Today, as of 5:27am, I am officially 25! Is it my quarter life crisis?! Just kidding. I feel like I'm in a good place in terms of my relationships, career, hobbies, identities, and self-confidence.
In my family, we sometimes joke around that I was an "accident" because my birth was not planned. Jokes aside, I am grateful to have made my family proud, especially my parents, of who I have become and what I will accomplish next in life.
Mellissa and I will be releasing this 2 Khmerican Sisters website tomorrow. I thought it would be fitting for my first Lifestyle blog post to be about my reflections as I am now 25.
If you know me, you know that I LOVE helping people and sharing what I know in order to prevent them from making the same mistakes. I want to share 4 life lessons I have realized over the years. I hope these will resonate with you, no matter how old or young you are.
1. There must be two sides to any relationship.
This can apply to personal and professional relationships.
Personal. Friends come and go but the friendships that last are the ones where both people are making the effort to stay connected. Even if you get busy and don't contact each other every day, you know in your heart that you will connect and make time for each other as soon as you can. I always work around my schedule for people who I really care about and who also really cares about me.
Professional. I learned the importance of giving and taking through my work as an educator with my colleagues, students, and families. In order to work together, we must develop that mutual trust, communication, and understanding.
2. No family is perfect but love can be shown in different ways.
Growing up, I was jealous of my friends whose parents had enough time to do things with their children. Whose parents directly expressed their love and affection by hugging, kissing, and saying "I love you."
When I was in second grade, my dad was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Depression. I did not feel like I had a strong relationship with him when I was a child because he was dealing with his own battles. But he showed love in his own ways, like wiping my tears whenever I cried and working to provide for our family even though he despised being in a warehouse.
My parents both worked manual labor jobs with irregular, long hours. Many summers, I would spend over at my Yey (grandma)'s house which I loved but I also felt that my parents missed out on parts of my childhood. During school, I would only spend time with my parents on the weekends if they had enough energy to plan and do something with us.
As an adult, I can reflect and see the sacrifices that my parents made in order to keep a roof over our heads and support us through our schooling and other endeavors. I understand better that they were figuring things out along the way, especially with starting a family as teens, and that they have always showed their love through their actions. Actions speak louder than words, right? Thank you Ma and Ba for everything.
3. Be proud of your strengths and all of what makes you, YOU.
I had extremely low confidence growing up. I remember a time as a teen when I mentally broke down in the bathroom just because my sisters wanted me to go to the mall with them but I hated the way I looked and the worn-out clothes I had.
I can't count how many times that I have found myself as a wallflower in a conversation with a group of people because they perceive me as quiet when they didn't take the time to ask for my thoughts or find ways to include me.
Confidence has been a journey for me. Once I became a teacher, I noticed that my insecurities are actually my STRENGTHS. My calm personality, my ability to actively listen to others and ask questions, my experiences that help me understand the challenges of my shy students... All of these qualities make it easier for me to connect and reach every one of my students. I never thought I had what it took to be a teacher. This profession has certainly helped me grow as a person to be more assertive and strong so that I can better lead my class.
If you spend your time trying to be someone you're not, and feeling defeated about it, what's the point? YOU bring something unique to this world. Take pride in that and as BTS says, love yourself.
4. Find balance in your life.
Life is too short. Isn't it interesting that our life could end at any moment? Death is never expected. What impact do we want to make in our families, communities, and the world before our time is up?
While teaching is my life, I quickly learned the consequences of bringing negative energy from work at home and having it manifest in my physical and mental health. I have been doing a better job with making more time with my family, maintaining a weekly workout schedule (Thanks to my long-term boyfriend, Joseph), cooking, and dancing. Teaching is my main passion but it shouldn't take up my whole life. Self-care allows me to take a break from the never-ending work of education and refuels me to be a happy, healthier me.
I hope that these four life lessons can help someone out there. If you have a problem and need someone to talk to, you are welcome to comment below and we can build a safe space to be there for each other. Mental health is so important and everyone needs to have at least one person in their life that they can trust to make them feel heard and appreciated.
Thank you for reading. Take care. - Jas