Monday, July 13, 2015

Random Pieces of Advice to Young Women

Talk guesting event, UST Tourism (2014)

I woke up one morning feeling the recently-familiar old-man’s hang-over!   Not that I’m accepting ‘oldness’, but that bout with morning dizziness and the usual name tease of ‘uncle’ by outdoor colleagues sometimes made me think – am I old?  I never felt my age, only in this hang-over thing (and well, reading font 8 characters!) but it made me think – what if I’m now 70 years old?!

In a lot of sense, that could be a grand reason to celebrate life (a long life) – but the other thought that struck me was, what lessons learned should I impart to my grand children?  What can I share other than those ‘dark stormy night in a cold mountain’ stories?

So here’s the first in the series – ADVICE TO YOUNG WOMEN.  It would be fun to revisit this 10 years from now, and another 30years (if I’m still here) and validate if I still think or feel the same way…most likely not, but here’s the first version. 

Caution: this is not a product of research, but mere opinion and imagination of the author.  Listen/adhere at your own risk ;)  Caution2: you will surely not agree with some of these.

1.     Never get pregnant below 24 years old!  Our genetics ‘failed to evolve’ given current global condition and environment.  12-13yo early pregnancy is made possible as human survival programming (given the prehistoric 30yo- life expectancy).  I believe there’s so much to learn, experience and enjoy as a young woman, and early pregnancy (although not an issue per se) will greatly reduce that opportunity.
2.     Unless you plan to have many kids, start a family in your early 30’s!  This may sound selfish but I see the world to be such a big place to: live a larger life, meet many more people (several boyfriends may be included), experience and learn a lot, and allow enough time to fulfil some of your big dreams!  Worried about not having a baby? Believe in destiny, and read the next one.

3.     No matter what, keep fit and healthy!  There are tons of tips on this, just don’t be lazy.  Keep or do one or 2 sports, eat good food (avoid fast food for one), embed fitness and health in your lifestyle (vs. ‘extra routine’, or ‘effort’).  Be mindful of bodily changes, the sooner you address health or fitness threats, the easier to fix (vs. waiting when your 30-something).  Women tend to ‘grow horizontally’ in their mid-20s so more fitness focus should be given around this period in life.
4.     What you feel strongly about something now, may not be significant 5 or so years from now.  Don’t invest way too much of your life on teenage or early 20’s ‘advocacies’ just because it felt right.  Focus on what positive change you can contribute vs. say martyrdom or near-point-of-no-return type of commitments.  Be extra careful with picture and video “evidences”.  It can haunt you in your later years. Just for visual, a simple non-related “commitment” example could be getting a tattoo of some weird image or boyfriend’s name - only to regret it years later.

5.     There’s no weaker sex (gender). Women have tremendous power, strength etc. exhibited/used in many ways.  Key notable ones like persuasiveness, charm, manipulation (good or bad), and other psyche-related prowess will take you a long, long way!  But please don’t abuse this for ‘evil purposes’, remember karma.
6.     Men (especially Filipinos, Latinos, Mediterreños) can be very cariñoso (“charmingly flirt”) but be aware that men are also naturally predatory, it’s genetic programming. At least most. Hunting and wanting is programmed in the genes. But it doesn’t mean you avoid, just be aware and mindful.  Don’t be naïve! Learn how to manage through experience, stories from older/experienced women, or tips from honest man-friends. 

7.     Don’t be a man-hater, guys can be long-time super friends!   Guy friends, just like boyfriends, also go through a test in time. If you still have your guy friends for 10+ years – consider yourself blessed.  They can:  help you in tough times (like fix a flat tire), offer a shoulder to cry on, get man’s perspective on many things (men makes more sense talking to women than with other men, mostly), show up as emergency ‘pretend date’ or bodyguard, or driver, etc.
8.     There is no “Mr. Right”, only the man at the right place at the right time. Women settle down when they’re ready.  Pray that you’ll be lucky to have that ‘Mr. right’ when your internal clock says “it’s time!”

9.     Settle down with someone whom you’ve known for at least 5 years.   5 years of friendship, of trust-building, of doing activities together, of travelling together, of “productive fighting/ arguing” – that sort.  It’s not only a time test, it’s a transition.
10.  Love your parents! Forever. Your dad – especially, can be an extra long time friend.  There will be days that you’ll hate them! But that’s only a period in time.  (Unless you unfortunately got a really bad set of parents).

11.  Keep the Faith! (Or start one). The modern world has become an inconvenient place for belief, faith or religion.  Some of your friends or social group may mock you or your Faith/Belief, just ignore them. Faith can guide you or help you navigate through life.  It will be a great source of strength (or shield) in your most trying times.  It will help you transition from this life to the next.  If you don’t believe in ‘stuff like that’, then maybe a quest for something spiritual would be a good add in your life’s plan.
12.  Be kind!  To people, to animals, to all creations.  Love and protect this living planet. For your future.  It’s a bit broken now, but we can still patch it a bit.  Help whom you can help, in your own small capacity. 

13.  Treasure your life. For one, don’t “do substance! Avoid peers who do.  “E”, Coke, Shabu – they will surely ruin you, and your family’s life.  You want to feel high? Climb a mountain! Go sky-diving, downhill skiing, cliff jumping, base jumping, etc.  Also, don’t smoke tobacco.  It’s one of the most meaningless and counter-productive inventions of man.
14.  Respect your partner. Simple things like nagging, manipulating, etc. doesn’t help you or anyone.  Here’s another trivial thing – please don’t let your boyfriend carry your hand bag! No matter how hard he insists. It’s called a lady’s bag for a reason. If you want your Bf to carry your stuff, get him a men’s bag.  

15.  Avoid or unlearn useless or unproductive words! Curse words like F*, Sh*, Pu* should not be in your dictionary.  Other useless words (used in a bad way) may include: “Fine!” “Whatever!”  “Nothing!”  “Waw” (not wow); “Loser!”, etc. You may use these at some (early) point in your life but grow out of them quickly.
16.  Learn to let go quickly! Life is like a flowing river.  Don’t get stuck on a big rock to freeze a moment, just let go and move on.  Ex. boyfriends will come and go; pains, suffering, failure, triumph, even success and happiness  - they will all come and go.  

17.  Safety and security is a must, all the time. Don’t just rely on other people (ex. police, security guards, friends), have accountability on your own safety; be very aware of threats and counter-actions.  One major incident (like rape) can ruin your whole life!  Start by fixing your social media accounts (to avoid stalkers by not sharing too much personal information or movement/ whereabouts).  Be street-smart. Arm yourself with skills and/or actual (legal) weapons, and – more importantly, a good presence of mind.
18.  Go out and lessen your TV/computer time or social media presence.  It will not harm you if you limit your social media time to say 1-2hours per day and only 5x a week.  It will give you more time to pursue real-world matters.
19.  Build useful skills!  Learn how to cook, how to fix your bike, or change car/bike tires, fix clothing / bag problems, etc. It will increase your self confidence and your improve self-sufficiency or independence. 

20.  Learn art!  Dancing, singing, painting, crafting – whatever suits you.  Skills or talent enhances one’s beauty and appeal!
21.  Finish School!  No matter what.  Even if you don’t need to work forever.
22.  Work!  As soon as you finish school, find work. Be financially independent. You owe it to yourself and your parents. Working for others, or self-employed - it doesn’t matter. Just work.  Earn from work and you earn the right to live.

23.  Travel!  When you can afford.  The world is such a wonderful place to see and experience.
24.  Hike or climb mountains! It’s one of the most rewarding experiences.  This one still offered the best experiences and memories for me.  No, it will not make you ugly; No, it will not make you ‘look like a dirty man’; instead – you’ll naturally become stronger/fit (physically, mentally, maybe even spiritually), make you more self-reliant and independent, among many other good things.

I have a hundred more, but let me improve this list when I get older and wiser.

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