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When I was around thirteen or fourteen-years-old, I remembered my teacher telling me and my classmates to create a projection map as to where we would see ourselves ten years from now. At that time, I pasted pictures showing what I wanted to be as a twenty three or twenty four-year-old adult–this included having a house of my own, a stable job, and a husband. Little did I know that attaining all of those things isn’t easy. And now, in my late 20s, I am starting to question all the goals and aspirations I had initially planned in my life.
Written and illustrated by Korean author Soo-hyun Kim and translated to English by Ma. Kristina Carla Rico and Kyung-min Bae, this book gave me a better perspective on life and helped me understand that adulting is hard and messy–but there’s no other way to live through it than by being yourself.
Here are three valuable lessons I got from reading the book:
Life is not a horse race–and it’s okay to not always be in the lead
Whenever we attend reunions among relatives, friends, or former classmates, it’s inevitable not to get jealous over their stories of success. Whether it’d be that they recently got promoted in a job that they love or that they got engaged to the supposed “love of their life,” it’s easy to start comparing your life and your accomplishments to theirs. And sometimes, when you realize that the way you live is not “up to par” with theirs, you feel disappointed and upset.
Personally, I understand what this feels like and thinking about this often leads me down a path of depression. But reading I Decided to Live as Me reminded me that life isn’t a competition and that your growth and development is something worth celebrating–despite it being gradual and slow.
Remember, your worth is not determined by comparing your list of accomplishments with others, but it is based by how you see value in yourself. As the book explained, “True value isn’t measured in numbers. Therefore if you want to be incomparable rather than senior, you should eliminate numbers from your life. What is truly important in your life lies beyond numbers.”
‘Haters gonna hate’–but that shouldn’t stop you from living your life
It’s an undeniable fact that not everyone’s going to like you or be a friend to you. And as you go through adulthood, you will meet a series of people who are like this–with some even shooting you down with their harsh words and criticisms.
When this happens, it’s easy to feel defeated and worthless. But remember their words are not a reflection of you and what you can accomplish–it is a reflection of them and their insecurities. And this book reminds me of this sentiment.
The author wrote, “We get hurt, numb our hearts, and develop hatred dealing with these people’s personal frustrations disguised as business-related, insults presented as worries, and rudeness posed as questions. [But] Even if we numb our hearts, moan to ourselves, and hate these people; they are just passersby in our lives.”
At the end of the day, what matters is how you see yourself. So, forget the haters and just continue doing you!
Don’t forget who you are and what you love
For many of us, working endlessly has become the norm, turning us into lifeless robots that value money over anything else. And the problem with this scenario is that we end up being unhappy.
As the book effortlessly explained, “People who suppress their desires in order to do what they have to do lose sense of what they like, what they want, and eventually, who they are. Their life remains in the spectrum of the unknown since they’re never able to discover the life they want.”
I Decided to Live as Myself reminds us that although we have to succumb to the daily grind, we shouldn’t forget to give time to ourselves and explore the things we are passionate about. Whether this is writing short stories or creating memes, take a few minutes from your day (or week) to enjoy doing these activities.
In the end, I think you will be happy to know that you’ve lived your life balancing work with the things you love. And who knows, maybe someday you can even be able to turn your passion into full-fledged business?
There are so many wonderful things readers can learn from the book. And thanks to Apop, you can now enjoy a 7.5% discount from the total price when you use the promo code CMWxAPOP at checkout.
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