I am writing this to you 20 days exactly before your 30th birthday; whatever has occurred the next many hours, you must know, for you have lived me before. You have lived me 30 years before, since the moment you breathed your first oxygen outside mama’s belly that fateful Tuesday, where the air was truly warm and you were truly loved. Don’t forget that you were supposed to be named with Joy, but since your name had Christ in it, you had everything you need. Today, I want to let you know, whatever you have, you have everything you need.

Do you remember the early parts of this year, when your tiny wishes soon turned into fruition? How you thought you won’t be able to join your family for the Europe trip and that your finances will be down the slump? You were surprised, weren’t you, when God sent you those amazing people to bless you, because you have blessed people first. Remember when you surprised Ka Dante with that sapphire-colored bill? Remember when you blessed a random woman in the supermarket, and her little daughter had to come back to thank you? Remember when you cheered that old father in the construction, when he had his card stuck in the ATM machine? You were always a giver. You give because you were given first.

You can bet your Great Dad, along with your heavenly audience, was happy. You try. You try and try. You have your demons, but you do your best to defeat them every day. Some not successful, but you always come back. You know where your life is, where your anchor lies, and like oxygen, you cannot be apart from it.

Now that you’re 30, you have savored most of world’s wanting in your youth. You now know that life is different than planned. You are aware of your failed attempts at novel-writing, poetry-contest joining, and publishing company rejections. But that doesn’t make your life less beautiful than it should be, right? For, rather than being stuck hopelessly and haplessly in the dump, here you are—your own woman.

And on your 30th birthday, I have a few wishes for you. One of them, is to be not just your own. Be somebody’s too. Be someone’s backhand. A support. A partner. In your coming decade, may you find your first love, where you try everything afresh. If ever it fails, I hope you won’t be afraid to try on to your second, or to your third. You are wise, smart, capable and beautiful; you can easily please. However, know that all things will feel right with the right person. It’s now time for you two to find each other. Don’t be afraid.

I wish you break away from your worries. I wish that you would go the opposite direction: where there are risks, exposure and probably, embarrassment. Live life, because life is like that. It is dangerous and drowning, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Just remember the most important lessons: be honest, be yourself, and you’ll get by.

I also pray that you find your place. Oh sure, it’s the start of your wandering—the prologue to your Promised Land, and this means that you have to walk through deserts and oases and savannahs and pastures to get to your place. You won’t get there soon, but all I ask is to get somewhere you can call your first home, like a milestone. Find your space in the world’s cramped-up community. Create an opportunity. Make that business. Just keep on searching and when you find it, stick to it.

Take up a course. It’s not too late. Build up your dreams again; you’re not starting from scratch. Join a seminar, a workshop—or better, a community, where you are always surrounded with inspiring and inspired individuals melding well with your passions. Remember that passion is a word of action, and it manifests through tangible, viewable means. Live up to it.

Be contagious. Never lose your joy. The world is a dark place, even those you perceive to be in the light. Sometimes, people succumb to shadows too; you know that. It’s good to fight your own battles, but you can help others fight theirs by sharing your glow. Remember that a light must be put on a lamp stand, not under a cover. Don’t hide. Don’t be afraid to shine.

Continue to write. Ten years before, you started journaling your memories, and look where it got you—here. Can you imagine what the next ten years will bring you? You just can’t, right? All the possibilities, all the wonder! Now, I ask you to think forward. Think of the future. Let yourself retell your own story. It’s always worth turning back to once in a while.

Thank you for running the race so far. Thank you for being patient. Thank you for enduring the wait and most importantly, thank you for choosing to be alive. We both don’t know what happens tomorrow, or the next days after, but you’re sure to enjoy it, as long as you’re breathing and singing and writing and touching lives even in the littlest things you do.

Enjoy your OOR concert and stop gushing over Toru. Or Taka. Taka’s a diva.

Be healthier. Exercise. And when you have the money and time, learn to drive. Or at least crash a car; that’ll be fun!

Wear good clothes when you can. Don’t be a rag doll.

Save. You already know the importance of good finances and you have a dire need for it. Spend wisely.

Connect with your friends—they’ve loved you truest. Meet them more often, and grow together, not as girls, but women.

Pray and worship, even if you don’t feel like it. Both are your dues, not results of emotions. Always remember that the King desires to be approached with joy and gratitude, so always give thanks to Him first.

Trust that your life story is written by the greatest author there is. No go, have fun; smash things and build up dreams. You’re on your own journey now.