Level-Up In Life: 10 Important Things I’ve Learned This Year

I’m writing true sentences only today. So here it goes. I’m single. I’m loved. I have many trusted friends around. I’m not dating anyone. I’m okay being on my own. I’m at peace. I’m taking a rest from everything. I’m clearing up my mind. I’m turning 25 soon. I’m young. I’m emotionally reactive in romantic relationships and I try to calm myself down daily. I believe I will become calmer and tougher with age. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing, so I stop for a moment and ask myself what I’m doing. It’s relieving when clarity arrives. Well, I’m sorting my life out. I’m happy about this present. I’m not tangled with any past. I’m letting things pass me by like water. I refuse to put any connotation on anything happening to me. I let things be. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.

I think too much at times and it’s getting exhausting. I want to look out the window with a blank mind. I want to go through some days with a blank mind. I want to be thinking about things that are emotionally neutral. I want to be still. I’m still. Why do we choose to suffer so much? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we subject ourselves to so much hardship even when we could be happy? What is it about a life without suffering that’s so scary? Oh, I know. Meaninglessness. Nothingness. Actual reality. But it’s okay. It’s true bliss. If we’re always in the now, we won’t need a meaning. We’ll understand the essence of life. We’ll feel relaxed. I’m feeling relaxed right now. I have everything that I need.

I took a few trips recently. They were largely emotional responses to an attachment that I needed to break. My mind wasn’t at its clearest. But I could see myself falling in love with nature and wanting to travel more, to see more of the physical world, to be truly happy. I know the next trip would be just about the trip and nothing else. 2019 hasn’t been easy but the experience has helped me understand myself and life more and more. I think I’ve passed the quarter-life crisis. I’m letting go of my baggage. I’m rewriting my stories. I’m so grateful and hopeful. I’m proud of myself for the fact that even in the most stressful times, I’ve never stopped working on myself. I was shedding skin like a snake, and a more evolved, mature me has emerged.

It’s still a long road ahead, I still have a lot to work through, especially my emotional reactivity and drawing boundaries and letting go when I know I should and not getting attached to people too soon — oh well. But I just know in my gut that it’s going to be alright.

Here are 10 things I learned that have transformed my life this year: 

What I want at this stage of life 

I don’t have a bullet list of things to share but let’s just say I know what makes me fulfilled at this stage of life or say in the next few years (not longer than this as I’m sure my thinking will change.)

I like this quote from a dating book that says, “Fulfilment is a feeling, not a person”, and I shall add that it’s not a specific thing either.

To me, it’s not a high flying career, it’s not money, it’s not any possession, it’s not a relationship with a particular person, it’s not a socially constructed milestone.

These are all the coating layers, the extra toppings, the extensions of me. What anchors me is this very moment. If it’s full then I’m full. I’m full from the goodness of going all in, from knowing myself, from connecting with my higher self. It’s the whole package of being a human — all the good and bad and mundane.

I embrace all the experiences and I let them pass me by, you know, like water. I simply live. 

My worth

I used to measure myself based on a lot of external factors: my job, my relationships, my friendships, my bank account, my body, and I didn’t always feel great. I was insecure and anxious and feeling a sense of inferiority and it showed clearly in my (self-disrespecting) behaviours, in the (bad) treatment I accepted from others, in the (poor) choices of dating partners.

Now I know I was so misguided, I had my head stuck in my ass, and it led to all sorts of problems.

I’ve learned the hard way that there’s always massive worth in being a true woman, in my femininity, in being centred, in body movements, in authentic self-expressions, in doing what I love and standing up for what I believe in.

There’s worth in doing good, wanting to do good, in serving others. There’s worth in being me, in my fierce heart, in the value I create through my writing, my connections with others.

There’s worth in being. I’m worth by default. And I need to act as such. 

My core values

When I enter a relationship or friendship with someone, my gut feelings are always quick to flag me the things that are off. I didn’t know why before but now I realise that something feels off because it has violated my core values and some of the main ones are respect, care, and genuineness.

To be long-lasting and trusted, to stay in my inner circle which I would always give the best treatment possible, a connection needs to have mutual respect, genuine care for each other’s feelings and wellness, and authenticity (among other things).

Relationships are very important to me, I invest my time and energy in them, and so I’m more and more conscious and selective about who I let in and keep around. 

Energy management

I’m a Cancerian woman. I have mood swings. My energy level tended to go up and down all the time. In the morning I could be in a different mood than I’m the afternoon. One good news could instantly turn me into an extrovert and glow like a LED light, and an unresponded text could cause me to spiral into anxiety and depression.

Nowadays, my mood has been more stable. I’m generally calm. I’ve learned to enjoy a much tamer range of emotions. I try to preserve and protect my energy throughout the day. I remind myself that feeling low or having one bad day doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with my life. My life is great. And I have all the rights to switch back to being okay right now. 


Since I don’t date anymore, I have more time for myself, and so I take better care of myself. My health is great. My physique is great. My skin is great. I’ve also learned to slow down and relax.

In the past, my rest time was always tainted with a sense of guilt as I constantly felt like I wasn’t doing enough and I could always be doing more to achieve my success.

Now, not only has my definition of success changed (see point 1), but I’ve also given myself more patience. I believe patience is the ultimate self-care.

I’m turning 25 soon, and I have most things in order, yet a lot to work on, and I prefer my life to move at this pace and so be it. No guilt. No rush. Only peace….which leads to this next point: 

Living life at my own pace

I used to go on dates with people with a much faster pace of life than my own and live the “crazily busy” lifestyle vicariously through them. These people work all the time, travel all the time, appear busy all the time, and have very different priorities from mine.

As I tried to keep up with them, I lost myself.

Being with them, I constantly felt stressed out and like my life wasn’t exciting enough even though I wasn’t sure if I truly wanted their kind of excitement and if it would align with my values. I realise I was pretending to be someone I was not. So I’ve learned to be completely honest with myself about who I am.

For a while, I wanted to brand myself as the socially savvy, fun city girl with straight bourbon in one hand and high heels in another, which attracted mostly wrong people or brought out the wrong parts from most people. It’s a coat I put on if I want to and I do enjoy it occasionally but not who I am essentially.

I’m a Vietnamese girl with traditional Eastern values (mixed with some Western lifestyle preferences). If anyone wants to be with me, regardless of how hectic their life might be, they will have to slow down with me when we’re together. My life might also get busier at some point but the thread that sews every piece of me together will always be this mindfulness of every moment. 

Meditation / Philosophy

I talk about meditation a lot but to be honest I’m still at the very, very beginning. It’s like drinking water. It’s so essential but it takes a lot of mental effort. I have to catch myself in the action all the time to remind myself to slow down and take a deep breath. It’s all okay, I tell myself.

Life is right now. You do things for this moment, you don’t mindlessly pass this moment by (or basically waste it) for things that are not here yet. You can never get this moment back. This moment is all you have. So you have to be here, make the most of it, fill it up, absorb it all. And that also leads me to read on philosophy. I can’t claim I know much yet but I must say philosophy texts really satisfy my deep thinking nature. 

Getting out of my head and being more outdoorsy

I’ve noticed that I think a lot and, unfortunately, tend to talk more than I listen, which is a big mistake!

If I want to grow, I need to be more open-minded and critically process what’s communicated to me. So I’m more and more conscious about my talking and catching myself right when I interrupt others or just listen to respond instead of listening to truly understand.

I don’t want to be in my own head with my own thoughts all the time. I want to be challenged and expand my horizon. This also means traveling and interacting with the physical world around me more actively, allowing my body as well as my mind to be naturally energised.

This balance has proved to be very beneficial for my mental health and overall fulfilment. 

Being aware of my attachment style, my anxiety triggers, my protesting behaviours, my need to regulate my emotions 

One of the books that have changed the relationship game for me completely this year is Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.

From this book, I started to dive in the world of attachment types and learn about all the strategies that would work for my type. This understanding really helps me accept myself and all my past behaviours which I wrongfully shamed myself for. Evidently, my most recent dating situation went downhills firstly because of my attachment style. Without all this knowledge, I’d spent months beating myself up over my so-called mistakes, wishing I would’ve been more chill.

Now, all I have for myself is compassion. Of course, I would’ve acted the way I did, I was heavily set up by years and years of hard-wired brain reactions. I’ve also come to respect my own emotional needs more. Instead of trying to change myself, I’m determined to find things that work for me while I’m on the path to being well-adjusted. 


I’m grateful for my academically-focused background, my hardworking, loving parents, my caring, trusted friends, the life I’ve built for myself, my job that enables me to live in this city, how far I’ve come, my writing, my readers, all the good people coming my way and staying in my life.

I’m grateful for being alive and I enjoy deeply the experience of being a woman and learning to tap into my femininity — it’s magical. I’m grateful for life!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply