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40 lessons of life… Part 3

By Sinem Bilen Onabanjo
06 February 2021   |   4:10 am
Another weekend, another set of life lessons as I make my way down the list of what I’ve learned so far in my forty odd years in this world.


Another weekend, another set of life lessons as I make my way down the list of what I’ve learned so far in my forty odd years in this world. A quote that is attributed to anyone under the sun goes: “There is no dress rehearsal; this is it.”

We don’t get a do-over, or a second run. This is your one precious little life; what you do with it is up to you, but considering you’ll only get to do it once; make it worthwhile.
17. You write the script. It’s your story. Every great piece of storytelling involves a hero as we follow his journey through peaks and troughs, fighting off adversaries, overcoming trials and tribulations. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are the hero of your life, and with every word you utter, and every choice you make you are writing the script.

18. If you are the victim, it’s because you chose this role. As with the above, most stories have victims, victors and villains. If you find yourself the victim over and over again, it’s because you keep choosing that role for yourself. Often, people make their choices at critical junctures in life; then forgetting all about their agency, they blame the outcomes on anything and anyone but themselves. The moment you refuse the role, you will find it no longer fits, which is a good thing.

19. There is no point in holding on to “what if” or “I wish.” Much like with choices, at any point in your life, you are making the choice that is most appropriate at that point. As they say, “hindsight is a wonderful thing” but you can’t measure the life choices you made in your past with the yardstick of today.

20. If it weren’t for yesterday, you wouldn’t be where you are today. It is often the choices that we make at junctions of this journey called life that move us along to where we end up in the long run. Hence, where you are today was determined many and many choices ago somewhere on the path you’ve left behind. Where you are today is where you were meant to be, so even if by today’s standards they may have been the wrong choices, they still served to get you here.

21. If life is about progress, you’ve outgrown your past self, so forgive them their trespasses. This is a straightforward outcome of the above. You today, if you’ve made progress as you should, is a lot wiser than you yesterday, so forgive them for the mistakes they made along the way.

22. Forgive others too. Forgiving yourself is of no use if you can’t forgive others. When someone hurts you, they move on, without a care. You hold on to that hurt for so long it becomes heavy and you only burden yourself with the weight of all the wrongdoings you’ve suffered. Forgive and let go – you will find your heart and your journey lighter.

23. Hatred is too strong an investment. Have you noticed how easy it is for some people to use the world “hate” – “I hate her” or “I hate this” rolls of their tongues with no effort. Hatred is too strong an emotional investment. The energy you put into hating someone you might as well use for something positive. Try to cleanse yourself of hatred and you will get a boost of energy!

24. You get out what you put in. Forget your bank balance, your stock exchange, your assets. Relationships are the most important investments you’ll ever make, and unlike the stock market, where the returns are volatile and unpredictable, with relationships, you get back what you put in, most of the time.

24. Don’t short-change yourself. The hope in any relationship is that it is reciprocal. However, the moment you realise it is not, don’t short-change yourself. We’ve all had those moments of epiphany where we realise a friend is more of a frenemy, a business partner has their own interest at heart, or a partner makes you an option as opposed to a priority. The moment you realise this is the moment you need to be fair on yourself and not put up with any behaviour less than what you put in and what you expect to get.

25. Learn to walk away with your head held high. It’s the way of the world – lovers break up, friends fall out, marriages fall apart. If a friendship or a relationship turns sour, there are often two types of reactions: some choose to smear the other party at any opportunity, while others who quietly withdraw and move on, forever holding their peace. Try to do the latter. Yes, it is sometimes tough not to speak up against the other party, especially if they are in the wrong and they tell a different story, but moving on without the drama gives you the peace of mind the other person will always lack. Also, in the end, the truth often comes out.

26. Avoid drama, and those who thrive on it. There was a point in my life I met a much older woman who always had some kind of drama in her life, and not surprisingly, while she was often in the centre of it all, she was always the victim. It was only after hearing similar stories with different actors over and over again, I realised that she was the one who was constantly stirring the drama in her life she was complaining about. If you meet someone who seems to always have drama in their life, it is most probably because they cause it, invite it in and thrive on it. Avoid these people, or you may end up as the villain in their next story.