I’ve been so blessed to live the life that I have. To have met people who have shaped who I am today. Though the past three years especially saw many unexpected health challenges, as I turn 20 in the upcoming week, I hope to share some of the things I’ve learned before I publish my book (if it works out that is)!

  1. “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.”- Coco Chanel 

Never let anyone persuade you from being the best version of yourself. No matter how dear someone is, don’t ever let them determine your choices and sway you from your values. You are worthy of having people in your life who treasure and love you. And as you face the increasing pressures of life, always remember don’t be conventional, be your own extraordinary. You are born for your own version of greatness.

This took a bit of time to learn as I had people I trusted and admired bully and cyber bully me as I transitioned through the tail end of elementary into mid-high school. But these thoughts changed everything:

If you saw all the potential you have and all that you could be, why would you want to be anyone else? You have something so unique to contribute to this world. Never forget that. You are beautiful. You are cherished. You are loved. And most importantly, you are invaluable.

 2. Henry Ford once said, “One of the greatest discoveries a person makes is to find they can do what they were afraid they couldn’t do.”

I think the greatest discovery about myself was that I realized I had for too long let the opinions of others’ dictate my life. I cared way too much about what people thought I could or couldn’t do. What they saw or didn’t see in me. Instead of placing my life in the trajectory of others’ judgements or values, I began testing my insecurities. I started consistently putting myself out of my comfort zone in high school to tackle the fears that came from bullying. And we all have unlocked potential. We just don’t know it yet.

3. On Completing Capturing the Momentum of the Present:

I had lived by grasping the past or in anticipation for the future but never able to truly conquer the fear of living in the present. I live now knowing that nothing is guaranteed, nothing is permanent. Anything can be taken away in an instant and subsequently, my life can continue to change in a blink of life. That doesn’t scare me as much as it did before. It used to scare me because I would always be worrying about the what if’s of the future. But living knowing that nothing is mine and that anything can be taken away from me, is about acknowledging the blessings I have in the present moment and fully appreciating them. Not fixating on whether or not they’ll be gone, but to relish in it. To know that I don’t have all the time in the world so I need to appreciate the person or thing, now.

4. “You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things”- Jamie Tworkowski.

another great quote that encapsulates what I’m about to say:

“Life’s meaning, its virtue, had something to do with the depth of the relationships we form,”- Paul Kalanthi. 

We don’t have to do it by ourselves! We have people around us who are always willing to help. It’s about finding the strength within to be vulnerable and to place trust in another person to help when I can’t do it by myself. I’m not in this alone. We are all in it together. (Also think, we live in a win-win world. Somebody’s success doesn’t have to mean my failure)!

5. “If you don’t want to sink, you better figure out how to swim,”- Jeannette Walls via The Glass Castle.

Often times, waiting idly for life to pass opportunities or for people to reach out to help, doesn’t happen. It was definitely hard to learn that the hard way when I needed help as I faced my fifth recovery after my fifth lung collapse but I couldn’t bring myself to ask. Life’s about forging new paths. Creating opportunities for myself. Not letting the doors close on me but advocating for myself.

6. “Self care is not an indulgence, it is a discipline.”- Tami Forman

I lost sight of the bigger picture when I was running on this hamster wheel. I was so busy and I thought I was doing so much for the end goal of helping people. But I also lost sight of what really mattered because I didn’t take the time to reflect and to pause to actually figure it out. I used to run in circles for validation that would never, ever fulfill me. When I received an award that I never thought I was qualified to receive, I was humbled. I met amazing people through the program and felt a boost of reassurance in the work I was doing. But I also felt increased pressure. I believed that I needed to live a life that had a linear trajectory. Life doesn’t work that way. Linear growth never lasted forever and was never sustainable. I had to learn that when I ended up in the hospital. Burnt out. My body not knowing what rest felt like for two years.

Getting recognition, achievements, and to have societal metrics tell me my worth, meant that I, slowly before I knew it, was on a hamster wheel seeking validation from others through internships, grades, achievements, etc. But those things will never be enough. They will never be enough for you or for me. 

You have inherent value. Regardless of your income, your status, your job, or whatever possessions you own. You are valuable. You need to take care of yourself to be able to look after others. You need to take the time to listen to what your body and mind is telling you and that requires discipline. Because in a world where there is so much humdrum and the need “to keep up” and work even harder, it takes a lot of willpower to say that your health matters more than a promotion, an extra bonus, or whatever it is.

7. LEARN from EVERYTHING- Laura Weinblatt

Honestly, every person and everything that I’ve in my life has taught me something. Last year when I was tackling depression and anxiety from my fifth unexplainable medical phenomenon, I broke. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t understand why I was here. I lost my passion and my purpose. And that was so scary. But I kept asking myself, what was that terrible event meant to teach me? And you know what, it taught me that we are all stronger than we know. We are stronger. Whatever it is you’re going through, you may think there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, but look within and around and you’ll see a dim but shimmering spark.

8. Take risks because life is short and fragile. It literally can change in any instant! Indulge in the chocolate cake for once. Get that dress you’ve been eyeing in the store for a while. (Don’t go all out YOLO or bankrupt, but it’s okay to indulge once in a while, to make choices that you’re scared to make).

We shouldn’t be afraid of making choices because best ones don’t exist- we need to decide who we truly are instead. There is not a “best” decision because you mold into each decision. Each decision you make, you CAN make it into the best one. 

9. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”- Vivian Greene.

As I forge ahead in my life, I am always cognizant of the words of Ta-Nahesi Coates. Knowing that life is unfair is different from understanding it.  Because we would always be “presented with dimensions of our world and ourselves that we did not ‘choose.’” Things like winning the birth lottery of our socio-economic status, the colour of our skins, and the propesensity for a particular trajectory of life. For Coates he said this, “We could not control our enemies’ number, strength, nor weaponry. Sometimes you just caught a bad one. But whether you fought or ran, you did it together, because that is the part that was in our control,” (Between the World and Me). As I began gaining control of my life and who I was again, I knew that life was going to be about taking ownership for the things I could do to help another person. Because despite losing aspects of my health, I was beyond privileged to still be alive, to be breathing again. Understanding that “we did not lay down the direction of the street, but despite that, we could-and must-fashion the way of our walk” were Coates’ triumphs of victory. There are things in life that I can never change. Things that will always be 100% outside of my control. Whether there will be a thunderstorm tomorrow, if I’ll end up in a car crash, or even if I get pooped on by a bird. But that did not mean that I could not decide how I went about my life, the choices I made, and the attitude to with which I would approach it. And as his words linger “the struggle, in and of itself, has meaning,” his strength will last me for years to come.

10. Love yourself. 

Simple but do it.





P.S. If you liked reading this, please leave me your comments! I’m still hesitating on whether I should go public with my manuscript/book so your advice and support would mean the world ❤

P.P.S. My previous essay regarding my privilege: https://ajourney2success.com/2016/12/22/cecilias-ghost-of-privilege-past-privilege-present-and-privilege-yet-to-come/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: