It is safe to say that all of us were young once. For the lucky ones who did not have to grow up immediately (I count myself among the fortunate) those were the days of carefree youth, unencumbered by the concerns of the world. We often looked to our parents and guardians to figure out the “trivial” stuff, like where to live and how to make money so we could buy the stuff we need. Now and then, we would get conscripted to do some chores and tasks for the sake of the family such dishwashing, taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, etc. Aside from the errands and school, our time was pretty much ours, free to be spent on our hobbies and interests.
As children, we would also run into disagreements with parents and other grownups. I’m not saying that the child is always the one on the wrong side of the argument, but more often than not, our naivete and ignorance on how the world “works” put us in odds with those that have been here longer. These conflicts did serve a purpose; these are opportune moments in which we learned practical and valuable lessons that we take with us on our journey to maturity.
Back then, it all sounded like incessant nagging, but as we gradually took on the duties and responsibilities of this so-called adulthood, we realize that our parents and elders actually had the right idea (or at the very least, they meant well). They just wanted to pass on the life lessons that they found useful and thus, lived by.
Being a little over a quarter of a century old, I have just begun to experience these “aha!” moments when something my dad, mom, or another older relative said or did pops back into my consciousness. Though I sort of understood the principle or value in that lesson when I encountered it way back when, it only became “true” for me at that very instant. I’d like to share a choice handful of these adulthood epiphanies.
You Do Reap What You Sow
When I was younger, I really didn’t pay much attention to personal health and fitness. I wasn’t one of those athletic types, but neither was I considered particularly unhealthy in my eating habits and activity. I didn’t develop any particular attachment to any sport or physical activity (unless you consider couch surfing a sport).
Now, as the invincibility of the teenage years has thoroughly faded away, my figure is in jeopardy. I don’t aim to have a thin model-type physique (that’s not my body’s natural state), but I don’t want to change dress sizes either, and I found that my body isn’t as efficient in absorbing and getting rid of the junk food I feed it. I need to work out and watch what I eat, just to maintain my present figure.
One Saturday morning, while I was forty minutes into lightly jogging on a treadmill raised to a fifteen-degree incline (I’m more of a gym person than an outdoors person, I found out), I remembered what my Mom told me over a decade ago about finding a sport that I could enjoy, and to lay off the chips and dip while watching the television. You were right, Mom.
On Friends and Popularity
High school (at least where I attended) was one big popularity contest, and those that didn’t participate in this long-drawn pageant are cast by the wayside and branded as losers. I wasn’t one of those stereotypical high school cheerleaders, but as a teenager, I did exert a significant amount of effort and resources in fitting into the “in” crowd. I got invited to the parties that mattered, and I even hosted a couple of them myself. Because of this, I knew a lot of people in school and a lot of people knew me. That, I thought back then, mattered a lot.
Zooming back to the present, I find that I only have a handful of people whom I hang out with and consider real friends. These are the kind of people that are there for you even when things aren’t so good, and even when you are not at your best. Most of the cool friends I had in high school aren’t even in my Facebook profile.
The “aha!” moment hit me while I was sticking my fingers into a bowling ball; my close friend group held monthly bowling-and-dinner nights. I remember my dad telling me that having a lot of friends was alright, but having a few true friends that will stick it out with you through thick and thin is way better.
Lesson internalized, but because of the distraction, my ball rolled into the gutter.
Loving the Unlovable
When I was younger, I couldn’t stand brats, even though I was a bit of one myself. Back when I was thirteen, I tried to babysit a neighbor’s six-year-old because I wanted to make some extra cash. I didn’t last an hour (noisy shouting kid was noisy), and I actually called his parents to come back because I couldn’t stand their child, ruining their romantic dinner and my future as a babysitter.
Now, I have five nephews and nieces. Being the only girl and also the youngest, I am often saddled with nanny duties when my brothers are out with their wives on weekend getaways. Taking care of one rambunctious toddler is one thing, but two or more is considered a minor calamity, in my book.
My folks actually didn’t say anything specific about this, but I realize how much they had to put up with me when me and my brothers were little. Now, I get what they went through. Thanks for the patience and love, folks.