Closing the year of 2013, recalling what I have been through: happy and sad moments, good and bad times, success and failures, here is a summary of what life has taught me throughout this amazing year:
1. Respect to the ‘elders’.
“Honor your parents so that your days may be long in the land that is given to you”. In fact, the matter of young and old is not only about ages, but also about experiences. We have so many ‘parents’ in life whom we can learn something from. They are not always people who are older than us, but they could be the younger people who have more experiences in some fields. That’s why it is a must to honor everyone. Be humble and respectful, don’t be wise in your own thinking.
2. Beware of every little opportunity in life.
There are things that only come one time in life and will never come again. These things could be anything: opportunity, words, help, experience, people, etc. A wise man says great opportunities often disguise themselves in small tasks or responsibilities. That’s why it is important to appreciate every time and honor every moment in your life.
3. Having a lot of possessions does not add your happiness, often it adds your worry.
It is disappointing to think that having more money, gadgets, or jewelries will bring more happiness. The more possessions will take more of our attention and energy. They always demand greater responsibility to be taken care of. Often our possessions are not what we really need, they are only what we want (or lust for). Be thankful for what we have now. Use them as best as we can for the optimum purpose. Don’t buy more and more things or you would end up wasting them all.
4. You can’t do everything in life.
In fact, you can’t be everything. It is impossible to visit every single place in the world. Don’t be greedy. Everyone has a unique purpose so don’t take over someone’s duty. Don’t get jealous over someone’s achievement or talents. Definitely, you can also be great in your highest passion. Live for it and be the best in it.
5. Be smart with your question.
People would be happy if someone could understand them even without asking questions. They would feel a genuine care knowing that someone deeply cares for them and can relate to their situation. Some people (especially women) dislike questions, particularly the repetitive ones. Good questions would open up their heart and encourage them to share stories, but silly questions would just make them silent. When you don’t know what or how to ask, it’s better to keep quiet rather than giving unnecessary questions, and… wait until you find the better idea to ask your question.
6. It’s important to write your story.
Writing is probably the easiest, the cheapest, and the fastest way to influence yourself. When you are writing, you are improving your brain’s creativity. It is the best place to find your freedom to express your imagination. To write is to share, to lead, and to inspire. Don’t be ashamed of your life’s story. Don’t be afraid of what people might say or think about your story. Nobody knows if it can make a great contribution to history now or later (after you leave this earth into eternity).
7. Being mysterious or invisible is necessary sometimes.
Not every story needs to be told. Be selective in sharing your story. Don’t cheaply share to people who might ignore or despise it. It is great to have our personal secret that should only be shared to people who can really honor it. In the silence, you will know who are really missing you and interested with your life. Let them ask first (if they really wanted to know), don’t share your story first (or they would simply reject it)!
8. Situation changed, people changed, get used to the change.
Change is everywhere. It could happen on circumstances, people, habits, and so on. A positive thing about change is the fact that it can bring dynamics in our lives, suppressing boredom: we could see a lot of new things because of the change. However, when it happened to people, we might be surprised by the fact that many people could easily break their promises, lose their respect, turn their belief, and walk away from our lives. In short, they are changed! (or maybe we are?). So the next time, be ready for the changes!
9. In a relationship, trust is the most precious thing.
There are a lot of stories I’ve heard about broken relationships, where people lost their trust in others It could happen even among two best friends who had been in relationship for a long time. In my observation, the most frequent reason for broken relationship is disloyalty or betrayal. However, sometimes it is good to hardly believe in people because we will not fully put our expectation or always rely on other people. By this way, we can learn to wholeheartedly put our trust and hope only in God. In our daily life, we can also learn to build a firm relationship by honoring other people’s trust.
10. Real friend? In fact, one is enough.
Having a lot of friends doesn’t guarantee happiness. Sometimes, when we have new friends and get closer to them, our old friends might feel neglected and far from us. Yet we can’t please everyone. Just having one friend in life that truly loves and sincerely accepts you is enough. You can focus your time, effort, energy, or even money to him/her. So, never despise the love that a person gave to you. It may not important for you, but it could really matter for that person.
11. To love is to be ready for pain.
There is no painless love. When you are falling in love with someone (or something), you are declaring yourself ready for pain. There is always pain in every ‘falling’, that’s why it is called “falling in love”. To truly love wholeheartedly is to give your life. To completely love means to sacrifice yourself. After all, don’t be afraid to feel hurt or pain, don’t afraid to love. Perfect love will cast away the fear.
12. Less of me, more of God.
This is the most essential lesson I have been learning throughout this year. Not only for this year I think, but for the rest of my life I should learn it over and over. I have been struggling against pride, envy, guilt, apathy, and other kinds of self-centered attitude which made me unhappy. Realizing that selfishness is the definite key to unhappiness, I am more convinced that my life is not about me. I am just nothing without God. All my success or achievements are for God’s glory. I must decrease and He must increase. Die for selfishness and live for God is the ultimate key to the meaningful life.
Seoul, December, 30, 2013.