What I Know For Sure: The First

Sometime last year, upon the discovery of a truly glorious magazine we all know as O Magazine, a friend suggested I come up with a column on this blog patterned after Oprah Winfrey's issue-ender called What I Know For Sure.

It's a recap of lessons Winfrey has learned, re-learned and discovered through the months she's been making the issue. It's a little touchy-feely, and more serious than the rest of the articles in the magazine but sure breathes truth, no matter what continent you're from.

So as inspired by my friend, and by Ms. Winfrey herself, here are some of the things I know for sure, reaped from a tumultuous week(s) that I've had:

1. You can't choose family, so treat family right. My parents have both gone back to their home in New England but at this time of writing, my dad's words are reverberating through my head. I may always have fights with them and I may always be on the opposite side of things and have the inverted opinion but I will always just have one family and I will not make the mistake of not treating them right no matter how many times we disagree on things. I try.

2. You can always un-follow people on Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr / Pinterest. I am not proud of this: My Twitter feed is like one advertising board. Being someone who's lived on the cyberspace for so long, I knew which ones are advertorials, paid tweets and which ones came from the heart or pure interest. I admit: I am one of those, too. Reading other people's advertorial tweets made me realize it's okay to unfollow {as opposed to being afraid of reprimands such as 'I'm following you, why the heck are you not following me?!}. I will try to streamline my tweets, too!

3. One can only spend so much time mourning a heartbreak. This one's more for my 18 year old self. Now that I'm 26, I sometimes think back and look at the things people have been doing now, hear about the things they've done when they were much younger and all I can think of right now of what I did before was spend a lot of time being heartbroken. YUCK.

4. When it hurts, it means you're making progress. This statement is for this part of my career when I've come across tasks I've never done, projects I've never created before, results I have never achieved. It scares me, goodness knows how scared I am. But careers were never meant to be easy --- no, hardships in careers are not meant to tell you you need to find a new one. They're meant to tell you that you've moved away from your comfort zone and experiencing birth pains. Don't pack your bags and say that you deserve better. This is that point where you're going through the test of fire and you'll emerge better for it.

5. Assume nothing.  Expectations are the bane of my existence. Nothing puts me down than an expectation unrealized. It can be as small as an expected phone call, an expected raise, an expected thank you. I believe it was from Melissa Hellstern's How to Be Lovely, a memoir for Audrey Hepburn, that I picked up this nugget of wisdom: Assume nothing and see life surprise you. It's harrowing not to expect anything, but the rewards are worth it.

6. No one can push you into doing something you don't like. When my parents were in the country, one of the requisite things I did was attend a luncheon where every member of our clan was present. Unlike many Filipinos, I am not very close with everyone in our family, most especially the boys. I tend to stick to a few cousins and I prefer much more intimate gatherings and outings. So when I arrived at the luncheon, it was a bit surprising to see unfamiliar faces which could only mean one thing: Future or Present In Laws. As luck would have it, I was THE ONLY ONE WITHOUT A PLUS ONE. Even my brother had a plus one so that made me the lone wolf in a pack of love birds. I was a little worried someone was going to point it out UNTIL someone indeed pointed it out. "You should've hired someone to come with you," she said. I sat in silence. I wasn't ready to share my life with someone, much more share my life with with my family to someone. I wish it was defense mechanism --- but it wasn't. I truly was not ready for a shared life. And no one can make me plunge into that until I say so.

7. You will lose a couple of friends just by being who you are. And it's okay. I made the mistake of acting accordingly to what people around me were saying and I regretted it. Today, I have less friends than I had some years ago but it feels much nicer, knowing you can act your real self in front of your true friends and not be afraid of being judged. Of course if they do, you are to be comforted with the thought that you just eliminated someone not worthy of your time. In the end, don't be afraid to act like who you think you are. Don't act as if you're ugly when you know damn well you're pretty. Don't act as if you're in pain if you're really having an easy life.

8. Only you can say who / how / what you want to act and to be.

Just because you were an activist, a simple person, a complete anti-thesis of who you were ten years ago, it doesn't mean you cannot act the way you want to be now. If you want to flaunt every single asset that you have, no one bears the right to tell you otherwise.

What about you, what do you know for sure?