29 thoughts from a 29 year old

Reflecting on 29 years of existing and the lessons from them

dreams had no place in the other and for a long time, I struggled to figure out what exactly I wanted vs what I thought I wanted. The world of expectations and reality came into a major clash with one another when I decided to step off the prescribed path and see what would happen.

Here are 29 reflections from a 29 year old after 29 years of existing.

  1. Living and existing are not the same thing. It’s the difference between experiencing life on your own terms and making choices that impact your internal sense of happiness based on what you think people think you want.
  2. Being a martyr might seem cool but nobody cares. If your happiness depends on the happiness of others, you’re going to always be dependent on acknowledge from others who may lift the bar on their demands later down the road.
  3. Always pick yourself first, even if it means hurting others. They’re hurt because they have a certain expectation from you. You’re hurting them because you’re shattering their expectations of who they think you are and not who you really are.
  4. Live your life by example and never use the kids as an excuse for not doing something. They are simply a fact of life and it’s better for them to see mommy and daddy go after their dreams rather than accept their fate as-is and use their kids as the reason for not pursuing it. It’s a horrible feeling to be on the receiving end of this — to be classed a burden, and it’s not any better for the adult that gave up their hopes, dreams and pursuits for it. It’s never a happy ending for anyone.
  5. Routines maximizes your productivity. It’s figuring out what works best for you and being consistent is the hard part.
  6. I need to read more philosophy books. Philosophy is something that’s usually not taught in school (and it should) but it has methods of thinking and dealing with life. I’ve heard stoicism is a good one and can help reduce the noise and chaos of the world and within our mind. I need to read more philosophy books.
  7. At the end of the day, nobody cares about you. Everyone is as self centered and narcissistic as you are — no matter how much to want to believe otherwise.
  8. The people that only show up in your life when they want something are not your friends. They are merely acquaintances. Sometimes I get confused between the difference between the two and have to remind myself that even family members can be acquaintances too.
  9. Comparing yourself to others can give you anxiety. The hard part is accepting that their journey will not lead to the destination you want. You are taking this path as it currently is because you wanted something different from them. Figuring out what that want is and being crystal clear about it is the hard part of figuring out life in general.
  10. Invest in things that don’t have a diminish return. It’s also one of the reasons why I still have the scratches and dents on my car.
  11. Stand for something. Because if you don’t, someone else will try and inscribe their stance onto you.
  12. Don’t read the comments section. Do that last. Figure out your own opinion on something first before you start listening to what the general masses are thinking. It can help you from just following the herd.
  13. “I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am.” — Cooley. This basically sums up the first quarter of my life.
  14. The 9–5 life doesn’t work for me because I still want to hang out with my toddler. Rather than accept my fate, I’ve decided to do something different, to take a risk, to step outside the traditional models of work — and if it all falls apart, I can at least say to the child creature that I tried. But it won’t happen because the Internet is much more facilitating of a decentralized method of accumulating money.
  15. Passive income isn’t passive. You still need to give it some fuel to kick start the engine and keep it going. Anyone promising you millions in a few weeks is like a Nigerian prince emailing you for your bank account.
  16. Success is a massive word. Money may be a good indication but it’s not everything. There’s no point in having vast sums of money if your mental health and relationships are down the drain. Success is finding the balancing points between financial, mental and personal happiness — whatever that may look like.
  17. Rich Dad. Poor Dad. Everyone needs to read it, or at least watch the condense version of it on YouTube. Personally, I watched the condensed version and figured out the rest.
  18. Good food isn’t based on how expensive the ingredients are. It’s to do with your ability to cook and the ability to use the right combination of spices in the right quantities. If it tastes bland, add more.
  19. Captain Hindsight is an asshole. He does nothing to help you in the moment but knows best after the fact. Don’t listen to Captain Hindsight. Figure out what went wrong and move on.
  20. There’s a thing called confirmation bias. It’s natural for us to go seeking ‘information’ that furthers our claim without looking at the opposition and alternatives. It only reduces our periphery vision and ability to objectively evaluate things. Anything that has its roots in emotions is prone to the implications of confirmation bias — so beware and be aware.
  21. There’s too much noise in the world. It’s always been that way. Our predecessors just happened to had the luxury of living life slowly and without the Internet. It’s alright to disconnect yourself and curate what you expose yourself to. The world isn’t going to stop spinning because you’ve decided to shut out the things that aren’t truly important to you.
  22. If you really need an audience, find two friends that you can unload everything to. Have two so you can alternate between them and so they don’t get exhausted by your stuff.
  23. You don’t have to sit in a room and go through all your possessions deciding if you love it or not. Not everyone has time for that. Sometimes it’s just good to purge everything. You’ll quickly figure out what you need and not need within a week. I think it’s called Swedish death cleaning.
  24. Expect nothing from everyone except honesty and integrity. If they’ve messed up but uphold the value of honesty, forgive them as much as you can but also give them the benefit of trust. If they do it again, call it a day because it’s not worth it. If they don’t have either in general, don’t waste your time. All relationships — mutual, sexual, friendship, family, acquaintances and strangers all boils down to honesty and integrity regardless of race, geographical location, culture or ethnicity.
  25. When you get a song stuck in your head, it’s called an earworm. The trick is to listen to the song in its entirety to get closure. The same goes for emotions that hold you back and relationships that never got a proper ending. You don’t have to hunt down the person that wronged you or caused those emotions to gain closure. Sometimes, writing a letter, or series of letters that they will never see can be enough to bring the emotional and psychological closure needed. Shrinks call it cognitive therapy. Russell Brand lays it down in 12 steps here.
  26. It’s alright to be selfish and put your desires, wants, beliefs and everything else in between at the center of your world. It’s better to be a whole and mentally stable person than one that gives and gives and gives but feel completely hollow inside. The world needs more whole and mentally stable people. Be one of them.
  27. Being female, Asian, technically an immigrant and a minority that is often not as recognized like the others, I grew up in a family where you never use your situation, gender or ethnicity as an excuse for why you can’t do something. Don’t judge the privileges of others. Work on yourself. Get good at what you do. If no one wants to give you a ladder to climb, figure out how to make your own. Skills are always obtainable and improvement is based on consistency. That’s my work ethic and has always been.
  28. Frugal living isn’t about going without. It’s figuring out what’s actually a necessity and what’s a want. We’re all fat from consumerism and over indulgence of our wants. It’s become a rat race. When we put ourselves on an indulgence diet, on the occasions that we do indulge, we are able to experience happiness at a purer level rather than just topping up a withdrawal from a previous high. It’s sort of like drinking coffee for the first time vs drinking it every day.
  29. Figuring yourself out is everything. Take your time. Make the mistakes. Live your best possible life — even if it’s at the risk of failure.

And that’s it from me for this year. We’ll see how it all goes in a year’s time when I finally hit the first year of my thirties.

About Author /

Editor of Hustle Thrive Grow. On a quest to become a better human and documenting the journey in digital ink.

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