I believe that one of the most precious gifts for you to give and receive is time. Use it to do something purposeful. Appreciate it when it's given to you. Don't undermine its potential because when you use it sparingly, you'll realize that along with many other things, there is a limit to it. So know that your talent is deserving of such precious thing. Take the time to nurture it. Your mind. Let it breathe every once in awhile and challenge it to go above and beyond the average-thinking. Your soul. Let it wander. Do not deprive it from all the possibilities to learn and grow. Your body. Feed it. Build it. Invest that time to create a healthy and strong armor.
The reason why I am writing all of this is because often times, I find it incredibly upsetting to know that people don't use it wisely enough or appreciate it when it's given to them. Today, I will give you three instances in which this happened and the three lessons I've learned from it.
#1) Not too long ago, I was sitting at my desk, surfing the computer when a familiar name popped up on my screen. My first instinct was, 'What does this person want from me?' And then I thought, 'Wow, Khanh. Way to give them benefit of the doubt. That is not okay.'
He asked me how I was doing in which I answered with great enthusiasm and joy. I am quite fond of him because we shared a special experience together, but it wasn't until 3 minutes into the conversation did I realize how insanely dull and forced it really was. 'Have I let our face-to-face communication dictate our online communication? Because as of right now, everything just seemed so superficial.' He would ask me some casual questions here and there and out of respect for him, I quickly responded. Ten minutes into the conversation. 'So Khanh, I was wondering if you can do me a favor?' 'Yep, there it is. The moment I was waiting for.' I didn't know how I should feel at that moment. Should I be flattered that he reached out to me? Or should I be angry to know that the only reason why he wanted to talk to me was because he needed something from me? Whatever it may be, I told him that I could do him the favor and that it was no problem at all. To be quite honest with you, I knew what was going for us. However, I decided to let my intuition slipped, give the person the benefit, and still end up feeling like I was only needed for my services. In this case, the time that I've contributed for the guy can essentially make a huge impact on his career. Therefore, I will let it slide this time around. But then it goes back to the first lesson I learned about time: It is arguably your most valuable commodity. If you're going to trade it, trade it for something worthwhile. Trade it ---if you know it can potentially change someone's life. Keep it --- if you know that it is not invested on something or someone worthy of its value.
This leads me straight to the second lesson that I learned from a relationship a couple of years back. So my senior year of high school was absolutely fantastic. I had it all. Extracurricular activities. Leadership. Athletics. Love. Community service. Life, if written on a piece of paper, felt almost perfect. However, as I flounder and falter to appreciate the little moments, I've realized that sometimes I can get soaked into the present and lose track of the days, hours, and moments with those who matter. As the pressure to strive and succeed continues, I began to realize that perhaps my evolving has led me to become a person I wasn't necessarily proud of. I stopped making new friends. I stopped wanting to talk to people (this was something I've always enjoyed doing). I focused only on myself and the one person who I could have sworn to be the love of my life. I, without knowing, have cut the ties with people who were indeed so special to me. So as I saw my relationship slowly and surely dissipate, I was later left feeling alone and scared. 'What am I supposed to do now? I'm going to lose everything and there's nothing I can do about it.' Again, it was an extremely naive mindset, but I'll try not to be too harsh on the twenty year old me. After all, had I known then what I know now, I probably wouldn't be as confident or forgiving of myself. Progressively, with the help and love of close friends, I stopped crying and feeling sorry for myself. I began to exercise and focus more on my studies. That spring, I made it into the school of my dreams. That summer, I spent many moons frolicking on the beaches of Waikiki and Vung Tau. So here's to the second lesson I've learned and Rose Kennedy have said it beautifully: 'Time doesn't heal all wounds. The wounds remain. The mind, protects its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.' From an emphatic perspective, allow time to work its natural course and spend it on people who love you and things you are passionate about. Perhaps, I should have learned earlier on that moving on is not an overnight process. Learning to love myself is not an overnight process. The premise of healing, through time, begins the moment I decide to succumb to its might.
Here's to the last lesson I've learned and this is probably one of the most important ones. There were many instances in which I doubted my skills, passion, and beauty. I thought that since I had no intentions in becoming a doctor or a lawyer, that I would then end up being a simple 'failure' in my parents' eyes. What can I do with public-speaking anyway? How am I supposed to even succeed? Everyone can be able to speak. Everyone has some sort of a voice. What I've learned through the years of being a Communication major is that everyone has a unique voice, but that's not to say that they know how to use it masterfully. Since then, I've conducted seminars, aced every single presentation, went on to secure internship positions, raised awareness to non-profit organizations, and currently, I am pursuing a career that will hopefully allow me to really utilize my love for storytelling. I wouldn't say that I've hit a plateau because this is only the beginning of my journey. What I can say is that by taking the time to really work on my craft, I have become an expert at it. But still, it doesn't stop here because with any mastery comes room for improvement and I'm very much open to that. Moving on to the last thing: my beauty. I am not beautiful because I know how to dress or because my hair is perfect. I am beautiful because of every feature that I have that defies perfection. I am beautiful because I can speak eloquently, because I want to do something amazing in this world, and because I've learned that beauty comes from within. I use this beauty to walk into a room filled with wonderful people and still feel darn good about myself. I use this beauty to appreciate all the other beautiful people and things around me. I wish many more of my peers can see what I see when I look at them and know that they are simply a beautiful being. Anyway, all of these lessons leads me to lesson number three: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard
Therefore, on the rare occasion when you'd question your awesomeness, I am here to tell you that you are wanted. There are people out there who will seek your talent, your experience, your mind, your soul, and your body. Don't waste a minute on something you don't love with someone who does not appreciate everything I've just listed. Be productive. Be forward. And of course, be present. I shall end this long post (and thank you for reaching the bottom of this, I hope you took away a thing or two) with a quote from our old time homie, Ben Frank:
"Dost thou love life? Then waste not time; for time is the stuff that life is made of."