Valderrama: The times in our lives


I had a social media post in 2021 that garnered more than 350 shares and it resurfaced again because someone, three years later, saw and liked the post.

As I read it, I again saw the truth and little twists in life’s lessons. 

When you are in your 20s, the center of your life is always about yourself. You want attention, affirmation, and recognition. You think you're better than the old ones because you are more technology literate or you speak English with a twang. 

You compete with time because you want to achieve your dreams immediately. You are uncompromising to become rich and do what is on your bucket list. 

When you start a family in your 20s, you begin changing priorities, but you are too young to forget yourself. So, while you want to become a good parent, the world must still notice you. 

So, you create impressions. 

You walk the extra mile to establish yourself. What matters to you is to become more beautiful and confident because, for you, life is a competition. 

Then you reach your 30s. You have matured. You are hooked on your career because you are racing with promotion and higher income. You work overtime. 

The desire for authority and power is creeping inside you. True joy is overpowered by ambitions and "success".

If you aren’t married yet by this time and all your friends are raising their own families, you see it as a dilemma. Again, you race with time. You count each year. 

Can I still marry and have my own family? Can I still find ‘the one’?

If you have children, the more you work hard and focus on earning because tuition fees are high. You forget that time runs so fast, and so are your children. You’ll be surprised they have their crushes, and they have their distinct ways.

Then you are in your 40s. You slow down. You feel the difference in your strength. You can no longer work the way you did when you were 20. You can only linger.

This time, it is no longer about you but your children. You still work hard because your children are starting to establish themselves. You want them to increase, and you allow yourself to decrease.

If you don’t have your children, it may be about your nieces and nephews, or your pets and plants. You realize you're 40, and you can’t bring back time.

When you are in your 50s and have spent more than half of your life, you change priorities. You no longer compete with anyone else. You become comfortable with yourself. You start to take one day at a time. 

You notice the fine lines, freckles, and grey hair but you accept them. You feel lucky you have reached that age. Others didn’t have the chance. 

By this time, you have grown with form and substance. You start caring for the old because you know you’re getting there. 

While we are too busy establishing ourselves to be noticed and to gain wealth, we forget that we are losing the essence of life: time, energy, and freedom.

We didn’t notice that time was fast, so we have regrets and what-ifs. So, what are the life lessons?

Be at peace with yourself. Do not compete with others or with yourself. You are unique and every day is a singular experience. 

Do not race with time. You can't compete with it because it never stops. Spend most of your time with yourself and the people you love to be with. Your career will naturally unfold. God always puts us in the right place at the right time.

Dream to be happy, not to be wealthy. What is more rewarding in life than to be truly happy? We can have all the things we want, but they can only give temporary pleasure. The things that give us true happiness are free – love, hope, and faith.

Have faith in God and yourself. Some people will criticize you, but there will always be those who will believe in you. God designed your life from the start. He will give you what you deserve and people who deserve to have you.  

Be comfortable with the here and now


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