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Some of the Things I Learned at Twenty-three

I just turned 24 last week, so I decided to list some of the things I learned or realized when I was 23.

1. I need to learn how to forgive.

I don’t remember ever getting angry in my life. Some people even told me that they tease me intentionally to make me angry, but they got really frustrated because I just laugh with them. I don’t know if I really was just patient or if I just don’t take things personally. But last year, I found out that some people, who I considered at some point in my life were really close to me, did something that really offended me. Usually, I get offended by something, get irritated for a while, get over it fast, and soon forget about it. This was different, because the people who did it were people whom I thought knew me well. No matter how long I think about it, I couldn’t get how inconsiderate they were about my feelings. And for me, that’s not how friends are supposed to be. It was a really big deal for me. I didn’t know what to do. And since I didn’t understand how and why they did it, and no one actually bothered to make an effort to reach out to me, I found it hard to forgive.

2. I learned to let go.

Let go of the things that hurt me. Let go of people who don’t care about me. That way, I can invest more time on people who actually care about me, love me, and appreciate me. Every relationship, any kind (friendship, romantic, familial), is a two-way street, give and take. If you take more than you can give, the other person will soon be upset and eventually get tired of the relationship. If you give more than you receive, you will eventually get tired of the relationship. So before you become unhappy about a relationship, if you notice the other person is slipping away, maybe you can make an effort to bring him/her back. But if that doesn’t work, maybe he/she doesn’t want to, let him/her go. Going through an emotional roller coaster because of people who don’t care is a waste of time and energy. Instead, let yourself find happiness in the people who wants to share their happiness with you.

3. I finally understood myself in terms of my study habits (or lack thereof).

I took the Learning How to Learn course in Coursera. I did not only learn how to learn, I also understood why I was the way I was when I was in school. Understanding myself helped forgive myself for being a procrastinator and a crammer, and helped me find and make ways to improve on my weaknesses. Also, I finally understand how and why my parent’s study habit tips worked. I always failed trying to follow those tips because I thought people have different learning styles and that mine was different from theirs. I didn’t understand the importance of having a habit.

4. I understood the importance of having a habit.

Also because of Learning How to Learn, I now understand (somehow) how our brains work and how having habits help people in everyday lives. Of course, building one takes a lot of time, effort, determination, consistency and patience.

5. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.

Learn from your (and other’s) mistakes and don’t condemn yourself because of it. Having a mistake is not a failure. What’s important is what you do after you made the mistake. Do you get back up and go on with what you we’re just doing? Do you learn from it and consciously try not to make the same mistake again? Stand up again, try again, and don’t let one mistake bring you down.

6. Learn to accept what you cannot control.

What happened already happened. All I can do about it is accept it. If it could do harm to me (or anyone) in the future, do something to prevent it. If it affects me now in a negative way, do something to stop it. If nothing can be done, accept it and move on. Being upset about something that I cannot change is waste of precious time. There are better things to do, better things to think about, and better people/activities to spend time and money on.

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