Etno series photographed by Ula Koska
Last June 12, as my nation celebrated its Independence Day, I celebrated my 25th year in existence. Now, I don’t want to sound cocky about the whole “25 years in existence” because as an adult, that’s how birthdays make me feel–not old but acknowledged.
Although I kind of spent my birthday at work (hey, double pay, right?), got my buddies pizza, chicken and oreo chewies, it still overwhelmed me that people, even those I haven’t spoke with in years, would go out of their way to send me a greeting thru Facebook. It’s cool to have your birthday on your profile because it reminds people that you ought to be acknowledged for surviving another year. It may only take a tenth of a minute to send someone a Happy Birthday greeting, but it’s always sure to warm the celebrant’s heart, no matter how half-assed it may have been worded (HBD, may be the laziest greeting but hey, they bothered to send you a greeting nevertheless.)
I actually don’t get it when people try to “test” their friends by removing their birthdate on their profiles, and calling on them for forgetting. In a busy world that we live in, in this day and age, as much as birthdays are important dates to remember, people still ought to be reminded. Honestly, dates are the hardest things to memorize, and without Facebook reminders, I would most likely forget even my family’s birth dates.
Running through such a long list of people who greeted me yesterday was what made me feel extra awesome. Seriously, I almost cried! That’s how emotional I can get for being acknowledged. It’s simply one of the best feelings in the world. Apart from the flowers and gifts I received from my loved ones, of course.
Now on to what I really wanted to talk about. Turning 25 makes a girl realize she has lived a quarter of her life, and that means she should have learned much from what life threw at her.
1. Happiness is not a feeling but a state of mind. It’s a constant struggle. Seeing the light in the worst of situations is an everyday challenge. It’s like deciding to be healthy. You always have to be on top of your game if you want to keep the momentum.
2. Cynicism can save you from too much drama. I’ve made peace with the fact that opinions are mere words thrown out in the open by people who want to get acknowledged. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s destructive. I believe that sometimes when I simply don’t give a fuck, I’m saving my emotional self from going haywire. And it’s okay.
3. Taking a break is necessary, and being guilty about it is dumb.
4. I don’t believe in courtship, I believe in friendship and in mutual growth. I was never really a fan of a man trying to be his best self in order to win a girl, and a girl having multiple suitors. Double standards sicken me when it comes to relationships.
5. Resistance is chaos. And yeah I’ve read about this in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.
6. Complimenting someone is a good way to start conversations, but you gotta have a few stories in your arsenal to keep it going. I still suck at this though.
8. Try not to involve yourself in somebody else’s battles. There’s a reason why you have to experience shit and that’s to help you grow stronger. I think that’s the way it works for everyone else. Of course, you can reach out and help out but never make it personal. It’s still their life. It’s something they should take on in order to reap the same benefits. Don’t take it away from them. Don’t cripple them.
9. Being a kid at heart and an adult in mind is called maturity.
10. Asking for directions is liberating. My mom is shit scared of feeling like a foreigner wherever she goes, and that’s how she gets lost most of the time. Almost everyone will be willing to help point you to the right direction. It may not be accurate 100% of the time, which is why maps are invented, but it’s convenient. This also goes with asking help. It doesn’t make you less of a person to acknowledge the fact that you can’t do everything yourself.
11. Bigotry is worse than Atheism. A bigot cloaked in religion is the most despicable person in the world.
13. Bragging about what you know is never an effective teaching method. My professor used to teach us like he was talking with his other colleagues. TL;DR, we never learned anything. The tests were like torture. After graduating and enrolling in a review session, everything was summarized and I realized it was as easy and we were banging heads for something so simple because it was made complicated by someone who thrived in the fact that he knew so much better.
14. You don’t have to be an extrovert to keep on making new friends.
15. Genuine altruism is a farce. I learned this from watching Friends. Even though we try our best to keep on helping others, the fact that helping others makes us happy defeats the whole altruism concept. And it’s totally okay. Helping others is the right kind of self-vested interest we shouldn’t apologize for.
16. Being a little weird is normal.
17. It’s okay to poop in public restrooms. I mean, really. There’s a reason why restrooms were invented, and you don’t have to be ashamed or shame people for it.
19. Sometimes people mean well when they act as assholes. And it’s the same flipped around. It’s confusing but profoundly interesting to take notice of.
20. Game of Thrones may be the first and last book series I’ll ever read. Unless a more overwhelming and mindfucking book is released.
21. Destiny is not something fulfilled, rather it’s something realized. Allowing yourself to trust in the signs thrown out by the universe and meeting that halfway with your own hopes and dreams, is total bliss.
22. Having a decent number of good friends is better than a million social media followers.
23. People are given different opportunities every single second. Just because someone else is prettier, smarter, richer or luckier, doesn’t mean your life is worth any less.
24. Secrets are meant to be revealed, so as questions are meant to be answered.
25. I need more parties, friends and projects to get busy about. Probably travel and shop more. Yolo a little bit and get a friggin’ tattoo. Get a fat black cat and a bunch of books I’d start reading and not finish. Try a hookah? Experiment on being a vegan for a brief period of time. Get lost somewhere. Maybe eat balut and isaw for the first time (although this is unlikely).
Looking back and contemplating about life as you turn a year older is such a rejuvenating feeling. I’m curious how my next year would turn out. I sincerely want to thank each and everyone who wished me well during my birthday. You guys are the best! I love you all!
Blow a kiss, fire a gun,