Six lessons I learned at 41

One thing’s for sure, it is only through positive thinking that I was able to see good in everything

Today, I am celebrating my 41st birthday. Like everyone else, this is my second birthday on ECQ/GCQ, but I couldn’t complain. I am blessed beyond blessed today because I’m living, breathing, and surviving despite this pandemic.

Every year, I try to list down valuable lessons I learned throughout the year. So, this year, I’m doing just the same – I am listing down six lessons I learned at the age of 41. Why six? Why not? It’s my birthdate!

  1. CHERISH PEOPLE. October 10 last year, I’ve lost my father due to health complications. Although he already underwent multiple heart bypass in the United States in 2018, I was expecting (…and praying based on the medical studies) that he’ll live at least 10 more years. Little did I know, he’ll only get to live two more years after his heart bypass. Not only I lost my father, I also lost some church and work friends last year and recently. It is heartbreaking that I didn’t get to see them for the last time due to the current health protocols that only immediate family are allowed to attend the wake and burial. But because of that, I learned to cherish people more while they’re living, while they can still hear and feel the love and concern I have for them.
Missing dad.
  1. REDEFINE ‘HEALTHY’. I thought I was perfectly healthy. I’ve never felt so healthy in my entire life than at my 40s. I’ve achieved my ideal weight and I felt more confident than ever. But on May 23 of this year, I had to undergo appendectomy. Thank God I was operated before my appendix burst. But I felt so devastated thinking I was perfectly healthy and then I suffered from appendicitis. What did I do wrong? After the surgery, I felt like my life was forced to stop. I can’t move freely like I used to. I was advised not to lift heavy things or run for months. I must admit it made me depressed for a while. Up to now, I am still coping with it, but to counter it, I have started walking around the village and doing some of my regular activities, but on a much slower pace. I have also come to realize that maybe…maybe this happened to me because I needed to redefine being ‘healthy’. Being ‘healthy’ doesn’t necessary mean being physically active always. Sometimes, it’s just slowing down, taking time to stop and smell the flowers, and enjoying life.
Yellow gumamela around the village
My first walking exercise after my surgery
  1. BE KINDER. I love talking and interviewing people. I believe every person has a ‘unique’ story to tell. And many times, I will only understand the person after hearing his/her stories – why he acted this way, why he’s afraid, why he’s anxious, or why he’s always angry or agitated. I’ve heard it said so many times: “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I wish life would be kinder to everyone, but it can’t. But we’re here to be kinder to them instead.
  1. LET GO AND LET GOD. It’s human nature to desire everything to happen in our own time and pace. But there are some things that are beyond our control. I wanted a job promotion, but God says it’s not yet time. I wanted to get married now, but God says soon. I wanted to have kids right now, but God says someday. I realized that no matter how hard I try to pitch my plans to God, He has other plans. My timeline is different with Him and so with everyone else, so I learned to let go and let Him.
  1. WAIT FOR THE GOD’S PERFECT TIMING. I remember wanting so bad to visit Sydney, Australia in 2003 but was denied of a visa. When I applied again after seven years in 2010, it was approved so I was able to attend my uncle’s 50th birthday. Why was it denied in 2003? Maybe because I just graduated from college then and had no stable job. When it was approved in 2010, I had a regular job and my cousins in Australia were already past 18 years old, so they were able to accompany me at the mall, city, or at the beach. Looking back, if I visited Sydney in 2003, it wouldn’t be so much fun like it was in 2010.
Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2010
  1. BE GRATEFUL. “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:20). A lot has happened to me in 2020. I think everyone else was also affected by the pandemic in one way or another. However, this year, I’ve learned to be more grateful no matter what the circumstances are and appreciate my blessings instead of what’s lacking. It’s hard sometimes, but I have no choice. I may have lost my father. I may have undergone appendectomy, but I still have my mother, my sisters, my nieces, and nephew. I have a stable job. I have supportive relatives and caring friends at church and at work. I have a strong church community. I’m alive. I’m well. I’m happy. I’m in love. And many more. What’s not to be grateful for?
Celebrating mom’s 65th birthday with my sisters last month. Praise God for the gift of life.

“No matter how difficult the situation is now, count your blessings. It will help you a lot to stay positive. The continued lockdowns might have been too heavy for you to bear, but you must be grateful for little things you might have taken for granted to care.

Lucky for you if you can still read this, compared for those who could not as they are grasping for their breath because of being infected. Staying at home could be boring, but it could have been worse if you’re in a quarantine facility snoring. Never be annoyed getting up in your own bed, at least, it’s not owned by a hospital.

Thank God if you’re still wearing a face mask, it’s cheaper than having the tube from an oxygen tank. Delight in the simple food you can munch than losing your taste with the sumptuous ones. Appreciate the abode of your simple home than being lifeless buried in a cold ground alone. Be grateful to God if you can afford to pray, then letting others wish you peaceful rest in what they say. It is only through positive thinking that you can see good in everything.”

From an unknown author

This year, allow me to once again thank you for your warm greetings and for being so kind, generous, warm, loving, understanding and supportive of me and my family, especially during our difficult times and lowest points. I am so touched and humbled, I couldn’t thank you enough. 

I sincerely pray to God that He grant all my wishes this year, but if He doesn’t grant ALL, I know He will grant SOME and He will surprise me in the coming days and years. I know His plans are far more beautiful than what I have in mind and it will happen in God’s perfect time.

To God be all the glory!

*Special thanks to Engr. Elvir Santos for my Featured Image. Taken on June 2, 2021 during the 150th Founding Anniversary of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Rodriguez, Rizal

Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

4 thoughts on “Six lessons I learned at 41

      1. No worries. Thank you for everything that you do, too. Keep up the great work. All the best, stay safe and God bless.

        Liked by 1 person

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