24: For better, not worse

12:00:00 PM

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"Eventually I shall be so good that I cannot be ignored. 
These years are disciplinary for me."
John Steinbeck, Steinbeck: A Life in Letters

If I were to believe Buzzfeed, 2015 is shaping up to be a nonevent for me. It's the year that I turn 24, which Buzzfeed ranks as the fourth worst year of anyone's twenties. "Nothing really happens when you're 24." All the magic of youth is gone, but with still enough feelings to keep one from being apathetic and jaded. Sweet.

But I don't believe in Buzzfeed, except for its ability to un-bore workday afternoons. Twenty four cannot possibly be uneventful when I have a lot of work cut out for me.

I learned that 24th birthdays are made for salubong phone calls, long-winded ramblings (from failing to reach a consensus about relationship issues to seeking justice and truth for the fallen 44), getting back on the mat (will talk more about it in the next post), getting done with the week's laundry (clothes and work), crying over little foxes that just won't go away, omg shopping, an overabundance of exclamation points(!!!), "How old are you now? 21?" (ha ha), I miss you's, Hang out soon's, Jollibee Chickenjoy, PIZZA, some reluctance to feels and a general lack of direction for the rest of the year. All that's missing is bacon.

I learned that turning 24 feels just like turning 23 and 22 and 21 and that maturity is not measured in numbers.

24: For better, not worse | Awesome in Manila

Part of my morning routine (will also write about this in another post!) is to get my dose of daily devotionals from Pastor David Sumrall. I can't recall how many times I've mindlessly tuned in, expecting a "free for all, generic" nugget of wisdom, but was instead slapped to complete consciousness. Today's text (Exodus 13:1-14:1) could not be any more timely as it touches the subject of personal journeys.

If you would take the time to study this part of Israel's history, you would find one cause of frustration is the fact that their 40-year exodus to the Promised Land could have been shorter (say, geographically, a one to two-week trip). Geometry teaches us that the fastest way from point A to point B is a straight line but, obviously, God has other ideas.

"We have to learn to trust our Heavenly Father to lead us, guide us and mold us. Relax a little bit and realize He's not always gonna take us on the fastest route to get some place. He knows there's some things along the way that can stumble you, hurt you and cause you to turn back. Trust the God who knows your heart to lead you to the path that leads you to victory, not just the path that leads you some place."

Twenty four failures, twenty four tries. The suckiest thing about being at that stage in life where finding the best version of yourself is trial and error, is the almost inescapable tendency to inflict pain (sometimes knowingly) on other people (often the least deserving). It makes you wonder if you were made lacking necessary parts, especially after being given so many chances and failing rather ingloriously every time when other people only need one to make it.

One has to be grateful for the tiniest bit of sanity left to remind that self-pity never solved anything, much like optimism that simply rides on self-help and fancy quotes. I learned that refusing to forgive yourself is one of the (if not the) biggest hindrances in achieving some personal progress. Accountability is a requirement but driven by guilt, it may as well be useless. It is very human to sometimes need many chances to learn one lesson. It's a grain of truth, not a cop-out line. The sooner we get unnecessary, prolonged penitence out of the way, the faster we arrive to a clearer action plan.

Oh, to be 24 and not know how to do life. x

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CS Lewis

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