At Twenty-seven

I love the song “At Seventeen”… The lyrics goes something like this, “I learned the truth at seventeen, that love was made for beauty queens…” (check it out in youtube if you want to hear it)

Well, I am no longer seventeen. I am twenty-seven now, and ideally I would have learned more compared to ten years ago. A few days before my 27th birthday, I forced myself to think what I have learned so far. I love quotes, and here are some I have come across in the past few months that have moved me one way or another.

On life:

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today”
– James Dean

“Learn something. At this moment, many people have stopped living. They do not become angry, nor cry out; they merely wait for time to pass. They did not accept the challenges of life, so life no longer challenges them. You are running that same risk; react, face life, but do not stop living.”
– “The Fifth Mountain”, by Paulo Coelho

“If there is suffering, then it’s best to accept it, because it won’t go away just because you pretend it’s not there. If there is joy, then it’s best to accept that too, even though you’re afraid it might end one day.”
– “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho

“That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”
– “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho

“The roller coaster is my life; life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it’s mountaineering; it’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself and to feel angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it.”
– “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”
– “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho

“Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull off the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted”
– “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist

“After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul and you learn love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t always promises and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child. And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure, that you really are strong and you really do have worth and you learn and you learn – with every goodbye you learn.”
– Veronica A. Shoffstall

“If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next… Don’t. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness. Don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present – each moment as it comes – because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again…”
– Julia Brown, Everwood

On friendship:

“I learned something recently: our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.”
– “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho

On love:

“You deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with, and if you’re okay. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who could make you happy, really happy, dancing on air happy.”
– “Love, Rosie” by Cecelia Ahern

“Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.”
– Eat, Pray, Love

“Love is much like a dam: if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure, and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current. For when those walls come down, then love takes over, and it no longer matters what is possible or impossible; it doesn’t even matter whether we can keep the loved one at our side. To love is to lose control.
– By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
– C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

“Son los locos que inventaron el amor ~ It must have been the lunatics who invented love.”
– Paulo Coelho, By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept

On letting go:

“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.”
– “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho

“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life.”
– Mary Manin Morrissey

“It’s always necessary to know when a stage of one’s life has ended. If you stubbornly cling to it after the need has passed, you lose the joy and meaning of the rest. And you risk being shaken to your senses by God.”
– “The Fifth Mountain”, by Paulo Coelho

“There is no tragedy, only the unavoidable. Everything hath its reason for being: thou needest only distinguish what is temporary from what is lasting.” – “The Fifth Mountain”, by Paulo Coelho

“It hurts to let go. Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it’s so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn’t come back. You’re left so alone that you can’t explain.”
– Henry Rollins

On being alone:

“There’s a reason I said I’d be happy alone. It wasn’t because I thought I’d be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It’s easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don’t have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It’s like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.”
– Grey’s Anatomy

“After a long time, she came to the conclusion that men brought only pain, frustration, suffering, and a sense of time dragging.”
– “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho

And some in my own words:

“You can’t capture, box up, or bottle wonderful moments. Like fireworks or rainbows, photographs are never able to capture their full wonder and beauty. You can only live in the moment. Gaze into the sky. Hold someone’s hand. Or if you can’t, think of him, wherever he is.”

“Do what you love. But if you can’t, you have to learn to love what you do.”

“The one you love will not always love you back. But remember that there were also some who loved you but you couldn’t love back. Giving love to get it back is not the point. Love should be freely given and never demanded back.”

If you’ve reached this point of the article, it’s either because you really love me, or you found the collection quotes above really interesting. Either way, it’s nice of you to stay.

At twenty-seven, I could say how blessed I am. There’s a great family I belong to, a beautiful house I live in, friends who have cared for my well being whether they physically see me or not, a very exciting (albeit tiring) job, among so many other blessing that I have been showered with in the past twenty-seven years. It does not mean life is nothing but happy. But I choose to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life and not dwell on the “other” things.

2 thoughts on “At Twenty-seven

    1. Thanks! I love Paulo Coelho too, and his “Piedra” book is indeed one of the most memorable ones. I probably haven’t read his two or three newest books, but the rest I have already read. A lot of people have read only The Alchemist, but actually his other books are a lot better! Hope they discover it soon, like we have. 🙂

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