Republished on March 24, 2018, with additional content.
How do you move forward? By learning the lessons from the past and applying these as we move on with our daily lives.
The year 2017 started and ended with several good surprises for me but it also brought me a job lay off, some business disappointments and a couple of strained personal relationships.
As 2017 has come to an end, let me share with you some life truths that I have learned this year.
1. Misfortunes are blessings in disguise. Have you ever found yourself stuck in heavy traffic to find out that there’s a massive accident a few meters away from you? Most of the time, we experience little inconveniences to be saved from future disastrous incidents.
I was laid off from my job last year and I accepted my fate with big open arms. Why? Because being jobless means I will have all the time in this world to spend with my family especially my kids. I have never been a stay at home mom ever since I gave birth to my youngest son in 2011.
2. Never count unhatched chicks. Isn’t it excruciatingly frustrating to expect something and it turned out to be a dud? Or worse, it didn’t turn out to anything at all? Tell me about it.
I had a few investments last year which turned out to be major disappointments. One has the makings of a giant pyramid scam, another gives peanuts as monthly payouts and another returned our investment fee with a very illogical excuse. And, another one has not given us any profit in return after almost 2 years of investing in the company. Well, I still have high hopes for the latter because it’s a big company operating on a lean budget.
Related Post: The 7 Biggest Lessons I Learned From Investing in 2017
3. There is no such thing as over-preparation. How long do you prepare for your retirement, children’s education costs or travel budget? Do you prepare years, months, weeks ahead or not at all? Are you like me that you pack your travel luggage a week before a flight? Or, like hubby that prepares his backpack the night before travelling?
When I got laid off from work last year, I didn’t cry. You know why? Because I’ve prepared for my “exit from work” since the day I started my job. I kept a small notebook where I wrote down my salary and every single financial investment vehicle that I had my money allocated. Even when some of my investments turned out to be disappointments, it was still fine. My backup plans have backup plans.
4. Social Media is both a boon and a bane. How do you use social media? Is it for keeping in touch with friends all over the world, spreading rumors about someone else, sourcing the net for possible investments or posting nonsense memes?
I am on Facebook most of the time to show our photos to my parents and to communicate with my business partners. They are all based in the Philippines and with the time difference, it’s better for me to send them a message before I sleep and check on them when I wake up. I frequently hang out on FB investing and blogging groups.
Related Post: Who Am I?
5. Dreams do come true. When I was a kid, someone told me not to dream too much because I will just fall. My spirits were crushed, to say the least, but I’m a rebel. I was discouraged but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, right?
I am not a child anymore and I know for a fact that dreams do come true. I dreamed of becoming a lawyer when I was little because I wanted “to help the poor”. Due to certain circumstances, I wasn’t able to finish my Law degree. (Back in my country, one has to finish a 4-year degree prior to studying Law.) Fortunately, I’m now a Financial Literacy advocate (I try to help the poor or those who want to be rich) and I’m also a benefactor to some people in need.
6. Humility does not mean being a doormat. My parents would always tell me to be humble and to be quiet (read: shut my mouth) especially with elders. It must be an Asian trait because I don’t hear that among non-Asians. What does “humility” means to you?
Humility for me is not being a pushover. I don’t answer back to older people but I do give them a piece of my mind when asked. I don’t brag my achievements to random strangers but I do pitch ideas to possible business contacts. Humility is not mindlessly nodding our heads to everything that others tell us to say or do.
7. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Do you catch yourself thinking if moving to another department, company or country is better than being stuck in your current situation? Have you told yourself “If only I have a better (fill in the blanks)”?
Whether you are on the left or right side, the other side will always be greener… based on your perspectives. It is normal for any human being to look at the other side of the fence and think of other possibilities. We feel discontent, envy, greed. Who doesn’t?
8. The grass will be greener when watered. Isn’t that right? Green grasses will turn brown when they haven’t been watered for a long time. It’s the same with our goals or ambitions in life.
Anything will not flourish when not cultivated. The position in other departments will be juicier than our current job if we slack off doing our work. Working in another company (with better benefits) will always sound amazing if we don’t try to ask for a raise or a promotion. Moving abroad will always be the solution to our financial problem if we don’t learn how to properly manage our money now.
9. Love spells T-I-M-E. How do you show your love to your family? How do you want love shown to you? Do you tell your kids daily that you love them? Do you enjoy cooking for your family? Do you want your spouse to give you back rubs? Do you want to be showered with gifts? Are you contented with spending time with them within the comforts of your living room?
Time is the most expensive currency because once spent, will not come back again. And, this became most apparent to me when we went to the States last year for a couple of family affairs. We were not supposed to proceed because money got tight fortunately, we still did. We can always earn money but, we can’t turn back time – most especially time with our loved ones.
10. Money cannot buy happiness but, it can provide peace of mind. I teach personal finance and I have noticed that people who are opposed to the idea of saving and investing money would always tell me that they’d rather be poor than rich because at least they’re happy. That is just sad.
There is no price tag to happiness but money when spent intentionally can give us a happy life. I can’t be happy if I don’t have money to send my children to school. My son (who loves to eat) will cry if he’s hungry and I can’t bear that thought. I will be full of grief if hubby unexpectedly dies and leave us penniless. Will you be happy if you have a sick member of your family but you don’t have money to pay their medical bills?
11. Being wealthy does not mean wearing expensive or trendy clothes. What goes inside your mind when you hear “rich guy”? Do you picture them wearing designer outfits every day? How about “poor dude”? Do you think they only wear torn and faded clothes?
We cannot judge a man by the clothes he wears. In my recent company, people who serve refreshments wear suits while corporate staff wear shorts. No, I didn’t wear shorts to the office but I stopped wearing suits after my first week at work.
Related Post: “Mom, Are We Rich?”
12. Not having cash does not mean being poor. Have you heard the phrase cash-poor and asset-rich? This scenario applies mostly to Baby Boomers who believe that investing their hard earned money in real estate is better than trading in the stock market.
Cash is king but it does not mean that we should keep a thick pad of bills with us every day. Hello, muggers and burglars! In this generation, using debit cards and doing online transactions are normal.
Related Post: 18 Ways Parents Can Save Money in 2018
13. We all have the same 24 hours. Time is the only currency that once used, cannot be refunded. How do you use your 24 hours? Stuck in traffic? Sleeping in front of the television? Gossiping with colleagues? Scrolling social media feed? I used to do that (guilty!) then I realized something…
My 24 hours is the same amount of time that Suze Orman, Gary Vee, and Beyonce have in their daily lives. The only difference is how we each use our time every day.
14. Everyone has an unfair advantage. What are your skills and passion? Are you a prolific writer or an eloquent speaker? Do you have a photographic memory or a set of fast fingers?
You may not have a post-graduate degree in Economics nor a big sum of inheritance from rich parents but you can still accumulate knowledge and wealth. You just have to use whatever you have. Squeeze all the juice that you have!
15. Home, like Love, has many definitions. Since my kids came here when they were little, they call Qatar as their “home”. I still call the Philippines as my home while hubby says his home is us – his family.
Where is home?
16. Traditions are not set in stone. Which family traditions do you faithfully practice? Do you have annual Christmas reunions, New Year’s Eve shindigs, Sweet Sixteen parties etc?
We try to make new family traditions. My family and I do not celebrate our children’s 7th birthday with big parties. But, we do spend their special days with dinner with friends, a staycation or an overseas trip.
17. Life is short. You can be partying today and be gone tomorrow. You can be a millionaire today and be homeless next week. You can be employed today and be jobless next month.
Live your life to the fullest.
Getting laid off from my job made me realize that even if I work during weekends, I will still be dispensable. Severing ties with friends made me realize that even if I frequently talk to them, I will still be misunderstood.
Spend time and make memories with the people that love you.
Do you think this post helped you think deeper about the past year? Do you have regrets or lessons from 2017? I would appreciate a comment or two. If you know people who can benefit from My Favorite Lists, please use the social icons to share!
Hope you take this moment to reflect on life,