Five on Friday: Random life lessons

Mount Santo Tomas.

I used to write sporadically enough to still get away with calling myself a blogger. Now that I’ve stopped pretending as one, it’s just about writing when you have something to write about. So here it goes.

The great thing about not blogging for a long time is that you have so much material to play with, so many experiences to share. Yet at the same time, some of them are no longer relevant by the time you try to put pen on paper, so you end up with a distilled, more picturesque story—one that leaves only the important lessons worth sharing.

  1. The world needs better communicators. Be it in writing or speaking, some of the world’s problems can be fixed if people only knew better. I guess the story of the Tower of Babel doesn’t really help, but you get my point.

    Ask the right questions. Say the right answers. Speak out clearly from your heart and mind.

  2. Be nice. I’ve played the bad role too often, and I feel sorry about it. Don’t make unnecessary enemies. No one gets it better by being the pain in the ass. Make life easier for everyone by playing fair and being kind. It works wonders.

    Though be wary of the flip-side—don’t breed bullies and assholes. They multiply like gremlins and try to take over the world. Don’t be afraid to call them out, and definitely don’t tolerate them. Evil corrupts those that wield them, if you don’t stop them.

  3. You will not get exactly what you expect. This is probably the harshest lesson in life, and it’s one you’ll recognize when it hits you. No amount of hard work nor magic will stop the world from fucking you over. It’s just how life is—maximum disorder leading to balanced chaos—the second law of thermodynamics specifically describes it:

    … entropy of an isolated system never decreases; such a system will spontaneously evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, the configuration with maximum entropy.

    And sometimes, you cannot do anything about it but take the lesson from it. Conan O’Brien put it so nicely, when he had to leave the very institutions he loved dearly to protect them:

    To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism—it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.

    Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

  4. Life is a story of gained and lost friendships. When you grow old, you can choose to tell your story by how much money you’ve earned, or how many castles you’ve built. Some choose to define it by how many they’ve helped, or how many they’ve loved.

    A parallel story that unfolds is told and defined by the people around you—friends. Life’s ups and downs brings with it tales of relationships that come and go, and bonds that last beyond the years. You can’t predict them though, you just have to watch your own story unfold, while rolling with the punches.

  5. Hold on to your constants. Related to the preceding two items above, always know the constants in your life. These are the things you will keep close to your heart, the ones that will keep you fighting. Obviously, to many of us, it’s our families. Our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters. The woman I love, and my everything.

    It’s also the passion we have for things, like photography and music. Maybe your service for others and love for country.

    Whatever your constants are, hold them close. You will need them.