12 Lessons from Being Independent

3:09 AM

This is not in any way, a patriotic Independence Day post but rather, takeaways from surviving the concrete jungle —alone. I never really needed it in the first place considering that my freedom was always intact, but sometimes, we have to grow up and be responsible. Here's a post commemorating the lady in red who survived. 

1. Your timeline may not always work, and that's okay. Back then I used to say "yeah, I'm getting married at 28, we'll live off as dinks for a while and I'm going to give birth at 32. Now that I'm 21, I'm like, who where what how????? I can’t even surpass a year, plus we're talking about a lifetime, as in every waking moment. I remember my dad reprimanding my cousin asking him if he was "really sure." He'd say "di na ni balay balay ha, nga makauli raka." And that was it, I was like nope, maybe it's not for me.

2. Acceptance and letting go becomes easy, as in chicken feed. When people cancel plans, when they don't live up to what they say, you can smoothly accept the fact that there are shitty people and you can't change that. It doesn't mean that just because they're nice, they'll stay. The same way how "I love you" does not equate to "I still want to be with you." A handful of us prefer loving in silence or not at all. 

3. At the same time you will also learn how to value people who go the extra mile for you. You'll be extremely grateful for your constant companion, those who actually spare some time for you, those who actually want to be with you. 

4. You will learn how to not give a fuck. You will learn how to be complacent and super chill because after all you still have to cook, clean and sort out your domestic life. You don't have time to worry about every single thing anymore. You also will get blamed, a lot. Some people will ask you to breathe fire, to go to the ends of the world for them and you can't or won't do it. Here's a tip, don't apologize. You don't always have to explain why you do the things you do, don't say sorry for how you choose to live your life, you are not their robot. 

5. You will learn to force your gut to down that disturbing choco mallow carrot pancake. Independence can sometimes equate to freedom, and freedom means having to choose what you put in your mouth. So yes, you can eat the same thing for a month if you wish to. When you make a meal and it turns out to be a complete disaster, you'll still eat for sure because of all the effort, time, electricity and ingredients present. I don't know why I choose to live here when I can't even eat three times a day. 

6. You will conquer a city by being nice and decent. If you're nice, everything becomes fast, make friends as well. One time I made friends with someone from the lab, I got my results an hour early. When you bitch out, people will also give you a hard time. Regardless, you should also know when to put your foot down. After all, being a pushover won’t take you places. If being a bitch is what it takes to get what you want then I guess that's what you'll have to be sometimes. 

7. What you have right now is not the only opportunity you'll ever get. Screw that thought. You can do so much better. Don't be scared to leave, don't be scared to make that decision. This is your call to leap. Don't ever think where you are right now is your final destination, a lot of things can still happen and you gotta drill that in your head. Don't just settle, let me reiterate what I just said, don't be afraid to leave. 

8. Your type will eventually change. Back when I was too young to even consider living alone, dating a cute guy was enough for me. "As long as we look good together." All we ever needed back then were mencessories. Now? Oh God where do I start? Can you learn from him? Is he inspiring? Does he add to your stress? Does he make your day a little bit brighter? Does he play a part in your career or at least goals? Can he? Does he have a job? Is he hardworking? What does he do during his spare time? Is he smart? What are his passions? Does he make you a better person or at least push you to be one?  Will your parents approve of him? Do you guys have the same wavelength? 

9.You will learn the art of partying till 4 in the morning and getting up at 11AM to fish. You'll master the art of resilience. Not getting up? No lunch.

10. Bravery accidentally becomes a part of your system. You'll do things you never thought of doing, like holding a taser inches away from someone's face or perhaps riding in somebody's car the first time you met him because you felt like Cinderella that night and you're wearing a romper version of her gown. Bravery would have to mean sleeping alone, going to the hospital alone, running down a sketchy road late at night —alone. You will learn how to win your battles. 

11. If you start early, you'll always be the youngest one in the room. Ever since I moved here, I was always the youngest one in the group. Youngest one at a party, youngest one in a group of friends, youngest one at an event I was invited to or even the youngest one at a meeting. Phrases like "batang bata ka pa ano?" "intern paman ka diba?" are thrown at me 24/7, and the list goes on. Maybe because I'm petite, my parents say it's the way I act. When I hang out with older people and try to be mature they laugh at my attempt. "It's okay, it's good to have a baby in the group." I always got the cringe emoji flashed by faces of my friends who happen to be 26-29 when I tell them I'm 21. Oh, and I got carded too. The best thing about being the baby though is that you can get away with almost anything. Anyone I'm with automatically becomes the guardian, even when they're way younger, even Danielle, no, especially Danielle. 

12.You will never stop adjusting. It's been a year already and I haven't unpacked, my clothes are still inside my maleta, one of my parents, I don't remember which, complained about it, then the other one explained how it had a psychological effect on me which is true, and I can't explain why I will never unpack. Perhaps it'll take you a long time to adjust considering how you've been living like a duchess for as long as you can remember, you've been driving for so long, there's always food at the table as soon as you wake up. So how long will it take? I wouldn't know.

That's it good bye.
Photo by: Daniela

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