Lessons from Bella Swan about turning 21

I’m not very fond of Bella Swan. I find her incredibly annoying, whiny and her acting is terrible. She’s the girl I never want to be. But if there’s one thing I will give her props for is in knowing what she’s is certain about –that Edward is a vampire who wants her blood but still irrevocably loves him –and unrelentingly abides by these certainties, even if it can threaten her life.

I just turned twenty one years old last June 17. Last year I wrote about my transitions to twenty and how my life would turn beautifully real. After one year I have to say that my favorite thing about this decade is discovering some of the certainties of my life, those unquestionable principles that I will use to discover the rest of the world with conviction and honesty.

I haven’t been able to give a proper conclusion to last summer but it was definitely my most emotional one. No, I wasn’t depressed nor did I experience anything tragic. Whatever the trigger was, it was the most honest I’ve ever been with myself, friends and family.

It wasn’t that long ago when indifference used to be my problem. I hardly cried or really cared.  I felt numb. Now I can’t even keep track of how many times I’ve cried in the last 3 months. In between sobs I remember joking around to my best friend that I was being pathetic but she said that it was a sign that I’m growing. I haven’t grown “old” yet, but i am growing up, and now at 21 I can definitely feel the difference.

But despite that emotionally weird summer, after one week of school I was in such a a great mood, most especially on my birthday. Words can not express how immensely loved I felt that day. Weeks before my birthday I’m normally in such a birthday bubble.  I tend to think too much about whether or not to celebrate and if i was then how. It stresses me out.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy lately but this year it hardly crossed my mind. I didn’t try so hard to make it mean something which ironically is what made my twenty first birthday so meaningful. It felt genuine. Like the Beatles said “The love you take is the love you make.” Love is the best way to enjoy your birthday. It’s not about the gifts or the parties.  So if you want a great day, make sure you give genuine love the other 364 days of the year and it will naturally reciprocate on your special day in different forms.

To me my birthday was the affirmation of all the certainties I’ve tearfully and honestly been struggling to figure out in the last two decades. So, even though I’m no Bella Swan, I’ll take my cue from her. After 21 years of living these are  some of the things I am absolutely positive about:

First, to know the people in my life I can truly count on.

Mej, my bestfriend birthday twin! Lena wasn't here though :(

New good girl friends are hard to find at this age :)

Second, to love the work I’m doing.

My AVP's surprised me with cake and asti martini!

Third, to recognize and appreciate the genuine love and concern of my family and the sacrifices they have made for me.

Birthday dinner at Cafe Juanita with my family. Not pictured is Ate Pia!

Fourth, to know that no matter what bad shit happens, there are and will always be good times.

Sharing a beer with another birthday buddy, Arbie Baguios!

ILGN reunion

Tags, tags!

Tags, tags.

Fifth, that I will always be curious about what life has to offer me.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Every day we encounter so much clutter. For me, being 21 is not only knowing what matters but being able to shed away what’s not. Through thick and thin knowing these is what will always remind me to be happy and eternally grateful.


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