A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life

With my 38th birthday steadily approaching in the next couple of weeks I have been reflecting on some of the life lessons that I have learned thus far. I'm not usually in such a reflective mood when it pertains to my birthday but for personal reasons, I have been pondering the things and situations that have shaped me and made me who I am. I am always in a constant state of change and my personality and beliefs are always evolving, so I thought it would be a good idea to document what I believe in today so I can have an accurate account of who I am at this moment in time.
In no way, shape, or form is my sentiments a guide to life or meant to influence how you view the world. The journey of life that we all must navigate is a very personal one, and there is no shortcuts or hacks that will help you along the way. The only way to get through it successfully is to live by your own terms and to hold on steadfastly to your own belief system. Somehow managing to firmly hold on to what makes you special and unique and trying your darndest not to waiver. Always having faith that who you are or what you have to offer has always been good enough despite what anyone else says or values.
As I sit here and reread what I wrote I can't help but chuckle to myself because it all seems so simple but as we all know it is usually the exact opposite. 

A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life www.toyastales.blogspot.com #toyastales #fashionblogger #selfcare #lifelessons #empathy


Life is work, a lot of work, and requires a lot of faith and endurance ( if you no longer have an abundance of the two it can seem quite bleak). I believe it is the most important job we will ever have. I have always believed that your life is what will define you, not your actual profession. I believe that when you die most people will reflect on their personal relationship with you more than if you were a good blogger, artist, doctor, cook, teacher, barber, maid, and etc. Life will constantly take from you and at times it may not seem that it is giving as much as it is taking, and if you follow local or world events it can really be discouraging, and that is why faith is so important. Faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. For me, faith does not manifest in a spiritual way but it has a more universal meaning in my life. I have faith that each future generation will somehow learn from the mistakes of the past and improve upon what our ancestors started while respecting the past and what it has taught us. 

Books are always better than the movie. I just prefer a more detailed accounting of how the story unfolds than a short speedy narrative that discards major plot points to fit into a specific time frame. I rather read a 900-page book that I can savor all of the details than an hour and a half movie that doesn't live up to the book that it is based on.

A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life www.toyastales.blogspot.com #toyastales #fashionblogger #selfcare #lifelessons #empathy


Being different is interesting and I have never aspired to be ordinary. Well, for the most part. I did have a couple of years when I was in high school when I tried to conform but I failed miserably because who I was naturally always shined through and thwarted my efforts. Which pleases me to this day when I reflect on those memories. Since the day I was born I have always been told that I am different in a variety of different ways. My mom would always say and shake her head with exasperation, "Girl, you are something else". A constant refrain in my family is, " Well that is Toya. You know how she is". My close friends have called me a bit off, an odd duck, different, crazy (they swear it is in a good way), and that they have never met someone like me (which has always confused me because no two people are alike, so, doesn't it go without saying that of course, you have never met anyone like me). I have worn my individuality as a badge of honor because it means that for the most part, I have felt comfortable to be who I am regardless if the outcome was good or bad. If everyone was the same life would not be exciting and we would be bombarded with a constant stream of blandness.

I highly dislike quinoa, the color purple ( the actual hue not the iconic book), and techno music. I have never liked the smell of quinoa cooking. I have never liked the taste of it or the texture. I do not care how it is prepared. Everyone swears they have a recipe that I will like but I politely respond by telling them they can keep that sh*t. Lol! As for the color purple, I have never liked the shade on me and I'm not talking about a derivative of purple like a pastel shade but the actual true hue. To be fair I like the color on other people just not me. My worst nightmare was when I had to grin and bear it when I was a bridesmaid in a friends wedding and was forced to wear a purple satin mermaid dress. All I can think about when I look at the pictures is that we looked like Barney and the Kool-Aid Man mascot. As far as techno music is concerned, something about it has always given me an automatic migraine. After a minute listening to it, I feel like my head is about to explode. Maybe has something to do with the driving thumping beat and electronic instrumentation but I feel like I'm going to have a seizure if I listen to it. 


A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life www.toyastales.blogspot.com #toyastales #fashionblogger #selfcare #lifelessons #empathy


Death and birth is a constant part of life. Logically we all accept this as fact, but most times we are not emotionally prepared to cope with it. We all know that babies are born every day and for me, these precious little creatures have always given me hope for man kind. They represent a new beginning and offers us a chance to break toxic cycles and behaviors that we may have learned from our parents and that has been passed from generation to generation. On the other hand, death means the end and we have been conditioned to celebrate births and run away from death as if it is not a natural progression and a part of life which leaves a lot of us unprepared to deal with an unexpected passing away of someone we hold dear.  Whenever someone dies I have observed that most people try to "get over it" as soon as possible in a lot of unhealthy ways. Some people can't even offer support to others after a loss because it makes them have to face uncomfortable truths about mortality and their emotions. 

White chocolate, pizza, caramel, tacos, toffee, cheese, and any lemon flavored dessert are delicious. Hey, I like what I like!

Think for one's self and do not be swayed or led by others. In this day and age of constant news cycles and the proliferation of opinion and commentary, I have noticed a greater percentage of people stopped researching and studying things for themselves and overly relying on other people's assessment of things and blindly accepting them as fact. This worries me to no end but hey, I have always been a worrier. Except that history has taught me to be very concerned about this issue because a lot of catastrophes, wars, genocides, and other atrocious acts happened because of people blindly accepting or allowing something to happen based on self-interest and a false premise that they could have easily researched and unfortunately technology has made us even lazier and more dangerous. 


A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life www.toyastales.blogspot.com #toyastales #fashionblogger #selfcare #lifelessons #empathy


Cramps and PMS sucks! Any woman who has to deal with either issue knows exactly what I'm talking about. I do not look forward to knowing every month until I hit menopause that I can anticipate constant stomach and back pain, bloating, mood swings, acne, and migraines. One of my sisters does not suffer from PMS and I want to kick her in the shins every time she gloats about it.

Never measure yourself against other's and their achievements. Oh, this is a hard one. This will be a constant struggle until the day I die because we live in a competitive society. It is hard not to get caught up in the bullsh*t. Back in the day, I used to only compare my achievements against the people who I personally knew and that was folly because success is a combination of resources, networking, dedication, hard work, and a ton of luck. In the age of social media, it has made it even harder not to feel like you are lagging behind. It especially irks me how people down play how much luck actually has to do with success, because let's keep it real we know a lot of people who work hard every day and will never be famous, own their own company, make a lot of money, get married, have children, and etc, but it doesn't mean they didn't work hard or try. It is only a handful of people that are destined to end up in the history books and that is okay. It doesn't mean that you did not measure up. Look at the artist Vincent Van Gogh, he was considered a failure when he died because he was not able to sell any of his work. Not one single painting, but now he is considered one of the greatest painters of all time and his work sells for hundreds of millions of dollars, but he died not knowing the impact he would have on the world. 

Appreciate the ones you love while they are still alive. This is another uncomfortable truth because as I stated before most of us have a hard time grasping our own mortality so it is even harder to face the mortality of others. We walk around with this illusion that we will have another chance or moment with the people we care about even though people die every minute of the day. For some reason, we never fully accept or grasp that it will eventually be someone we love, and most of us will not see it coming. So it is imperative that we show appreciation for the people in our lives and verbally reassure them of how much they mean to us and how they have impacted our lives. Make sure to hug them and kiss them. Tell them you love them or how deeply you care. Do something nice to uplift them. Be kind, considerate, compassionate, supportive, and empathetic.


A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life www.toyastales.blogspot.com #toyastales #fashionblogger #selfcare #lifelessons #empathy

When preparing this post there were so many points I wanted to make and things I wanted to say but decided to condense my message because I could go on and on, lol.

Thank you for sharing this moment in time with me.

A Few Things I Have Learned Over 37 Years Of Life www.toyastales.blogspot.com #toyastales #fashionblogger #selfcare #lifelessons #empathy



Comments

  1. Very beautifully written! Such a great read, thank you!
    Adi xx
    fancycorrectitude.com
    instagram.com/fancycorrectitude

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  2. Thanks a lot :D

    I really love to ready this kind of personal posts! It's important to learn with age :D

    NEW OUTFIT POST | OMG  I almost LOST the TRAIN :o
    InstagramFacebook Official PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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    1. I agree! if you haven't learned something through out the years it means that you are not growing.

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  3. Nice post! Thanks for sharing!

    http://violettedaily.com

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  4. great post
    http://thestyleride.com/

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  5. Absolutely love this! I agree with so much of what you wrote - I think life itself, spending time with our loved ones and being true to ourselves is so much more important than what we do for work or what people think of us. None of that matters in the end.
    Haha, I actually have a problem with quinoa too - even though I like the idea of it, being nutritious and all but it just doesn't seem to agree with me.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Christina ♥ https://caliope-couture.com

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    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who has a problem with quinoa, lol. Everyone looks at me crazy when I say it sucks. Yes, in the end what matters most for me is my relationship with others and putting out good energy into the world instead of chasing things that really do not matter in the end.

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  6. Happy birthday, to many more! I hope you keep learning and evolving along the way.

    XoXo,

    Tamara - LoveofMode.com

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    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I hope I keep learning and evolving as well.

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  7. Toya, (I can call you this because we're cool like that 😜) you're honestly one of the strongest women I know. Each time you share a personal post and I learn a little more about you, I'm blown away by the strength and tenasity you have in spite of going through so much, it's truly admirable. I loved reading this post. I could never forget that you're an August baby because I remember reading how proud you are to be a leo in your birthday week post last year, lol! Thanks for sharing one more piece of you with us, girl!

    Xo,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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    1. You most definitely can call me Toya because we are cool like that! Thank you for being such a sweet and encouraging person Jalisa. You have always supported me and so many others always with a genuine smile and you are a true nurturer. You give so much to others naturally and it is not too many truly genuine people in the world like you. I hope you never ever lose that because you have such a wonderful spirit.

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  8. Happy birthday. It s a good age enjoy it 😊
    deriasworld.blogspot.com

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  9. I really loved this post and everything you shared. BTW I'm a pizza and white chocolate kind of girl too! xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

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    1. if I could give you a high five right now I would but I would just send a virtual one your way because anybody who loves pizza and white chocolate has to be super duper cool, lol!

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  10. I love these kinds of posts (and happy early birthday!). It's always good to take some time to look back. I 1000% agree with you about books over movies and embracing the idea that it's okay to be different.

    🍉 Pia
    http://gymbagsandjetlags.com

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    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes. OMG, books are so much better than the movies and anyone who disagrees I automatically distrust their taste, lol, but I guess I am a bit of a book snob. I love to meet people who are different, they are so much more interesting in my opinion.

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  11. "In this day and age of constant news cycles and the proliferation of opinion and commentary, I have noticed a greater percentage of people stopped researching and studying things for themselves and overly relying on other people's assessment of things and blindly accepting them as fact." This is TOO TRUE - especially when people parrot things back they saw/heard online as FACT when it is most definitely NOT TRUE and has been totally debunked. I tend to think like you, the next generation will look upon this and see where we went wrong :-) Hope you have a great birthday :-)

    ♥ Paula Shoe Fiend.
    http://shoe-fiend.blogspot.co.nz/

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    1. That irritates me the most when people just spit out talking points they saw on tv or online especially after they have gotten debunked, but I have come to realize it is useless trying to talk some sense into them because they are invested in "alternative" facts and do not want to accept anything else.

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  12. Very beautifully written Hun! Everything you wrote is so true and I also especially agree that it's so important to appreciate the ones you love while they are still here with us because life is too short. We should really appreciate the people we have in our lives and show them our love. Great post hun! xx

    Ann-Marie | http://facetocurls.com/

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    1. That is the most important thing to me, showing the people that I love how much they mean to me as much as possible because I know from personal experience it can be over in the blink of an eye.

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  13. Love this insightful post! And yes, pizza and tacos for lifeeeee.

    http://www.myclusterofthoughts.com/

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    1. I don't know what I would do if I could never have pizza or tacos again, lol. I probably shouldn't brag about it but I eat both every week.

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  14. Amazing post dear!
    Emma
    www.emmalovesfashion.com

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  15. great Post<3
    Have a nice day
    http://www.swisstwins.ch/

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  16. Happy birthday sweetheart! I loved everything you have shared in this post!
    Kiss
    Maggie
    Maggie Dallospedale Fashion diary - Fashion blog

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    1. Thank you Maggie! i really appreciate the birthday wishes!!!

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  17. Such a beautiful post. You are so true in your words. Have a lovely Birthday honey.
    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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    1. Thank you Gemma! I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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  18. I agree with, Gemma, this is such a beautifully written post, LaToya and I agree with everything you say here. And I wish I could meet you in real life, I think you're an amazing woman and will be an amazing friend!

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

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    1. Shireen, I feel the exact same way about you. Out of all of the bloggers I have connected with over the years I have known you the longest. Even though we have never met in person I appreciate how witty and supportive you are. I remember when you moved from Malaysia to Canada and when your little tyke was just a few months old. it has been a joy getting to know you through your blog.

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  19. Happy early birthday to you!! I enjoyed reading this :)

    Xo, Allie
    www.champagne-tuesdays.com

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  20. I love reading your life takeaways so far- so many good lessons! And YES, being unique (and yourself!) is always better than blending in. :) Happy early birthday!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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    1. I abhor blending in. Give me an off the wall personality any day, lol. Hopefully I can continue to learn and grow with each year that I am alive. Thank you for the birthday wishes.

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  21. I enjoyed reading your post. You have so many meaningful lessons to share! Great reminders about life, loved ones and totally with you on the cramps & PMS! I hope you have a beautiful birthday!
    Xx Caroline
    www.foreverdolledup.net

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    1. Thank you. Ugh, don't get me started think about the agony of cramps again, lol, they do truly suck. Glad that I was able to share some of my insights on life and that you could relate.

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  22. I love your post and at 35 find so much truth in this!

    http://www.mylittlenest.org

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    1. 35 is when things started to really connect for me . I didn't even feel like an adult until then, and now almost 3 years later that age seems like a long time ago. I hear that when I reach 40 I will start to realize how much of a difference in mindset that I will have compared to being in my thirties.

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  23. What a great list! I definitely think that being different is a good thing!
    Have a lovely weekend :)
    Rosanna x
    http://rosesrooftop.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I think being different is one of the most important things we can do on our journey to accepting ourselves and what we have to offer the world.

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  24. Firstly I would like to say that you have a beautiful smile! :) Secondly, I loved reading the post! Came to know so many things about you! <3 But why don't you like purple? Haha! :) Have a blessed birthday Toya and have a great weekend!
    xx
    Shivangi
    www.outoncatwalk.com

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    1. Thank you so much. I think my smile is my best feature and it showcases the twinkle in my eye. I'm glad I had a chance to reveal parts of myself with you all and that I have been met with such supportive acceptance. It warms my heart. I do not know what it is about purple. I know it is the color of royalty and as a Leo (queens and kings of the zodiac) I should probably like it but I just do not like it on me for some reason.

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  25. Sometimes reflecting over our life (at any stage!) can be really refreshing and eye-opening. I love your point about being different; it's so true, we're all unique and being unusual is interesting - as you've said, life would be very boring if we were all the same!!

    aglassofice.com
    x

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    1. Yes I like to write down and reevaluate where I am at in life every few years just to gain some perspective. individuality is something I wholeheartedly embrace.

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  26. You don't look like a worrier to me Toya, what with that bright and genuine smile! Such great facts you listed here girl. Life is so much work and endurance and faith. That one hit home the hardest for me. But you don't like purple though? :(. Happy Birthday LaToya, have fun celebrating you!

    http://www.fashionablyidu.com/

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    1. Lol. I wish I wasn't such a worry wart. I have learned over the years that some of the people who smile the most are usually worriers or are dealing with a lot of pain unfortunately. I think my smile is so genuine because I only smile and laugh when I am true moved by something so it carries some significance.

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  27. Yup, Cramps and PMS are the worst! Sadly, I still get them almost every month no matter what I do! :(

    Angelie // Glamworks Skin Perfector BB Cream Review

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    1. Yeah me too unfortunately. I have some remedies that help me manage it each month but it is a struggle.

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  28. Happy early birthday! I love these reflections, though I must say you seem like a lady who is open to change...so maybe one day you might come across a delicious quinoa preparation...and fall in love with a purple dress??? Maybe?? I loved reading this...enjoy 38!
    www.streetmadonna.com

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    1. Thank you. I am open to change to a certain point, lol. I would wear a purple dress before eating quinoa again. Thank you for the birthday wishes.

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  29. I LOVED this post! I agree with everything you said really. Sometimes you do get really discouraged when you hear about stuff in the news or when life keeps throwing you lemons, but you have to keep going and have that faith to make it worthwhile. I also think that sometimes it's easy to take things for granted, like the people around you, so I agree with you in savouring every moment x

    Velvet Blush

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    1. Thank you for your feedback! I have to balance staying informed with world events and protecting my sensitive soul. So I read headlines throughout the day and watch the news sparingly daily so I will not let too much negative news in. I balance it out by reading feel good news and looking at animal videos.

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  30. Such a beautiful post. Life is all about learning :) Beautiful photos as well!

    Florals&Smiles

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    1. Thank you! I agree with you life is all about learning as long as you stay open to what it is trying to teach you.

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  31. Great written dear! I agree with you and thank you for sharing your thoughts :) Kisses from Slovakia ;)
    www.tinachic.com

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  32. What a beautiful smile! Gorgeous lady! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Have a fabulous week!
    Much love, Len
    http://www.lenparent.com
    XO

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    1. Thank you and I hope you have a lovely week as well!

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  33. Have to agree with you - books are ALWAYS better than the movie. Thank goodness I've figured that out now haha.
    Lovely post, really enjoyed reading.

    If you have a moment, I'd love it if you could check out my blog: http://havea-prettyday.blogspot.co.uk/

    Kayleigh xo
    havea-prettyday.blogspot.com

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