T ime flies so fast. I’ve heard this expression numerous times. Before I turned 13, I hardly thought about it. But now, I’ve been starting to use this expression myself.
I’ll turn 14 tomorrow. As a young student, I’ve had a transformative year that included the transition to a new normal and much more. I looked back on the developments and the lessons I’ve learned along the way and I decided to write them down and share them with you.
A little patience makes a big difference. Patience is a virtue. It is something difficult for most people. Sometimes, we don’t notice that we start to become impatient in the way we talk, the things we do and even the way we treat others. We should think that patience is like kindness—it’s something we all need. When others are taking their time, don’t get mad because when it’s your turn, you’d hope that the people around you would be kind as well.
Be thankful for the goodwill of others. We often say thank you when we get what we want. But when was the last time you said thank you for the things money can’t buy? When did you last say thank you to your friends for spending time with you, your teachers for teaching you, your coworkers for helping you, and your family for being there for you? We really should spend more time appreciating the people around us.Friends are worth more than material things. Whenever my friends and I would go out and stroll through the malls, I would often sigh at my lack of funds to shop for everything I want. But my friend Abby would always remind me that “as long as we’re together, we’ll be fine.” It’s true. Our friends make everything worthwhile and what matters is spending time together.
The truth will set you free. It never is good to lie. I’m not saying to be casually cruel in the name of being honest, but whenever we admit our mistakes, our shortcomings, we are given the chance to heal and improve. In contrast to living in a fake way, isn’t it more wonderful for people to love you just the way you are? The truth never collapses, it is as invincible as titanium.
Liking someone isn’t a death sentence. Like most people, I have fallen in love. This teenage/high school drama plagues every generation. Having resumed onsite classes, I suddenly—out of nowhere—started liking someone. Now it might not be the serious “let’s get married” type of love, but for me it is very real. Some might fear that liking someone can lead to their doom just like I did. But the mystery of love taught me that it’s more than just the risks, it’s also about rewards. It has been a fresh experience that opened doors for self-contemplation and thinking about what is really important in life. And oh, I still am in love.
Try out new things and never shy away from dreams. Listen to “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman.” Mistakes are meant to be built on, and pain should be followed by healing. Don’t worry if you made a mistake or failed at an attempt. I’ve had my share of mistakes as well, and so has everybody else! Instead, focus on getting better. And if your conscience tells you that you don’t deserve another chance, think of a quote I read: “When someone makes a mistake, don’t forget all the good they have done.”
There’s no time to waste time. Don’t give in to fear and endlessly contemplate something. You can worry about the risk but sometimes you just gotta do! You’ll never know until you try, you know. And act as soon as possible because you never know how long until you get the chance again. But also …
Learn to take your time. This might seem to contradict the previous lesson, but don’t you also find pausing and taking your time to be helpful in getting things together? The Filipino expression “huwag padalos-dalos,” a reminder against rushing stupidly, affirms this. When there is a mistake that can be avoided, why not take the time to avoid it?
Value the young and the old. This is where I start sounding like a kuya. After the easing of the pandemic restrictions, my family and I were able to visit relatives, including my cousins and older members of our family. It was a battle at first, but after spending time with them and making an effort to enjoy, I found my younger cousins to be great treasures in plain sight! And how valuable the elderly are—they share great wisdom and, best of all, hilarious (and possibly embarrassing) stories about family members. How can we not enjoy our time with them?
It is in giving that we receive. This is a line from the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. I learned that we can never truly lose when we give. In fact, we gain things we could never otherwise get when we give. We gain the joy of giving joy to others, the blessing of being a blessing to others, and the chance to give a chance to others. There is so much joy in giving.
Family is forever. After the passing of my Lolo Tino, I learned that every moment counts. Whenever there’s an opportunity to bond with your family, take it. Our family guides us and sticks with us in our darkest moments. When I landed in the hospital, it was my parents who took care of me and kept me company. The Almighty has given us our families to cherish and to care for and so we should give them our sincerest attention and time.
And finally, always smile. I remember that when we went out to celebrate my birthday last year, I acted like such a scrooge because I didn’t really want to go out for my birthday. When you see my birthday photos, you’d never guess it was my birthday. I wasn’t smiling and I regret it now. It’s important to smile—a smile is simple yet powerful. It can give you a boost. It brings a positive vibe in this gloomy world, gives you confidence and helps your true beauty shine. It is contagious to spread good cheer to all who see. So, smile! And remember, to quote the lyrics from the Broadway musical “Annie”: “You aren’t fully dressed without a smile.”