To All The Lessons I’ve Learned Before

Song Choice: thank u, next by Ariana Grande

Dear 22 year old April,

What kind of an emotional coaster was that???? This year was definitely one filled with so many highs and so many lows. Alas, you made it through another year once again and you are turning 23. How crazy is that? Happy Jordan Year to you! In the words of Anthony DeVera, “I can tell you’re growing into a fine adult”. You know, this year flew by and you have definitely learned a lot. You have a lot to be grateful for from this past year and so much more to look forward to in the next.


  1. You know now what the appropriate amount of sleep is for you to function like a normal human being. No more “I’m-running-on-three-hours-of-sleep” April. Six hours is what has us waking up like a queen. Maybe by the end of 23 you’ll be able to say you can get seven hours of sleep every night.
  2. Pomona will always be home for us. You can’t really escape the place that holds a lot of your heart regardless of the good and bad memories. We still don’t know if you want to move out to that area in the future, but for now you appreciate your time when you need to and get to go back.
  3. Now that you’re out of college, you have started to reach out to people you have not spoken to in forever. High school, during college, and even childhood friends, you’ve turned around to your past and re-visited them regardless of distance and time. We’re definitely going to capitalize and cultivate those relationships as we progress into 23 and onward.
  4. You’re an emotional baby. However, you have learned to embrace that part of you and turn your weakness into your strength.
  5. Writing still continues to be your passion, your escape, and your release. This is how you communicated to your lovers, your friends, your family, and those around you. Your mind and your voice, when working in tandem, creates beautiful things.
  6. You have cultivated your love for traveling this past year. You have gone out of the country for the first time in forever that isn’t the Philippines, and I have a good feeling 23 is going to be filled with memories in so many different places.
  7. You have gotten back into working out and this has been your biggest struggle throughout college. The whole fiasco of on and off working out has come to an end, because the last leg of your 22nd year of life has been dedicated to working out and getting your fitness game up.
  8. In terms of health, this was your biggest improvement year ever. You have definitely bounced back from last year when you were extremely sick and it has definitely been a roller coaster maintaining your health with fitness, eating healthy, and pouring more love back into you. Your weight has fluctuated so much in the past year, but now you are a beautiful 141 pounds and have a chillin, functioning kidney. Keep it up love.
  9. 22 has got to be the year that you have gone to Disneyland more times than you have gone in the past 21 years of your life, but who’s counting? Thanks to your friends and your family, you were not only able to go to Disneyland and California Adventure a handful of times, but you even visited Disney World and Disneyland Paris IN THE SAME YEAR. It’s a dream and you lived it. We’re now looking forward to visiting the other parks around the world once you’ve aligned your finances with your travel goals.
  10. In this present moment, you are getting so much better at resisting things you want, but don’t actually need. You have been walking around the mall for the past few hours and the urge to buy that dress you saw from & Other Stories or those Wetzel Bits that you love so much has dissipated.
  11. Can I just say again, how proud I am of us? That we graduated college? Last year, we didn’t know if we would really make it. But look at us, we got a degree hotter (haha please laugh I’m funny I promise).
  12. Your close friend group is always evolving and constantly changing. But you’ve learned over the course of the year to not resist change and hold on so tightly. You have learned to embrace it and love who you have presently.
  13. With that being said, somewhere along the way you and your ex-(whoever you haven’t had the best relationship with) will become friends again. Whether that looks like two months or two years. You acknowledge the ups and downs, the role you played in the relationship, and how you have contributed to that downfall in your own mistakes. However, that does not stop you anymore from moving forward. It’s okay that you still feel angry or sad with some people going into 23, but you have learned not to dwell on it for more than a few minutes, or at most a few days. You wish the best for them now, and you’re present for their growth, their development, and the day you two reconcile and move past the differences.
  14. You have gone to so many concerts in your 22nd year. This was truly the year you said “YOLO” and bought tickets to who you have wanted to see live and in person. Heck, you even got to see BEYONCE. FRICKEN. BEYONCE. Remember how you used to dream of seeing her live? Now you can proudly say you have, plus other artists like Lauv, Ella Mai, and even R.LUM.R
  15. You’ve now started to find comfort in spending time with yourself. Remember earlier in your 22nd year how you would get so nervous without your “person”? Whenever you’d start to feel alone, you would run or call up whoever just because you couldn’t trust yourself to be alone with your thoughts. Now these days, you place high value and importance on your alone time. You swim with your thoughts and you allow yourself to feel what you feel, but you remind yourself you’re doing great through it all.
  16. You have also grown to be more comfortable in your own mind and body. I am so proud of us for emphasizing on practicing self care. Through the last few months of your 22 year old life with working out, re-organizing your lifestyle, internal and external therapy, and everything in between, you’re doing so great. We’re so great.
  17. You finally got a dog! At this point in your life you were supposed to have a Corgi, but you chose to take care of yourself and your finances first. If you think about it, you’re keeping your promise of making sure your Pembroke Welsch Corgi or Australian Cattle Dog comes from your own money. Berro has been a good practice run for you though. He has taught you how much love and patience a puppy needs, and he’s been there when you just need someone to cuddle with.
  18. You value your time with your family now. With your grandparents gone to the Philippines, you see them in their old age and you have noticed where everyone is now. Your brother is going to college next fall, more and more of  your cousins your age are getting married, your parents are getting older, and your grandparents…well sad to say, but you don’t know when their time will come (God willing, please let them live to at least see their great grandchild from me). You don’t mind it as much anymore when your family has a family function, you actually enjoy it. You value it, and know now that whoever you end up in a serious relationship with, they have to value family too.
  19. Tequila is now your enemy. After how many times you have woken up hungover because of that monstrosity it’s time to call it quits with tequila. Maybe one or two shots of it is fine and if it’s mixed in ONE drink by an actual bartender, it’s fine. But if you see someone dumping a whole bottle, you best stay away from that unless you want to black-out again.
  20. This year is also the time you have fully grown to love your career choice. You have learned so much doing events and working in student affairs. You have fully committed to applying to graduate school and you see a bright future wherever you apply. Remember 17 year old you? When you were so hung up on the title of the school and cried over not getting into your dream architecture school? Now you don’t care where you go, because all your choices are equally amazing. Wherever you end up deciding to go, you know your worth and what to do to make your two or three years in the program the best.
  21. The dating game has been pretty wild for you this past year. You have been on and off apps and the scene in general, and the guys that you have met have been pretty interesting. Heck, you even got a few second and third dates. However, with everything you have going for yourself in this next year of life, you’ve decided that your preference is just to meet people in real life and be their friends first.
  22. Speaking of love, that’s one thing you were having, you are having, and are going to have a hard time figuring out in the next year…your existing feelings for “them”. I guess that’s another reason why you’re hopping off the seeing-commitment-potential-from-the-app train. We know that just thinking about “them”…it’s a little nerve-wrecking to see them in that capacity after everything you have gone through with them already. But I applaud you, because you’ve been pretty quiet for the most part about these feelings and have only confided in the places and people you absolutely, 100% trust and know is safe to talk about these feelings with. I don’t know…who knows. Take your time with this.

With all of these in mind, we’re here now: past 22 and starting a new day into 23. You have your agenda for today: church, work, fun, drinks, friends, and family. Remember, be open to what the in-between has for you. You’ve made it this far, and we’re looking forward to what the next year has in store for us: both good, bad, and the middle.

You’re doing great, April. You’ve always been doing great.

Happy Birthday, and thank u (22), next.


23 year old April

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