On the fourth of may, I turned 31. I guess I’ve officially entered my thirties and to be honest, it felt great. I’m not kidding. If you will compare our lives to video games, turning 31 is like reaching Level 31 in a game.
It’s funny how the world likes to count down to the number of years left spent on this earth and starts to lament about the negatives of being older. We often focus on what we can’t do as we age rather than on what we can do as we grow older.
Entering thirties is just another season of time and not a dwindling path of impossibilities. In fact, it is like reaching a milestone. Look, I’m 31 and looking back, life has certainly treated me well. I’ve made it till 31 with some setbacks, tears and pain but it was all over now.
However, looking back, there are things I wish I knew earlier which would make my life more fulfilling. If I were to write a letter to my 20-year-old self, this is probably how it would look like. Or if you are in your twenties and is still figuring out about life, I hope this article will shed some light.
1. I wish I knew about Jesus.
Knowing Jesus has been the most wonderful gift of my life. I vaguely remember about my time spent in Sunday schools and church but back then, I didn’t really know who God or Jesus is. Thankfully, I met my boyfriend who had patiently led me back to Christ.
The turning point came when I started to attend New Creation Church and received biblical teachings from Pastor Joseph Prince. As he preaches, every word from his mouth sits well with my soul. Knowing God’s unwavering love for us has truly set me free. That’s the kind of God I know – gracious, forgiving, loving and generous. I was once a lost child but now I’m found.
If you haven’t got to know Jesus, then you are truly missing out. It has never been a religion but a truth that would reveal your calling on this earth.
2. I wish I have been more patient.
It could have been my mum who has rubbed off some of her personality onto me. As a child, I was trained to complete tasks quickly so that I do not have to deal with it later on. I’ve always thought that being efficient is key. In the eyes of others, it may seem like a positive trait. But in reality, being fast means overlooking the minor details and making mistakes as a result of trying to get it done as quickly as possible.
I’m still in the process of learning how to perform tasks accurately without rushing. And the holy spirit within me is training me under His wings to be restful and patient.
3. I wish I had spend money more wisely.
If you know me as a friend, you would say I am one of those thrifty Singaporeans who hardly spent much. It is indeed true that I am very careful about what I spend on but not much in the past.
It was only recently that I started to look away from the idea of materialism and fixed my eyes on God and the intangibles like relationships and experiences.
If I hadn’t spent so much money on clothes and other unnecessary items, I would have saved much more. I can’t deny the fact that consumerism could be a major problem in our society. Are we spending money on things we don’t need or have in excess? Or buying stuff just because it is cheap?
The hundreds of dollars saved could be spent on travel or helping the less fortunate. The $10-note in your hands right now can feed the hungry.
4. I wish I took care of my health and stay fit.
I love my parents but they are after all imperfect. One of the things I felt that I was taught well during childhood is the importance of eating well and exercising. As a kid, my parents gave me the freedom to eat what I want. During grocery shopping trips, I could take what I want from the aisle. Grabbing a bag of chips and packets of instant noodles is a norm for me. As a kid, eating chips and candies made me happy. But temporarily only. I ended up gaining weight through my life and battled with self-esteem issues.
It was only later in life when I started to learn more about eating clean and the benefits of exercising that I commit myself to lead a healthier lifestyle.
5. I wish I had accepted more challenges in life.
If you want to lead a fulfilling and successful life, then overcoming challenges is a must. When you took a leap of faith and overcome your fear, you can scale mountains and leap into the other side of the world.
There are times when I was afraid of taking risks and thus did not put myself up for the challenge. Looking back, I realised that those are the opportunities I missed.
But then again, I know my God can restore and can still provide me with a abundant life. So, don’t lose hope!
6. I wish I took the time to develop meaningful relationships.
You can say that I’m rathe selfish and self-centred in the past. I’m someone who constantly thinks about myself first more. Even till today, I am still learning how to focus less on myself and more on God and others.
For the past 31 years of my life, I’ve lost friendships due to my selfish thoughts and emotional turmoils. But as I grew wiser and closer to God, I am better at dealing with people and managing myself.
Relationships with God and others are what matter the most to me right now. They are the intangibles which outlast all the tangible things in the world.
People are God’s creations and they are made on this earth so that we can share our happiness with.
7. I wish I had been more gracious towards others and myself.
I only understood what grace is all about at the age of 27. It takes wisdom to fully understand how and what being gracious is like. We should be kind to ourselves and others because we are wonderfully made and love by our creator who blesses.
Because I was overweight as a kid, I tend to look down on myself and despise the way I look. I wasn’t gracious to myself at all and people weren’t open to discussing these issues. Today, with social media, there is a pressure to meet a specific beauty standard. But at the same time, there are people who tap on social media to spread positive messages about loving yourself and God.
Given a choice, I would have still chosen to live in this exciting era. As prophesied in the bible, we are entering the last days before Jesus comes back again. This is good news – the news that everyone needs to hear about.
Now that I had the future ahead of me, I’m more confident in who I am today in the