Xeno Hemlock
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Posts tagged outlook
30 Life Lessons Before Turning 30

Disclaimer: This is not part of my numeric series. My last post was for 9. I'm not going to skip directly to 30.

Today is my 30th birthday (woo!). I'm really excited about starting a new decade and what life has in store for me. I would like to look back at 30 important life lessons I have learned so far, three decades on this magnificent planet.

  1. Our childhood is one of the most important phases in our life, good and bad memories aside. What we really want to be and do in our lives can be traced back to our childhood years.
  2. Health is wealth. You may not think it is when you're younger but it will be a hard lesson you will learn when you get older.
  3. Nobody will be there for you throughout your lifetime except yourself. People will come and go.
  4. However, there are some awesome human beings who will be loyal to you and will be there for you as much as they can. They will love you with all your strengths and flaws. Love them. They're rare.
  5. “Busy” is a big fat lie.
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Why?

One day back in college, my English professor sat on the table in front of the class. She rubbed her nose gently and huffed, “Read the Harry Potter series. It has just been turned into a movie but you got to read the books. I highly recommend it. It's so good.” She repeated the last sentence, stronger the second time around. “It's so good.”

I didn't read the books right away after her recommendation. It wasn't until the second film hit the theatres when, I found the first book in the house and, out of boredom, hastily read it. My sister had borrowed the first four books from our neighbor. With nothing interesting to do over the summer vacation, I thought why not read it. Little did I know I would not be able to put the book down. Page after page, chapter after chapter, and book after book, I had to keep going. My professor was right. It's so good. Just like the rest of the world, I fell in love with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Now, I am not as in love with the Harry Potter series as I used to but its impact in my life can never be denied. The wizarding world had enamored and captivated me so much that it triggered old childhood memories when our family didn't have spare money to buy the expensive toys that I wanted. I had to make the most out of my cheap plastic action figures (that you could buy for a buck), trading cards, pens and notebooks, and even the plants and rocks in our front yard. I made my own fantasy world where I could play for hours with my imaginary friends and the lack of expensive X-Men action figures and VTech didn't matter. The Harry Potter series reminded me of that and my dream of becoming a writer was born.

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The Value of The Past

Is your past something you don't want to think about anymore, not even for a single second?

I used to have that mindset, the want to feel totally hands-free of yesteryears' memories, to cut-off completely the reminders of pain, failures, and bleak times. Living in the moment and working towards the future are more appealing than recalling the past. But I realised in this journey called life that acknowledging the past does not mean going back to it and reliving its horrors. I learned that I didn't have to run away in fear from it. I also learned that looking back does not mean I am once again stuck in the mud of the past. Instead, I am only looking down at it from up above, the size of it no bigger than the shape of my shoes. Among the rubbles of the past is its value. It cannot be undone or corrected but it's not totally useless.

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Old Faces, New Friends

Pool. Food. Drinks. Old jokes and old funny stories. These were the highlights of my Saturday night. I was with a group of familiar faces, those I've known for more than a decade. Yet a part of me said they're strangers to me. I knew their names but I didn't know who they were.

After having no Facebook identity for years, something came over me and I created a new Facebook account early this year. In some weird coincidence, a former high school classmate "stumbled" upon my newly created account, sent me a friend request, and a stream of friend requests from our other high school classmates soon followed.

That led to a reunion with two of my former classmates who I had no contact with for years. We set up a rendezvous and caught up with each other's lives in one night. That was followed with several nights of catching up with other people from high school. A day turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Those months turned into a gathering by the pool under the moon with a toddler in tow. And there I was, who believed I had completely shed my past away.

I was wrong.

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Be True To Your Core Values and Be an Asshole

Would you like to be an asshole?

Two friends rekindled their friendship after separation for a long time, and regained contact with their other old friends. Spending time with them again, a gut feeling that something was different and wrong surfaced. Their old friends were still stuck in the past and had very little personal growth. There was no more spark and enjoyment from being around their company. Confessing their sentiments to each other, the two friends concluded their lives had grown apart from them and it was time to let go. One of them withdrew, eventually returning to the fold of their old friends. The other one moved on, becoming the subject of name-calling, gossip, and spiteful remarks that made its way online. He was the villain, the ungrateful, and the asshole. He was me.

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