Life lessons from everyday encounters

My most vivid and earliest memory that I can trace back from is of myself in my first day of Kindergarten.

My family were migrants from the Philippines 19 years ago and my biggest struggle was trying to learn and understand the English language.

As you would have imagined, Kindergarten was a difficult and profoundly confusing moment of my life that I will never forget. I was fundamentally misunderstood by my classmates and vice versa.

I never knew a world or a society existed out of my own home before I started primary school, let alone did I know that I was only 5-years-old and knew little about life itself.

19 years down the track, I’ve developed an accent and have adapted to the Australian culture; experienced one-too-many silly high school feuds; had my RnB phase in year 7, followed by my love for alternative punk bands in year 8; became a heavy metal kid in year 9, then shifted to the other end of the spectrum with my craze for electronic dance music and endless raves for the remaining years of high school.

In between my identity crisis, I’ve been heartbroken by boys who taught me that love isn’t just a feeling; emotions do not equate to love because emotions are subjective. I’ve learned that love is to appreciate the person for their whole self – for their imperfections and their good qualities.

Through my experiences with people in highschool, I’ve learned that friendship is about give and take, and not just take and take.

I’ve learned in my 19 years of existence that we shouldn’t leave an assignment to the night before. I’m now in my second year of uni and I am still learning that. Ha.

SO… I guess we can conclude that people impact significantly on our identity; they help shape us into the people we are today. At the end of the day, the people that we consider as important are our friends and family. The big question is: are these people the only important people in our lives? I thoroughly disagree.

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration for the intolerant and kindness from the unkind.” – Kahlil Gibran

Every person we come across in all walks of life are all important people in one way or another.

High school feuds, although not pleasant experiences, teach us a lot about what a friend is and definitely what a friend is not.

The buff man with sleeved tattoos on his arms who offers a seat for the pregnant woman teaches us that we shouldn’t necessarily read a book by its cover.

The rude customer that you serve can help us appreciate and not take for granted that manners are still important.

Sometimes the simplest acts you think will pass unnoticed will make the most powerful impact on someone’s life.

In retrospect, I’ve realised that my everyday encounters with people help me appreciate the beauty of life as an everyday learning experience.

Furthermore, I’ve realised that the unfaithful “friend”, the sibling who is a complete nuisance and  the inconsiderate driver are equally important people we encounter in life.

– Paula Ahillon

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