December 13


35 Lessons From A Filipina Spinster

By Odyssa

December 13, 2020

Read product manuals. They work.

Photo by A. Roggenbuck

I could have written one big lesson for every year of my life but just like a university student, I crammed by writing this just before finals night aka the month I turned 35 aka the age that most people consider to be beyond my prime.

The term ‘spinster’ is considered derogatory today. Centuries ago, it is used for women who kept away from marriage because they were busy spinning wool.

I wasn’t spinning all these year. I did work and keep myself away from marriage for as long as possible. That or it kept itself away from me.

Some points below are encouraging. Others, you might disagree with. You might find a few that challenge popular and conservative opinion. I hope you find at least one that’s useful. Let’s start!

1. Respect your and anyone’s parents no matter who and what they are.

2. Real, reciprocated, consistent, wholesome and long-lasting love is the bigger achievement compared to good jobs, salaries, and bosses.

3. The work boss is the most important person to get along with at work. It’s good to have an ally; it’s better if that ally is your boss.

4. Valued happiness over security. Having more time and freedom to do what you want > Having more money to buy what you want. This turns into a more meaningful life and a better lifestyle.

5. Before doing #4, meet basic needs first. Pay your bills and save.

6. For every decision towards happiness and contentment, there’s always a trade-off. Mothers know this well — when they just had a baby, sleep hours decrease from 8 to 2, or none at all. But they’re happy.

7. Life is hard.

8. Life offers fleeting moments that make it bearable. These are moments worth remembering. These are what we highlight on our social media pages, the dates we write about in our journals, and speak of in our most intimate conversations.

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9. Being a child-free/childless woman or man — straight or gay — at 35, 40, or 50 is nothing to be ashamed about.

10. Design your life to be a life you like from Mondays through Sundays. Don’t settle for the short-lived weekend fun. Create a life you don’t need to escape from.

11. While it’s true that travel is a great teacher, it isn’t everything. There are roots we need to make. Strong roots enable trees to withstand any kind of weather.

12. Read product manuals. They work.

13. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing. Say ‘I don’t know’, ‘I’m not sure’, ‘I need help’, ‘I didn’t know that’, and ‘Can you teach me?’ without hesitation.

14. Be generous with genuine compliments. Every person needs one at any time of the day. You never become less when you do.

15. Be aware of your self-talk.

16. Be careful with what you let inside your head. Ideas in, ideas out. Garbage in, garbage out.

17. Help people you are not related to and animals that are not your pets.

18. Set a high standard for yourself but don’t beat yourself up for not reaching them. Just continue working.

19. Commitment is not boring nor is it a prison. It gives us the freedom to choose how to live our days.

20. Passion is over-rated. Daily work is underestimated.

21. Don’t leave your job right away to ‘pursue a passion’. Have a safety net.

22. While it’s fun to follow a book list, choose books that can teach you what you need right now. This can change from month to month.

23. You are allowed to stop reading a book or watching a movie if you can’t continue. You are allowed to ignore a book or a movie even if everybody is into it.

24. Eat your veggies. Add leafy greens, beans, nuts, and seeds into your daily diet. Food is medicine.

25. Invest in good nutrition today before your body asks you to invest in medicines, doctor consultations, supplements, and surgeries.

26. Nature heals.

27. When you feel disoriented, you probably need one of these things: a shower, a walk, a quick nap, or a glass of water.

28. Believe in something and be fierce in believing. It could be a religion, non-religion, tradition, idea, or relationship. At least have one that you can live or die for.

29. Investigate, ask, read, and be smart enough to know and explain what it is you believe in. If you are old enough to make decisions, don’t believe just because your parents and teachers told you to. Breakaway. But always go back to #1.

30. Making fun of people who appear to have less than what we have does not make us better than them. It does not make us better. Period.

31. Share your work. You have an audience. Show up for them.

32. Have the balls to admit you’re wrong and sorry. Pride leads to nowhere.

33. Never try to change people. Use that energy somewhere else.

34. Saying ‘no’ is one of the most important skills to learn. Remember, it’s easier to take back a ‘no’ than to take back a ‘yes’.

35. Tell the truth all the time.


I am not an expert on anything else but my own life.

This list was born out of all the years behind me plus the people I met, situations I’ve been in, jobs I’ve done, books I’ve read, and everything else.

What is it that you agree the most with? Did you find anything you have a different opinion about?

Here’s to another year ahead, to better health, to keeping ourselves sane, and the love for life alive.


If you liked this article, you might enjoy these too:

Things I Only Have One Of

3 Books To Kickstart Your Minimalism Goals


About the author

Odyssa is a writer from the Philippines. She is the author of Like A New Sun Rising: A Collection of Poems on Love. When not working or writing at home, she's out walking their dogs. She enjoys traveling, practices yoga, gets lost in books and Korean drama. To her, making time for a daily practice or ritual is the best gift to one's self.

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