QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me | Catching Carla
25 things I've learned for the past 25 years
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QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

February 1, 2018

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” — Mulan

I’m 25 – shoot. Gone are the days where all I worry about is what toy I wanted to get for Christmas. I really wished Santa Claus is real and would give me whatever I want every year, but then again- what I want no longer fits inside a little sock. I mean, how do you wrap happiness and put it underneath a tree? I have not made any “New Year’s” Resolution yet and my birthday happened a few months ago, but this is the only time everything is sinking in. Am I really this old? I thought by 25 I would be in a stable relationship, picking out my wedding dress or my réception de mariage. Wow, time passes by doesn’t it? Next thing you know, I’ll be 60 – just like that Lukas Graham Song.

In any case, this blog post is not about the things I wish I had or the things I thought I’ll have. It’s about the things I have learned and the things that I have – which is mostly not material things, but values. 25 is a golden age, and I feel like I am only beginning to become the person I was meant to be. By this age, I’m sure you have your own set of failures, disappointments, and etc. – and each of those has helped you grow and become wiser. So today, I am going to share with you the 25 things I have learned for the past 25 years. Hey – perhaps it can help you too!

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

The view at Bag of Beans Tagaytay

1. Make peace with yourself and accept who you are – but also make room for change. Let’s face it, Carla, you’re not Helen of Troy -and your face will not launch a thousand ships, so might as well accept that now. But, if you think there are areas in life where you know you can change, then go- change it. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, even if it means you have to do it alone. Do it. The only approval you will ever really need, is approval of yourself – and we can be a little hard on ourselves sometimes, aren’t we?

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

2. Invest in proper skin care. Okay, I know this is weird but if I happen to still be single by 40, I still would like to be desirable in the market. I kind of envisioned myself to be 40, looking like 30 and getting boys the age of 20. I mean, I will not reject the idea of being a happy, stable 40 year old with a 25-year-old, six-pack abs boyfriend, telling me I still look very young for my age. It’s like hitting that extra confidence lottery! But of course, that will never happen if you don’t take care of your skin RIGHT NOW! So invest on that sunblock, facial creams, anti-aging stuff and face masks today. Your 40-year-old self will certainly thank you for it.

3. Set some life goals. I think in order to live fully – you need to have a sense of purpose. This one is the most difficult struggle of all, and I am glad to say, I finally figured this one out. For the longest time, I didn’t have any solid goal. I just ride along with someone else’s goal and be content to see them achieve their dream. Eventually, once that somebody is gone, you’re back to square one – no goals, no purpose. I think this is one of the root causes of depression. Set something for yourself – may it be short term or long term. What do you want to be? What career would you like to excel in? What is it that your soul craves to do? And do it. Doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as you keep pushing yourself to do it. I know now what exactly I want to do in the long run (that’s my secret for now), and every day I wake up thinking of that goal, and in little baby steps, I always work towards that goal, and I hope you do too.

4. Choose your friends. I have read in some really professional magazine (cosmo) that 20’s is the age you start losing friends. This is true because 20’s is also the age where you make a ton of “temporary” friends. As you grow up – you’ll have more responsibilities, and things to do that makes time a very important commodity. So, only spend it on people that really care.

“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.” – Mindy Kaling

5. Learn to say NO and not feel bad about it. I’m an intense person, and I feel like I can always do everything because I am a superwoman. This usually leads to overcommitment and lots of broken “promises”. I learned that the root cause of my behavior is my anxiety and fear of “missing out”- so I just say yes to everything. Eventually, you will learn that saying “NO” doesn’t really make you a bad person, it just shows that you know exactly what you want and you don’t want – what’s so wrong about that?

6. Don’t stop Learning. I used to hate school. The thought of studying before the exams are daunting! but the weird part of it is – I studied a whole lot more after I graduated. Read, read, read, read, and read – it will help you through a lot of awkward conversations and boring parties because if you are well-read, chances are, you will always have something to say 🙂

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

7. Make time for things that you are passionate about. I know, you will be busy. In between your job, your friends, yourself, your family, your cat or dog – it’s difficult to find time to do things that you love. But passion ignites the soul, so always make sure to do things that you are passionate about – whether it’s writing, painting, singing, or what not. A person who is passionate will never feel empty. Trust me.

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

Me painting in my room

8. Learn how to cook. For the record, I do know how to cook, but I just don’t like doing it. I always just tell myself to marry a chef or a good cook, so I will never have to cook – ever. Then again, a part of taking care of yourself is knowing how to feed yourself. Also, since I have decided that I want to have kids someday, I probably should learn how to feed them too. (Check out my food adventures here)

9. Travel. There’s a lot of benefits to traveling, but the most important of it all – is cultural sensitivity and gaining self-confidence. The more you see how diverse people are, the more you will learn that it’s okay to be different. It will open up your mind to a lot of other things, and a lot of other opportunities. Go and explore as much as you can, as far as you can – trust me, you won’t regret it. (Check out my travels here)

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

10. Clean up your wardrobe and your social media. Remember that photo of you doing this weird planking post from 2010? That one has to go. Remember that shirt you bought that made you look like the emo version of Avril Lavigne? That one has to go too. What you wear and how you wear it, says a lot about who you are, so as you change over time, make sure your wardrobe change with you too.

11. Manage your money. I started off my 20’s with one bank account, and during my first few years of working – that bank account is mostly empty. I would spend my money on stupid things like – alcohol, bar entrance or a ridiculously expensive shoe that I don’t really need. Yes, it’s okay to reward yourself with little spoils in life, but also save some for things that really matter. I have two bank accounts, one savings account (for travel and emergencies), and one chequing account, for my day to day expenses. Yes, I am financially wise now, I even “responsibly” pay my taxes every month. (I’m adulting!)

12. Volunteer. I believe that you won’t receive anything if you don’t know how to give. This is not a fair world – and it is wrong to assume that people are poor because they chose to be. I used to have that mentality before, but the more I volunteered, the more I realized that some people don’t really have that choice. So please please, if you have some spare time to go and get drunk – have some spare time to help. To start, visit U! happy events they organize feeding activities for the least fortunate kids around Metro Manila

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

Volunteering at U! Happy Events

13. Don’t chase anyone. May it be an ex, a friend, or what not – never stoop so low that you have to change who you are to get someone to like you. You are your own person, and being different, makes you special – the sooner accept that, the happier you will be. At 25, I am more appease with myself, and I know now that you cannot make someone “change” their decision for you – no matter how great you are, if the person wants to leave, they will leave… so why bother? Besides, the people worth chasing for – are the ones who will never ever leave anyway.

14. Take care of your health. I am still working on this one. My derma is the one who told me that not gaining weight and always being tired is not healthy, and I should go get checked by a general doctor. Low and behold, I have severe iron deficiency anemia, which explains why my lips are getting paler and paler, and my palms lost that “pinkish” glow. So, don’t ignore your health and get checked every now and then – prevention is always better than cure.

15. Love your own Company. I used to be afraid of being alone, but now I crave it. I actually considered living on a remote island, just by myself. I love my independence, and I love my life. I loved the liberty, peace, and serenity that being alone gave me. Cherish it while you can, because someday, when you’re packed with obligations to your kids, your boyfriend/girlfriend, your husband/wife, you will look back at those times where the only obligation that you have is to yourself. So, don’t rush and just enjoy what you have now. This is the perfect time to get in touch with yourself – to know who you are, what you want to be and where you want to be. Freedom is a gift, treasure it.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

16. Always stay positive – and positive things will come. I am a compulsive overthinker, but I have learned to chill now. I am learning little by little to always look at the brighter side of life, that if one thing doesn’t work out, I know other things will. I believe with all my heart that there is a reason for everything and that someday – everything will be in its proper place.

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

Doing the inflatable island challenge at Canyon Cove Batangas

17. Be brave. Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take – even if it means you have to be alone. Go talk to that guy you have always had a crush on, even if there’s a chance that he will just ignore you. Because nothing happens if you do nothing. Stand up to the things you believed in, even if it’s not something society can accept. Be brave, because I know that the best decisions I made, are the ones I have always been too scared to make.

18. Be grateful. At 25, I have become more and more appreciative of everything I have. We’ve been in this world for 25 years, and that enough, says a lot. It means we have undergone some pretty rough patches in our lives, yet here we are -still living, still breathing. Somehow, we still made it and that’s always a good reason for celebration.

19. Be Patient. There will always be a right time for everything. Be patient and know that someday, somehow, you will find what you are looking for – no matter what it is. Time is your best friend, it has a remarkable way to tell you when things aren’t ready for you just yet. So just wait, and live in the moment – smile, laugh, be silly, make stupid jokes, and stop worrying too much about what’s going to happen. It will happen when it happens – just give it time.

20. Make time for your family. When I lost my grandpa, I realized how life really just passes by. One day they look healthy, the next day they are gone. So while they are there, spend time with them. If you have issues with your mom or dad, read #22 and remember, you can get as many boyfriends girlfriends, wives or husbands – but you will only have one mom and one dad.

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

me and the fam bam

21. Get enough sleep. There is no men, women, booze, party or event more important, than your soft, warm cozy bed. Those eye bags needs to be killed. Kill them.

22. Forgive. In life, some people will hurt you, disappoint you or wrong you, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the Satan’s descendants from hell, no. Always see the good in people, even if they fail to see it themselves. Forgive, because you also want to be forgiven. It would be hypocritical of you not to forgive them because honey – no one is too perfect not to commit any mistake in their life. It doesn’t mean you should still be friends if you’re not comfortable with them anymore because forgiveness is different from friendship. Also, learn to forgive yourself, if you can see the good in other people, perhaps it’s time to see the good in you too.

23. Try to take care of something other than yourself. 2016 is a monumental year for me – why? because after years of watching multiple cat videos online, I finally decided to get my own 8-week old undernourished kitten. It started off as a personal challenge, as I wanted to see if I can take care of another living thing other than myself, and I did! She’s a fat happy cat now and I love her.

QUARTER LIFE CRISIS: What the past 25 years have taught me

Me and my cat (I call her my fluffy beast)

24. Love. At 25, I have had many instances where I said I will never love again. That’s crazy. Everyone wants to find love – regardless if it’s love for another person or love towards yourself. Love is a strange yet beautiful thing, and I hope you don’t deny yourself of it. I have been hurt repeatedly, and after each break up I feel like “love” betrayed me. That is not true, because before the hurt, before the pain, before the endless arguments – love consumed you. For a brief moment, you had this unexplainable bliss that made you do things that you never thought you could do. It may not end the way you wanted things to be, but it taught you something. Though I am single now and taking my time off relationships to find “myself”, I know someday, I will learn to love again. This time, I am in no rush to have it, because everything that’s beautiful, is always worth the wait.

25. Pray. Religion has always been a taboo to some, but I have learned to accept mine. I may not believe in the idea of the “church” but I believe in my God, and praying kept me strong. I know we will have differences in beliefs, and I respect that. Faith comes in different forms, and people find hope and strength in different places. So wherever you can find it, use it to give you the strength to move forward every day.

What did you learn for the past years? Comment them below!

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Carla Ramos is an all-around girl who loves to travel, eat, and play around with makeup, while working as a full-time digital marketing specialist. Her blog serves as a guide for travelers with a third-world passport and a dream to see the globe!


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