I stumbled more times than I could count. My back hurt countless times from unfinished work I needed to accomplish over night. I squeezed in list of items no one should manage within the meager hours I allow myself to finish them….

And I know I wasn’t alone.

If you’re just like me, you may have also shed a few tears for the coverage of biochemistry lectures you needed to study in one night.

I’ve had way too many coffee, too little sleep and a whole lot of angst to express. The work needed to be done piled on top of each and I had no strength nor determination to finish through. I proceeded one at a time, like a zombie  drifting through.  Still, I blocked out the world and started on it, built on it.

The nights were tireless and my nowhere near cheerful personality caused a lot of fall-out from people who couldn’t be at peace with the path I’ve taken.

But throughout the toughest year of my life, 2016, here’s what I’ve discovered:

1. You can’t have it all.

You cant carry all that baggage and expect to be happy all the time. You cant fight all wars expecting to win each time. You cant choose all friends and expect loyalty from each one. You cant gamble all the time and expect to bring home the prize every night. You’re gonna have to learn how to choose. And learn how to choose right: there will be things you sacrifice in exchange for your priorities, in exchange for things you value more. The unimportant you lost shouldn’t make you lose sleep. Whether be it one missing point in an exam, minute points in your boards ranking, a promotion or a missed deadline, it’s nothing compared to what you traded it for.

So for all the bests that didn’t make the cut, you are blessed with so much more.  

2. You’re going to make mistakes

You’re gonna have to make mistakes to learn you’re gonna have to fall once or twice before you finally realize what it is you want and what you need to do to get it. Maybe right now isn’t what you hoped yesterday for tomorrow to be. Maybe life isn’t as pretty as you once believed it to be. But remember….

One’s value doesn’t decrease by the negativity that overrules the mind.

3. Allow yourself to be loved

You’re going to need old cobbled stone streets, new friends, scary experiences and getting lost. You’re going to need foreign language and conversing with locals overseas. You’re going to need mountain sides and road trips, sunrise in hilltops and sunsets by the beach, laughing with people you love and hand holding and breath sharing.

Eventually, you’ll need to be vulnerable while staring at each other too long you’re gonna have to look away. Some mornings require coffee too hot you’ll scald your tongue and days that have gone too rotten only ice cream can save the day. You’re going to need sturdy shoulders and stable hands, a strong heart and steady stance.

On the journey, when you let no one close, becoming too focused on your goals blinds you from what could’ve become a joyous experience. Although laughing and losing hours for work that needs to be done can’t bring you any closer to your dreams, it makes the emotional burden easier. There may be glory in accomplishments but there’s no golden moments once you look back to where you’ve been.

You can make it on your own but you don’t have to do it all alone.

4. Make yourself a priority

People romanticize pain and sadness as if the beauty of life is trying to fix every bit of broken pieces of people we mingle with when we cant even mend our own brokenness.

Stop making ends meet at the expense of your own physical and mental health. If they can’t seem to like you no matter how hard you try, you are not the problem. Don’t bend your back for people who couldn’t care less. Just do your thing. Do you while being open to constructive criticisms. Know who your friends are and forgive those who couldn’t find it in their heart to give the apology you deserve. Let go of old grudges and make space for enlightenment. It doesn’t pay to be the bigger person but it will help you sleep better.

Before anything else, heal yourself.

5. Grow with acceptance

Burying the truth doesn’t make it go away. But it gives you time to adjust and build acceptance. And somehow, that makes it okay. At least for a while.

Our lives are the things existing in this world, no matter how surreal, unjust or unimaginable. It will always give us a good slap, back and forth for good measure. Our lives is not interspersed with reality, reality is our lives. It’s ours to take and it’s ours to change.

Let go of hatred and envy. Accept what you have and take it in your heart to change what you can about it.
Do it NOW.

2016 created a clean cut of my life — the before and after. Paradoxically enough, it’s been filled with so much hardships as much as it’s filled with successes and sweet little victories. This was no heartbreak confession, of the things passed and things gone. This is a success story.

I made it.

And if you’re reading this,

You made it too.


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