to be taken for granted. Learned this quite the hard way. In school, I always lacked sleep either because I’m studying, working on some academic work, extracurricular work or just reading things online…or doing all at the same time. Now that I’m in the ‘real world’, I get tired faster and catching some Zs is just so important to keep me hyped up.

6. Relish every moment you get to spend with your friends. The harsh truth is that we no longer get to see our friends on a regular basis. Now that we’re out of college, it’s not everyday that we get to encounter our friends and it’s not always easy for lunch/dinner/reunion plans to actually happen. Savor every minute you get to spend with your friends, because you don’t know when you will have your next reunion together!

7. People will always expect so much from you. I don’t know about you guys but this year has been all about me meeting expectations of other people. While in a way it has motivated me to be better, but I think that along the way it has made me lose sight of my own goals. So much compromises have been made and the feeling of always just pleasing everyone else is quite mechanical. But with this, I learned number 8.

8. Better to disappoint others than to beat yourself up.  The past year reminded me that we can never truly please everyone. People will always be unsatisfied and you can’t do much about it…you can always try so hard but sometimes even your efforts will go unnoticed. The only person you can truly control, is yourself. I learned that it’s better to be happy following what you want, directing your own life, than to be miserably following others all the time.

9. It feels really nice to make strangers happy. Ever since my student exchange experience, I have always made it a point to be kind to strangers in need. While I admit I have tendencies to be mean to others, I always try to find a way to make other people happy. Whether it be giving up my table for a group of strangers in a coffee shop, or giving directions to lost people, it’s always such a joy seeing strangers happy.

And last, but not the very least,

10. It’s always nice to spend some time by yourself. Ever since January, I’ve been going out by myself, eating lunches alone, staying in coffee shops by myself with my journals, my iPod and my pens. It was lonely for the first few instances. I always wondered what it would’ve been like to have some company. After a while, I started getting comfortable with the company of myself. I get to do what I want and when I want to do it. I get to be myself more and be more honest with myself. And I like that feeling. I like it a lot.

I learned a lot more things but these 10 are perhaps the highlights. And coming from the last lesson shared, do I go on my journey for the coming 2014. With less than 24 hours to go, I am more than thrilled for the coming year as I make sure to rise again.

Goodbye 2013, you sucked big time but I am grateful for everything I have experienced.

Ten Things I Learned in 2013

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