Lessons I Learned in My 20s


This coming Friday, I am officially a year older. I am still reeling from the fact that I am one more year to the big 3-0. Standing in front of the mirror looking at my reflection, 10 years of my youth flashes before me. Quarter life crisis is not a myth after all.

Looking back, I am thankful from the support of my love ones. The wisdom gained throughout the years have made me wiser, not so temperamental, and more free spirited than ever.

Lesson 1: Always Believe in Yourself

I took my Professional Certification in the areas of Finance and Accounting when I was in university. I have to admit, I am not the brightest student among the bunch and I struggled with the course throughout my years of study. The dean practices favoritism on the bright students, and I was constantly being commented and challenged by my lecturers that I do not have what it takes to complete my course. There were times I cried, and shed bloods from all the stress and paper cuts. But I would always believe myself that I can made it through the hurdle and reach the end of the finish line. I studied fucking hard to pass my examinations so that I can climb the corporate ladder by the age of 20-21. At the end, I managed to get a World Class Placing in one of the subjects and I have passed all my papers within 3.5 years at the age of 21.

Lesson 2: Explore the Road Less Taken

I was fascinated with people in corporate outfits and was brain-washed to the whole concept that “you must be a white collar professional in order to succeed in life”. As the years go by, I was unhappy with my job, working everyday until wee hours in the morning and most of the times throughout the weekends + public holidays. The effect of long hours at work have taken a toll on my morale and health as well. At times, when I was too tired from work, I would just drive my car along the highways around the city in the middle of the night, listening to Bon Jovis, just to clear my mind of work and the office environment.

twenty years

I stumbled upon this quote from the website and I realized that achieving a success in career at the expense of my health and regretting the choices and opportunities I didn’t explore in my life is the most foolish thing a human can possibly do to himself. We only live once, for crying out loud. At that time, I was contemplating of switching my career to culinary arts. I ended up taking professional bakery course on a part time basis as a hobby and possibly exploring the idea of a new career path as well.

Year 2009 was a bad year. The country was badly affected by the financial crisis and everyone decided to stay put and hold on to their job as a form of financial security. As for those who have the intention to resign, they would secure a job from their prospective employer before throwing in the resignation letter. For myself, I decided to resigned without any job offers and to travel across western Europe to do my soul-searching. Yeah, I told my ex-boss I wanted to do some soul searching, and Asian bosses are baffled with the idea of “soul-searching and sabbatical leaves”, it is not within the context of an Asian working culture. Frankly speaking,  I was really tired from all this bullshit and I decided I need time to find myself and search for inner peace.

I did enjoyed myself during my travels, and I discovered I have a deep passion for ancient history, and civilizations.  In fact, after my travels, I took up a job working as a baker/cashier/cleaner in a local bakery shop. Pay was meagre, but I get to interact with people from all walks of life. At the same time, I was attending interviews with prospective employers and they always show their displeasure when I told them I quit my job without having any job offers, and found it very “worry-some” for me to work in a local bakery store. Their attitude changed my perception towards them and their close-mindedness.

Lesson 3: You Can’t Please Everyone

I got a job offer to work in a 3rd world country. Frankly speaking, that idea fascinates me. It is totally different from the normal path of going to another first world country to work. When I announced my decision to work in another country, some people I have known opposed to the idea and I seriously couldn’t be bothered. This is a path and life I have chosen, and I do not wish to conform my values and actions to gain their acceptance. So be it.

Lesson 4: Patience is A Virtue &
Lesson 5: Be Thankful and Appreciative

To adapt in a 3rd world country, takes a lot of patience and cultural understanding. I have seen people unable to adapt to the lifestyle here. I always reminding myself to look things from a different perspective and to be thankful and appreciative for what i have in my home country. I did not suffered any perils from the war, I did not witnessed any shootings and blood sheds. I live in a comfortable home with my family and a leak proof roof over my head. This is like a constant reminder to be more humble when talking to the locals. Furthermore, I always trying to learn the national language everyday in order to understand their local “scene”. This is the least I can do to make them feel less intimidated by expatriates and make myself more welcomed here (as my second home).

Lesson 6: Smile and be Positive Always

Life is too short to be miserable. Smile and stay positive. I am always trying to remind myself that. I always do, at least , most of the time 🙂

Lesson 7: Some Things are Not Meant to Be. Forgiveness Takes Courage

There are times when you have misunderstandings with friends and you have drifted apart. Or you have some friends that do not wish to keep in touch with you for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, do wish them all the best in life. You may not need a concrete closure, but to know they are doing OK in their respective life. I think that is all that matters. Buddha once said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”. Forgiveness takes courage to the soul. Forgive every which way. Forgive him. Forgive her. Forgive you.

Lesson 8: The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs

That is all I can think of so far. Excuse me while I go prepare myself for the weekend celebrating and sprinkle the town with my newly acquired birthday gift (electronic pepper mill)


7 responses »

  1. well put post, I liked the purpose of it

    you should check out a blog called elite daily since it kinda deals with the things your post deals with

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